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15 Oct

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Dozens detained on ‘day of disruption’ targeting City firms profiting from climate crisis

Dozens of protesters, including a 77-year-old rabbi, have been arrested while blocking traffic in London’s financial district, as Extinction Rebellion switched its focus towards companies funding and profiting from the climate emergency.

Hundreds of demonstrators walked into the roundabout outside the Bank of England in the City and sat down in the road early on Monday morning.

In a statement, the group said: “Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis.

“The day of disruption, which will target financial institutions, seeks to highlight the far greater disruption faced by those living in the environments systematically being destroyed by UK-backed companies.

“The ecological damage is global, and it is hitting the global south now.” Protesters said they were switching their focus to the financial institutions “funding environmental destruction”.

Jeffrey Newman, emeritus rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue, knelt down in the middle of Lombard Street, opposite the Bank of England, after leading a Shacharit festival morning service. He was carried away by police, who at one point appeared to drop him on the floor, after he refused to go with them voluntarily.

As he waited to be taken, Newman, a long-time environmental campaigner, said: “We are in a period of enormous catastrophic breakdown, and if it takes an arrest to try to find ways of helping to galvanise public opinion then it is certainly worth being arrested.

“The other side of what I want to say is that Extinction Rebellion is this: it is activism, but underneath it’s also about rebuilding, about showing that a society can function better when people collaborate.”

Interrupted before he could finish, Newman told officers surrounding him that he disagreed with what they were doing and did not accept their grounds for his arrest. “It’s not OK!” he shouted at the arresting officer before he was taken away.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman being arrested by police outside the Bank of England.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman being arrested by police outside the Bank of England. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Another protester, Chay Harwood, 23, from Bristol, said: “We are here in the financial district because we know for a fact that these companies and institutions have a vested interest in deforestation and the decimation of people’s lives and livelihoods, not only in the Amazon but in the global south in general.”

Shortly before 3.30pm, the Metropolitan police announced that 1,405 people had been arrested in connection with the Extinction Rebellion protests since last Monday. Of those, 76 had been charged, with offences including failing to comply with a condition under section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, criminal damage and obstruction of a highway.

The protest outside the major finance institutions bankrolling big oil comes after the Guardian’s polluters investigation, which found that the world’s three largest money managers had a combined $300bn fossil fuel investment portfolio, using money from people’s private savings and pension contributions.

The Guardian found that BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, which together oversee assets worth more than China’s entire GDP, had continued to grow billion-dollar stakes in some of the most carbon-intensive companies even after the Paris agreement, which set out the urgent need to drastically scale back fossil fuel expansion.

A protester is led away by police as others block the road outside Mansion House in the City of London.

A protester is led away by police as others block the road outside Mansion House. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

The two largest asset managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, have also routinely opposed motions at fossil fuel companies that would have forced directors to take more action on climate change.

On Monday morning, the Metropolitan police announced there had been 1,336 arrests linked to the protests since they began last week. The rate of arrests appeared to have slowed over the weekend as the group focused instead on mass actions involving members of the general public.

Near the Bank of England, Andrew Medhurst, a former City trader turned full-time activist, said the financial industry needed to realise that some of the projects it was financing were “essentially leading us to destruction”.

“We have no more time left in terms of taking action,” he said. “We haven’t got 12 years. We should have started yesterday. We have to decarbonise our economies, so for the banks to be lending money to fossil fuel companies – it’s just barmy. It doesn’t make sense.

“It basically means there’s a disconnect between those emotional family connections [between City workers] and their future children and grandchildren, and making money, which is morally repugnant.”

Emily Grossman, an expert in molecular biology and genetics and a member of Scientists for XR, said she was protesting outside the big finance houses to shine a light on the central role they played in the climate emergency.

The group now has more than 700 prominent scientists signed up to support non-violent direct action around the escalating ecological emergency. Grossman said the big banks in the City were a key target, having lent hundreds of billions of pounds to fossil fuel projects in the past year.

She said: “They are the ones who are pushing ahead with these huge investments … they are using our own money – in terms of pensions and investments – to drive us all towards climate catastrophe … They are threatening the lives of our children and grandchildren for the sake of their profits.”

Kimberly Teehee could become the Cherokee Nation’s first delegate to Congress – if Washington lets her

Kimberley Teehee has been nominated by the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin, as a delegate to the House of Representatives.

