Trump asks the Supreme Court to resolve Mar-a-Lago document dispute

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 15:22
Former President Donald Trump is requesting the Supreme Court intervene in the case concerning classified documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago home over the summer.

Trump's legal team argued that the lower court lacked the authority to grant an appeal, which allowed the Justice Department to continue its investigation without supervision from a special master.

(Image credit: Chris Seward/AP)

Categories: World News

Flight attendants to get more rest time under a new FAA rule

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 14:53
Acting Federal Aviation Administrator Billy Nolen holds up at a news conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport a new FAA rule calling for longer rest times for airline flight attendants between flights.

The FAA will require airlines to give flight attendants at least 10 hours of rest time in between shifts, the same as pilots, to help reduce fatigue. Current rules allow as little as 8 hours of rest.

(Image credit: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Categories: World News

Ukraine war: The families who made it through the new Iron Curtain

BBC World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 14:33
The families fleeing Russian-occupied areas speak of their hopes of fears as the border hardens.
Categories: World News

The father who helped his son cross the finish line at the Olympics has died

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 14:05

A torn hamstring left sprinter Derek Redmond painfully limping through the last 200 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Then his father Jim emerged to help him cross the finish line, together.

(Image credit: S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

Categories: World News

Woman handcuffed in police car hit by train... and survives

BBC World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 14:00
This is the moment a train collided with a police car in Colorado - with a woman in the back seat.
Categories: World News

Somalia drought: The fight for survival as famine looms

BBC World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:54
Children are dying in growing numbers amid the worst drought to hit Somalia in 40 years.
Categories: World News

Dutch town Bodegraven-Reeuwijk loses Twitter paedophilia rumour case

BBC World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:49
A conspiracy theory falsely claimed that Bodegraven near The Hague was once home to a satanic ring.
Categories: World News

Amazon Warehouse Workers Wage Work Stoppage in Protest After Fire Breaks Out

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:48

Hundreds of Amazon workers waged a work stoppage in protest after a fire broke out in their warehouse in Staten Island, New York, on Monday, according to the union that represents the workers.

According to Amazon Labor Union (ALU), over 650 employees began protesting at around 8 pm on Monday, saying that they could still smell fumes from the fire that had broken out in a trash compactor earlier that day. Night shift workers were taken to the break room when the fire broke out, and refused to leave after they were told by managers to return to work, the union said; according to ALU leaders, managers threatened workers with write-ups if they continued their protest.

The work stoppage lasted nearly three hours, according to ALU, and a large portion of the workers marched into the manager’s office to demand that workers get sent home with pay. Workers also protested an offer of 25 cent raises that the company had made in the past week — which the union called “insulting” and said would amount to a pay cut due to inflation — and the fact that workers at the warehouse have still yet to have their union recognized by the $1.2 trillion company.

Warning ⚠ Workers screaming EVACUATE yet Amazon refuses to let Night Shift be excused with pay the burnt chemicals from the compactor still linger by docks hundreds of workers want to go home. Amazon will be held accountable @amazonlabor ✊🏽

— Christian Smalls (@Shut_downAmazon) October 4, 2022

ALU says that the stoppage may be the largest collective action ever taken by Amazon workers. It is also the union’s first major work stoppage since it voted to unionize earlier this year.

A lawyer for the union, Seth Goldstein, told Motherboard that workers said the compactor that caught fire had been malfunctioning and smoking for weeks.

“God forbid they have to replace [the compactor] and lose their profits,” said Goldstein. “One of the reasons people are unionizing at Amazon is because the employer cares about profits, and doesn’t care about their lives. Where’s the transparency here?”

According to New York Times’s Noam Scheiber, one employee said that the warehouse still smelled like fire as of Tuesday. The employee also said that day shift workers had been sent home early.

Amazon claimed that the stoppage only involved a “small group” of employees. “[Yesterday afternoon] there was a small fire in a cardboard compactor outside of JFK8, one of our facilities in Staten Island, New York,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “All employees were safely evacuated, and day shift employees were sent home with pay. The FDNY certified the building is safe and at that point we asked all night shift employees to report to their regularly scheduled shift.”

ALU president Chris Smalls said on Twitter that the fire was especially dangerous because Amazon has a “lack of safety drills.”

