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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
February 22, 2022

The day after Developments in Russia and around the world following Moscow's recognition:

The day after Developments in Russia and around the world following Moscow’s recognition of eastern Ukraine’s two breakaway ‘republics

Прямой эфир
6:38 am, February 22, 2022

On February 22, 2022, Russia’s Parliament unanimously ratified agreements signed a day earlier by President Putin on “friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance” with the two self-declared republics in eastern Ukraine.
38 minutes ago

The European Union has imposed sanctions on all 351 State Duma deputies who voted to approve Russia’s recognition of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced on Tuesday. Europe also designated another 27 individuals and legal entities, including banks that finance Russia’s operations in the Donbas, for sanctions.
an hour ago

Russia to evacuate its embassy and consulates in Ukraine

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it is pulling all diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Kyiv and consulates in Kharkiv, Lviv, and Odesa. Moscow says its staff in Ukraine have received threats of violence which the local authorities have ignored.

( It is going to be a disaster, an absolutely crazy thing to do. It is one thing to be an awful human being, Putin was always that, but this goes far beyond that, imo.)

February 19, 2022

Child poverty spiked by 41 percent in January after Biden benefit program expired, study finds

The White House was unable to extend an expansion in the Child Tax Credit amid pushback from Sen. Joe Manchin III

A behavior technician works with Moira Gillilland, 2, who has autism, at the home of Lydia Coe in Mason, Mich., in December 2021. Coe had been utilizing the Child Tax Credit to help support her daughter. (Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post)

By Jeff Stein
Yesterday at 7:09 p.m. EST

The number of American children in poverty spiked dramatically in January after the expiration of President Biden’s expanded child benefit at the end of last year, according to new research released on Thursday.

The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University said that the child poverty rate rose from 12 percent in December 2021 to 17 percent last month, an approximately 41 percent increase. The study found that an additional 3.7 million children are now in poverty relative to the end of December, with Black and Latino children seeing the biggest percentage point increases.

“The overall monthly child poverty rate rose sharply between December 2021 and January 2022,” the study found.

February 8, 2022

Something is Rotten in the State of Texas

February 8, 2022

In January, Cameron County in Texas agreed to halt a voter removal program after the grassroots political organization Voto Latino pointed out that the practice violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which prohibits canceling voter registrations within 90 days of a federal election. In late December, Cameron County had begun sending letters to voters it suspected might not be citizens, giving them 30 days to prove their citizenship or their registrations would be purged. But why was Cameron County removing voters in the first place? Here, we break down what exactly is going on in Texas right now and why you should care.
What is a voter purge, anyway?

States typically maintain lists of all registered voters — this is how election officials know you’re eligible to vote when you show up at a polling place or request a mail-in ballot. These lists need to be updated periodically to add new voters and remove ineligible ones. Too often, however, this process is done irresponsibly and can purge still-eligible voters instead — often with little warning or opportunity to fix the error. This is especially true when officials use bad data or mix up the identities of two separate individuals. Some voters won’t know they’ve been removed until they show up at a polling place to vote.

While states can use a variety of pretexts to purge voter rolls, one that’s becoming increasingly common is to remove noncitizens that may have registered to vote — even though there’s no evidence that noncitizens vote in U.S. elections in any significant number. This is what Texas is doing and why Cameron County sent out letters last year.


( They have no conscience, none. )

February 8, 2022

Mont. kids' climate case may be first to go to trial

By Lesley Clark | 02/08/2022

A Whiting Petroleum Corp. pumpjack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont. AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File

A group of young people suing the state of Montana over the effects of global warming may be the first U.S. youth climate coalition to be heard in court.

Attorneys from Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based public-interest law firm that handles a number of kid-centered climate lawsuits in the United States, said yesterday that the Montana case will go to trial Feb. 6, 2023, at the 1st Judicial District Court in Helena.

The 16 challengers in Held v. State of Montana filed suit in March 2020, calling on the courts to declare the state’s energy policies unconstitutional. District Judge Kathy Seeley last August rejected Montana’s attempt to stop the case from proceeding to trial.

“Montana has a long history of promoting fossil fuels and exacerbating the climate crisis, and we are hopeful our case could turn over a new leaf for the state and its youth,” said Melissa Hornbein, an attorney for the plaintiffs and senior attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center.