Kimberley Teehee has been nominated by the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin, as a delegate to the House of Representatives. Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP

The 1835 Treaty of New Echota precipitated tens of thousands of Cherokee joining the infamous Trail of Tears – giving up their ancestral homes in the south-east, to trek to what is now Oklahoma.

In a minor concession to the Cherokee people, buried within the treaty was a promise that the nation could appoint a delegate to the House of Representatives, to have at least some sort of say in the government that had forced them for their land.

Over the next two centuries, as the Cherokee struggled to establish themselves in Oklahoma, sought to overcome the trauma of being forced from their land, and the country went through a brutal civil war, the notion of sending a Cherokee representative to Washington DC was largely forgotten.

Until now. This month the principal chief of the Cherokee nation, Chuck Hoskin, appointed Kimberly Teehee as delegate to Congress – taking the federal government up on its nearly 200-year-old offer.

“I feel we are in an environment now where Congress is more educated about Native American issues,” Teehee said.

“We have four members of Congress, people who are citizens of federally recognised tribes, who take on our issues and champion our issues. There is a bipartisan Congressional Native American caucus, whose job is to educate, on a bipartisan basis, members of Congress about Native American issues.”

The Cherokee Nation has never sent a delegate to Congress before. While they are hopeful the House will honor the terms of the New Echota treaty, there will be a wait before – hopefully – Teehee can take up her post.

If she does, she will be able to advocate for the nearly 380,000 citizens of the Cherokee Nation, which spans almost 7,000 square miles in Oklahoma. The nation has its own elected government, but is reliant on the federal government financially. In 2019, Hoskin said, the Cherokee nation is thriving compared with previous decades. That influenced the decision to push for further representation.

“The Cherokee Nation is in a position of relative strength, both political strength and economic strength, with the wellbeing of our citizens on the rise,” Hoskin said.

“I think now is the time to assert this treaty provision, so that we can do more than what we’ve done in recent decades. We’re sort of standing outside of the Congress and advocating for our needs and for the government of the United States to live up to its obligations. [Now we could be] be inside Congress, and do what our ancestors contemplated when they negotiated those terms.”

While the Cherokee Nation is self-governing, running and managing its own schools, hospitals and infrastructure programs, it relies on grants from the government. That funding comes from the “discretionary funding” portion of the budget. But the amount of discretionary funding can wax and wane depending on negotiations between Congress and the president, or the state of the economy.

“So, depending on the political dynamics, you know, there may be a contraction in any given year of the discretionary spending in this country,” Hoskin said.

Changing that will be one of the key aims for the Nation, and Teehee. Currently a main path to introducing legislation is through approaching sympathetic members of Congress. With a delegate, the Cherokee Nation would be able to bring in their own bills, which could potentially lead to a vote in Congress.

Professor Lindsay Robertson, Chickasaw Nation endowed chair in Native American law at the University of Oklahoma, said the impact of having a delegate in the House should not be underestimated.

“It could be enormously beneficial,” Robertson said.

“[The delegate] would be entitled to membership in committees. They could vote in committees, they could introduce legislation and they could speak on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“On top of that, there’s the benefit that comes from simply being in the room. The Cherokees having a delegate – who could well opt to serve as a representative for Indian country, for Native rights in general – in the halls of Congress all the time could be enormously beneficial to all tribes, not just the Cherokees.”

Hoskin said that “even though the Cherokee Nation congressional delegate is first and foremost and advocate for the Cherokee Nation”, he expects that being afforded a delegate to Congress is something that can help Native Americans across the US. He says his efforts have been applauded by other tribes.

“In 2019, I think tribal leaders recognize the benefit of solidarity: that we get more done together than we do separately,” Hoskin said.

“And so I have been very careful to tell tribal leaders and to express in interviews that my expectation is that Kim Teehee will be somebody with an open door to leaders across Indian country.

“And no doubt some of the issues that she’ll work on will be issues that are of concern not just to the Cherokee Nation but across tribal governments in this country.”

The question now is whether politicians in Washington decide to let Teehee take up her post. The House could decide on its own that it is able to appoint a Cherokee delegate, but members could also deem that the Senate, and perhaps even the president also need to agree.

Teehee is optimistic she will be appointed, but knows that process will take time. In the meantime, she said she will push Congress to grant the Cherokee Nation the right that was promised in 1835.

