Justice Articles from 2020
Your Fancy Honey Might Not Actually Be Honey
by Shayla Love
Posted April 17, 2020
There’s a threat within the honey community that’s intimately entwined with the lives of bees and their beekeepers, one that is largely unknown outside their world: honey fraud.
in a series of lawsuits filed over the last year, honey adulteration is finally being brought out of the shadows. Lawyers are finding consumers who have allegedly bought adulterated honey at their local grocery stores, and having the honey laboratory tested for proof. The accused in their complaints include major brands, and one of the dominant honey certification groups: True Source Honey, an organization that is supposed to guarantee where honey is sourced from so as to guarantee its quality. More…
by Alleen Brown and Amber Bracken
Posted April 15, 2020
After Police Defend a Gas Pipeline Over Indigenous Land Rights, Protesters Shut Down Railways Across Canada.
On February 10, a helicopter delivered RCMP officers and snowmobiles behind the Unist’ot’en gate. They watched from a hill overlooking the camp as more officers approached from the road. Surrounded on all sides, Tait, her mother, her aunt, and four supporters stood near the barrier, praying and drumming. Tait was the third to be arrested. “Two officers came around me and held my arms to try to prevent me from drumming,” she said. They continued to sing, even as they were loaded into the police van.
While the Canadian government continues to pursue a years long effort to heal its relationship with Indigenous people, for many, the arrests of the Unist’ot’en matriarchs were representative of the government’s unwillingness to take meaningful action toward reconciliation — especially when it comes to land rights. Indeed, documents uncovered by journalists and researchers confirm that officials have strategized furiously about how to prevent the Wet’suwet’en people’s assertion of land rights from getting in the way of the message that Canada is open for business. More…
California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers
California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers
By Dave Maass and Hayley Tsukayama
Posted April 13, 2020
California police and sheriffs are failing to protect the privacy of drivers on city streets, the California State Auditor’s office determined after a seven-month investigation into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Los Angeles Police Department and three other local law enforcement agencies. California State Senator Scott Wiener sponsored the State Auditor’s report.
The report is a damning assessment of how California law enforcement agencies use this mass-surveillance technology, which employs computer-controlled, high-speed cameras mounted on street lights, on top of police cars, or speed-monitoring trailers that automatically capture images of every vehicle that drives by, without drivers’ knowledge or permission. The cameras capture the exact time and place a license plate was seen, and often compares that data point to hot lists of “people of interest” to police. The cameras are capable of capturing millions of data points, which, taken in the aggregate, can paint an intimate portrait of a driver’s life and even chill First Amendment protected activity. More…
Amazon fires New York worker who led strike over coronavirus concerns
by Kenya Evelyn
Posted April 2, 2020
An Amazon worker who led a walkout at a New York City facility on Monday has been fired.
Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, learned of his termination as dozens of workers protested against the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s a shame on them,” Smalls told Vice News on Tuesday. “To fire someone after five years for sticking up for people and trying to give them a voice.”
Strikers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island demanded Amazon temporarily shut down the large facility for cleaning, after reports of multiple employees testing positive for Covid-19. More…
Jeff Bezos, “the richest man in modern history” accumulates more and more wealth by the minute while ignoring the safety of his workers, and then fires someone who called him out on that.
What can be done to curb the strangle hold that corporations have over “our” elected government. Perhaps it is time to install sunset clauses on all corporations, like it was done when the concept of a corporation first started.
We Are Living in the Golden Age for White Collar Crime
by Michael Hobbes
Posted April 1, 2020
Over the last two years, nearly every institution of American life has taken on the unmistakable stench of moral rot. Corporate behemoths like Boeing and Wells Fargo have traded blue-chip credibility for white-collar callousness. Elite universities are selling admission spots to the highest Hollywood bidder. Silicon Valley unicorns have revealed themselves as long cons (Theranos), venture-capital cremation devices (Uber, WeWork) or straightforward comic book supervillains (Facebook). Every week unearths a cabinet-level political scandal that would have defined any other presidency. From the blackouts in California to the bloated bonuses on Wall Street to the entire biography of Jeffrey Epstein, it is impossible to look around the country and not get the feeling that elites are slowly looting it.