Safety concerns are consistently a problem at Amazon, workers and labor advocates say. When six Amazon workers died after a tornado caused an Amazon warehouse to collapse in Illinois late last year, progressive lawmakers raised concerns about what they wrote was a “wholly inadequate safety culture at Amazon, which potentially contributed to the death of six workers.”

Workers said that Amazon’s policy of not allowing them to have smartphones on their person at work endangered them during the disaster. The company has since lifted that policy.

The lawmakers highlighted concerns brought to light by an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation that found that the company maintains only the bare minimum safety requirements.

Data shows that Amazon warehouses are a uniquely unsafe place to work. According to a report by the Strategic Organizing Center released in April, Amazon accounted for about half of all warehouse injuries in 2021, despite only employing about a third of the warehouse workforce. Workers and labor advocates say that this injury rate can be partially chalked up to the company’s extremely harsh and unbending work culture, which prioritizes speed over everything else.

Categories: World News

Former Lebanese ambassador holds sit-in at Beirut bank amid new wave of heists

CNN World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:29
A former Lebanese ambassador held a sit-in at his bank outside of the capital city of Beirut on Tuesday, refusing to leave until he received his money, his wife has told CNN.
Categories: World News

The Onion Files Parody Brief to Supreme Court in Defense of Speech Rights

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:27

The Onion, a parody news organization that bills itself as “America’s Finest News Source,” has filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving the suppression of a man’s speech rights after he parodied his local police department.

Anthony Novak created a Facebook page six years ago in which he made blatantly fake posts pretending to be the police department from his hometown in Parma, Ohio. In response, the department arrested Novak, alleging that he committed a criminal felony by using his computer to “disrupt” or “interrupt” police functions.

Novak was acquitted of those charges in a jury trial. He then filed a lawsuit against the police department, arguing that his First Amendment rights to speech and his Fourth Amendment protections against improper searches had been violated. The case made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which sided with the department and ruled that his lawsuit could not proceed, citing qualified immunity standards that shield police from civil lawsuits.

Novak has appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which has not yet indicated whether or not they will hear it. He argues that the Court must determine, once and for all, whether “censorship-by-arrest” should prevail and if the doctrine of qualified immunity should apply to police officers who violate speech rights.

The Onion, a parody newspaper that was founded in 1988 (though it jokingly claims it can trace its founding back much further), filed an amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) brief to the Supreme Court this week, siding with Novak and saying that a writ of certiorari should be granted to hear his case.

The brief reads much like the articles that appear on The Onion’s website.

The Onion is the world’s leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events,” the publication said in its legal filing. “Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.”

The company took great pains to explain why parody should be protected speech — and noted that parodies are often closer to the truth than some might think. In 2017, for example, the site published an article titled “Mar-a-Lago Assistant Manager Wondering if Anyone Coming to Collect Nuclear Briefcase from Lost and Found,” years ahead of the current Trump document scandal that the Department of Justice is now investigating.

The Onion files this brief to protect its continued ability to create fiction that may ultimately merge into reality,” the company said.

“‘Ohio Police Officers Arrest, Prosecute Man Who Made Fun of Them on Facebook’ might sound like a headline ripped from the front pages of The Onion — albeit one that’s considerably less amusing because its subjects are real,” the company went on.

The Onion argued against the idea that all Novak had to do was write “parody” or otherwise indicate that the Facebook page was satire in order to avoid prosecution.

“For parody to work, it has to plausibly mimic the original,” the brief states, adding that the filing “would not have worked quite as well if this brief had said the following: ‘Hello there, reader, we are about to write an amicus brief about the value of parody. Buckle up, because we’re going to be doing some fairly outré things, including commenting on this text’s form itself!'”

Regardless of whether or not the Court takes action, The Onion said it would “continue its socially valuable role bringing the disinfectant of sunlight into the halls of power” through its parody work.

“And it would vastly prefer that sunlight not to be measured out to its writers in 15- minute increments in an exercise yard,” the company stated in one of the final paragraphs of its legal filing.

Categories: World News

Damage from Hurricane Ian has made it hard for some Floridians to get to their homes

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:11

Pine Island, Florida's largest Gulf Coast island, was devastated by Hurricane Ian. Many residents stayed behind but have limited access to the mainland after the main road leading there was destroyed.