“I want to take one step at a time, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. But I also want the discussion and the analysis and the process to keep moving. I hope that there’s no stall and that we’re all continuing to be motivated about this,” Teehee said.

“We’ve nearly 200 years, and we can wait a little longer. But I do want it done.”

World Politics

United States

  • Joe Biden’s son admits to ‘poor judgment’ in taking Ukraine job

  • Hunter Biden breaks silence over foreign business dealings

Hunter Biden with his father, the former vice-president and Demcoratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2010.

Hunter Biden with his father, the former vice-president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2010. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice-president who is at the centre of the impeachment inquiry engulfing the White House, has admitted to “poor judgment” in taking a paid position in a Ukrainian gas company – but denied doing anything wrong.

Breaking his silence over his business dealings in Ukraine and China that have become core to the investigation into whether Donald Trump tried to enlist the help of Ukraine in his re-election campaign, Biden told ABC News on Tuesday he had allowed himself to become involved in what he described as “a swamp”.

But he repeatedly denied ever discussing his foreign work with his father Joe Biden, a frontrunner in the Democratic race to challenge Trump next year.

“In retrospect I think there was poor judgment on my part,” he said. “I know I did nothing wrong at all, but it was poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is a, it’s a swamp in many ways.”

Later on Tuesday morning, Trump offered a review of Biden’s performance. It was, he said, “really bad. Now Sleepy Joe has real problems!”

Trump also attempted to tie the Biden affair to a scandal many think tipped the 2016 election his way.

“Reminds me of Crooked Hillary and her 33,000 deleted Emails,” the president wrote, “not recoverable!”

You fall down the rabbit hole and the president is the Cheshire Cat asking you questions about crazy things

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden, 49, has largely kept out of the public eye since Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the hyperactive former New York mayor commonly described as the president’s personal attorney, began peddling a conspiracy theory that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine.

Trump used a 25 July phone conversation with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to try to instigate an official investigation into Hunter Biden’s business activities on the board of a major Ukrainian gas company called Burisma.

According to the conspiracy theory, in 2016 Joe Biden, in his official role as vice-president, forced the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor in order to stymie an investigation into Burisma and Hunter Biden’s role within it.

However, several top Ukrainian officials have made clear the investigation was dormant by that time and there is no evidence the younger Biden did anything illegal.

Hunter Biden told ABC coming under fire from Trump and Giuliani felt “like living in some kind of Alice in Wonderland where you are up in the real world and then you fall down the rabbit hole and the president is the Cheshire Cat asking you questions about crazy things that don’t bear any resemblance to the reality of anything that has to do with me”.

The timing of Biden’s interview has raised eyebrows, just hours before the fourth Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio. Joe Biden will take the stage on Tuesday night at the centre of 12 Democratic candidates in the first such debate since the impeachment inquiry was launched last month.

Several Democratic strategists have questioned the wisdom of Hunter speaking out at this critical moment. The fear is that it might switch the focus away from Trump’s efforts to enlist the help of the Ukraine government and on to the president’s home ground: his unsubstantiated claims of corruption on the part of the Bidens.

Hunter Biden also used the ABC interview to deny Trump’s unfounded allegation that he made $1.5bn from his work on a Chinese investment company. He said he had made “not one cent” from that relationship.

“Look, this literally has no basis in fact,” he said.

Asked about a 2013 trip to China in which he accompanied his father on an official vice-presidential flight, he said he had gone to accompany Joe and his daughter Finnegan. He said he had not discussed any business matters at any point.

The ABC interview is part of what appears to be a coordinated attempt by both Bidens to lance the boil of the Trump/Giuliani conspiracy theories. On Sunday Hunter announced he was stepping down from the board of the Chinese investment company. He also said he would desist from any foreign contracts were his father to win the presidency.

“I have committed I won’t serve on any boards,” Hunter Biden told ABC. “I won’t work directly for any foreign entities when dad becomes president.”

Earlier in the month, Trump stood in front of news cameras and openly encouraged China to look into the activities of his political rival and son.

Also on Sunday, Joe Biden pledged that were he to win the presidential election next year no one in his family would have any business dealings with foreign companies.

He then attempted to turn the ethical spotlight back on Trump by saying that none of his relatives would “have an office in the White House” – a dig at Trump’s senior adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his wife Ivanka Trump.

