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Hometown: Seattle, WA
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With Rousseff Out, Brazil's Interim President Installs Conservative All-White, All-Male Cabinet


Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, assumed power as interim president Thursday after the country’s Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin impeachment proceedings over accusations she tampered with accounts in order to hide a budget shortfall. Rousseff called the move a coup. Temer is a member of the opposition PMDB party and has been implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras. He was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all men, making this the first time since 1979 that no women have been in the Cabinet. We are joined from Rio de Janeiro by Andrew Fishman, researcher and reporter for The Intercept, who discusses the role of the United States in protests against Rousseff, and the background of Temer’s new Cabinet members.
AMY GOODMAN: Michel Temer was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all male, making this the first time since 1979 no women have been in the Cabinet. The New York Times reports Temer attempted to appoint a woman to oversee human rights policies, but faced blowback after it became clear she had voted in favor of legislation to make it difficult for women who are raped to get abortions. Temer also offered the Science Ministry to an evangelical pastor who does not believe in evolution, and, when he faced opposition, made him trade minister instead. On Thursday, dozens of women chained themselves to the gates of Brasília’s Planalto presidential palace to support suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Andrew, about an article by Greg Grandin about who’s profiting from this coup, as Dilma Rousseff has called it. Grandin wrote in The Nation, a piece that was headlined, "A Slavers’ Coup in Brazil?: Among the many groups pushing for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, one is seldom discussed: companies that profit from slavery." In the article, Grandin notes Rousseff’s Workers’ Party creates a—created a "dirty list" of "hundreds of companies and individual employers who were investigated by labor prosecutors and found to be using slaves." Grandin goes on to write that one of the members of the opposition that’s pushed for Rousseff’s impeachment directly profits from slave labor. According to Grandin, Congressman Beto Mansur is, quote, "charged with keeping 46 workers at his soybean farms in Goiás State in conditions so deplorable that investigators say the laborers were treated like modern-day slaves." Andrew Fishman, what business interests have aligned themselves against Dilma Rousseff? And what about this congressman?

ANDREW FISHMAN: Yeah, and going one step further even, I mean, Greg’s article was about a week ago, and just yesterday, President Temer installed his Cabinet, his ministers. The agricultural minister is a massive soybean farmer who has huge tracts of land, they’ve—responsible for massive deforestation, and he’s been personally linked to slavery. His time in Congress, he actually introduced a bill to try and limit the definition of what slavery actually is, to try and help himself and his partners and his business interests. Slavery is a massive problem in Brazil. Brazil has plenty of social problems. This, slavery, is obviously one that should not exist in the modern world; however, it clearly does here and around the world. If you go out into the interior of the country, which is massive tracts of wilderness, it’s basically wild, wild West out there. There’s very little law. Journalists, activists, anyone who tries to push back against these massive corporate interests, who have benefited greatly under the PT government time in the last 10, 12 years, they are all—they’re all able to use this sort of slavery, because they have no—there’s basically no rule of law to stop them from doing so.

"Teen sues Tacoma police officer, others over ‘brutalizing’ her in mall parking lot"


Originally published May 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm Updated May 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

Even though Monique Tillman, now 17, knew what had happened to her during an encounter with a Tacoma police officer in a mall parking lot two years ago, seeing the video for the first time was staggering.

“I was absolutely in shock, anger and disbelief,” said Tillman, who is black, about the video that shows the white officer pulling her around by her hair, throwing her to the ground, tasing and arresting her.

She was charged in juvenile court with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Williams claimed she had tried to kick him, de la Cruz said.

He said the charges against Tillman were dismissed by a judge who viewed the video and found no evidence that the officer was investigating a crime when Tillman was stopped and no evidence that she assaulted Williams.

There is video at the article site. Warning: it is brutal.

Note that the Tacoma Police Dept has claimed that even more force could have been used.


Balerud said the officer was performing a corporate function for the mall, not a police function, and abused his power. Tacoma Police Department Public Information Officer Loretta Cool disagrees.

Of the officer, Cool said, "His presence at the Tacoma Mall, even though off duty and paid by mall, he's a police officer and he's acting as a police officer."

He had his car, his uniform, and his Taser. Cool said the second he was called on to order the teens off the private property and turned his lights on, the officer was working on the city's payroll, not the mall's.

