Enduring Legacy of Voting Rights Pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer

It was the 31st of August in 1962 that 18 of us traveled 26 miles to the country courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens. We was met in Indianola by policemen, highway patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time. After we had taken this test and started back to Ruleville, we was held up by the city police and the state highway patrolmen and carried back to Indianola, where the bus driver was charged that day with driving a bus the wrong color.

After we paid the fine among us, we continued on to Ruleville, and Reverend Jeff Sunny carried me four miles in the rural area, where I had worked as a timekeeper and sharecropper for 18 years. I was met there by my children. They told me the plantation owner was angry because I had gone down, tried to register. After they told me, my husband came and said the plantation owner was raising Cain because I had tried to register. And before he quit talking, the plantation owner came and said, “Fannie Lou, do you know — did Pap tell you what I said?”

— source democracynow.org | Oct 08, 2021

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Outrage as Italy faces multimillion pound damages to UK oil firm

Italy could be forced to pay millions of pounds in damages to a UK oil company after banning new drilling near its coast.

The case has sparked outrage at the secretive international tribunals at which fossil fuel companies can sue governments for passing laws to protect the environment – amid fears that such cases are slowing down action on the climate crisis. It is also fuelling concern that the UK is particularly exposed to the risk of oil firms suing to prevent green policies, potentially hampering climate action.

Rockhopper Exploration, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire, bought a licence to drill for oil off Italy’s Adriatic coast in 2014. There had already been a wave of opposition to the project, with protests that drew tens of thousands of people. Within two years, the campaign won over the Italian parliament, which imposed a ban on oil and gas projects within 12 nautical miles of the Italian coast.

Rockhopper fought back using a relatively obscure legal mechanism known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which allows companies to sue governments for introducing policies that could affect their future earnings. Reports suggest Rockhopper has spent $29m (£21m) on the offshore project to date and is claiming damages of $275m based on

— source theguardian.com | Josephine Moulds | 25 Jul 2021

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Indian Citizenship Law a Mess, Proving Citizenship Even Messier

Lya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, United States, says immigration is not a zero-sum game between migrants and natives. Contrarily, freedom of movement is a boon for both the migrant and the native.

In this context, imagine an immigrant to India who marries an Indian and secures documentary identity proof over years of continuous residence here. What if this immigrant, who is not a citizen under Indian law, is elected as a village head?

This is what happened to a woman, allegedly from Pakistan, who became a village head in Uttar Pradesh. She claimed she was born in India. Another woman, of Nepalese origin, was caught in a similar situation in Bihar.

In the latter case, the Patna High Court held that a foreign national does not automatically become an Indian citizen on marrying an Indian or owning a Permanent Account Number,

— source newsclick.in | Md Tasnimul Hassan | 27 Mar 2021

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New German ID Cards

“It was a really creepy feeling,” says data protection activist Leena Simon, describing the moment when she last visited the citizens’ service center at her local town hall and they wanted to take her fingerprints.

She was instructed to press the index fingers of both hands on the glass surface of a scanner. The idea was that the resulting fingerprints would be included in her new passport. However, she used a trick that she’s not willing to share to spoil the scan. Leena is a member of a German organization called Digitalcourage, which is committed to privacy and digital rights.

So, did it work? Leena says she can’t be sure. But what she does know: “For the rest of the day, I felt awful.” She says it is “invasive” when the state forces law-abiding citizens to allow their fingerprints to be taken. After all, she says, it’s a tool ordinarily used by the police in criminal investigations: “I don’t understand why I should have

— source dw.com | Nina Werkhäuser, Esther Felden | 03.07.2021

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ALEC’s Annual Meeting at Salt Lake City, Utah

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its first post-Trump in-person meeting this week in Salt Lake City, Utah at the five-star Grand America Hotel.

While Trump is no longer in office, ALEC members still wearing their MAGA hats can participate in Trump-themed trainings such as, “Achieving and Using Political Power: How You Implement an America First Agenda,” and “Writing the History of the Future: Messaging Strategies to Reclaim States’ Power & American Exceptionalism.”

The Annual Meeting kicked off on Monday with an “exclusive, invitation-only academy” for state lawmakers with the dark money voter suppression group the Honest Elections Project, where ALEC politicians were “to discuss the implementation of new election legislation” with three secretaries of state, among other “fun and educational” events, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported.

— source commondreams.org | David Armiak | Jul 30, 2021

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ALEC Inspires Lawmakers to File Anti-Critical Race Theory Bills

Republican efforts to ban the teaching of the history of racism in public schools picked up steam when the corporate “bill mill” the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hosted a workshop on December 3, 2020 called “Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught.” The virtual workshop, part of ALEC’s annual States and Nation Policy Summit, included state legislators, corporate lobbyists, and staff from right-wing policy organizations and private foundations, according to an attendance list obtained and published by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors to adopt model legislation that weakens environmental protections, advances anti-union measures, reduces funding for health care, promotes private prisons, and weakens state regulation of corporations.

— source commondreams.org | Jul 28, 2021

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Arrested in Protest over Voting Rights & Infrastructure

Nearly 100 women from around the United States were arrested outside the Supreme Court as they marked the 173rd anniversary of the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls with a protest calling for voting rights and economic justice. We speak with Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and one of those who was arrested. She says Congress needs to scrap the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation and pass a “bold infrastructure bill” that addresses economic inequality, as well as the climate. She also discusses the work of her father, historian Athan Theoharis, who recently died after a lengthy career dedicated to exposing FBI misconduct.

I and nearly a hundred other women got arrested in front of the Supreme Court, in front of the Senate office buildings, because our democracy is in peril. We are living in a moment when 17 states have passed voter restrictions in the past — since 2020, and where, since the 2020, about more than almost 400 voter suppression kind of legislation has been introduced in states. And we see the connection between this attack on voting rights and all of the other issues that impact, especially the 140 million poor and low-income people in this country.

— source democracynow.org | Jul 23, 2021

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Exxon lobbyists paid the 6 Democrats named in sting video nearly $333,000

Exxon Mobil Corp. lobbyist Keith McCoy listed six Democrats the oil giant saw as key allies to push its legislative agenda in the Senate in a secretly recorded sting video Greenpeace UK published late last month. Today, Exxon Mobil funds trade associations that lobby against climate policies while offering a rhetorical contrast to oil giants that advocate for politically unpopular proposals unlikely to reach fruition in a bid to look like responsible actors. But a 2017 Ohio State University study indicates the donations have a measurable effect, particularly as they enter the five-figure range. For every $10,000 a lawmaker received from a major industrial polluter like Exxon Mobil, their probability of voting for pro-environmental legislation decreased by 2%, according to the study of donations between 1990 and 2010 published in the journal Environmental Politics. For Democrats, the effect of the donations was even stronger, reducing likelihood of a pro-environmental vote by 3%.

— source grist.org | Jul 16, 2021

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Data breach reveals extensive government spying on journalists and political activists

A data breach of the Israeli spy company NSO Group has revealed that the company’s Pegasus software is being used by governments around the world to spy on political dissidents and journalists. The breach, obtained by French media non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, included a list of 50,000 phone numbers targeted for infection with the Pegasus spyware.

Many identified targets of NSO’s software are prominent individuals, including hundreds of business executives, religious leaders, academics, union and government officials—including several yet to be named cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers—as well as employees of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The list consists of at least 180 targeted journalists, with reporters, executives, and editors from the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, France 24, the Economist, Associated Press and Reuters, all identified by the Pegasus project. The Guardian, which

— source wsws.org | 18 Jul 2021

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