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13 Oct

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

View All>>

Kaczynski Party in Control Ahead of Polish Vote

The right-wing party PiS is heading for another election victory in Poland. To ensure as large a majority as possible, Jaroslaw Kaczynski is seeking to target more moderate voters, but he hasn’t forgotten his party’s core nationalist supporters.

By

Polish Technology Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz

Piotr Malecki/ DER SPIEGEL

Polish Technology Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz

The woman who has been tasked with making Poland’s national conservatives electable to liberals is crawling around on her knees in a classroom. Her name is Jadwiga Emilewicz, Poland’s technology minster, and she is using a tablet to control a robot during her visit to Elementary School 58 in the Polish city of Poznan. Still, her attention is focused more on the journalists in the room than on the children, as evidenced by her use of such terms as “future challenges” and “digitalization and internet coverage.” The message is clear: Poland’s governing party, Law and Justice (PiS), is more than capable of leading the country into the future.

Emilewicz hardly fulfills the Catholic stereotypes associated with the “Polish mother,” and on this day, she has left her three sons behind with their father. She studied political science in Krakow and Oxford, and she shies away from issues frequently harped upon by the national conservatives. She doesn’t say a word about the Germans, who PiS accuses of wanting to dominate the country, and there are no attacks against “gender delusions” or the Brussels elite. Instead, she later says, her focus is on attracting more foreign investors and promoting entrepreneurship — “a word,” she says, “that is feminine in the Polish language, by the way.”

The city of Poznan lies in the far western part of Poland and is a stronghold of liberals and European Union supporters. Emilewicz’s mission is to break the liberals’ dominance in the city, a task handed to her by party head Jaroslaw Kaczynski as part of the new PiS strategy. It is now going after centrist voters.

It is virtually a foregone conclusion that PiS will emerge victorious from Oct. 13 parliamentary elections. Polls show it ahead of the nearest opposition party by at least 10 percentage points. Even an absolute majority is in play. The party, which is often ridiculed by its opponents as a throng of provincial bumpkins, is actually an extremely efficient machine designed to produced parliamentary majorities.

Leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski founded PiS 18 years ago with his twin brother Lech. He remains its unchallenged figurehead, ethereal and glorified, feared and demonized. He continues to make virtually every important personnel decision by himself. Votes within PiS are not standard practice.

‘Faith in His Political Instincts’

Jadwiga Emilewicz is full of praise for Kaczynski. “Show me another leader in Europe like him,” she says. “He has political power and has developed a political program that Poles find convincing. He has a vision that he is purposefully seeking to implement. I have faith in his political instincts.”

Kaczyinski holds no state or government office, yet he is nevertheless the most powerful man in Poland. Like the prototype of a charismatic leader, he hovers over everything, controlling both the party and the government from the “back bench,” as Polish newspapers describe it.

The approaching PiS electoral triumph stands in contrast to the headlines following his party’s election victory in 2015. Kaczynski rapidly moved to weaken the Constitutional Tribunal and made the judiciary answerable to his parliamentary majority, thus triggering the largest protests in the country since the Solidarity movement in the 1980s. At the European level, the country was sidelined, with the government earning strong criticism when Poland became the only country to vote against the liberal Donald Tusk, also a Pole, for the position of European Council president. Later, Brussels launched rule of law infringement proceedings against Warsaw.

Skipping ahead to fall 2019, it seems that a majority of voters is no longer particularly concerned about all that. On the day-to-day level, the dispute over the rule of law seems to be less important than the 500 zloty (114 euros) in monthly child benefits that PiS introduced. The demonstrations have long since disappeared from the streets.

PiS campaign posters bear a list of promises, including a 13th month bonus for pensioners, farm subsidies, tax exemption for young people and an increase to the minimum wage. But the PiS success story hasn’t only come out of the combination of nationalism and the welfare state. Kaczynski has carefully planned his next election victory. The first phase of his shadow regency was focused on deepening support among the party’s traditional, nationalist electorate. The subjugation of the judiciary was accompanied by an ideological clash that relied on polarization, pitting Catholic Poles with “normal families” against “Poles of a worse category,” as Kaczynski called his opponents back then. The reference was to the urban elite who support such things as gay marriage.