A department investigation into the use of force determined the officer could have used more force than he did on the teen when she fought back. Cool said it looked like he was going easy on the girl because of her age and size.

The Tacoma force has been caught for wrongfully tasering a citizen and lying to cover their actions before.

"Police use Taser on deaf crime victim"


KIRO TV’s investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.


Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into White’s ribs and stomach.


Tacoma police arrested Lashonn on two criminal charges, simple assault and obstruction of a public servant (law enforcement officer). Then they carted her off to jail. She spent 60 hours there – also without an interpreter- before a city prosecutor reviewed her case and asked that charges not be filed at all.

We asked KIRO TV police conduct consultant and former Bellevue police chief Don Van Blaricom to review the conflicting witness and officer accounts of Lashonn’s arrest, plus the officer’s official reports.

He told Halsne the officer’s reports “were obviously written in concert, after the fact, to CYA.”

Tribes prevail, kill proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point


The Lummi Nation has prevailed in its fight to block the largest coal port ever proposed in North America, at Cherry Point.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency reviewing permits for the deep water port project, agreed with the tribe Monday that it could not grant a permit for a project that would infringe on the Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing rights.

The 34-page decision was celebrated by community groups and tribes all over the Northwest that opposed the coal port.

The developer, SSA Marine of Seattle, declared the decision “inconceivable” and political, rather than fact-based. Bob Watters, SSA senior vice president and director of business development, said the company was “considering all action alternatives.”


Lummi hereditary chief Bill James, on the beach at Cherry Point, says saving it is to preserve “the tribe’s very way of life.” It’s the site of an ancient Lummi village. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

There are better solutions than 'bust the trust" by privatizing or cutting S.S.

Rep. Schakowsky and many other Democrats get that and I support them.


Schakowsky, Matsui and Murphy Introduce Resolution to Protect and Expand Social Security
July 30, 2015

Washington, DC – Today Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Doris O. Matsui, Patrick Murphy and 57 of their colleagues introduced H.Res. 393, a resolution expressing Congressional support for efforts to protect and expand Social Security while securing its long-term future. The resolution is included below. Representatives Schakowsky and Matsui are co-chairs and Representative Murphy is a member of the House Democratic Seniors Task Force.

Social Security, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on August 14, provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 59 million Americans. With one monthly contribution, working men and women purchase financial security and have the peace of mind of knowing that their earned benefits will be there when they need them.

For 80 years, Social Security has provided guaranteed, inflation-adjusted benefits, without ever missing a payment. Social Security keeps nearly 15 million seniors, 1 million children and 6 million non-elderly adults out of poverty. Social Security provides the majority of income for two out of three retirees and 7 out of 10 households receiving disability benefits.

The resolution recognizes that Social Security earned benefits, although essential, are extremely modest. The average monthly earned benefit for a retired worker in 2015 is $1,305 and for a disabled worker $1,146. It calls on Congress to protect and expand Social Security benefits while taking steps to ensure its long-term financial future.

Rep. Schakowsky: “Our nation faces a retirement crisis. The average working American has only $2,500 in retirement savings – those nearing retirement have only $14,500. Social Security was supposed to be one leg of a three-legged stool – along with pensions and retirement savings. With an erosion of defined benefit pensions and inadequate retirement savings, Social Security today is more important than ever. We can and must build on Social Security’s very sturdy foundation to expand benefits so that older Americans, disabled workers and their families can live in dignity and meet their basic needs.”

Rep. Matsui:“Americans who work hard and play by the rules deserve a dignified and secure retirement, which Social Security makes possible. It’s our job as lawmakers to preserve and strengthen it. I am also acutely aware of Social Security’s impact on women and families. Women on average live longer than men, earn less throughout their working life, and spend more time out of the workforce caring for children and parents. Social Security is key to ensuring that older women do not have to live in poverty.”

Rep. Murphy:“Social Security is a sacred trust, a compact between seniors and their government, that says that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can live your golden years free from poverty. Even as this bedrock program faces attacks from the Tea Party, Social Security remains a lifeline for our nation’s middle class and lifts 20 million senior citizens and disabled Americans out of poverty. I am proud to join the leadership of the Seniors Task Force to defend Social Security and make it stronger.”

