Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

-Luke 15:20

Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country. Our culture has mastered the art of relational distance. Too many of us are content to view one another from a long way off. Our past hurts, pains, disappointments and biases keep us so isolated and alone. But like this father who saw his son and became proximal to him, we are being nudged to close the chasm of difference and remember our shared humanity.

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.

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Stephen King on Trump’s Fanatics:“Jesus, man ….You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.”– “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people…”

From Stephen King {MID-320340}
Stephen King
(Image by
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Bestselling author Stephen King on Monday weighed in on President Trump’s recent warnings to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States. King’s criticism came in response to a tweet Trump shared on Sunday stating that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border.” “Jesus, man,” King said in response to the tweet. “You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.” “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people,” the author said.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

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A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Antibiotic Resistance Project
Inside NIH’s Fight Against Superbugs
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses some of the greatest superbug threats—and what the agency is doing about them.
In Superbug Fight, ‘Victory Is Not at Hand’
“It’s a long road from exciting things happening in the lab to getting through a clinical process to the patient’s bedside,” Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, explains in a Chicago Tribune editorial.
A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs
For Men’s Health Month—June—get to know Chris Linaman. After his heartbreaking superbug experience, he’s working to help others avoid the trauma he endured.
Antibiotics Weren’t Used to Cure These Patients. Fecal Bacteria Were.
Superbugs Could Render Even the Most Routine Procedures Deadly, Warns Chief Medical Officer
Stanley Falkow, Microbiologist Who Studied Bacteria and the Diseases They Cause, Dies At 84
Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs Are on the Rise Around The World
Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones
Was this forwarded to you? Don’t miss the next email!
Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.

Pew’s antibiotic resistance project is working to ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs in order to meet current and future patient needs.

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Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media

I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

and alternative monitoring websites.

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

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a repository of a specific kind of internet immaturity–Urban Dictionary


How Linguists Are Using Urban Dictionary

Urban Dictionary continues a long history of recording low-brow language. It’s also a repository of a specific kind of internet immaturity.

A manz

Manz /manz/ noun. 1: Friend, Buddy, Associate… somebody you are close to. 2: Part man and part zebra. Illustration: Jonathan Aprea/PixabayBy: Christine Ro November 13, 2019  6 minutes Share Tweet Email Print

Urban Dictionary, as you may know, is a crowdsourced website where anyone can suggest a new word—or a new definition of a word—years before establishment lexicographers catch on. It was founded in 1999 by computer science student Aaron Peckham to make fun of the comparatively staid Yet Urban Dictionary has become much more than a parody site, drawing approximately 65 million visitors every month.

Of course, Urban Dictionary is also a repository of adolescent grossout humor, often humor about sexual practices that are the stuff of urban legends (uh, penis McFlurry?). This isn’t just a matter of trifling but ultimately harmless terms. Bigoted words and definitions have thrived on the site, but Peckham believes that offensive words should be left intact. It’s clear from a quick browse through the trending terms that the users are particularly titillated by (or nervous about) women’s bodies (e.g., twatopotamus) and sex between men (e.g., vaginal intolerant).“IBM experimented with adding Urban Dictionary data to its artificial intelligence system Watson, only to scrub it all out again when the computer started swearing at them.”

With its crowdsourced definitions and high speed of coinage, Urban Dictionary is very much a product of the internet age. But it also continues a long history of recording low-brow language: dictionaries of English slang have been around in some form for centuries. The slang dictionaries of the seventeenth century were considered useful for clueing readers into the language of thieves and cheats, which itself was part of an older tradition of exoticizing the language of the poor and criminal. By 1785, Francis Grose’s Classic Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue extended the slang lexicon beyond the middle-class conception, adding terms such as bum fodder (for toilet paper).

Urban Dictionary carries this legacy forward, and the site is likely to persist in some form. The Library of Congress now archives it. Its pages were saved to the Internet Archive more than 12,500 times between May 25, 2002, and October 4, 2019, with a steady increase over time. And according to internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch’s much-touted new book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language: “IBM experimented with adding Urban Dictionary data to its artificial intelligence system Watson, only to scrub it all out again when the computer started swearing at them.”

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The stakes are increasing as well. Urban Dictionary is being used to determine the acceptability of vanity plate names in some U.S. states. More serious is the continued tradition of dictionary use in legal cases, where the interpretation of a single word can have grave consequences. Urban Dictionary’s definition of to nut, for instance, has been brought up in a sexual harassment claim, and the meanings of jack were debated in a financial restitution case. While Urban Dictionary’s speed may be useful in a legal setting, some lexicologists believe that depending on a crowdsourced dictionary is risky.

Linguists Open the Urban Dictionary

Whatever we might think of its vulgarity, Urban Dictionary is useful. It allows researchers to track terms that are too recent or too niche to appear in establishment dictionaries, and to determine how people are using English online.

For example, one 2006 paper by communication expert Jean E. Fox Tree uses Urban Dictionary, along with other examples of “public dictionary websites” (like Wikipedia and, to excavate the uses of like in storytelling. And Urban Dictionary is regularly cited as a source in linguistics research, such as a 2015 paper by Natasha Shrikant on Indian American students.

McCulloch finds Urban Dictionary useful for mapping chronology, due to the datestamps attached to definitions, especially for the period in the early 2000s, before social media sites became behemoths.

Derek Denis, a linguistics researcher at the University of Toronto, agrees that the datestamp function is useful. The other key aspect, he points out, is the use of Urban Dictionary to unearth indexical meanings, or the social meanings of words. For him, the first example that comes to mind is the interjection eh. Urban Dictionary, unlike more formal dictionaries, mentions the Canadian association early and often.

In Denis’ research into Toronto’s multiethnic slang, he’s used Urban Dictionary to find the earliest documented use of terms like mans/manz, meaning “I.” The wide-ranging, youth-oriented website might seem especially well-suited for recording this kind of multiethnolect: a dialect that draws from multiple ethnic groups, typically spoken by young people, and often stigmatized or dismissed. An example is Multicultural London English, sometimes oversimplified as “Jafaican,” for “fake Jamaican.” But Denis believes that Urban Dictionary’s applicability is broader: “It’s generally useful for not just young people and multiethnic areas but general for any speech community,” he says.

Not Exactly the Wild West

2010 paper by the linguist Lauren Squires suggests that, despite Urban Dictionary’s anarchic reputation, it can reproduce the idea of a division between proper and improper language, with internet language being deemed socially unacceptable. Squires gives the examples of chatspeak, defined by one user as “[a] disgrace to the English language,” and netspeak, called “[a]n easy way to determine the IQ of the person you are talking to over the Internet.”

In other words, some Urban Dictionary contributors appear to be conservatively guarding a notion of a pure (print) version of English, even though language purists consider the site itself to be a key source of corruption. But maybe this isn’t as paradoxical as it seems. It may be that the site has become a linguistic sewer because certain users feel emboldened by the format, allowing them to use (or coin) terms they wouldn’t in a more formal setting.