Categories: World News

The Battle for Election Integrity Heats Up in Southern States Ahead of Midterms

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:07

Activists fighting against a new Jim Crow and one-party politics in Southern states are sounding the alarm about the biggest threat facing U.S. democracy. Unfair election maps are bound to produce unfair results in the upcoming midterm elections with long-lasting negative impacts throughout the South. For example, the redistricting happening in Mississippi and Alabama not only disenfranchises large numbers of Black voters, but also advances the same kind of divisive politics we see in Washington these days.

“When we draw political districts that unfairly disadvantage communities based on race, then we produce districts where candidates have to run to extremes because there is no need to compromise,” said Evan Milligan, executive director of Alabama Forward, a coalition of 30+ organizations working to build voter power, especially among young people of color.

Because candidates don’t have to appeal to so many different types of voters, Milligan said that they focus on shoring up their base within one community. Working-class Black voters are now packed into one congressional district and white voters are concentrated into six of Alabama’s other gerrymandered districts.

“If you make it out of your primary because your district is drawn in a way that disadvantages competition, then the most extreme candidate becomes the person who gets on the ballot. That is what is driving our political discourse today and it’s going to drive us off a cliff,” Milligan said.

Civil rights plaintiffs like the NAACP, Common Cause and League of Women Voters have filed lawsuits challenging newly adopted redistricting plans in 12 Southern states. Gerrymandering is at the heart of them all.

In Alabama, a three-judge panel found the maps approved by the legislature to be discriminatory and ordered the state to redraw congressional districts so Black voters would have a second opportunity district with at least a 50 percent minority voting-age population. “They had many ways they could have done that but they chose not to do any of them,” Milligan said.

The Supreme Court will hear Merrill v. Milligan today. “The other plaintiffs and I — allies from Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Florida — are all here,” Milligan told Truthout. “We are going to have a rally on Tuesday and numerous public outreach events, including speaking with media to tell our stories, to invite people to think about the gravity of this moment. My hope is not based on the courts. My hope is based on the agency of my people and our allies.”

“My hope is not based on the courts. My hope is based on the agency of my people and our allies.”

Regardless of the outcome of midterm elections or how the Supreme Court rules on Merrill v. Milligan, activists are beginning to use the phrase “one demand, two options.” It means permanent voting rights protection for all Americans either by a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

“One demand, two options — that’s a nonviolent path away from this momentum towards going off the edge. That’s something we can place our hope in,” Milligan said.

Heading Into the Midterms

Milligan’s role at Alabama Forward is developing the next generation of civil rights leaders. “If we want people to be leaders, we have to actually incentivize those people who are leaders to continue doing the work,” he said. Milligan said he knows plenty of good young candidates who can’t win office because of the discrimination they face. He also noted there are lots of barriers in Alabama to keep people disengaged from politics.

The minimum wage of $7.25/hr. is still the norm in Alabama. The state’s income tax starts below the poverty level, earlier than any other state in the country. Food and medicine are taxed in Alabama, and the state did not expand Medicaid for its low-income residents. Milligan said that families are under enormous pressure just to make ends meet.

So, when organizers urge people to get out and vote to make things change, they are likely to respond, “‘How? I have a shift job and only get a half hour for lunch,’” Milligan said. “When people aren’t getting their needs met, there is little incentive to buy into the political process, so they stay home. So, yes, we do have a turnout problem.”

In Florida, Black Voters Matter and Common Cause challenged unfair election maps because Black and Latino election districts were split up. One lawsuit contends the maps obliterated Florida’s 5th Congressional District by spreading its Black population into four congressional districts. Plaintiffs contend that the redistricting eliminates three Democratic seats and transforms two previously competitive districts into Republican-leaning seats.

“The reality is that what happens in the South impacts the entire country.”

In another Florida case, Common Cause v. Lee, plaintiffs claim that the new election maps reduce the number of Black opportunity districts from four to two.

“Those cases are still being fought in state and federal courts,” said Kira Romero-Craft, director of legal strategy for Demos, a “think-and-do-tank” for inclusive voting rights. In March, civil rights groups won a lawsuit against Florida’s anti-voter law, SB 90. The law “scaled back all of the advances that Florida has made in light of the pandemic that were used primarily by voters of color for the first time … primarily drop boxes,” Romero-Craft told Truthout.

SB 90 essentially made it a crime to offer water or food to voters waiting to vote. Another new law aimed at signature gatherers required them to give voters a disclaimer telling them their registration forms may not be processed in time. That had a chilling effect on registration efforts, so civil rights groups sued in 2021.

