World News

The Absence of Legal Neutrality at Immigration Court

July 1, 2015 by Source
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By Carlos Batara

Henry Adams was right.

A great teacher affects eternity; no one knows where his or her influence stops. Larry Schwartz, my college history instructor, was that type of educator.

Outside my parents, Professor Schwartz was the most influential person in my life. As an educator, he guided my studies of social, racial, and political injustices. As a mentor, he inspired me to become a professional dedicated to helping the downtrodden and disadvantaged.

He taught me, above all else, that law is the ultimate instrument of political power.

Does Legal Neutrality Exist?

This belief came under heavy attack at law school. At law school, one of my first year professors repeatedly asserted that the law was neutral. Despite trying, I was unable able to buy into his proposition. It did not fit my reality.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

July 1, 2015 by Source

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By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.

As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.

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The San Diego-Tijuana Boundary Monuments

June 24, 2015 by Source

Mexican war MapBy Barbara Zaragoza / San Diego Free Press

In 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stipulated that Mexico relinquish 1.2 million square miles of its territory to the United States in return for $15 million. It also assigned a Joint U.S. and Mexican Boundary Commission to determine the exact location of the new boundary line.

The Commission consisted of a large caravan of men, including a commissioner and a surveyor for both sides. The drawing of the boundary line took two years to complete–from 1849 to 1851. The Joint Commission erected 52 boundary monuments with #1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean in what today is Border Field State Park.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

June 23, 2015 by Source

defend mauna kea

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. …

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NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends – Thanks to Edward Snowden

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Halt to Records Collection Probably Temporary As Senate Expected to Pass Reform Measure

By Frank Gormlie

As of today – June 1st – the National Security Agency is no longer legally allowed to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The NSA massive collection of telephone records ended at 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, right after the Senate failed to pass a measure to extend the controversial program, part of the Patriot Act.

And Americans can thank Edward Snowden for it. Snowden was the one who heroically revealed the massive surveillance program to the American public and is now sitting in Russia for his punishment.

The halt to the phone coverage, however, is probably only temporary, as the Senate is expected to okay a House-passed reform bill targeting the NSA’s surveillance program. Even if it passed, it would still take a couple of days for it to start up.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Vote: A Character Defining Moment

June 1, 2015 by Jim Miller

enjoy poverty

By Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago, Bill McKibben penned a very sharp editorial in the New York Times in response to the Obama administration’s choice to allow drilling in the Arctic noting that,

“The Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.”

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Notes From the Summit

May 29, 2015 by Source

Ahinahina - Hawai'ian Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum)

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I went to the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site near the summit of Mauna Kea for the first time, today. Four-wheel drive is recommended for the road that twists steeply with hairpin turns up the Mountain, so ten of us piled into a Kanaka uncle’s (older native Hawaiian man’s) pick-up truck to go see the summit.

Leaving from the visitor center parking lot at 9,200 feet the road ascends over 5,000 feet to an elevation close to 14,000. While my ears popped, my sense of wonder grew. Conversations around the truck bed stopped as the Mountain’s power over our senses intensified.

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The Greek Tragedy: A Labyrinth of Debt

May 28, 2015 by John Lawrence
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By John Lawrence

How to figure out the ongoing crisis that is Greece? What exactly is going on there? As per usual it’s another chapter in the strange saga that involves Wall Street’s stranglehold over the world economy.

What happened to Greece is similar to what happened to American mortgage holders after they were encouraged to go in over their collective heads borrowing more money than they could reasonably expect to be in a position to pay back. Greece did the same.

Will Greece default soon? Will they stay in the Eurozone or be ejected out of it? These questions have been hanging in the air for what seems like an interminably long time.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Talking Story

May 26, 2015 by Source

moonriseBy Will Falk

Looking up at the still, lingering morning stars from the best stargazing location in the world early on the third day since my arrival at the occupation on Mauna Kea, my personal velocities catch up with me and I listen. I stand at 9,200 feet above sea level.