Second Phase

Then, around two years ago, he launched the second phase. Kaczynski got rid of the rather provincial-seeming Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and replaced her with the more cosmopolitan economist Mateusz Morawiecki. The party’s tone became more moderate, both domestically and internationally and Warsaw even voted in favor of installing the German Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president. The aggressive PiS had suddenly transformed into a much more moderate, and more electable, version of itself.

Radoslaw Fogiel embodies this new direction. The 37-year-old has been one of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s closest advisers for the last 10 years and is the party’s spokesman in the current campaign. It is a job that suits him well: He is unflappable and seems to have no trouble remaining friendly, patient and matter-of-fact.

Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Artur Widak/ Picture Alliance

Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski

The walls of Fogiel’s office at party headquarters are covered with photos of the victims of the 2010 airplane crash in Smolensk, with the largest portrait that of Jaroslaw’s twin brother Lech. Still, Fogiel is unwilling even to take a position on whether he believes the crash was the result of an attack or was simply an accident. The PiS interpretation is that there is no way the tragedy could have been an accident. “Smolensk” has become a part of the nationalist victim myth, according to which the Poles have always been tragic heroes throughout their history. Two investigative commissions, to be sure, came to the conclusion that thick fog and human error were to blame for the disaster, but Kaczynski nevertheless long promoted the theory that his brother had been assassinated by a Russian bomb attack — a conspiracy theory that made him unelectable for many moderate voters. In this campaign, by contrast, Smolensk has played no role at all.

Kaczynski is a master at coming up with a constant stream of catchy buzzwords. He once declared war against an alleged conspiracy of post-communist elites. Then, to overcome injustices associated with the collapse of communism, he announced plans to establish a new “Fourth Republic.” He has christened his new platform “dobra zmiana,” or good change. The goal, he insists, is to help normal people.

He has also come up with clever rhetorical packaging for his new social program, with the message going far beyond simply throwing more money at welfare schemes. PiS has tapped into the widespread feeling that the era of privation must finally come to an end. Poles, so goes the message, are worth just as much as other Europeans have a right to the same standard of living. And PiS will make it happen. Immediately.

The opposition, for its part, has blasted PiS for essentially trying to buy votes and has pointed out that, even as PiS doles out money, it hasn’t implemented any badly needed structural reforms. Economists, meanwhile, have warned that the campaign promises, if fulfilled, would rupture the state budget. Radoslaw Fogiel merely smiles and says: “Our budget can handle it. We have 4.5 percent growth this year and it must finally benefit everyone.” Regarding Kaczynski, he says: “His greatest strength is recognizing the voice of the people and transforming it into a political vision.” But unfortunately, his boss is not available for an interview: “He only comes in at 11 a.m., but then he works until 2 or 3 a.m.”

Ensuring the Loyalty

Within Warsaw, it is harder to get further away from PiS than in the office of Adam Laszyn, located in a new building in the Ursynow district. His company is called Alert Media Communications and is specialized in political PR. Laszyn once helped Donald Tusk, currently the president of the European Council, to victory over PiS in the 2007 parliamentary elections.

“Under PiS, our country has taken a civilizational step backward,” Laszyn says. And yet he is nevertheless watching the campaign in horrified fascination. “PiS has the most modern and sophisticated political communication strategy of any party in Europe,” he says. Their message, he says, is clear and versatile at the same time. It has also co-opted traditional right-wing issues such as the opposition to Islam, homosexuals, the elite, urban residents and EU functionaries.

That is how PiS has managed to ensure the loyalty of its traditional electorate, Laszyn says. “It’s good enough for a while. It’s enough to make a nationalist comment every now and then so that the voters know you still hold the old attitudes.” Surveys show that the majority of Poles are not intolerant and xenophobic, but PiS has the support of the 20 to 40 percent who do hold such views. Now, they are seeking to present themselves as moderates and garner support from younger and more liberal voters.

Regarding the opposition, Adam Laszyn says: “Divided, without a clear message. What do they actually stand for? They don’t have a chance against the PiS machine.” And like many others, Laszyn fears that PiS will take the mask off once the votes have been counted after the Oct. 13 election.

Kaczynski could, for example, restrict the ability of cities to govern themselves, given that almost all population centers are still in the hands of liberal mayors. There are also concerns that the government might target the independent press. PiS politicians have frequently spoken of the “renationalization” of the media. Foreign companies could be forced to sell their ownership stakes in newspapers and broadcasters to Polish investors, which could lead to an increase in PiS influence over news coverage.