It took a year, but in a recent 288-page opinion, the federal court in the northern district of Florida found for the plaintiffs on most of their claims.

“It was really remarkable given that in this state, the legislature and the governor have been activist, meaning they are going after anyone who is challenging the system or the legislature,” Romero-Craft said.

In November 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, restoring the vote to those with felony convictions. One-and-a-half million people were affected by the measure, but the state legislature made these newly enfranchised voters pay back fines and court fees before they could vote. Many were simply priced out of the ballot box. Apparently, a handful voted without paying what amounts to a poll tax. In August 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced 20 prosecutions for “voter fraud.”

“This is now being used again as a way to chill voters and voters who may have been impacted by a criminal conviction,” Romero-Craft told Truthout. “This is a system that has been historically used in this country to disenfranchise voters, particularly Black voters, and it is being used again to keep voters from exercising the franchise.”

“Many of the battles that we are fighting right now are the same battles we’ve fought in the past.”

Meanwhile, Republican-aligned groups in Georgia challenged more than 65,000 voter registrations across eight counties. In Michigan, the right-wing Election Integrity Fund challenged 22,000 absentee ballots for the state’s August primary. In Harris County, Texas, Houston election officials received 116 affidavits challenging the eligibility of 6,000 voters. Election officials rejected most of the claims. Some had bad information and many had identical wording.

Voter suppression has effects far beyond the states where it takes place.

Republicans Won’t Stop Playing Dirty

Election deniers continue to assert that Donald Trump was cheated out of a victory in 2020. In fact, election results show that a big turnout among nonwhite voters in 2020 put Joe Biden in the White House.

“The reality is that what happens in the South impacts the entire country. The cases we bring on behalf of disenfranchised communities really can show the power of partisan groups that use the democratic system to take advantage,” Romero-Craft said.

For example, afraid their candidates couldn’t win a fair election, Republicans closed down 1,688 polling stations between 2012 and 2018 in 13 states once covered by the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, which required Department of Justice approval for all changes related to voting. Fewer polling stations makes casting a vote harder for many people, including those with disabilities and those who don’t drive.

Earlier this year, Lincoln County, Georgia, tried to shut down all but one of its polling locations. Only one-third of voters in that county own a car and fewer polling places mean longer travel times and longer lines waiting to vote.

One study found that the small number of polling places prevented between 54,000 and 85,000 Georgia voters from casting ballots in the 2018 election. Researchers also found Black voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters to miss an election because of poll closures. This problem could be challenged after an election, but those legal cases can be expensive and hard to win.

“Many of the battles that we are fighting right now are the same battles we’ve fought in the past,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director for the Voting Rights Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. He said the scope and scale of those fights have changed since the 2020 election.

“We are now living with a political system in which a very large percentage of our electorate has bought into lies about our democracy, lies about what happened in the 2020 election, and lies about the fraud that they claim is rampant within our electoral system — and those lies have had a real impact,” Morales-Doyle said.

“We’re seeing election deniers running for office as election officials, and we’re seeing election deniers being recruited to be poll workers and to be poll watchers.”

Election deniers made specific claims. “The fraud was happening where? In Milwaukee, in Detroit, in Philadelphia, in Atlanta — in majority-minority cities, that’s where the fraud was supposedly taking place. And those were the votes they wanted thrown out,” he said.

But there weren’t any piles of illegal votes in those cities any more than there were 11,780 uncounted votes in Georgia that Trump ordered Georgia’s secretary of state to find in order to hand him a victory over Biden. Moreover, many of the lies Trump supporters believe are repeated frequently in the halls of Congress.

The Brennan Center has been tracking anti-voter legislation in every state. One out of three restrictive voter laws passed in the last decade were passed in 2021, and election deniers introduced many of them.

“This is not just a story about partisan politics. It’s not just a story about disinformation. This is a story about race as it has always been in this country,” Morales-Doyle told Truthout.

Red states have passed racially discriminatory election rules specifically to block voters of color from exercising the political power they demonstrated in 2020. “The restrictions are aimed at the methods of voting that those folks were using,” he said.

The Brennan Center has noticed a new trend. In 2021, a number of Republican-controlled legislatures passed election interference laws making it easier for them to call into question election outcomes they don’t like.

“We’re seeing election deniers running for office as election officials, and we’re seeing election deniers being recruited to be poll workers and to be poll watchers,” Morales-Doyle said.