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Why Does the American Left Ignore the Struggle for Freedom in Northern Ireland?

May 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Jeff Stone

The Irish Republican Movement has been struggling for a socialist free Ireland since the first uprising against the British in 1916 led by Michael Collins.

Most Americans have a very naive idea at best and ignorant, uninformed at worst, attitude about the IRA or any of the nationalist parties that favor expelling the British and restoring Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

For example, the IRA, which a lot of Americans still don’t realize, its antecedents are basically a very Marxist, socialist approach to government, democracy, and human rights.

While many members are Catholics, the IRA is a secular organization.

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Santa Barbara oil spill now stretches for 9 miles

May 21, 2015 by Source
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by Dan Bacher

The spill from a ruptured pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline expanded overnight from 4 miles long to two slicks stretching 9 miles along the coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The pipeline carries crude oil from to Flores to Gaviota.

Preliminary reports indicated that the ruptured 24 inch pipeline in Goleta leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil Tuesday. However, the pipeline company may have actually released as much as 105,000 gallons, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean, according to the latest data from Plains All American.

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Security Forces Clash with Baja California Farmworkers

May 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Police raids and street protests in Baja California have led to scores of injuries in the latest round of labor strife over pay and working conditions in San Quintin, an agricultural region producing produce sold in the United States.

This weekend’s violence followed the failure of Interior Minister Luis Miranda Nava to show up for a meeting with leaders of farm worker organizations in the area.

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World Carbon Dioxide Levels Pass 400 ppm For First Time Ever

May 7, 2015 by Source
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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

By Nick Visser /Huffington Post / May 6, 2015

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a “significant milestone” in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”

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Citizenship, War Criminals, And Immigration Fraud

May 1, 2015 by Source
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By Carlos Batara

There are no winners in wars. It’s just a matter of degree.

Both sides lose. One side loses less.

During my law school days, one of my best friends and I discussed this topic quiet often. He had served multiple terms of duty in Vietnam and been wounded twice. I was a dove and anti-war protester.

Outsiders did not understand the basis of our camaraderie. Though our positions started from different perspectives, both of us lamented the violence of war – and detested the negative effects such violence imposes on the world for decades after the firing ends.

Even Dwight Eisenhower, a decorated war hero who rode his triumph to the White House, acknowledged a similar sentiment. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can,” Ike noted, “as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

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The Connection Between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War

April 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The War in Vietnam Formally Ended 40 Years Ago Today

By Frank Gormlie

There is a direct connection between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War – which formally ended 40 years ago today when the National Liberation Front finally captured Saigon – the then-name of the capital.

Or I should say, there’s a direct connection between the OB Rag and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. I was a militant member of the anti-war movement on my campus at UCSD from 1968 to 1970 when I graduated – along with hundreds and even thousands of other students.

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Fined by China, Qualcomm Losing Chip Business as CEO Departs

April 29, 2015 by John Lawrence

Qualcomm Sucks Up To China

Qualcomm1By John Lawrence

Qualcomm has been fined almost a billion dollars by China for violating its anti-monopoly law. China has the world’s most internet users and the largest smartphone market so Qualcomm has to tread gingerly with the authorities there since it doesn’t want to be booted out of the world’s most lucrative market.

The fine will knock 58 cents a share off Qualcomm’s earnings for the year. Qualcomm CEO Steven M. Mollenkopf thinks paying the fine will make Qualcomm better positioned to cash in in the future.

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Climate Mobilization Coalition Gears Up for Next Action – Meetings Every Saturday in OB

April 28, 2015 by Source
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Local Climate Mobilization Coalition meets at People’s Co-op every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. — Here’s Report of April 25th Meeting

By Colleen Dietzel / Special to the OB Rag

Since early February this year the Coalition for Climate Mobilization has been organizing a series of events to build the movement leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November. (See OB Rag coverage of March 15th event.)

The Climate Mobilization Coalition’s goal is a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Why the Mountain?