Still, the party’s dominance in the lead-up to the election could ultimately prove to be a double-edged sword. After all, if PiS wants to really flex its muscles after the vote, it needs its supporters to turn out in significant numbers — and not stay home, confident in the belief that their party will win.

Extinction Rebellion: the arrestables – a photo essay

UK-based activists from the climate campaign group explain why they are prepared to be arrested for the cause

by Kristian Buus

Roger Hallam, 52, organic farmer from Wales and XR co-founder

Hallam was arrested in 2017 for criminal damage when he and another person spray-painted “Divest from oil and gas”, “Now” and “Out of time” on walls at King’s College London, using water-soluble chalk-based paint.

Both were cleared of all charges by a jury in 2019 after they defended their actions as being a proportionate response to the climate crisis.

Graffiti on the Shell building after a protest there in April

People joining Extinction Rebellion (XR) are trained in how to conduct themselves peacefully when participating in direct action.

According to Hallam, direct action has several aims and objectives. One is to cause disruption and financial costs to the state to build pressure for political change. Another is for individuals to show their commitment – that they are willing to sacrifice their liberty for the cause. Increased disruption and more people arrested creates a bigger impact.

The training explains the possible legal implications of getting arrested. Once people have been informed about this, it is up to them to decide if they are willing to get arrested or not. If they sign up, they become part of the growing list of arrestables.

Fi Radford, 71, retired academic librarian from Bristol

Fake blood left in front of Downing Street by XR protesters in March

“I got to London and joined the rebellion at lunchtime Thursday [during protests in April], and I was looking for my affinity group in Oxford Circus by the pink boat when I saw a guy I know from Bristol. I told him, ‘I have just arrived and I am willing to be arrested.’

“A police officer behind me heard me say that and he tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I think I can arrange that. Are you aware this is a section 14? Please leave the area. I am officially asking you to move away or I will have to arrest you.’

“I told him I was not going anywhere and he then read a caution and my rights. I sat down to make clear I was not moving. He was on his own so he had to go away to get more police and came back after a while with three colleagues who picked me up and carried me away. There was a lot of clapping and cheering as they carried me down the road to the van. We were four in the van and they took us to West End Central where there was a long queue of people waiting to get processed.

Fi Radford, 71

“I was then searched and had my fingerprints and DNA taken, and was put in a cell. Everyone was very nice and polite and at 9pm I was given a toothbrush and paste and was fed twice, vegetarian food. The cell was very bright so I had to pull the blanket over my face to get some sleep and I read a detective novel given to me by the custody officer. I was let out at 2pm.

“I feel my time is running out and the world’s time is running out and what energy I have got left I will spend on fighting climate change, not just for my children and grandchildren but also for the non-human world.

“I am very happy to be able to use my privilege as a white elderly woman this way and I will be back in London in October.”

Radford was charged under section 14 and was given a conditional discharge with a £70 fine.

Read Full Article>>

World Politics

United States

  • President made crude comment about Biden at rally

  • ‘Potus has become a potty-mouth and children are listening’

Donald Trump hits out at Bidens, Somali refugees and Ilhan Omar at Minnesota rally – video

Donald Trump has “become a potty-mouth and children are listening”, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, told Democrats, after the president accused Joe Biden of “only [being] a good vice-president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass”.

Trump made the vulgar remark during a lengthy and typically idiosyncratic speech at a rally in Minnesota on Thursday.

Pelosi leads House Democrats conducting a formal impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s attempts to get Ukraine to investigate unfounded allegations of corruption involving Biden’s son.

With Congress on recess, the speaker spoke to her caucus on a conference call on Friday.

“You know,” Pelosi said, using an acronym for “president of the United States” and as quoted by Politico, “… Potus has become a potty-mouth and children are listening.

“This is … beyond disgraceful. But for him to say the thing that he said about Joe Biden was so far beyond the pale … That has nothing to do with impeachment. That is about elections.”

She then (mis)quoted the popular TV show Dragnet, in which a strait-laced detective remorselessly tracked down malefactors and wrongdoers in 1950s Los Angeles.

“What we are doing on impeachment is about the facts – ‘Just the facts, ma’am’ – and the constitution. His policy, his personality, his potty-mouth, that’s about the election and let’s make sure that we understand the … inquiry is because he has not honoured his oath of office. We will honour ours.”