Urban Dictionary’s bias toward obnoxiousness might make it less a repository of slang and more a collection of a specific kind of internet immaturity. As McCulloch writes in Because Internet: “There seems to be a correlation between how genuinely popular a word is and how much Urban Dictionary’s definition writers despise it and the people who use it.”An alternative Urban Dictionary definition of manz, “part man and part zebra,” might stem only from the cackling imagination of a single user.

Are its contributors just pranking would-be scholars attempting to use the site for anything other than gleeful entertainment? Well, surely some are trying to. An alternative Urban Dictionary definition of manz, “part man and part zebra,” might stem only from the cackling imagination of a single user. Researchers may need to tread carefully, particularly given that young men are overrepresented on the site.

But linguists like Denis aren’t too concerned. The premise of Urban Dictionary is that a term, however jokey or quirky, doesn’t need to be popular to be worthy of recording. In Denis’ view, it just needs to be understood by at least two people. He says that “it’s probably not completely idiosyncratic. It’s probably not just limited to that one person, but rather, it might just be that person and like two or three friends. But the important thing there is that those few people—
maybe it’s two people—still form a speech community.”

In fact, the lack of restrictions, a style guide, or a core arbiter in Urban Dictionary means that “things can come out more explicitly” compared to conventional dictionaries, Denis believes. “I think the Urban Dictionary model is probably more representative because it doesn’t rely on that authority.”

It’s been argued that the now 20-year-old Urban Dictionary has become something of a fogey itself (if internet years are like dog years, the website is ancient). Newer websites and social media platforms may be even more responsive to language trends, possibly leaving Urban Dictionary in a middle ground: not as immediate as Twitter, not as specific as Know Your Meme, not as respected as Merriam-Webster, not as credible as Wikipedia, and not as popular as Reddit. But for now, linguists are digging through Urban Dictionary to track, date, and analyze language, no matter how niche or nasty, as it’s actually used.

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If Cory Booker isn’t the Presidential Candidate, he’d Sure Make a Great VP on the Democratic Ticket

Sen. Cory Booker on Environmental Justice, Nuclear Power & “Savage Racial Disparities” in the U.S.

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  • Cory BookerDemocratic senator from New Jersey and 2020 presidential candidate.


The first-ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice, co-moderated by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and former EPA official Mustafa Santiago Ali, was held last Friday at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey was one of six Democratic candidates to share his plans to confront environmental injustices and the climate crisis. Booker spoke about racial disparities in the U.S., the creation of renewable energy jobs and the water contamination crises in cities across the country, including his hometown of Newark. “My community is not alone,” Booker said. “Lead service lines should not be in the ground in a 21st century America, period.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to the presidential race. The first-ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice was held last Friday at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. I co-moderated the event with former EPA official Mustafa Santiago Ali. Earlier in the week, we aired our interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Today we turn to Senator Booker of New Jersey. Mustafa Ali began the questioning.

MUSTAFA ALI: So, we know that currently our federal agencies have withdrawn themselves from addressing environmental injustices that are going on. Can you talk about what your administration will do to fix that problem?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: I’m smiling because he’s asking me questions that he knows we’ve talked about. So, first and foremost, what he means by the federal agencies pulling back is the EPA, they’re at half the levels they were in 2010 on inspections right now. The money they’re collecting from corporate polluters is at like a 15-year low. We have a federal government that right now is saying, “We’re going to let corporate polluters do what they want to do.” And we’re in a time of Grover Norquist, you know, this era where Republican legislators sign this pledge, no new taxes. This didn’t start in the time of Trump; this has been going on for a long time. Which means a lot of the mechanisms we had before to clean up these environmental sites, the federal government is no longer pulling in the resources, the taxes, necessary to clean it up.

One great example of this is just the cleanup of Superfund sites in America. We had a bipartisan accord. In fact, Reagan reauthorized a small tax on corporate polluters, chemical companies like those that are in Cancer Alley, to give us a fund to clean up Superfund sites. Well, even though Mitch McConnell voted on it when Reagan was president, he refused to reauthorize it now. And what we see now is, because there’s no money in the Superfund cleanups funds, you see the number of Superfund sites growing in America.

And so, I have a very strong belief, and it’s in the legislation that Mustafa was one of the people that helped us write, is — I just don’t trust the government right now on this issue. And that means that one of the best ways to deal with this issue is to push the power back to people. And so, my legislation, that I wrote as senator, that will become law if I’m president of the United States, is to make sure that local communities have the power, have standing, to sue their governments, which right now they can’t. And so, we know there’s a lot of communities, if they could sue their governments and had standing, we would see a lot more action. And we want to change — our legislation changes the ability to not just sue them, but to actually collect damages, as well. I believe that, as an African American, I know the legal system, all the way from Brown v. Board of Education to incredible work done by great legal activists like Charles Hamilton Houston and others, that some — giving the legal power back to communities to defend themselves is utterly important. And that’s just one tool of the multiple tools that I want to do to make sure that we begin to have a country where people can trust the air that they’re breathing or the water that they’re drinking or the soil which they want to plant crops in.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Booker, I wanted to ask you about nuclear energy. You are a proud proponent of nuclear energy, have argued it’s necessary to wean us off the fossil fuel economy. But you have a lot of environmental activists who are scratching their heads at your support for nuclear energy, particularly around the issue of nuclear waste. Here in South Carolina, for example, there are 35 million gallons of nuclear waste being held at a nuclear reserve south of Aiken. Environmental activists have been fighting it for years. You’ve got Savannah River. And, of course, we’re talking about communities, primarily low-income communities of color, who are dealing with nuclear waste in their own backyards, from New Mexico to Yucca Mountain to right here. What is your answer to the fact that there is no solution in dealing with nuclear waste?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Well, first of all, you’re a little bit mischaracterizing my views. I’m a realist that tells you right now the biggest existential threat to humanity is climate change. Fifty percent of our non-carbon-producing power right now is nuclear. And so, as some of my other opponents want to do is just get rid of it, it’s going to push us back to being more reliant on fossil fuels and make this, our ability to reach our climate goals, impossible. We saw what happened in Vermont when they cut down the Yankee plant there. Their carbon footprint expanded pretty significantly.

So, I look forward to phasing out nuclear waste and nuclear energy. But to do it right now, when we are in a race and have a 12-year race to meet our climate goals? The damage done to poor and vulnerable communities is significantly worse coming from climate change than it is the crisis of nuclear energy. If you want to weigh your poisons right now, the one that’s coming towards us like a barreling freight truck of climate change, the one that my community in Newark is feeling right now, because the temperature rises, asthma rates that are off the charts — and let me tell you something about asthma, as a guy that knows what it’s like in emergency rooms with black children dying at 10 times the rate than white children of asthma complications. So, for me, nuclear energy, I’m just — it’s just common sense to me right now.

