By Rob Bryan in Truth Out – Seven years ago, Barack Obama pledged to close down the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, telling the crowds that flocked to his campaign speeches that the United States must “restore habeas corpus” in order to “lead by example.” Though the Department of Defense is still weighing options on how to close the facility before Obama leaves office, the process seems to be going nowhere. Some of this blame rests on Congress, which has repeatedly refused to lift restrictions on moving detainees even though nearly half of them are cleared for transfer. Despite Obama’s professed concern for civil liberties, his administration is currently challenging the habeas corpus petition of a Guantánamo detainee on hunger strike.
By William Edstrom in CounterPunch – The United States (US) government often cites $18 trillion as the amount of money that they owe, but their actual debts are higher. Much higher. The government in the USA owes $13.2 trillion in US Treasury Bonds, $5 trillion in money borrowed by the US Federal government from Federal government trust funds like the Social Security trust fund, $0.7 trillion for state bonds issued by the 50 states, $3.7 trillion for the municipal bond market (US towns, cities and counties), $1.97 trillion still owing by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, mostly for bad mortgages in years gone by, $6.23 trillion owed by US government authorities other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, $1.04 trillion in loans taken out by the US Federal government (e.g. government credit card balances, short term loans) and $0.63 trillion in loans owed by government authorities (e.g. their government credit card balances, short term loans).
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said Tuesday he will travel to Washington to hand-deliver testimony gathered from Massachusetts residents on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline. Rosenberg said he will meet with Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur on Sept. 30. “I can’t think of anyone better to speak with about the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, the concerns of western Massachusetts residents, and energy policy in general. I certainly appreciate her willingness to meet with me,” Rosenberg said in a statement. The public testimony will be that delivered at a Sept. 10 session at Greenfield Community College. Rosenberg organized the public hearing after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refused to reschedule its own session concerning the environmental impact of the pipeline.
By Fox News Latino – A group of Peruvian Indians opposed to private oil production in the northern Amazon region of Loreto halted output at 11 wells and seized an airport on the eve of a planned 48-hour regional strike. The indigenous communities led by the Federation of the Achuar and Urarina Indigenous Peoples of the Corrientes River on Tuesday occupied several oil installations at Lot 8, which is located near Lot 192, the nation’s largest oil block and the focus of the protest, Argentine energy firm Pluspetrol said in a statement. Pluspetrol, whose concession for Lot 192 expired last weekend, is the operator of Lot 8. The Indians halted crude output at 11 wells at Pluspetrol’s Pavayacu field and seized control of the Trompeteros airport and three storage tanks, the company said.
By David Swanson in World Beyond War – By the latest count, the nuclear agreement with Iran has enough support in the U.S. Senate to survive. This, even more than stopping the missile strikes on Syria in 2013, may be as close as we come to public recognition of the prevention of a war (something that happens quite a bit but generally goes unrecognized and for which there are no national holidays). Here, for what they’re worth, are 10 teachings for this teachable moment. There is never an urgent need for war. Wars are often begun with great urgency, not because there’s no other option, but because delay might allow another option to emerge.
By Deirdre Fulton in Common Dreams – A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “downplays” the continuing environmental and health effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown while supporting the Japanese government’s agenda to normalize the ongoing disaster, Greenpeace Japan charged on Tuesday. The Vienna-based IAEA released its final report Monday on the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. While the agency pointed to numerous failings, including unclear responsibilities among regulators, weaknesses in plant design and in disaster-preparedness, and a “widespread assumption” of safety, it was more circumspect with regard to health concerns. The Fukushima disaster released vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar as they did following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
By Felicity Capon in Newsweek – A local left-wing politician known for supporting the housing of refugees in the German town of Freital, has spoken out about the harassment and death threats by right-wing extremists he has experienced, after his car exploded outside his house on Monday morning in what Germany’s Die Linke party (Left party) believes was a politically motivated attack. The car belonged to Michael Richter, head of the party’s faction on the town council of Freital, a town on the outskirts of Dresden in Saxony. While it is not clear what caused the blast, which did not injure anyone, police say it was the result of someone purposely “introducing an explosive agent” into the vehicle, according to German newspaper Deutsche Welle. An investigation is underway. Richter, 39, told the news site MoPo24 how he was awoken by a loud bang in the early hours of Monday morning, and looked out of his window to see black smoke rising from his car. The explosion was so powerful it damaged nearby cars on the street.
By Palestinian BDS National Committee – The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its worldwide partners are celebrating the withdrawal of the huge French corporation Veolia from the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), an illegal rail system built to facilitate the growth and expansion of Israeli colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. The sale of its stake in the JLR project ends all of Veolia’s involvement in the Israeli market, including all projects that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people. The sale follows an extensive 7-year boycott campaign against Veolia, due to its complicity in the Israeli occupation, which cost it tenders around the world estimated to be worth over $20 billion.
By Chris Hedges in Truth Dig – The attraction of a Trump, like the attraction of Radovan Karadzic or Slobodan Milosevic during the breakdown of Yugoslavia, is that his buffoonery, which is ultimately dangerous, mocks the bankruptcy of the political charade. It lays bare the dissembling, the hypocrisy, the legalized bribery. There is a perverted and, to many, refreshing honesty in this. The Nazis used this tactic to take power during the Weimar Republic. The Nazis, even in the eyes of their opponents, had the courage of their convictions, however unsavory those convictions were. Those who believe something, even something repugnant, are often given grudging respect. These neoliberal forces are also rapidly destroying the ecosystem. The Earth has not had this level of climate disruption since 250 million years ago when it underwent the Permian-Triassic extinction, which wiped out perhaps 90 percent of all species.
By Marina Fang in The Huffington Post – A group of protesters caused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to shut down a budget meeting on Wednesday evening after he refused to answer their questions regarding the future of a city school. According to local news reports, Emanuel was holding a public hearing about the city’s 2016 budget when residents protesting the closure of Dyett High School pressed him about the city’s plans for the future of the school. Dyett High School closed in June due to low test scores and enrollment rates, part of a wave of school closures in Chicago over the last two years. City officials have yet to make permanent plans for the school, but neighborhood residents want it to reopen next year as an open-enrollment, science-focused school called Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School.
By Nicky Woolf for the Guardian – At the first pre-trial hearing in the Freddie Gray murder trial. Judge Barry Glenn Williams denied a motion to dismiss the charges and ruled that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby does not have to recuse herself from the case. These were two of the three demands of the protesters seeking justice for Freddie Gray. The third demand is the critical issue of whether there will be a change of venue. That issue will not be heard until September 10th. There were dozens of protesters outside the courthouse who later marched through the streets of downtown Baltimore. The protests briefly shut down intersections and all was going smoothly until the police arrested one person who was trying to lead the group back to the courthouse.
By The Center For Voting and Democracy – FairVote first released its Monopoly Politics projections in 1997. Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution, the most recent installment, is a comprehensive report analyzing the effects of an increasingly polarized electorate coupled with a House of Representatives elected exclusively from single-winner districts. That report contained projections for 368 of the 435 house seats, using a straightforward metric that did not rely on any information about polling data, campaign expenditures, or any of the other typical information used for projecting races. Instead, it projected which party’s candidate would win a seat based on how voters in that district had voted in the 2012 presidential election along with a measure of incumbency strength. First released in the spring of 2013 and updated as seats became open, our election 2014 projections were correct in 367 out of 368 races, meaning they were 99.7% accurate.