The Brennan Center has published an election guide that shows the safeguards in place to prevent rogue poll workers from causing major disruption to elections. “Every state has these in place,” he said.

Election denial, racial discrimination, voter suppression — these are the hallmarks of an authoritarian cloud Trump has cast over the American landscape that threatens our collective future. In November, the Democrats will likely lose five seats in the House, according to FiveThirtyEight political analyst Nate Silver. But he’s been wrong before.

Categories: World News

Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Charles Fuller dies at 83

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 13:07
Playwright Charles Fuller, shown here in 1982, died of natural causes on Monday. He was 83.

Fuller often explored and exposed how social institutions can perpetuate racism, like he did in his best-known work, the searing and acclaimed "A Soldier's Play."

(Image credit: Bill Ingraham/AP)

Categories: World News

A new book's behind-the-scenes look at Congress' Jan. 6 Capitol riot investigation

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 12:32
Denver Riggleman, a former Republican Congressman, joined the staff of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. His new book, "The Breach," describes his work on the investigation and his path to politics.

Denver Riggleman spent 8 months as an adviser to the Congressional committee investigating the January 6th Capitol Riot. Now he's written a book about his experience — called, "The Breach."

(Image credit: Steve Helber/AP)

Categories: World News

The man who wrote the Onion's Supreme Court brief takes parody very seriously

NPR - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 12:29

The satirical site submitted a 23-page brief to the Supreme Court in support of a First Amendment case. Mike Gillis, The Onion writer who authored the brief, tells NPR why parody is worth defending.

(Image credit: Mike Gillis)

Categories: World News

Warren: Student Debt Relief Lawsuit Shows GOP Prioritizes Profit Over People

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 12:02

Student debt forgiveness advocate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) criticized Republicans on Monday for the party’s lawsuit to stop millions of debtors from receiving what they say is direly needed student loan forgiveness.

Even if it fails, the lawsuit exposes the loyalties of the Republican Party, the senator said. “Republican officials are so angry about [President Joe Biden] helping working people that they’re suing to stop student debt cancellation,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “It won’t work, but it shows their priorities: putting the profits of corporate loan servicers over relief for working-class & middle-class Americans.”

On Thursday, six Republican-led states filed a lawsuit in a Missouri federal court seeking to stop Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 of publicly-held student debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for others making less than $125,000 a year. The Republicans argue, among other things, that loan servicers like MOHELA — Missouri’s student loan servicer and one of the largest student loan servicers in the U.S. — would be hurt by the plan.

Another lawsuit, filed by a lawyer for libertarian law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, argued that the plan trampled on the lawyer’s freedoms because it would force him to pay state taxes on the cancellation amount. This lawsuit was swiftly denied by a federal judge after the Biden administration said that officials will simply add an option to opt out of forgiveness if one chooses to do so.

There has been much scrutiny from conservatives and corporate media over the debt cancellation plan’s cost and its effect on things like luring low-income people into the military, along with spurious concerns about its fairness and its potential effects on the economy and inflation. Nearly all of these arguments have been repeatedly debunked or rebuffed by student debt cancellation advocates over the past years, but Republicans insist on making them anyway.

In response to such arguments, progressive lawmakers like Warren and debt activists have leveraged conservatives’ hypocrisy on economic issues against them. Donald Trump and Republicans’ 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for instance, cost the government $2 trillion in lost tax revenue after the party slashed tax rates for corporations and the rich. This amount of money, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) pointed out in August, could have paid for not only Biden’s plan but also the entirety of student loan debt in the U.S., which the Federal Reserve estimates to be about $1.7 trillion.

The fact that conservatives complain about the cost of the cancellation but don’t complain about moves like the tax cuts, which have only further concentrated wealth at the very top of U.S. society, perhaps exposes Republicans’ real motivations: to maintain their ability to use debt as a form of political and social control.

That would explain why Republicans complained after the conservative-led Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the debt forgiveness plan would cost $400 billion — while conveniently not mentioning that that estimate would play out over the next 30 years — but stay mum about things like the military budget, which costs nearly twice as much yearly.

By fighting against student debt forgiveness, Republicans can also garner the favor of corporate lobbyists. Student loan servicers have spent millions on lobbying efforts over the past two years, pushing politicians to oppose the student loan payment pause and likely also arguing against cancellation. Servicers are contracted by the federal government to manage student loans, and are then allowed to collect a fee on the loans they administer.