Text of the Resolution to Protect and Expand Social Security While Securing Its Long-term Future

WHEREAS the nation is facing a retirement income crisis with millions of hard-working Americans fearing they can never retire with dignity and economic independence after a lifetime of work;

WHEREAS expanding Social Security which provides guaranteed, lifetime and inflation-adjusted benefits, and is our country’s most universal, fair, efficient, and secure source of retirement income, is an essential solution to that retirement income crisis;

WHEREAS, Social Security is the heart of economic security for American workers, allowing them to earn comprehensive birth-to-death protection against the loss of wages due to death, retirement or disability, in one simple package;

WHEREAS, for most families, Social Security is the only family protection against the loss of income due to the disability or death of a worker and is the single largest source of retirement income;

WHEREAS Social Security’s earned benefits are modest, averaging around $14,600 a year for all beneficiaries and replacing only 40 percent of an average worker’s wages – a percentage that is falling and which is lower than the comparable benefits provided by most other industrialized nations;

WHEREAS two out of three beneficiaries receiving Social Security in retirement and seven out of ten households receiving Social Security as a result of disability rely on those earned benefits for half or more of their income; and one out of three senior households rely on it for virtually all of their income;

WHEREAS more than 1 in 10 of America’s children receive Social Security benefits in their own right or through a household member and Social Security lifts one million children out of poverty;

WHEREAS Social Security provides benefits to more than 9 million veterans, about 4 in 10 of all veterans;

WHEREAS Social Security is vitally important to women, who, on average, live longer than men, suffer a significant and persistent wage gap throughout their working years, and are less likely to have employer-sponsored pensions or other retirement benefits, and Social Security prevents two-thirds of all older women who live alone from falling into poverty;

WHEREAS Social Security is vitally important to African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color who disproportionately experience disability and premature death and, on average, have lower wages, are less likely to have employer-sponsored pensions or retirement benefits, and disproportionately work in physically demanding jobs; without Social Security, poverty rates among African American and Latino seniors would nearly triple;

WHEREAS Social Security’s benefits total more than $72 billion each month and its 59 million beneficiaries tend to spend those benefits immediately and locally, thereby supporting the economies of rural, suburban and urban areas alike;

WHEREAS Social Security protects all generations and strengthens families, providing earned benefits—life insurance, disability insurance and retirement income — to one in four households;

WHEREAS Social Security is an earned benefit, one Americans work hard all their lives to secure for themselves and their families;

WHEREAS Social Security has always been a secure and reliable source of basic economic security, never a day late or a dollar short;

WHEREAS although many Americans have seen their wages stagnate or decline in recent years, the United States is the wealthiest nation in the world at the wealthiest moment in its history and can easily afford to expand Social Security benefits if the wealthiest among us are required to pay their fair share;

WHEREAS expanding Social Security’s protections and providing Americans with greater economic security while securing Social Security’s long-term future is completely achievable and can be done fairly and equitably;

WHEREAS the majority of Americans of all ages and in all parts of the country believe Social Security is more important than ever and support increasing its modest benefits;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives supports policies to protect and expand Social Security and secure its long-term future in a fair and responsible manner.

All of Fort McMurray ordered to flee wildfire in the largest fire evacuation in Alberta's history

Source: Edmonton Journal

Fort McMurray’s more than 80,000 residents have been ordered to flee the oilsands city after a massive wildfire, fuelled by soaring temperatures and tinder-dry forest, broached the city limits.

At 6:20 p.m., a mandatory evacuation order was issued for the entire city, with residents advised to head north to Noralta Lodge and wait for further instructions. Word came down later that Noralta Lodge was full and evacuees were being sent further north to other work camps.

The wildfire burning in the city limits has forced the largest fire evacuation in Alberta’s history. It’s expected to get worse Wednesday, when winds are forecast to switch direction and increase in intensity, at speeds of 25 to 50 kilometres per hour.

Read more: http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/fort-mcmurray-wildfire-pushed-back-even-as-temperatures-climb

Edited to add video


The lyrics to "Let's Go Crazy" are feeling eerie now


Dearly beloved,
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life.
All excited, but don't know why
Maybe it's 'cause we're all gonna die
And when we do (when we do)
What's it all for? (what's it all for)
Better live now
Before the grim reaper comes knocking on your door

Are we gonna let de-elevator bring us down?
Oh, no, let's go

Rest in peace, sweet Prince.