AMY GOODMAN: To build new power plants?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Well, let’s — let’s be clear. The nuclear energy of the plants we have now, designed in the ’60s and the ’70s and the ’80s, is very different than the new modular nuclear energy plants that are being proposed. Now, those actually have a much — they can actually take spent fuel rods and re-engage them for usage. The frontiers of nuclear science is not something we should just shut down. We should continue to investigate: Is there going to be eventually a safe way to do this? So, I don’t mind exploring the future. I’m one of these people that considers myself a futurist. Why? Because you have two choices in life: to let the future happen to you or to shape the future and make sure it happens in a way that’s just.

So, this, to me, is a very, very simple equation, is, I’ve got a 12-year problem to solve. And if anybody wants to get rid of nuclear energy, tell me how you are going to replace 50% of the non-carbon-producing power that we would have right now, because what you’re going to do, you’re going to send us back to coal and oil. And I refuse to go backwards in the cause of environmental justice.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your plan for renewables, for pushing forward solar and wind and other forms of sustainable energy?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Well, this is what gets me frustrated about this conversation sometimes, is because you’ve got a bunch of people running for president who have been in public life for 20 years. Maybe the question is, is: What the heck have you been doing on these issues for the entire time?

So, you should know I have a record on these issues. Number one is, I do not believe that oil companies and coal companies should get tax breaks. It’s ridiculous that we are extending tax breaks in a way that companies like Chevron pay a net zero — in fact, they pay a negative tax rate right now because all the stuff we’re foisting upon them. And so, that’s number one, rolling back those tax breaks.

Number two is extending them to renewables. I fought not just for — when I was in the Senate, we were able to win a seven-year tax credit for — a renewable tax credit for wind and solar, which is really important, because you need some predictability if you’re going to be investing in those areas. But we wanted to see it for everything, from geothermal to battery life. We wanted to extend it for every type of renewable there is. Well, if I’m president, we’re going to make sure that we create a better incentive model for people to be doubling down in investments.

In addition to that, we’re going to create moonshots all around this country for science and research in the renewable space, which is critical because right now other countries are beating us in the race to solve these problems through innovation, and therefore they’re going to beat us in the race to create the new jobs that are being created. Right now there’s more jobs in solar than there are in coal. But we have many things that we could be doing. So, for me, this is all about making sure that we’re doing everything we can to incentivize investments, research, development, and to get to the point where I want to be, which is to have the electrification of our transportation sector by 2030 and then to be carbon neutral as a nation by 2045.

MUSTAFA ALI: Senator Booker, I want to build on what you were just talking about, because in our new clean economy that we are currently developing — and we know it’s going to grow over the years — when we look at those who are currently working in that space, we have some evolution to make sure that there are more folks of color in that space.


MUSTAFA ALI: When we look at the ownership of the businesses there, we also — I think it’s less than 2% of those businesses that are currently in the clean economy that are owned by folks of color. So, how do we — what would your administration do to make sure that those numbers increase?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: You know, when you’re in a car with Mustafa, you end up talking about a lot of things. Look, can we — let’s just be clear right now. We live in a country where there are savage racial disparities in every single corner of our lives. There are racial disparities in healthcare, racial disparities in education, in suspensions, in the criminal justice system. I can go through everything. And so, this, to me, is an issue of trust, because these issues are not right or left. They’re right or wrong. And the Democratic Party’s hands are not clean. I’ve sat where you’ve sat for so many presidential elections, living in an inner city, looking at people who we’re electing who are often part of the problem. Now, so, this, to me, is an issue of trust. Dealing with racial disparities, we need to make sure that the next president, this isn’t going to be a secondary issue, but that we understand that this is a real issue of trust.

Now, look, again, what have you been doing? I got to the United States Senate as the fourth-ever elected African American in the Senate’s history, popularly elected African American. And when I got there, I saw — don’t applaud me; applaud my ancestors, people who fought for me. My mom said, “You got there by the blood, sweat and tears of those who came before you.” And the key is not to be number one, two, three or four. The key is to make sure you’re not the last. This is why, South Carolina, please, please, please elect Jaime Harrison as the next senator.

And so — but let me tell you, it is not just enough to have a black senator. I got there, and I looked at the staffs. It was the least diverse place I had ever worked before in my life. And I looked at the Judiciary Committee staff, because I wanted to get on that committee, and I didn’t see one African-American staffer. You talk about Hamilton, being in the room when it happens. This was a committee making decisions about African-American lives and African-American bodies, and there wasn’t even an African American in the room. And so, what did I do? I went to Chuck Schumer, got a great young senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, and we just said, “This is outrageous.” Because most of the Democratic senators, guess how they get elected. With audiences that look a lot like this, African-American communities. And so, what we did is we said, “I only know one way of do things, is accountability, which is having standards, measures and consequences when things don’t happen.” And so, we asked Chuck Schumer, and he gladly did it, to have every Democratic senator publish your diversity statistics. How many women and minorities do you have in positions of power? And guess what’s happened since we’ve done that. The number of African Americans hired in the Senate has gone up.

And so, when you ask me about this, this is why I get — I get angry. Before I even get to that, let me just go with marijuana. This has been killing black communities. There was more marijuana arrests in 2017 than all the violent crime arrests in the country combined. And they’re not arresting everybody. People on college campuses — Stanford, I used to see people smoking pot all the time. No worries. It is disproportionately people of color. So now everybody’s moving to legalize marijuana. This is a big business. Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to be made in the business. And yet people, when they talk about legalization, they don’t go the next two or three steps. The first step should be — don’t talk to me about legalizing marijuana. I have the lead bill in the Senate to do it. But my bill is called the Marijuana Justice Act. You’ve got to also talk about expunging the records of all of those people. But let’s not stop there. Let’s not stop there. Now you want to make sure that in the communities that have been devastated by the marijuana — by marijuana enforcement, that people from those communities actually get a chance to have the licenses to sell marijuana legally. And that’s not happening right now. We’re about to shift into legalization of marijuana in state after state after state, and the people there are not — the people selling it are disproportionately not — are lacking the diversity that our nation does.

And so, to your point about the jobs of the future, I want to be clear. I had to have some very stern conversations with unions when I was a mayor of my town. We were building the first new hotel in 40 years. I had to go to my unions and say, “I know that you have people — systems of who gets on jobs when. But, I’m sorry, this is being built in an African-American community, and there needs to be African Americans, more diversity, in this union. And there needs to be apprenticeship programs for my kids.” And so, I just — I think Mustafa is 100% right. There is going to be a new energy job boom in this country, and we’ve got to make sure that those opportunities — because a lot of people want to talk to you about the wealth gap, the wealth gap, the wealth gap. Look, there are a lot of people in my community that want to be entrepreneurs, that want to be millionaires. And so, I always talk about the wealth gap, yeah, but what we really need to be talking about is the opportunity gap and to make sure that everybody has equal opportunity to start a business, to be innovators, to participate in the new job booms of the future and the new businesses of the future.