( I love this fight and that it comes from our youth is outstanding. )

February 7, 2022

INTERVIEW: Noam Chomsky: 'American democracy is in very serious danger'

Amanda Mars
Jan 25, 2022


The Republican Party is no longer a political party. It’s a neofascist party

Q. Not only in the US, but also in Europe, why are the far right winning votes?

A. They have taken over. I mean, they always dominate the system, of course, in Spain as well. But in the last 40 years, they’ve had an overwhelming triumph in gaining power and wealth. Just take a look at some of the numbers. In the United States, the Rand Corporation, a very respected quasi-governmental corporation, did a study of the transfer of wealth from the working class and the middle class. Their estimate is $50 trillion, $50 trillion stolen from the working class and the middle class, and put into the pockets of the super rich, and the people that run and own the corporate sector. That’s pretty substantial. And that’s an underestimate. Reagan opened the door to tax havens, for example, lots of other ways to rob the public. There has been a major period of massive class war, and they have gained enormous power. It’s been very destructive to the population of working people in the United States. Male workers, for their wages, are actually, in real terms, about where they were in 1979. A lot of wealth has been accumulated, but it’s gone into very few pockets. Europe had its own form of this. The austerity programs in Europe badly damaged working people and the poor, and enriched the very rich, not as extreme as the United States, but it happened. It’s led to anger, resentment, what’s called populism, which is very different from traditional populism, but a sense that, “The world’s going wrong, we don’t like it.” This is fertile terrain for demagogues of the Trump/Orban variety, and they’re capitalizing on it.

Q. One year on from the assault on the US Capitol, what are the consequences?

A. The assault on the Capitol was an effort to overthrow an elected government. Very explicitly, their claim was coming from Trump that the election was stolen, so let’s march on the Capitol and save our country from the stolen election. Well, an effort to overthrow an elected government is what’s called a coup. It almost succeeded. It’s now been reported extensively. We have videotapes, we have details. A few people, Republicans, in fact, refused to go along, and prevented the coup from succeeding. But it has been followed by a soft coup, which is taking place before our eyes. You read about it every day. The Republicans are planning carefully to ensure that next time, their coup will succeed. They’re doing it very systematically, perfectly in the open, at the state level where elections take place, trying to ensure that the people who run the elections physically are there when you cast your vote, the election monitors make sure that they are right-wing Republicans, who will ensure that if people vote the wrong way, the vote won’t be counted. The Republican Party is no longer a political party. It’s a neofascist party. The United States is a technologically advanced society, and culturally advanced, in some sectors, but culturally pre-modern in other sectors. That’s Trump’s voters, and he’s a very effective demagogue. He has succeeded in tapping the poisons that run right under the surface in American society, bringing them to the surface, mobilizing them. They are now a group who worship Il Duce, the leader chosen by God. He’s got them in his control. Those are the ones who stormed the Capitol, and are now planning to ensure that next time it’ll work. American democracy is in very serious danger.


( I posted this interview not seeking a hair-on-fire opinion, because this man, in particular, doesn't do that, so his warnings come as prescient imho.)

February 7, 2022

How to Break the Cycle of Conflict With Russia

Seeking Consensus Isn’t Appeasement—It’s Pragmatism
By Samuel Charap
February 7, 2022

( Long read and well thought out. )


It was not easy to unite a group that included authors from countries, including Russia and Ukraine, that are essentially at war. But we did eventually settle on a comprehensive proposal for a revised regional order that covers security, regional conflicts, and economic integration. Our proposal would create a new consultative body for major-power engagement on regional security, new norms for the behavior of NATO and the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization toward nonmembers (such as not calling into question the legitimacy of the other and its current membership), and an offer of multilateral security guarantees and other confidence-building measures to nonaligned states. It would facilitate increased multidirectional trade within the region; establish regular dialogue between the EU, the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and nonmembers of those trading blocs; and establish new rules to avoid future crises. Finally, our plan would provide mechanisms and processes to immediately improve the livelihoods of people living in regional conflict zones and eventually progress toward mutually agreed settlements.

A mutually agreed alternative to the current regional order would benefit all parties.

Our approach reflects the fact that disputes over security, regional conflicts, and regional integration are all interlinked. For example, Georgia’s separatist conflicts would need to be addressed in a mutually acceptable way if Tbilisi were to consider a nonaligned status. And conversely, these conflicts will remain unresolvable without movement toward a common approach on the regional security regime. The disputes over these issues cannot be separated, and therefore the solutions must be combined.