Edited to add intro after KamaAina's helpful point.

Rash of voting problems reported in NYC and beyond as de Blasio calls for audit


6:54 p.m.: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement Tuesday condemning the reported purging of voters from voting lists and confirming his support for an audit also announced that day of the city’s Board of Elections.

WNYC reported Monday that more than 60,000 Democratic voters in Brooklyn had vanished from records with no clear reason why. The mayor’s statement came during a day riddled with voter complaints in the city ranging from a lack of ballots to vanished voter rolls at multiple polling sites, according to the station.

Here’s de Blasio’s statement in full:

“It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists. I am calling on the Board of Election to reverse that purge and update the lists again using Central, not Brooklyn borough, Board of Election staff. We support the Comptroller’s audit and urge its completion well in advance of the June elections so corrective action can be taken. These errors today indicate that additional major reforms will be needed to the Board of Election and in the state law governing it. We will hold the BOE commissioners responsible for ensuring that the Board and its borough officers properly conduct the election process to assure that voters are not disenfranchised. The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.”

I've been compiling some of the problems in this thread. If anyone has info to add, please do.


In pledging to audit the board, the office of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer earlier confirmed in its own statement that "more than 125,000 voters in Brooklyn were removed from voter rolls," while making reference to "widespread reports of voters having trouble accessing polling sites and other polling irregularities."

NY polling place problems


Queens resident George Mack said he came to P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens to vote right at 6 a.m. He, and about 50 other early voters, learned all three machines on site were broken. Volunteers at the school told voters to place their ballots in a slot, and they would all get processed later.
Meanwhile, voters at the Cooper Park Houses in Greenpoint, Brooklyn couldn't even get close to a machine. More than two hours after polls were supposed to open at 6 a.m., that site was still closed.
"I came back at 7:30 and they had just gotten the key. Upon entering, there were no voting machines."
A Board of Elections representative arrived around 8, she said, and told voters he had been busy tending to problems at other polls. Voting finally started at Atlantic Terminal around 8:30.

It took a Voting Rights lawsuit for the Latino vote to stop being disenfranchised there

Now the representation is finally reflecting the changing demographics.


Latinos win Yakima council seats for first time in city’s history
Originally published November 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm Updated November 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm

In the wake of a federal-court lawsuit, Hispanic candidates have for the first time been elected to the Yakima City Council.

Two Latina candidates won council seats on Tuesday and a third was leading her opponent.

This was the first election since the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU) sued the city under the federal Voting Rights Act, demanding that the community’s election system be changed to give Hispanics a better chance of winning elections.

The number of Hispanic residents has exploded in Central Washington in recent decades, with some communities becoming majority Hispanic. But political clout has not followed the population gains.

Yakima’s Hispanic population quadrupled from 1990 to 2010, with many new residents drawn to work in the region’s agriculture and food-processing industries.

This continues an under-reported trend, for example in WA state

national reporting focused on it being a 'white' state.

The reporting did not drill down to specifics on counties such as Yakima, which has a significant Latino and Native American population.


American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, July 1, 2014 6.0%

Hispanic or Latino, percent, July 1, 2014 47.7%


Sanders trounces Clinton in Yakima County results

Free tuition was a huge selling point for Bernie Sanders among young Democrats in Yakima County, where the U.S. senator from Vermont garnered more than 75 percent of delegate count in Saturday’s caucuses, according to preliminary results.

Two days after he appeared at a rally in the Yakima Valley SunDome, Sanders garnered 393 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 123, preliminary results indicated.


Beatriz Martinez, who also caucused at Adams Elementary School, believes more change is coming. That’s what prompted her participation.

“Most of us, the youth, and even the older people, we’re here voting for Bernie,” the 24-year-old said. “He makes our vote count.”


AMY GOODMAN: What do you say when people say, well, he won in white states, like, for example, they say Washington state?

ERIKA ANDIOLA: Right. Well, look, in Washington, we were—we went into Yakima, is one of the—about 45 percent to 50 percent of the community there is Latino—very diverse county. Bernie had a rally there. We had 7,000 people turn out. We ended up winning the county by 75 percent or 76 percent. It was amazing turnout. It was also great support that we had. And it’s a very diverse community.
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