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Political Articles from 2019

Oil Lobbyist Touts Success in Effort to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, Leaked Recording Shows

[Politics]
Oil Lobbyist Touts Success in Effort to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, Leaked Recording Shows
by Lee Fang
Posted September 14, 2019

protests against pipelines no longer legal is several states.The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a powerful lobbying group that represents major chemical plants and oil refineries, including Valero Energy, Koch Industries, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Marathon Petroleum, has flexed its muscle over environmental and energy policy for decades. Despite its reach, AFPM channels dark money and influence with little scrutiny.

The group is now leveraging its political power to criminalize protests of oil and gas infrastructure.

In an audio recording obtained by The Intercept, the group concedes that it has been playing a role behind the scenes in crafting laws recently passed in states across the country to criminalize oil and gas pipeline protests, in response to protests over the Dakota Access pipeline. The laws make it a crime to trespass on public land used for “critical infrastructure,” impose a fine or prison time for violators, and hold protesters responsible for damage incurred during the protest. Many of the laws also carry heavy fines to groups and individuals who support such demonstrations. More…

The Facts:
Industry lobbyists have been writing legislation that favors their interests, and the Citizen’s United ruling gives them even more clout than they had earlier.

Reflect On:
Think about this for a minute, corporate lobbyists are writing legislation outlawing free speech because it conflicts with their profits. They actually have the taxpayers pay for the police, and militarized protection, building roads and other infrastructure, and providing other services for them, all while restricting freedoms of the people.

The Anglo-American Origins of Color Revolutions

[Politics]
The Anglo-American Origins of Color Revolutions
by Matthew Ehret
Posted September 10, 2019

color revolutions instigated by US A few years ago, very few people understood the concept behind color revolutions.

Had Russia and China’s leadership not decided to unite in solidarity in 2012 when they began vetoing the overthrow of Bashar al Assad in Syria- followed by their alliance around the Belt and Road Initiative, then it is doubtful that the color revolution concept would be as well-known as it has become today.

At that time, Russia and China realized that they had no choice but to go on the counter offensive, since the regime change operations and colour revolutions orchestrated by such organizations as the CIA-affiliated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Soros Open Society Foundations were ultimately designed to target them as those rose, orange, green or yellow revolution efforts in Georgia, Ukraine, Iran or Hong Kong were always recognized as weak points on the periphery of the threatened formation of a great power alliance of sovereign Eurasian nations that would have the collective power to challenge the power of the Anglo-American elite based in London and Wall Street. More…

Critical U.S. Election Systems Have Been Left Exposed Online Despite Official Denials

[Politics]
Critical U.S. Election Systems Have Been Left Exposed Online Despite Official Denials
by Kim Zetter
Posted September 6, 2019

vulnerable to hacking The top voting machine company in the country insists that its election systems are never connected to the internet. But researchers found 35 of the systems have been connected to the internet for months and possibly years, including in some swing states.

For years, U.S. election officials and voting machine vendors have insisted that critical election systems are never connected to the internet and therefore can’t be hacked.

But a group of election security experts have found what they believe to be nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states connected to the internet over the last year, including some in critical swing states. These include systems in nine Wisconsin counties, in four Michigan counties, and in seven Florida counties—all states that are perennial battlegrounds in presidential elections. More…

The Facts:
Electronic voting systems have been proven to be vulnerable to tampering over and over again by multiple sources.

Reflect On:
Why do “our” governments still use these machines despite their proven weaknesses? How can a democracy survive if the results of elections cannot trusted?

How To Avoid Being Called A Russian Agent Online

[Media]
How To Avoid Being Called A Russian Agent Online
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted August 30, 2019

media liesThe always reliable NBC News has published an important and informative article titled “Russia-linked Twitter accounts promoted ‘doxxing’ over racial tension videos”, which uses fearless investigative insinuations and cutting-edge vagueness to inform readers that viral videos of Americans being racist are essentially a Russian fabrication.

The article’s four authors boldly document the shocking, bombshell findings of a Clemson University study that “almost 30 suspicious Twitter accounts” were involved in retweeting videos of racist behavior from white Americans, and, as alert readers should all be aware by now, “suspicious” is another word for “Russian”. Since we all know that racism has never been a problem in America and only Russian agents could possibly promote such an outlandish idea, we can safely assume that anyone we see sharing viral videos of white Americans being horrible to minorities is a subversive agent of the Kremlin. More…

Ohio Republicans Balked at a Nuclear Bailout, so the Industry Elected New Republicans — and Walked Away With $1.1 Billion

[Politics]
Ohio Republicans Balked at a Nuclear Bailout, so the Industry Elected New Republicans — and Walked Away With $1.1 Billion
by Ryan Grim and Akela Lacy
Posted August 25, 2019

lobbying and political donations provide highest rate of return on investmentOn Tuesday, a dark-money effort linked primarily to the Ohio nuclear industry delivered an audacious payoff, as a newly elected state legislature overcame years of opposition to shower a $1.1 billion bailout on two state nuclear plants.

Several dark-money groups spent millions to replace key Republican state legislators in the spring of 2018, followed by a furious lobbying campaign to make sure those new lawmakers elected a new House speaker — one who was amenable to the subsidy. The nuclear industry in Ohio has been on the brink of failure for several years, but previous legislatures had objected to a bailout, reading the writing on the wall: Nuclear power is neither a cost-effective solution for power nor an effective response to climate change, despite hopes for its success. More…

Georgia’s New Election System Raises Old Computer Security Concerns

[Politics]
Georgia’s New Election System Raises Old Computer Security Concerns
By Timothy Pratt
Posted August 16, 2019

DEFCON attendees make short work of voting machinesEarlier this year, Georgia’s Secure, Accessible, and Fair Elections Commission held a public meeting at the state capitol to answer a pressing question: What should Georgia do to replace its aging, touchscreen voting machines, as well as other parts of its election system? In the preceding years, security vulnerabilities in the state’s election system had been repeatedly exposed: by Russian operatives, friendly hackers, and even a Georgia voter who, just days ahead of the 2018 midterms, revealed that anyone could go online and gain access to the state’s voter registration database.

Computer scientists and elections experts from around the country had weighed in during the seven months of the commission’s deliberations on the issue. They submitted letters and provided testimony, sharing the latest research and clarifying technical concepts tied to holding safe, reliable elections. More…

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