And this comes back to how I started, which is trust. If I am your president, a person who has spent my career working on these issues, I am going to make sure that these issues of racial equity are not on the side, that you will have a president, in me, someone who understands these issues intimately and makes sure that I am working every single day so that this nation is who it says it is — a nation of liberty, justice and opportunity for all.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Booker, Flint, Michigan, brought environmental justice to the national stage with the water crisis. Now, five years into that, people in Flint still don’t have clean water. And this year, people in your own community, your neighbors in Newark, New Jersey, where you once served as mayor and still represent them as senator, are also facing a crisis of lead contamination in the drinking water. Flint and Newark aren’t alone. Thousands of water system towns, villages and cities around the country — 

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Including right here in South Carolina.

AMY GOODMAN: — are facing contamination, right here in South Carolina. What specifically are you doing to address this national crisis? And what are you doing in Newark, your own community, with people in the throes of this water crisis?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Yeah, so, look, leaders take responsibility and get things done. And so, when this crisis broke out in my city, I went right across the aisle in the Senate, where I’ve worked on building relationships, and passed a major piece of legislation. These are the kind of things that people don’t want to talk about, actually getting things done in Washington, that was — allowed states to shift resources, literally hundreds of millions, I think, in total, into funds that can get these lead pipes out of the water. This, to me, is — you said it: This is my family. These are my — this is my community. And my community isn’t alone. There are thousands of jurisdictions, as I said, right now where children have more than twice the blood lead levels of Flint, Michigan. And so, I’m taking action now as a United States senator. But if I’m president of the United States, enough. Lead service lines should not be in the ground in a 21st century America, period. And I will make sure that we have a fund to get every single lead service line out of the ground in cities all across America.

But we can’t stop there. We have — this is a true story, because I’m telling you — I’m admitting my inadequacies, because I got to the United States Senate as being the New Jersey senator — this is one of the things that led me on my environmental justice tour — and I was also on the Africa subcommittee as a foreign relations person. So I had this doctor, Dr. Peter Hotez, who came in to see me because I wanted to talk to him about neglected tropical diseases in African countries. And I’m flipping through his book as we’re talking about things I could do as a United States senator for the continent. And I’m flipping through books and seeing these maps of where the neglected tropical diseases are. And I almost fell out of my seat when I saw them in some states in the United States of America. And I said, “I didn’t know we had things like hookworm and the like.” And he goes, “Absolutely, in communities that are 100 to 200% of the poverty line.” The doctors don’t even think they exist in North America.

And I literally said, “I have to go see this with my own eyes.” And so I found myself in places in Alabama, in like Lowndes County, Alabama, where I stood there and saw communities that have — they can’t have septic, because the soil won’t allow it. And they have just straight pipes coming out of the people’s — back of people’s homes. I sat with families who talked to me about when it rains, about having all that stuff back up into their home. And so, when you start seeing what I’ve seen in this country, this is reflective of an impotency of empathy, that we could live in a nation where we don’t see what communities are suffering, who do not have access to clean water, who do not have access to proper sewage, who — in America, it should be a right of every citizen to have clean air, clean water and clean soil. And so, I have, in my environmental — in my climate plan, I’m one of the few people that has major pillars on environmental justice. And one of the things we’re going to do is make sure we have a community where everyone has access to clean air and clean water.

But it also means taking on sacred cows. And when I’m saying “sacred cows,” I’m almost literally talking about it, because the corporate industrial animal agriculture industry, we must begin to talk about what it’s doing to our country. You know, when I talked earlier about Duplin County, North Carolina, one of the reasons why groundwater is being contaminated is because you don’t have the heritage of our country, which is the way we used to raise pigs in farms. Now we have multinational corporations, like Smithfield, who have these contract farmers who live like sharecroppers. If you — we should have any empathy for them, too, because they find themselves in these contracts where they’re constantly living in massive debt. You see these massive things called CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations, that are all covered. And pigs produce 10 times the feces than human beings do. I sat and watched it going into these massive lagoons. In Duplin County, it’s historically black communities. And I stood there with activists as I watched the spray field spray the literal [bleep] out onto the fields. And then I watched it waff into — you know, like when you spray your lawn, some of it mists off the property and into black communities. I sat in packed rooms with African Americans who told me about respiratory diseases, cancers, what it feels like not to be able to open your windows in your home, run your air conditioning. You can’t put your clothing on the lines. This is happening from Iowa to North Carolina, and we are not conscious of this crisis in our country. I met with a Republican farmer in the Midwest — still remember, western Illinois — who told me, when the CAFOs came around his farm, he can no longer fish in his creek, no longer drink his well water.

And so, I’m just fed up. It’s very hard for me to sit comfortably in Newark, even with our lead water crisis, and know that there are Americans who are facing diseases, cancers, who have lost the value of their land that they’ve been on since slavery, and we are doing nothing as a society about it. That is so against our country. And so, as president of the United States, I have in my plan funds to do something about it. And I’m going to make sure, as your president, I fight and become the president that champions environmental justice in a way like you’ve never seen before.

MUSTAFA ALI: All right.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Booker, if you could talk about your personal decision to be a vegan, which really brings together the issue of the environment and personal health?

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Listen, my personal decision is to try every day to be a better — living the values in which I hold. And so, my veganism is a much better way to accord myself with my values. But I want to be clear with you that — because I don’t want this to be a holier-than-thou moment. I don’t know where the suit I’m wearing was made. And fast fashion is injustice. It is injustice. You know, these are vegan shoes, so I’m trying to be consistent with things. So, for me, all of us have to do a better job in living in accordance with what our values are. I don’t want to preach to people what our values are, but I know what corporate animal agriculture — not the farm heritage, the independent family farmers I’ve met all around this country, but massive corporate animal agriculture is destroying the environment. What’s happening to animals is something, if Americans — in fact, they’re passing these things called ag-gag laws, which I know you’ve heard of, where they’re trying to block Americans from actually knowing what’s happening to animals. That’s why those CAFOs are usually covered, so you can’t see in and the misery and the suffering going on with animals.

And so, for me, from everything from my health — the leading cause of death for black men is preventable diseases. As Ron Finley, this great — he has a TED Talk, black man in South-Central Los Angeles. He has this great TED Talk — you should watch it — where he says, “In South-Central, we got drive-bys and drive-thrus, and the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.” And so, I’m trying to do my best to live my values. I fail every day, but I want to get better and better and better, to be more conscious about the decisions I’m making. And in a capitalist society, you vote every day with your dollars. And so, my veganism is something I’m happy to talk about, and about the reasons why. But I want to tell you this — Martin Luther King said it more eloquently than I could ever say it. He goes, “I can pass — I can’t pass laws to make you love me, but I can pass laws to stop you from lynching me.” I can’t pass laws to change your heart, but I can pass laws to restrain the heartless. And so, I may not — I may not want to force my dietary habits on everybody here. But if I’m your president, I’m going to stop us subsidizing through our ag bills the corporate animal agriculture that ultimately is hurting our country. And I haven’t heard another presidential candidate that wants to talk about these issues.