April 24, 2015 by Source

The Mauna Kea Summit in winter

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I am preparing to leave for Hawai’i to offer myself in support of resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project that would place a large telescope and stadium-sized structure on the peak of native Hawaiians’ most sacred place – Mauna Kea.

The project, funded by a partnership including the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy among others, would also place a 5,000 gallon chemical waste container above the largest freshwater aquifer on Hawai’i Island.

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Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

April 17, 2015 by Source

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015. Democracy Now! provides a tribute here.

From TomDispatch.com

south americaHis book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country.

Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

April 9, 2015 by Source

John Oliver

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday [April 5], John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

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The quest for justice for the 43 Mexican students continues

April 3, 2015 by Source

Video: The San Diego March for Ayotzinapa

By Horacio Jones / San Diego Free Press

ayotizinapa march san diego March_2015When I heard that the families of the “normalistas” were coming to San Diego I was keen to do a story on their caravan. Ever since I heard about the kidnappings I felt compelled to do whatever I could to support their cause against the “narcos” and the Mexican government.

I feel that the only way things will change in Mexico is through the grassroots efforts of people like these who are tired and disgusted with the current state of Mexican politics.

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Court: Navy Sonar Training Injures Whales, Dolphins and Other Sea Animals

April 2, 2015 by Source
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by Big Island Now Staff

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service wrongly approved U.S. Navy training exercises in the Pacific Ocean that would cause widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals, and endangered sea turtles.

The Navy’s planned exercises involved the use of explosives, sonar, and vessel strikes over a five-year period, causing an estimated 9.6 million instances of harm to ocean mammals and other marine life.

It was concluded that the training exercises would impact millions of marine animals with injury, death, and disrupted essential habits like mating, rest, and communication.

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Extreme Weather Watch: February 2015 Sets Records for Snow and Cold

March 16, 2015 by John Lawrence

weather5By John Lawrence

Many records for snowfall and extreme cold were set in February. Some might think this is a sign of the nonexistence of global warming, but they would be wrong.

Maybe the terminology should be more appropriately “climate change,” but global warming still holds if the average surface air temperature sets records as it did in 2014 despite extreme cold in the northeast US.

It remains to be seen if extreme heat elsewhere in the world will make up for the extreme cold over much of the eastern half of the US in 2015.

Amid the extreme cold and snowfall records in the eastern half of the US, February also set a record for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. For the first time in February the earth’s average carbon dioxide level was above 400 ppm. Last year, the monthly average didn’t go above that level until April, which was the first month in human history with carbon dioxide levels that high.

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San Diegans Mobilize for Government Action on Climate Change

March 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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On a hot afternoon last Sunday, March 15th, 250 San Diegans rallied and marched – and called on the US government to act on the climate change crisis.

About 150 demonstrators had gathered by 2 pm at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza, as the band the Swamp Critters encouraged them through song to come out and protest. Organized by a loose coalition that involved OB’s People’s Food Store Cooperative and the OB Green Store, as well as the Sierra Club, 350.org, and a couple of Democratic clubs – from Pt Loma and La Jolla, the protest was part of a series the coalition plans leading up to next November.

After a few speakers, the group pushed out of the Plaza, down 3rd Avenue and Broadway, taking the short walk in the streets to the Federal Building. A few police cars escorted the peaceful march the few blocks that then gathered for a second rally. Once in the shade of the massive Federal Building, another band welcomed the crowd. A dozen people got up and danced to the music of Captain Viejo before a few more speakers thanked and exhorted those present to continue the struggle.

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The Battle Over Trans-Pacific Partnership: Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back Against the Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

March 16, 2015 by Jim Miller

stop-tpp-700By Jim Miller

Just as the folks in the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) were gearing up to marginalize the progressive wing of the Democratic Party leading up to the 2016 election, Elizabeth Warren struck back with what even CNN reported as “a push to kill major trade negotiations” being championed by President Obama and previously supported by Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton

And it’s a very good thing that Warren has elevated the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the national media because proponents of this deal have done everything they can to keep the details secret.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

February 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extremely Slow Progress Converting to Renewables in Face of Huge Increase in CO2 Emissions: What Are the Trends?

rising sea levelsBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 3 can be found here

Parts 1 and 2 address the psychological denial mechanisms and economics behind the world’s ingrained obsession with increasing GDP rates, despite their environmentally cancerous impact. Naturally, developing countries want the same material benefits from boundless GDP growth and unlimited resource development that advanced countries have long been exploiting.