To see how this might work in practice, consider the hardest and most relevant case for today: Ukraine. In return for voluntarily adopting a nonaligned status, Kyiv could receive both multilateral security guarantees and Russian commitments of military restraint, including along the border area. Russia and the West would hold regular consultations on security issues and, importantly, commit to seeking mutual consensus before making changes to the regional security architecture. They would commit to respecting Ukraine’s nonalignment. The current negotiations over the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine would have been significantly accelerated as part of a new international commitment to settling the conflict. And in addition to its current free trade deal with the EU, Ukraine would benefit from a restoration of trade with Russia (now hampered by Moscow’s punitive sanctions) and the creation of a trilateral consultation mechanism with the EU and the EAEU. These arrangements would provide far greater security, stability, and prosperity to Ukraine than the status quo—even if Russia were not threatening an imminent invasion.


Charap's bio can be read here: https://www.cnas.org/people/samuel-charap

February 5, 2022

Maida Springer Kemp Championed Workers' Rights on a Global Scale

The Panamanian garment worker turned labor organizer, Pan-Africanist, and anti-colonial activist advocated for US and African workers amid a Cold War freeze.

By Kim KellyTwitter
Yesterday 10:00 am

Maida Springer Kemp. (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library)

The American labor movement was built by Black workers, organizers, and activists, from the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt to Lucy Parsons to the washerwomen of Jackson, Miss., who formed the state’s first labor union in 1866 to the warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., fighting to unionize Amazon. Maida Springer Kemp, a union organizer who worked to connect the US and African trade movements, is just one of the incredible Black women whose determination and vision has shaped the history of labor in this country. During the height of Jim Crow, this daughter of Caribbean immigrants and former garment worker strode onto the world stage and took the struggle global.

Kemp was born Maida Stewart in 1910 in Panama, emigrated at 7, and was raised in Harlem by a single mother who embraced Black nationalist Marcus Garvey and was a member in his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She held political gatherings in their home, took little Maida along to UNIA meetings, and sent her next door to help fold leaflets for a friend’s father, who was in the all-Black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union. A. Philip Randolph, the union’s charismatic leader, later became a close friend, and Kemp remained fiercely loyal to him even when their interests clashed. At 22, she went to see him speak when she was still distrustful of organized labor, which had earned its reputation for anti-Blackness and racial discrimination. Randolph’s speech connected the dots between how racist employers tried to divide workers and depress Black economic advancement, and she came away dazzled by the potential of union power. “He excited my interest and challenged my mind to think about something besides the prejudice against the Black community,” she later recalled. “I got a PhD education in survival from Randolph and an awareness of a struggle and of Black and white relationships.”

Kemp’s life, work, and politics were shaped by her experiences at the intersection of labor, race, gender, class, and colonialism. Her early years in Panama, her childhood in Harlem, her school days at a vocational boarding school in Bordentown, N.J., sometimes called “The Tuskegee of the North,” and her later international travels all informed her perspective on the world, her place within it, and what kinds of changes were needed. Kemp’s determination to confront those inseparable systems of oppression set her apart from many of her peers in labor, and made her a target for those who would rather ignore the ugly truths she lived through as a working-class Black woman in the United States, Europe, and Africa. Her career should be an example to the current and next generation of labor activists, and remind those of us in the West—and particularly in the US—that the cause of labor is a global struggle.

For example, as Luis Feliz Leon and Dan DiMaggio recently reported for Labor Notes, there is an extremely important union election underway in Mexico right now, where workers at a General Motors plant in Silao are trying to break free of their corrupt local of the Confederation of Mexican Labor (CMT). After voting to invalidate their last CMT contract, the workers are choosing between four options—two CMT-connected unions, a “ghost” union about which suspiciously little is known, and the independent National Auto Workers Union (SINTTIA). On February 3, the results came in, and the workers voted overwhelmingly for SINTTIA. “We can have better salary conditions, and more importantly, labor conditions, and good union representation,” SINTTIA leader Morales told Labor Notes. “That’s the starting point for other workers to be encouraged to raise their voices and not be subjected to the company.”


( So grateful, what an amazing woman. )

February 4, 2022

Body camera video shows Minneapolis officers shooting Black man during no-knock warrant.

Body camera video shows Minneapolis officers shooting Black man during no-knock warrant. Attorneys say he wasn't the target

Updated 9:51 AM ET, Fri February 4, 2022

In the early morning hours Wednesday, Minneapolis police officers gently placed a key in a city apartment door before bursting through the doorway yelling "Police! Search warrant!," according to body camera footage released by city officials Thursday night.

In the seconds that followed, a Black man apparently asleep and shown to be holding a gun upon awakening was shot and killed. Police say he was not named in any search warrants before the entry, and attorneys for the man's family say he was in legal possession of his firearm.

The shooting brings further scrutiny to the use of no-knock warrants and shines a spotlight on a police department that has faced criticism before.

Video at link: https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/04/us/minneapolis-police-shooting-no-knock-warrant-amir-locke/index.html

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