Animal agriculture right now is the way — the large corporate animal agriculture is driving so much of the problems with climate change. The number-one reason for deforestation, rainforest deforestation, is grazing lands for the larger and larger consumption of meat. Scientists say that we would need four planet Earths if the rest of the planet ate the standard American diet. And by the way, China is moving towards the standard American diet. More people are eating like we’re eating. And so, we have to start talking about a free market, not the subsidization of corporations, whether it’s oil companies or folks that are doing it.

Now, if I have more sway over the ag bill, God, we’re going to let farmers lead us out of this. But we’re going to be doing things like incentivizing cover crops and no-till farming, things that pull carbon out of the air. We’re going to incentivize reforestation. I have a plan to plant 100 million trees in urban areas, which will cool them down, pull more carbon out of the air. We need to start using our incentives, our taxpayer dollars, to incentivize the right behavior and stop the human suffering that’s going on as a result of a lot of the things we’re spending — we’re doing with — subsidizing with our taxpayer dollars.

AMY GOODMAN: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, speaking last Friday the first-ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice. We held it at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. I co-moderated the forum with former EPA official Mustafa Ali. Visit to watch the full forum, including Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about environmental justice, shutting down pipelines, capitalism and billionaires, as well as her response to whether the presidential primary season should begin in two of the whitest states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Other candidates at the forum: Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney and Joe Sestak.

Coming up, is Texas about to execute an innocent man? Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Contra Todo” — that’s “Against Everything” — by the Puerto Rican musician iLe, performing at our Democracy Now! studios. To see our full interview with her and her performance, go to original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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Justice for Rodney Reed: Millions Urge Texas to Halt Execution Amid New Evidence of His Innocence
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More High Crimes and Misdeeds–While Trump Costs Americans Billions & More

November 2019
CAC’s impeachment analysis for The New Republic

The December issue of The New Republic will feature an in-depth analysis on impeachment co-written by Constitutional Accountability Center’s Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod and President Elizabeth Wydra. The two-part piece, titled The First Magistrate in Foreign Pay and High Crimes, details constitutional violations committed by President Trump as well as historic commentary on how the Framers intentionally drafted the Constitution to prevent corruption in the office of the presidency.“Indeed, the Constitution’s entire system of checks and balances was aimed, at least in part, at preventing the corruption of our nation’s leaders.But the Framers also determined that these checks alone were not sufficient. Instead, the ultimate check on an abusive president lies in Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution: ‘The President … shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ By empowering the Congress to remove the president for ‘abuse[s] or violation[s] of some public trust,’ they enabled the people’s representatives to render a verdict that a president was abusing his public office to such a degree that allowing him to remain in it posed a danger to the republic.” 
We are on the brink of a constitutional moment for the ages. It’s clear Trump’s treatment of the presidential office is not in alignment with what the Framer’s envisioned for our nation’s executive power. Selling out national security and compromising democratic integrity are clear violations of our Constitution and public trust. As the impeachment investigation proceeds in the coming weeks, CAC will continue to advocate for accountability and the preservation of our republic. On December 9, CAC President Elizabeth Wydra will present oral argument in our case on behalf of Members of Congress for President Trump’s violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Join us in the fight for justice. 
Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP  The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit considered whether the House Oversight Committee can subpoena documents related to President Trump’s and his businesses’ finances from Mazars USA, LLP, a financial accounting firm. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court’s order and held that Mazars must comply with the Committee’s subpoena. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, decided October 11.Blumenthal, et al. v. Trump — CAC is representing Members of Congress in a lawsuit to hold President Trump accountable for violating the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. CAC filed an appellate brief for the plaintiffs in the D.C. Circuit. Eight amicus briefs were filed in support of CAC. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, filed October 22, oral argument scheduled for December 9.Pitch v. United States — CAC filed an amicus brief supporting historian Anthony Pitch in his efforts to obtain records of witness testimony from a grand jury investigation into the Moore’s Ford Lynching of 1946, which one court called “the last mass lynching in American History.” The 11th Circuit is considering whether courts have inherent authority to release historically significant grand jury materials, and we argue they do. As we argue in our brief, the tradition of maintaining the secrecy of grand jury proceedings is not absolute, and courts have regularly disclosed grand jury materials in appropriate circumstances throughout American history. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, oral argument held October 22.In re: Application on the Committee on the Judiciary —The United States District Court for the District of Columbia considered whether to approve the House Judiciary Committee’s request for portions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, and other related documents, that the Department of Justice has withheld from the Committee based on grand jury secrecy rules. The district court granted the Committee’s application and ordered the Department of Justice to disclose redacted portions of the Mueller Report and underlying grand jury materials. The Court held that it could disclose these materials under Rule 6(e) because the term “judicial proceeding” includes impeachment proceedings, and the House of Representatives is currently engaged in an impeachment inquiry. 

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, decided October 25.Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition v. Trump — CAC filed an amici curiae brief in opposition to the defendants’ motions for partial summary judgment in the district court in this case which considered whether President Trump can lawfully divert funds that Congress has appropriated for other purposes for the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, filed November 4.Allen v. Cooper — This case considers whether Congress validly eliminated state sovereign immunity for copyright suits in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA). CAC filed a brief arguing that Congress’s cancelling state sovereign immunity in the CRCA falls well within Congress’s power under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment “to enforce” its substantive guarantees through “appropriate legislation.” U.S. Supreme Court, oral argument held November 5.County of Maui v. Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund —This case considers whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit for the discharge of a pollutant from a point source to navigable waters, even if the pollutant travels through an intermediary like groundwater on the way from one to the other. CAC filed an amicus curiae brief in support of four Maui-based nonprofits in which we argued that the Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits the pollution of navigable waters from any point source without a permit, regardless of whether the point source delivers the pollutant directly. 

U.S. Supreme Court, oral argument held November 6.Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California; Trump v. NAACP; and McAleenan v. Vidal —The Supreme Court considered whether the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is reviewable and, if so, whether the decision violated the law. CAC filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of current Members and bipartisan former Members of Congress in which we argued that DACA was a lawful exercise of executive discretion. In our brief, we further argued that the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate DACA on the ground that it was unlawful violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a law that prohibits agency action that is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” U.S. Supreme Court, oral argument held November 12.
On October 30, Elizabeth Wydra joined Representative Jackie Speier on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.On October 20, CAC President Elizabeth Wydra was quoted for ABC News on Trump’s proposed decision to host the G7 summit at his Doral Miami resort.“By treating the G7 summit like a commercial for his businesses, inviting foreign governments to line his pockets and hold their next meeting at his Doral, FL golf course next year, he mocks the Constitution he swore to uphold.”On October 22, Elizabeth Wydra’s remarks in response to Trump’s Doral G7 Summit proposal were published by CNN.“Wydra said that the results are ‘predictable’ and that ‘foreign officials flock to the President’s hotels and resorts, paying up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for celebrations and blocks of rooms.’”On October 24, CAC Appellate Counsel Ashwin Phatak published an op-ed in Slate on President Trump’s firing of Marie Yovanovitch and removal power granted by the Constitution.“Although Pompeo is correct that ambassadors, like other high-level national security and foreign affairs officers, do serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed by him without cause, Pompeo is wrong about what that means for the impeachment inquiry. A misuse of the removal power can still be grounds for impeachment, and Congress may discover just such an abuse of that power here.”On October 31, Elizabeth Wydra appeared on BBC World News with Laura Trevelyan to discuss the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. 
CAC’s Work With Members Of Congress As Friends Of The Court
by Elizabeth B. WydraThe role of Congress in our three-branch system of government is increasingly in the spotlight, as the investigations into President Trump’s impeachable offenses intensify. While the process of impeachment follows a path set out in the Constitution—whereby Congress may act as a check on the executive or judicial branches when officials commit treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors—Members of Congress often interact with those two branches of government in far lower-profile ways, as well. (See more
CAC has a new online show! The #PurpleChairChat will feature commentary on CAC’s latest cases and the issues we care about. Check out our latest episode with President Elizabeth Wydra and Appellate Counsel Dayna Zolle, where they discussed DACA and other recent #SCOTUS cases. Tune in! 
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Green New Deal for Public Housing and other Green News