This lobbying appears to pay off in spades for servicers, which make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year with student loans and other services.

Categories: World News

Ukraine round-up: Inside liberated Lyman and Ukraine makes further ground against Russia

BBC World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 11:52
A report from a liberated town, territorial gains for Ukraine, and a beauty queen fined over a song.
Categories: World News

Supreme Court May Soon Roll Back Affirmative Action and Voting Rights

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 11:44

As public support of the conservative-dominated Supreme Court falls to a record low, justices are set to hear major cases on affirmative action, voting rights and online speech. The court opened its term Monday with new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming the first Black woman in U.S. history to hear a Supreme Court case. Although Jackson is a welcome progressive voice on the bench, “all she’ll be able to do is to highlight the extremism of the conservative majority voting bloc on the Supreme Court,” says The Nation’s legal correspondent Elie Mystal. He adds that the term ahead includes challenges to Native American sovereignty, voting rights, LGBT rights and more.


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

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. Supreme Court opened its new term Monday with a historic first as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black female justice to ever hear a Supreme Court case. President Biden nominated Jackson after Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. On Friday, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson spoke at an event organized by the Library of Congress ahead of her first day on the court.

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: As I reflect on my own recent experience of being appointed as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, it is that, more than anything, that I have witnessed. People from all walks of life approach me with what I can only describe as a profound sense of pride and what feels to me like renewed ownership. I can see it in their eyes. I can hear it in their voices. They stare at me as if to say, “Look at what we’ve done.” They say — they say, “This — this is what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it.” They might not use those words, but I get the message. They are calling on the ancestors, harkening back to history and claiming their stake at last. They are saying to me, in essence, “You go, girl.” They’re saying, “Invisible no more. We see you, and we are with you.”

AMY GOODMAN: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, speaking Friday. She joins the Supreme Court at a time when conservatives hold a six-to-three majority and public support of the court is at an all-time low. A recent Gallup poll shows just a quarter of the country has a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court. In its last term, the conservative court overturned Roe v. Wade and expanded gun rights in the United States. The court will be hearing major cases this term on affirmative action, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, online speech and more.

To talk more about what’s ahead for the court and the significance of the latest justice on the court, Elie Mystal is with us, The Nation’s justice correspondent, author of the best-selling book Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution, his recent article, “The Supreme Court Returns on Monday, Stronger and More Terrible Than Ever.”

Elie, welcome back to Democracy Now! Let’s start with this historic first. Let’s start with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Talk about the significance of this newest justice and then what she faces on this docket.

ELIE MYSTAL: Good morning, Amy. Thank you for having me.

Yeah, Ketanji Brown Jackson is great. Her first day was yesterday. She already got right in there, asking really pertinent and probative questions of the attorneys at the case, so she didn’t seem to need a whole lot of time to get comfortable in her new job.

I think she’s going to be a great justice. I think she is going to have a great career ahead of her — writing dissents, because she is clearly in the minority on that court, and the things that are coming down the pipe are terrifying and horrible, and all she will be able to do is — through her questioning at oral arguments and through her writing at decision time, all she’ll be able to do is to highlight the extremism of the conservative majority voting bloc on the Supreme Court.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s talk about affirmative action and voting rights. Voting rights, the oral arguments will be heard tomorrow. Talk about these two cases and how they could change this country.

ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah, so let’s start with voting rights. That case is actually today, Amy. It’s 11:00. I’m already —

AMY GOODMAN: Sorry, today.

ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah — getting ready for it. The first kind of case out of the docket here is a case that involves a gerrymandered district in Alabama. Their state should have had two majority-majority districts — majority-minority districts; instead, they only had one. Back and forth a little bit. And what will likely come down is yet another attack on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Now, people need to understand, when the Constitution was written, exclusively by white males, five of the current justices on the Supreme Court were not allowed to vote. We’ve gone through a lot of constitutional amendments. We had a war, trying to establish some idea of universal suffrage. But that idea of universal suffrage didn’t become a reality for a large minority of Americans until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. And it is that act that Chief Justice John Roberts has been an enemy of for his entire career. One of the first things that we will see from this term is yet another Roberts-led attack on the idea of universal suffrage.

