U.S. Court: SEC Cannot Force Companies to Disclose “Conflict Minerals”

An appeals court has ruled the Securities and Exchange Commission cannot force companies to disclose whether minerals in their products come from the war-torn country the Democratic Republic of Congo because the mandatory labeling would violate the companies’ freedom of speech. Human rights groups have long pushed for mandatory labeling of so-called “conflict minerals” in order to allow consumers and investors to avoid fueling the bloody conflict through the purchase of their products. The mandatory labeling became law as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. But this week, a court ruled in favor of corporate trade groups seeking to overturn the measure.


human dont have freedom of speech. only companies have that.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act itself got repealed. thats what act means.

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Pro Athletes Strike for Black Lives

In a remarkable development Wednesday, professional basketball, baseball, soccer games came to an unprecedented halt, after Milwaukee Bucks players refused to take to the court for a playoff game against the Orlando Magic in support of Black Lives Matter. The NBA then canceled all three of Wednesday’s playoff games. Then, on TNT, former basketball star, the sports commentator Kenny Smith walked off the set of Inside the NBA in solidarity with the protesters.

Three Major League Baseball games were postponed after players on the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and other teams joined protests. Mets slugger Dominic Smith kneeled for the national anthem ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Florida Marlins and broke down in tears at a post-game press conference. Most of Wednesday’s Major League Soccer games were postponed. And the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament suspended matches after tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, whose father is Haitian, withdrew to protest against racial injustice.

— source democracynow.org | Aug 27, 2020

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BP to Pay $18.7B in Sweeping Oil Spill Settlement

BP has reached an $18.7 billion settlement to resolve all government claims resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The agreement covers damages sought by the federal government, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as more than 400 civic entities along the Gulf Coast. The payment includes a $5.5 billion civil penalty under the Clean Water Act and $7.1 billion fine for environmental damage to the Gulf. If confirmed by a federal judge, it would be the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history and the largest ever by a single entity.

A federal judge last year found BP had engaged in “gross negligence” before the spill, making “profit-driven decisions” that showed “a conscious disregard of known risks.” In a statement, the Gulf Restoration Network welcomed the settlement, but said: “Although $18.7 billion is a significant sum, we have serious concerns about how much of this money is actually going to be allocated towards restoring the Gulf’s environment and impacted communities.” Charlie Tebbutt, attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, added: “While $18.7 billion looks like a lot, just remember that BP makes that amount in net profit every three months.”


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Wildfires Reveal California’s Reliance on Incarcerated Firefighters

California, where climate-fueled wildfires are engulfing the state. Crews are battling more than 600 fires, that have killed at least seven people. Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday 300 lightning strikes overnight had sparked 10 new fires. The biggest group of fires, in Northern California around Napa, is now 25% contained. So far this year, 7,000 fires have destroyed 1.4 million acres, compared to 56,000 acres burned at the same time last year. Tens of thousands of firefighters have been deployed across the state to combat the blazes, which are raging as California also battles a record heat wave and the deadly pandemic.

This comes as the state’s prison firefighter program, which annually deploys thousands of incarcerated firefighters to the frontlines for just $1 an hour, faces diminished numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Governor Newsom ordered the release of some 8,000 incarcerated people, including some from the prison fire camps, as COVID-19 swept through the state’s prisons and camps. Several fire camps faced COVID outbreaks in July. Now, as advocates demand mass release for incarcerated people at risk due to the pandemic, more than 1,300 incarcerated firefighters are currently fighting the blazes ravaging California.

— source democracynow.org | Aug 25, 2020

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Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects

on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. We are able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis.

The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating.

Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps — including, for example, leaving out the poorest households from any increase in SNAP benefits — and implementation challenges that have delayed aid to some households. The measures are also temporary.

The data below, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. The extent and severity of continued hardships like hunger, eviction, and

— source cbpp.org | Aug 21, 2020

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Now’s the time to stop worshiping the false god of GDP

We must resist GDP-based arguments which attempt to justify a less stringent public health response to Covid-19. As we emerge from this crisis, returning to a senseless pursuit of endless growth would do more harm than good.

A recent study on Covid-19’s economic impact in the UK estimates a 15% hit to GDP. Given our economy’s overwhelming dependence on growth this kind of hit can easily translate to huge rises in unemployment, inequality and private debt defaults. But a reduction in economic activity doesn’t have to be painful, and it certainly shouldn’t be mobilised to argue against the public health measures currently in place. The hit to GDP need not cost more lives than the virus itself. Rather, it is endless GDP growth – not contraction – that poses the greater underestimated threat to human life at this point in time.

Although our current economic system is in many ways dependent on growth, prioritising ‘the economy’ and GDP growth over social goals like public health undoubtedly causes far more damage than good. It incentivizes exploitation of labour and nature, to be incorporated into the production process at the lowest possible cost and sold on the market for endless consumption. Negative social, psychological,

— source positivemoney.org | David Barmes | Mar 31, 2020

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America’s Death March

The terminal decline of the United States will not be solved by elections. The political rot and depravity will continue to eat away at the soul of the nation, spawning what anthropologists call crisis cults — movements led by demagogues that prey on an unbearable psychological and financial distress. These crisis cults, already well established among followers of the Christian Right and Donald Trump, peddle magical thinking and an infantilism that promises — in exchange for all autonomy — prosperity, a return to a mythical past, order and security. The dark yearnings among the white working class for vengeance and moral renewal through violence, the unchecked greed and corruption of the corporate oligarchs and billionaires who manage our failed democracy, which has already instituted wholesale government surveillance and revoked most civil liberties, are part of the twisted pathologies that infect all civilizations sputtering towards oblivion. I witnessed the deaths of other nations during the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and later in the former Yugoslavia. I have smelled this stench before.

The removal of Trump from office will only exacerbate the lust for racist violence he incites and the intoxicating elixir of white nationalism. The ruling elites, who first built a mafia economy and then built a mafia state, will continue under Biden, as they did under Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, to wantonly pillage and loot. The militarized police will not stop

— source scheerpost.com | Chris Hedges | 18/Aug/2020

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Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere

An international team of researchers led by the University of Bristol camped for three months next to the Greenland Ice Sheet, sampling the meltwater that runs off a large catchment (> 600 km2) of the Ice Sheet during the summer months. As reported in Nature, using novel sensors to measure methane in meltwater runoff in real time, they observed that methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice. They calculated that at least six tons of methane was transported to their measuring site from this portion of the Ice Sheet alone. Methane gas (CH4) is the third most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2). Although, present in lower concentrations that CO2, methane is approximately 20-28 times more potent.

— source University of Bristol | Jan 3, 2019

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