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Sets Sail for Europe

NOV 15, 2019

H14 climate activist greta thunberg sails europe madrid cop united nations

Image Credit: Twitter: @GretaThunberg

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has set sail for Europe, ending an 11-week visit to North America that saw her lead student strikes for the climate while calling out world leaders over their inaction on the climate crisis. Thunberg hopes to reach Madrid, Spain, in time for a United Nations climate summit in early December. She and her father Svante are sailing aboard the 48-foot catamaran, La Vagabonde, refusing to fly because of the high carbon footprint of air travel.TOPICS:

Benie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Green New Deal for Public Housing

NOV 15, 2019

H15 bernie sanders alexandria ocasio cortez green new deal public housing

On Capitol Hill, New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a Green New Deal plan Thursday that seeks to end carbon emissions from public housing projects. The 10-year, $180 billion deal aims to retrofit public housing developments to make them highly energy-efficient, while producing on-site renewable energy. Senator Sanders said the deal would also add nearly a quarter-million decent-paying union jobs to the economy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The planet Earth is in severe danger, and we are facing a global crisis. We must listen, in this country and around the world, to the scientists. And the Green New Deal that the congresswoman and I are fighting for is the only program out there that does that.”

The plan was co-sponsored in the Senate by Jeff Merkley and another 2020 presidential candidate — Senator Elizabeth Warren. It’s been endorsed by more than 50 climate and affordable housing groups.TOPICS:

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Another Large Bank Divests in Fossil Fuels

European Investment Bank to Divest from Most Fossil Fuel Projects

NOV 15, 2019

H13 european investment bank divest fossil fuel projects luxembourg

Image Credit: Europe

In Luxembourg, the European Investment Bank said Thursday it will begin divesting from fossil fuels, ending its financing of most oil and coal projects after 2021. Campaigners hailed the move by the world’s largest public bank as a major victory for the climate, but warned of loopholes that leave the door open for investments in natural gas projects.TOPICS:

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Analysis Finds U.S.-Led Wars Since 9/11 Killed 801,000 at a Cost of $6.4 Trillion

The So-Called War on Terror Has Killed Over 801,000 People and Cost $6.4 Trillion: New Analysis

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home.”

byJessica Corbett, staff writer

Analysis Finds U.S.-Led Wars Since 9/11 Killed 801,000 at a Cost of $6.4 Trillion

NOV 15, 2019

H11 costs of war report brown university

New research finds the so-called war on terror launched by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks has left over 800,000 people dead at a cost of $6.4 trillion. In a pair of reports published this week by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, researchers warn the true death toll is much higher, once indirect deaths are factored in. Writing in The Hill, professor David Vine argues, “This means that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million or more — around 200 times the number of U.S. dead.”TOPICS:

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America, watch the full hearings and get informed. Stop Criminals leading the Swamp in Washington out of White House

Marie Yovanovitch, Saugus High School, Cleveland Browns: Your Friday Briefing

Chris Stanford

By Chris Stanford

  • Nov. 15, 2019Updated 1:16 p.m. ET
  • (Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

We’re covering today’s testimony in the impeachment investigation, a shooting at a high school in Southern California, and the brawl that erupted at last night’s Browns-Steelers game.


Watch the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing in the impeachment investigation.

Marie Yovanovitch after speaking privately to impeachment investigators in Washington last month.
Marie Yovanovitch after speaking privately to impeachment investigators in Washington last month.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying publicly today about the campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, that led to her abrupt ouster in May. Here are the latest updates.

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She will be the sole witness at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, and our reporters are providing real-time context and analysis.

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Her testimony comes a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Mr. Trump of bribery, which the Constitution calls an impeachable offense, in his dealings with Ukraine.

Another angle: Also on Thursday, an official at the Office of Management and Budget appeared poised to defy orders and cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. The office played a crucial role in holding up $391 million in security aid to Ukraine.

Reaction: Times reporters went to six swing states to sample opinion on impeachment after public testimony began in Washington. We found the nation’s divisions on stark display.

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Perspectives: Opinion writers from across the political spectrum discussed the first hearing, on Wednesday.

Another angle: Mr. Trump asked the Supreme Court to bar his accounting firm from turning over eight years of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors.

Students waiting to be reunited with their parents after the shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Thursday.
Students waiting to be reunited with their parents after the shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Thursday.Credit…David Walter Banks for The New York Times

Investigators were searching for a motive after the police said a 16-year-old boy pulled a pistol from his backpack and fatally shot two fellow students at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Thursday. Three others were wounded.

The suspect shot himself and was reportedly in grave condition. Thursday was his birthday, the police said.

The details: Three off-duty law enforcement officers had just dropped off their children at the school and were effectively the first to respond. Here’s what else we know about the shooting, the gunman and the victims.

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Quotable: “Kids today, they never call, so you get this call, and you automatically wonder what it’s going to be,” said a man whose son is a sophomore at Saugus.

A United Nations investigation into aerial bombings of hospitals in rebel areas — possible war crimes — has accumulated evidence that the Syrian government’s Russian allies were responsible for at least some.

But the scope of the study has so far been limited to seven sites among the many targeted, according to a document seen by The Times.

And diplomats say Moscow has been pressing the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, not to release the conclusions.

Times investigation: Our video team pored through witness accounts and videos, time-coded cockpit recordings of Russian pilots, plane spotter logs and security camera footage to show that one of the hospitals — an underground facility that The Times found had been bombed by Russian pilots at least once before — was bombed by the Russians again last week.

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Russia Bombed Four Syrian Hospitals. We Have Proof.

The Times obtained thousands of air force recordings, which reveal for the first time that Russia repeatedly bombed hospitals in Syria.