Later this month, we will hear our cases on affirmative action. Amy, I’ve said many times, Republicans and Clarence Thomas have been trying to kill affirmative action for as long as I’ve been alive. And this term, this October, they will do it. They will hear a case this October — excuse me — that will allow them to do it. And this June, they will finally end affirmative action. I think any hope that they would find some way to keep the idea of affirmative action alive went out of the window when they overturned Roe v. Wade, because when you have a court that’s willing to overturn 50 years of precedent and reduce women to the status of second-class citizens, it is not hard to overturn another 50 years of precedent and make college admissions safe for mediocre white failsons, which is what they’re going to do this June.

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Sackett v. the EPA. The case challenges the Clean Water Act and the federal government’s ability to protect and preserve wetlands. During oral arguments, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson questioned Damien Schiff, the lawyer for the Sackett family, which sued the EPA. Let’s listen.

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: Why is it that your conception of this does not relate in any way to Congress’s primary objective? Do you dispute that the primary objective, as stated in the statute — I guess it’s at 1251 — is that Congress cared about making sure that the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters was protected?

DAMIEN SCHIFF: Justice Jackson, we don’t dispute that. However, no statute pursues its purpose or its objective at all costs, that the limitations in the statute are as much a part of its purpose as its affirmative authorization.

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: So why didn’t Congress say “immediately adjacent”? If they were trying to achieve something different than what the regulations had said about adjacency, if they were balancing their concerns about protecting the integrity of the navigable waters with the property interests in the state’s right to control it, why didn’t they say “immediately adjacent” in terms of the wetlands coverage?

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as she spoke in the oral arguments of the first case that she is considering in the Supreme Court as a Supreme Court justice. Elie Mystal, put it into lay terms here, what this case is against the EPA.

ELIE MYSTAL: Oh, yeah, so I love the question that you played, because a lot of your viewers understand or have heard what originalism is, right? The idea that when in doubt, when there’s ambiguity, we should go back to the original intentions of the white male, exclusively, Founding Fathers and think about what they might have wanted back in the 18th century, right?

So, Ketanji Brown’s question, she does it the other way, right? What’s the alternative to originalism? Well, it looks something like what Justice Jackson asked, right? Because she is looking at what Congress wanted, right? We should interpret laws, we should interpret ambiguity in laws, not based on what some long-dead white people wanted; we should interpret laws based on what the law was intended to do by the people — many of whom are still alive — by the people who passed the law. So, when she’s looking at the Clean Water Act, she’s thinking, “What did Congress want the Clean Water Act to do?” not “What did James Madison perhaps want the Clean Water Act to do back in a time when he didn’t understand that you couldn’t drink lead?”

So, just the framing of the question, the framing of her question, in and of itself, is a response and a resistance to the conservative majority on the court. Unfortunately, it’s a resistance to the conservative majority on the court, and the decision in this case, when it comes down, will probably once again harken back to long-dead white men instead of our modern issues with climate change. And again, the court already showed its hand on that last term when it eviscerated the Clean Air Act and Congress’s ability to regulate under it.

AMY GOODMAN: Elie, before we go, if you can give us a preview of the cases involving Native American families and LGBTQ rights?

ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah, these are critical cases that are also coming up later in this term. For Native American families, it’s a direct challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act that has been drummed up by conservatives who want to adopt Native children. Now, the Indian Child Welfare Act says that it is tribal sovereignty, it’s the tribes that get to determine what happens to the children if their birth parents can’t care for them. This makes sense if you understand tribal nations as sovereign entities. But if you think like a Republican and you understand them as exploitable resources, then you get to this attack where we have white parents who want to adopt Native children, over the objection of their tribes, arguing that being prevented from adopting those Native children is racism against white people — which is a ridiculous answer. It’s like a French couple wanting to adopt an American child, being told no, and being like, “Oh, you’re racist against the French.” Like, that’s that argument.

The final case that you talked about that’s also critically important is what you asked me about, the Native case and the —


ELIE MYSTAL: — and the 303 Creative. So, this is an attack on LGBTQ rights. We have a woman in Colorado who runs a graphic design store, who wants to post on her website for weddings that she will not graphically design anybody’s wedding, any same-sex marriage Evite pages or whatever she does. That’s a point-and-click violation of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. But this woman is claiming that she has a free speech right to be bigoted in her public service. Again, given the previous Supreme Court attacks on the rights of non-cis-hetero white men, I think that case is also likely to come down 6-3 in favor of the bigotry that this woman proposes.