And why wouldn’t they? The criminal justice system has given up all pretense that the crimes of the wealthy are worth taking seriously. In January 2019, white-collar prosecutions fell to their lowest level since researchers started tracking them in 1998. Even within the dwindling number of prosecutions, most are cases against low-level con artists and small-fry financial schemes. More…
We wish that this story was an April Fools Day joke, but unfortunately it is not.
‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law
by Julia Conley
Posted March 29, 2020
A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The court chastised the USACE for moving ahead with affirming the permits in 2016 and allowing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) crossing the Missouri River after President Donald Trump assumed office in 2017, without considering the expert analysis put forward by the tribe.
DAPL and the fight against the pipeline was the subject of international attention in 2016 when thousands of water defenders gathered at camps in North Dakota, facing a highly militarized police force armed with tanks, riot gear, rubber bullets, and other weapons. More…
[Politics] [Media] [Justice]
The Primary Mechanism Of Your Oppression Is Not Hidden At All
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted March 18 , 2020
It’s impossible for the public to use democracy for ensuring their government behaves in the way they desire if they aren’t allowed to be informed about what that behavior even is.
The nonstop campaign by bought politicians, owned news outlets, and manipulated social media platforms to control the dominant narratives about what’s going on in the world contribute vastly more to the sickness of our society than government secrecy does. We know this from experience: any time a whistle blower exposes secret information about the malfeasance of powerful governments like NSA surveillance or Collateral Murder, we see not public accountability, nor demands for sweeping systemic changes to prevent such malfeasance from reoccurring, but a bunch of narrative management from the political/media class.
This narrative management is used to shift attention away from the information that was revealed and onto the fact that the person who revealed it broke the law or misbehaved in some way. It’s used to convince people that the revelations aren’t actually a big deal, or that it was already basically public knowledge anyway. And it’s used to manipulate public attention on to the next hot story of the day and memory hole it underneath the white noise of the media news churn. And nothing changes. More…
Governments routinely use the tactic of diversion to place the focus onto the the whistle blower, rather than on the allegation.
Consider how this manipulation has been used in the past on whistle blowers like Manning, Assange, and Snowden. Consider how you may have fallen for this manpilation in the past and what actions you can take to prevent this happening again and to inform others so they are not victims of this tactic.
Citizens United: The Court Ruling That Sold Our Democracy
by Tiffany Muller
Posted March , 2020
Ten years ago, in January 2010, the Supreme Court released its disastrous Citizens United decision. The court, either through remarkable naivety or sheer malevolence, essentially married the terrible idea that “money is speech” to the terrible idea that “corporations are people.”
The ruling put a for sale sign on our democracy, opening up a flood of corporate, special interest, and even foreign money into our politics.
Through Citizens United and related decisions, the Court made a bad situation worse. We saw the proliferation of super PACs, which can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, and the rise of dark money, which is undisclosed political spending that can come from any special interest, including foreign countries. More…
The US Supreme Court opened the gates for money to corrupt the political system with the Citizens United ruling.
Consider how this corrupt ruling essentially legalized bribery of “our” elected representatives. How can someone represent you when they are paid millions to represent others?
Naughty librarians to face 1 year in prison
by Simon Black
Posted March 13, 2020
Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity.
A Missouri bill would create “community oversight boards,” (i.e. censorship boards) to decide what books are appropriate for certain ages.
The bill says children should not have access to any book which includes descriptions of sexual content that “appeals to the prurient interest of minors.”
And according to the bill, sexual content includes even mere mentions of nudity.
Bear in mind– we’re not just talking about the Game of Thrones books, which are pretty clearly intended for adult audiences.
This applies to even classics like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, and of course, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. More…
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