This abets the idea that, as long as people make money from despoiling the atmosphere and climate, the Market should have its free reins forever. The Market is assumed to be the best arbiter of our planet’s ecological stability, but that is patently false. In reality, the Market exploits the environment and now it is becoming clear that increasing population and economic growth fueled by fossil fuels do so as well.

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The Dark Truth Behind Quinoa – the Popular Superfood

February 20, 2015 by Source

As the hype around quinoa builds, so do big questions about the problems with its production.

By Jill Richardson / AlterNet

Chenopodium quinoa in flower. / commons.wikimedia.com

Quinoa is rising up the popularity charts as a food staple in U.S. and Europe. A growing spate of positive coverage cites quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) as a high-protein grain-like relative of spinach and beets which is a newly discovered gluten-free superfood. Its growing popularity has also spawned a growing source of controversy, following reports that high global quinoa prices put the crop out of reach for the people who grow it.

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The San Salvador and Junipero Serra: Celebrating Spanish Catholic Domination

February 17, 2015 by Source
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By Steven Newcomb

Early this year, 2015, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is scheduled to launch a replica of the colonizing Spanish ship called “San Salvador” (“Holy Savior”). That was the ship which Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, in 1542, sailed into the Kumeyaay bay of the Kumeyaay Nation’s territory. As a result of that voyage, the society of the United States now typically calls that bay, and the city adjacent to it, by the Catholic name, “San Diego” (“Saint Diego”).

Cabrillo sailed up the Baja peninsula under a royal commission that the Spanish crown had granted to a vicious and deadly psychopath, a conquistador named Pedro Alvarado. The royal commission authorized Alvarado “to discover and conquer” places he was able to reach by sailing northward along the Baja peninsula. When Alvarado was killed in Guatemala, the Spanish viceroy charged Cabrillo with sailing north on the basis of that royal commission.

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It Was Syrian Kurd Leftists Who Kicked Islamic State Out of Kobani

February 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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In international news, the recent liberation of the Syrian city of Kobani from the control of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters by Syrian Kurd rebels was a little reported story which popped up briefly for its 15 minutes on the mainstream media roulette wheel of fame. Then it disappeared. But the under-reported little story – a story with a huge irony – deserves retelling.

The story – which can be pieced together from a number of media reports – involves the identity of the major fighting force that kicked ISIS out of Kobani, a city of 200,000 mainly ethnic Kurds in north Syria, a stone’s throw from the Turkish border.

It turns out it was a group of Syrian Kurd leftists who kicked ISIS’ ass, if you forgive the vernacular, after 4 months of intense house-to-house fighting, at times room-to-room, and pushed them out of the city entirely. It was the People’s Protection Units, a local leftist organization, and its affiliate, the Women’s Protection Units, that have collective command structures and believe in the equality of women, and – in fact – have numerous women commanders in the fighting units. (These are new wave Sixties leftists, not from the old school like China, Russia, North Korea.)

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Kidnapped Student Teachers in México: An Inside Perspective

February 13, 2015 by Source

via www.zocalopublicsquare.org

By Luis Villanueva Rodríguez / Draft NOtices

For many, the September [kidnappings and] killings of … 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the Méxican state of Guerrero has been profoundly painful and tragic. My feelings of outrage and despair are also deep because I was educated in one of Ayotzinapa’s sister schools.

What many do not realize is that this crime was perpetrated by the Méxican government against students who had important social justice concerns and who were soon to become activist teachers. These rural teachers’ colleges are known for their progressive beliefs.

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