This is Russian radio traffic … … to an air force pilot on a bombing mission over Syria. But these coordinates aren’t for a military target. They point to this underground hospital. Moments later, the pilot bombs it. Nabad al Hayat is one of more than 50 health care facilities bombed in Syria since April, as president Bashar al-Assad seeks to retake the last pocket of opposition with a ferocious onslaught of air power. Observers have long suspected that Russia bombs hospitals. But no one has been able to prove it — until now. The Times has assembled a large body of evidence from multiple sources that directly implicates Russia in four hospital attacks in just 12 hours: one day that’s a microcosm of how health care has been crippled in parts of Syria. We collected four main types of evidence: First, flight logs. For years, a network of plane spotters has tracked air force activity over Syria to warn civilians of incoming attacks. They record sightings of fighter jets and listen in on open radio communications between pilots and air traffic controllers. We received months of those flight logs, which tell us where and when the Russian air force was flying. Second, we obtained thousands of recordings of those radio transmissions as Russian pilots operate in the skies above northwest Syria. We spent weeks translating and deciphering their code words to understand how they carry out airstrikes: A pilot receives coordinates for a target. He confirms the target is locked. The pilot calculates the minute he will strike. The dispatcher gives the green light. And the pilot reports back, saying, “Srabotal” — “I worked it.” This gives us the clearest picture yet of how and when Russia bombed targets. Third, we analyzed hours of videos of these strikes, which gave us clues about the type of weapons used. We reviewed that footage with experts on the Russian air force. And fourth, we established the time these attacks happened by interviewing medics, obtaining incident reports and examining social media postings. The times of the attacks matched up with sightings of Russian planes and recordings of pilots carrying out strikes. Our detailed findings show how Russia repeatedly violated one of the oldest laws of war. We’ll walk through those attacks on May 5 to show how the evidence stacks up. Let’s start with Nabad al Hayat, where local journalists were warned it could be bombed and filmed the attack. First, the strike time. An incident report said it was hit around 2:40 p.m. Second, flight logs: Spotters in the area reported a Russian jet flying overhead just minutes before the attack. Third, radio recordings: The Russian pilot and air traffic controller are heard preparing the attack minutes before 2:40 p.m. Those coordinates point directly at the underground hospital, and at 2:40, the pilot confirms the strike. Fourth, analysis of the strike itself: Three projectiles fall in quick succession and very precisely, within around 100 feet of each other. They also appear to explode after a slight delay once they penetrate the ground. Military experts told us these are the hallmarks of a precision strike, something the Syrian air force is not currently capable of, only the Russians. Luckily, the hospital was empty, because days before, staff had received warnings from plane spotters of possible attacks. It had in the past treated hundreds of patients every month, but it remains out of service today. Around three miles away, Doctors in Kafr Nabl were treating patients that afternoon when this single hospital was hit four times in 18 minutes. We spoke to one of its doctors. Again, the evidence from 5:30 p.m. points to Russia. Spotters reported both Russian and Syrian jets flying overhead. Next, radio messages record a Russian pilot making four strikes at that very time. At 5:30 p.m., the pilot says: At 5:35 p.m.: 5:40 p.m.: And 5:48 p.m.: Four strikes in all, each around five minutes apart, at the exact time witnesses reported the attack. And last, the weapon: Three precision strikes hit the hospital’s entrance. Experts told us it’s highly unlikely Syrian jets could do this. Because the hospital was dug deep underground, only one person was killed in the attack — though many were injured. The bombing didn’t stop there. Kafr Zita Cave Hospital was hit at 3:15 p.m. The hospital director reported it in a WhatsApp message to a colleague that day. Again, flight logs record a Russian jet near Kafr Zita around that time, and at 3:15, a Russian pilot confirms a strike. That night, Al Amal Orthopedic Hospital was hit. Again, only Russian jets were recorded flying in the area, and a Russian pilot confirms the strike around 2 a.m. Health care facilities have been attacked more than 600 times in the course of Syria’s war. It’s a deliberate strategy to make civilian life unbearable in opposition strongholds. In response to The Times, Russian officials denied responsibility and said they carry out precision strikes only on what they call “accurately researched targets.” But these hospitals were on a no-strike list that Russia received from the United Nations. And The Times confirmed with medical groups that they were operational on the day of the attacks. Russia and Syria should have known they were off limits. By law, it’s their responsibility to avoid hitting them. But this evidence paints a damning portrait of a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council committing gross violations in just one day of Russia’s four-year air campaign in Syria. Hey, this is Malachy, and I lead the team who worked on this video. We spent thousands of hours putting this investigation together, and we knew we had important new details to share when we got audio recordings of a Russian pilot receiving the coordinates for a hospital and then bombing it. The source of the audio asked to remain anonymous for their safety. But the evidence they provided was irrefutable. We do this work to find the truth and hold people in power to account. Thank you for watching.00:007:597:59Russia Bombed Four Syrian Hospitals. We Have Proof.The Times obtained thousands of air force recordings, which reveal for the first time that Russia repeatedly bombed hospitals in Syria.CreditCredit…Macro Media Center

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Since 2005, a digital marketplace called Mechanical Turk has offered the chance to earn small amounts of money performing simple tasks, such as transcribing an invoice or labeling photographs.

A Times reporter spent several weeks as a “turker,” doing tasks on the Amazon-run site to learn more about “crowdwork.” He earned 97 cents an hour. (His article also offers the chance to try turking yourself.)

Another angle: Amazon on Thursday said it planned to challenge the Pentagon’s decision to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft.

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“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any human should boast.”
—Ephesians 2:8-9

Indeed anyone can see the faults of others, but it is the grace-filled life that sees beyond. Grace sees our own equally unattractive faults and humanness  and chooses to focus on the God-created uniqueness and beauty of us all. Is there any greater gift to those around us than Grace?

Kathy Vestal is a retired college educator in NC, with a Master’s in Education and a Master’s of Divinity. She enjoys blogging, teaching, reading, travel, social justice, nature, and history.
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Our Potential