AMY GOODMAN: Elie Mystal, of course, we’re going to come back to you as we look at the Supreme Court term, The Nation’s justice correspondent, author of the best-selling book Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution. And we’ll link to your article, “The Supreme Court Returns on Monday, Stronger and More Terrible Than Ever.”

Next up, we look at the former French colony of Burkina Faso, which just saw its second military coup in a year. What does the U.S. military have to do with it? Stay with us.

Categories: World News

CEO Pay Has Grown By 1,460 Percent Since 1978, as Workers’ Wages Stagnate

TruthOut - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 11:31

While workers’ wages have stagnated in comparison to productivity over the past four decades, CEO pay in the U.S. has skyrocketed at a rate far outpacing the growth of the economy and productivity, a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds.

According to research released by EPI on Tuesday, CEO pay has skyrocketed by a staggering 1,460 percent since 1978. This has far outpaced the growth of the economy and even the pay of the top 0.1 percent, EPI finds, with the S&P stock market growing by 1,063 percent in the same time and the earnings of the top 0.1 percent growing 385 percent between 1978 and 2020.

By contrast, worker pay has remained relatively unchanged since 1978, rising by a mere 18.1 percent over the past 43 years, EPI finds. As a result, the gap between CEO pay and typical worker pay has grown significantly. While CEOs at the top 350 U.S. firms had an estimated average pay of $27.8 million in 2021, the average worker at the same firms made $70,400, the report shows. This is a ratio of about 400 to 1 in 2021 — itself a major multiplication of 1965’s ratio of 20 to 1 and 1978’s ratio of about 30 to 1.

The pandemic in particular accelerated the growth in CEO pay. While millions of people were laid off or furloughed and frontline workers risked their lives to keep basic services running between 2019 and 2021, CEO pay jumped by 30.3 percent. Among workers who were still employed, meanwhile, wages rose by only 3.9 percent.

EPI’s data doesn’t even include the pay of CEO Elon Musk, who has been one of the pandemic’s biggest winners. Researchers specifically chose to exclude Musk and Tesla from their analysis because, if his realized salary, including stock sales, had been included, his pay would have been almost 1,000 times that of the average CEO of a large company. This would have boosted the average CEO pay increase between 2020 and 2021 by over 300 percent.

The trend of growing wage inequality doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. The gap between worker and CEO pay has been growing since the late 1970s, around the time the U.S. pivoted into a cruel neoliberalism imposed by leaders like President Ronald Reagan that has been responsible for growing economic inequality ever since.

Indeed, in the face of the current economic crisis and suppressed wages for workers, conservative Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is making moves to “get wages down” — while saying nothing of skyrocketing CEO pay.

Despite a pandemic, CEO pay rose 11.1% from 2020 to 2021—and 1,460% since 1978. CEOs have been able to extract wealth via fat paychecks without matched productivity. But workers? They’re more productive than ever but their pay hasn’t kept up.

— Economic Policy Institute (@EconomicPolicy) October 4, 2022

High CEO pay ratios aren’t a simple symbolic issue, the report says, but rather an issue that affects workers and the economy. Income growth of executives is the largest driving force behind the growing gap between the top 0.1 percent and top 1 percent and the rest of the public, which further concentrates the power of the very richest people in the U.S.

As EPI notes, it doesn’t have to be this way. “Exorbitant CEO pay is a contributor to rising inequality that we could restrain without doing any damage to the wider economy,” EPI economists Josh Bivens and Jori Kandra write. “CEOs are getting ever-higher pay over time because of their power to set pay and because so much of their pay (more than 80 percent) is stock-related. They are not getting higher pay because they are becoming more productive or more skilled than other workers, or because of a shortage of excellent CEO candidates.”

EPI recommends that Congress implement policies to reign in CEO wealth, like setting a higher corporate tax rate for corporations with large CEO pay ratios and setting higher marginal tax rates for the richest Americans.

With fierce opposition to such proposals from rich lobbyists and conservatives in Congress, however, workers appear to be taking matters of stagnant wages and poor working conditions into their own hands. The labor movement has been experiencing a resurgence in response to runaway capitalism exacerbated by the pandemic, and workers are increasingly rising up against the enormous greed that corporations have proudly displayed in recent years.

Categories: World News

Colombia will restart peace negotiations with National Liberation Army

CNN World News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 11:29
The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) insurgent group on Tuesday announced the restart of peace negotiations, after a three-year hiatus.
Categories: World News