If the House votes to impeach Trump, which is likely as Democrats control it, the president will be tried in the Senate. The Republicans hold that chamber, making conviction and removal from office unlikely.

Pelosi added: “And, the Senate is saying, ‘Now that you are doing that, we are not doing it.’ You know, just because we have the courage to honour our oath of office doesn’t mean we have to fold to the cowardice of the Senate that is not going to honour theirs …

“I’ve said before Trump, himself, is not worthy of impeachment because it’s divisive in the county. But our constitution is worth it. Our democracy is worth it. And, our republic, if we can save it, is worth it.”

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12 Oct

Weekend Enjoyment “Gathering Remembered”

Gathering Remembered


Aug 7, 2008

Ed and Mary, there are no words that can begin to describe how much I miss them. I was so happy to have them in my life. They are still with me and will be always.

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11 Oct

The Supreme Court Needs to Protect Trans People from Discrimination

The Supreme Court Needs to Protect Trans People from Discrimination

“I wasn’t hired because I am trans. And in more than half the country—twenty-nine states, in fact —that’s perfectly legal.”

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“I’m really sorry,” the hiring manager told me. “You’re very qualified, but you’re not a good fit for our cafe.”

This rejection, by a coffee shop in Arlington, Virginia, was the seventh in a string of rejections I received from coffee and food service jobs during a one-and-a-half week period in June 2016—not counting some places that accepted my application and never called back.

I was devastated, and furious.

I’m six-and-a-half feet tall (seven feet in heels) and I inherited my dad’s linebacker shoulders. I pair my eyeliner with a caramel-smooth baritone that I don’t care to soften.

I have had years of experience in customer service. I’d worked for Starbucks for two years in several roles, and was at one point recognized as “Partner of the Quarter.” I had my Coffee Master certification and coveted black apron. I could sip a cup of coffee and tell you where the beans came from.

But I am a trans woman. I’m six-and-a-half feet tall (seven feet in heels) and I inherited my dad’s linebacker shoulders. I pair my eyeliner with a caramel-smooth baritone that I don’t care to soften.

I wasn’t hired because I am trans. And in more than half the country—twenty-nine states, in fact —that’s perfectly legal.

There is a precedent in federal courts that discrimination “on the basis of sex,” prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, includes discrimination against LGBTQ people. This makes sense, because someone fired for being a lesbian is being punished for not conforming to sex-based stereotypes that women are straight. And a trans woman fired because she lives her life as a woman is being punished for not accepting the gender coercively assigned to her at birth.


Unfortunately, in recent years, this legal precedent has been undercut by right-wing circuit courts. They argue, along with the Trump administration, that “unfavorable treatment of a gay or lesbian employee … is not the consequence of that individual’s sex,” but “a different trait—sexual orientation—that Title VII does not protect.”

They extend this argument to trans people, ignoring that sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are all judged on sex-based stereotypes.

This dispute has come to a head in a case now before the Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard on Oct. 7 in the case of Aimee Stephens, a Michigan woman who was fired when she came out as trans to her employer. The question at hand: Does discrimination “on the basis of sex” include discrimination against LGBTQ persons?

More pointedly: Does federal law allow discrimination against LGBTQ people?

For trans people, myself included, these questions aren’t abstractions. They determine whether daily life is livable.

Research shows that most employers exhibit significant bias against trans people—even when they are more qualified, and even in jurisdictions that do have explicit legal protections.

According to the National Center for Trans Equality, trans people experience unemployment at three times the rate of the general population. And 30 percent of trans people polled reported discrimination at work during the past year.

Starkly, trans people live in poverty at more than double the national rate—and 30 percent of us have been homeless.

These difficulties persist even under the putative protection of Title VII. While proposed legislation like the Equality Act could make these implicit protections explicit in federal law, Senate Republicans refuse to move forward on federal equality—despite the overwhelming support of 71 percent of Americans.

We need comprehensive protections for trans people so we can safely live and work anywhere in the country. If the Supreme Court rolls back Title VII protections, it will set trans equality back by decades.

We are not asking for much. Trans people just want a fair chance at a job. We want a safe place to live without worrying whether we might be evicted for simply existing.

All we want is a fighting chance.

This column was produced for the Progressive Media Project, which is run by The Progressive magazine, and distributed by Tribune News Service.

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