Today’s highlights

If You Only Read a Few Books in 2019, Read These

A reading list for becoming a better citizen and personRyan Holiday13 min read15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).Tim Denning in Mission.org12 min read10 Simple Rules for the Best Life EverYour roadmap to a more meaningful lifeJohn P. Weiss in Personal Growth7 min read10 Things Happy People Do ConsistentlyA Short Guide to Living WellAnton Chevalier8 min read
In case you missed itHow I Build Wealth In 4 StepsI’m not hungry for money. Compared to several years ago, when I had less money, I still have the same life.Darius Foroux in The Blog Of Darius Foroux6 min readThe Power Of Doing Only One Thing.This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all…Tim Denning in Mission.org3 min readI Have Five Income StreamsDiversifying your income isn’t as hard as you think. Here’s how I earn extra cash on the sideFelicia C. Sullivan in Falling Into Freelancing5 min read
Quick readsNeuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 PercentSure to both stir your soul and calm your nervous magazine3 min readThe Most Clever Life-Hack I’ve Ever LearnedStop MasturbatingAyodeji Awosika3 min readSome Americans Have Finally Recognized Trump is a Dangerous TraitorBeing a journalist in the Trump era is an exhausting job. It’s a daily onslaught of propaganda, fake news and…Manny Otiko3 min read
Based on your reading historyBecoming Who You Are: Why Don’t Most People Reach Their Potential?We are missing something important.Zat Rana in Personal Growth7 min readHow I Learned to 5x My Income, 10x My Confidence, and Create a Future of…You know why I write these types of posts?Ayodeji Awosika in The Ascent5 min readBetter than meditationMeditation is awesome! But…Buster Benson in Better Humans6 min read
Best in RelationshipsIs ‘Modern Love’ Only for White Women?The omission of women of color as love interests in the new Amazon series is more than an oversightNylah Burton in ZORA8 min readThe Real Reasons Why Women CheatIt’s a lot more complex than you’d imagineFeminista Jones in ZORA5 min readThe Settle PointReclaiming yourself is a revolutionary actMegan Pillow in Gay Mag26 min read
Best in HumorMy British Accent Doesn’t Work AnymoreBecoming an American asshole — my own personal BrexitAndrew Chamings in The Bold Italic8 min read
Best in ImmigrationTia Lupita Is More Than a Bottle of Hot SauceBehind the condiment is a story of an immigrant building bridgesAlex Madison in The Bold Italic6 min readThe Park Where Families Meet on the U.S.-Mexico BorderIn a patch of land between San Diego and Tijuana, loved ones reunite across a mesh fence, poking pinkies…Suketu Mehta in GEN11 min readAndrew Yang’s Idea of Meritocracy Is Impossible and DangerousThere should be no ‘right’ way to be an immigrant in order to enter into the United StatesThalia Charles in ZORA6 min read
Best in WorldA Brief and Glorious History of America’s Canine WarriorsMilitary dogs like the one made famous by the raid in Syria have a long pedigreeJared Keller in GEN6 min read
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Go to Ft. Benning and Protest

Dear Friends,
In an article published last week with ABC-affiliated WTVM, WHINSEC’s new Commandant, Colonel John Suggs, said “change occured” when the SOA became WHINSEC in 2001. He went on to say that “the guys who graduate here are going to go on to be the heads of their militaries,” and that “the relationships they built here…it fosters peace throughout the whole region, it helps them get things done.” Make no mistake, the purpose and the results of the SOA and WHINSEC are the same – training state agents in civilian-targeted warfare that results in violent repression, torture, forced disappearances, massacres, forced migration, the criminalization of dissent, and imperalist coups to impose right-wing neo-liberal agendas. The idea that this training “fosters peace” throughout the Americas is absurd and extremely dangerous.

The US agenda of training and financing security forces throughout the continent to impose right-wing economic policies that benefit corporations and the elite is clear. The most recent iteration is the US-backed military coup against Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. President Morales resignation on Sunday came only after the country’s top military commander, General Williams Kaliman Romero, who trained at WHINSEC in 2003 and again in 2004, appeared on television with other high-ranking military officials and “suggested” that Morales resign. At least 6 of the Bolivian officials behind the coup have been trained at the SOA/WHINSEC. We condemn this imperialist assault on Bolivia’s people — US intervention is never the answer! We stand with the indigenous and campesinx communities and support their autonomy, right to organize, and to decide the fate of their territories outside the grasp of the United States.

This weekend in resistance and memory, we return to the gates of Ft. Benning, where the infamous SOA/WHINSEC is located. We remember and uphold Celina Ramos, Elba Ramos, Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramón Moreno, Joaquín López y López, and Armando López who were massacred at the hands of SOA graduates that formed part of the Salvadoran Army’s Atlacatl Battalion. As we continue to work to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to dismantle the structures of oppression on which it is based, we remind ourselves of Ignacio Ellacuría’s words that “All those who hate injustice are obligated to fight it with every ounce of their strength. They must work for a new world in which greed and selfishness will finally be overcome.” Our obligation is to continue fighting, and together we will close theSchool of Assassins and dismantle the structures of oppression on which it is based.

If you are joining us at this weekend’s Commemorative Gathering, please register here; however, it is NOT a requirement to attend the Commemorative Gathering. Participating in the Commemorative Gathering is free! We also invite you to make a symbolic tax-deductible donation to support the logistics and facilitation of the Commemorative Gathering whether or not you are able to attend!

We will be posting more information on the 2019 Commemorative Gathering section of the SOA Watch website. We will also be live streaming parts of the Commemorative Gathering on our Instagram and our Facebook accounts, so please be sure to follow us there! An outline of this weekend’s program can be found on our website and below this email,and a partial list of panelists and speakers can also be found on our website. If you are joining us on Saturday, lunch (sandwich, chips, fruit, cookie, and drink) is available at the Bibb Event Center where we are meeting for $15. There will be an emergency information and action meeting on the US-backed coup in Bolivia from 12:10pm to 12:50pm on Saturday so this lunch option is available if you would like to participate.In memory and resistance,Brigitte, Candice, Dévora, Pablo, and Roy
SOA Watch

We will be sending out more information via email about the US-backed coup in Bolivia over the coming days. During the Commemorative Gathering, we will host a virtual meeting with researcher, Jeb Sprague, about US involvement in the military coup against President Morales that will be recorded and shared! Also, if you’re joining us at the 2019 Commemorative Gathering or want to make a symbolic tax-deductible donation to support the Commemorative Gathering, please fill out the registration page!


Friday, November 15th (2420 Fort. Benning Rd. – Columbus, GA 31903)
5:30pm: Sunset/Candlelight Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning and Welcome from Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch Staff, and the Commemorative Gathering Working Group. We will begin promptly at 5:30, we recommend arriving early7:00pm: People are invited to meet for a community gathering at the Vallarta restaurant one mile from the gate of Ft. Benning (2151 Fort Benning Rd.)
Saturday, November 16th (Bibb Event Center 3715 1st Ave. – Columbus GA 31904)
8:00am: Registration9:00am: Welcome, Opening, and Keynote Speaker at the Bibb Mill Event Center10:00am: Tribute to the Prisoners of Conscience and those who have “crossed the line” at Fort Benning10:15am: Panel I – SOA Watch: Bridging the Past and the Present of the Organization, the Movement, and Lessons Learned over the last 30 years of Resistance

12:10pm: Emergency information and action meeting on the US-backed coup in Bolivia1:00pm: Music1:30pm: Panel II – The Frontlines of Resistance: Effective Organizing Strategies in the Face of US-led and Supported Violence5:00pm: Break6:00-7:30pm: Pax Christi Program
Sunday November 17th (South Entrance Gate, 2420 Fort. Benning Rd. – Columbus, GA 31903)
9:15am: Walk of Peace Pagods Buddhists and Veterans for Peace (leaving Candlewood Suites, 3389 Victory Drive, 1.6 miles, about 30 minutes)9:30am: Program will be at the Gates of Ft. Benning: Litany, Presentes, procession of the fallen, music and the Puppetistas.2:30pm: SOA Watch community and friends will be gathering at the Vallarta restaurant (2151 Fort Benning Rd.) – all are welcome to join us!
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