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Indigenous Storytelling at Standing Rock

Truth-Out - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 00:00

Myron Dewey is a Paiute-Temoke Shoshone filmmaker who co-directed Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock with Academy Award and Emmy nominee James Spione and Oscar nominee Josh Fox. Awake documents the struggle of Indigenous water protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota as they gathered for much of last year to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from being constructed beneath the Missouri River.

Dewey brought an Indigenous sensibility to his segment of Awake, as he has to his previous groundbreaking body of work, which includes Mni Wiconi, which is also about Standing Rock. According to Fox, Dewey's production company, Digital Smoke Signals, was "livestreaming from Standing Rock every day, flying their drones over the pipeline and protests."

"They got lots of followers on Facebook because they outperformed the mass media," he adds. "Where CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News failed to bring you the stories, Digital Smoke Signals succeeded. The Indigenous Environmental Network succeeded. The outfits that were on the ground, we were bringing things independently that the mass media wasn't reporting."

In October of last year, Dewey was charged with a misdemeanor for live streaming drone footage of security forces hired by Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. His case goes to trial July 12.

When I spoke with Dewey by phone, he was somewhere in the mid-West. Asked about his location, the activist-director replied: "I'm en route. I usually don't let people know where I am due to safety reasons." In this candid conversation Dewey discusses everything from Hollywood's depiction of Indigenous people, to the Standing Rock struggle, to his pending court case.

Ed Rampell: How did you get into filmmaking?

Myron Dewey: It was an epiphany. Our [Indigenous] stories weren't accurately being told. I went for my undergraduate at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, that's where I became awakened in many different forms -- not just consciousness, but emotional, historical trauma, education, and history. There was so much I needed to learn -- for example, why I was angry at the things I could not articulate at that time. I try to articulate that anger and help our youth do the same... so they can move forward and help the community around them heal.

When I was a kid, I remember the Indians were always getting killed on TV. I didn't see Indigenous people in media. I knew that was a problem -- [but] I didn't know how to articulate it. As I grew older I started to understand the reasons why. We really [have to] Indigenize media and communications.

Are there any particular "ah-ha" moments you can point to watching the depiction of North America's Native peoples on the screen, where you said "that's completely wrong" or "they finally got it right"? 

I think watching [Kevin Costner's 1990] Dancing With Wolves, where the white guy [Costner] becomes a "better Indian." Or [Arthur Penn's 1970] Little Big Man [starring Dustin Hoffman]. Both really bothered me how Hollywood would really romanticize the Indigenous people. And I said, "Wow, this is not how we live. I don't see that happening today."

Who has influenced you as a mass communicator?

That's the challenge. I started Digital Smoke Signals because I didn't see [what I was looking for.] When I asked our tribal leaders about wireless communications and technology… they would tell me, "We're not there yet." Some would tell me, "You're gonna have to do this."

Within our communities there is a traditional way of living. Fast-forwarding into colonization and globalization, it's become a different way of thinking. Initially, I actually put my technology down … I was trying to protect our traditions and sacred sites. It took me a while to realize I had to get back into it; somebody had to do it. And the fact is that I was sworn to articulate technology through Indigenous eyes.

What is Digital Smoke Signals?

When I started Digital Smoke Signals I was thinking about what I was going to call my business. I was watching some fires and I thought, "Wow, my background is technology and I'm watching two pillars of smoke come together." And it just hit me to call my company Digital Smoke Signals.

Before you co-directed Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock, what other documentaries had you directed? 

I did a lot of consulting. [I consulted on] Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock, about the water. I never submitted my films. I made about 75 documentaries you can see on the Digital Smoke Signals TV. Contracting as an entrepreneur, I've done lots of documentaries for tribes.

Tell us about your participation in Standing Rock?

When I started really paying attention and thought, "Wow, this is somewhere I need to go." As I got there I saw the history was not being told through Indigenous eyes. [I realized] I needed to be able to articulate that. Through all the schools, all the teachings I've been doing with the youth, the work I've been doing -- [I've seen that] our story isn't accurately told. When it's told by non-Natives, it's not accurately told, even if it's told with the best of intentions.

But I've been working on Indigenous storytelling and Indigenous language preservation for years. And I've been working on how to shoot ceremonies, and I just took that concept and used it at Standing Rock.

I was there eight months. I went home for a few weeks to be with my son, and then I went back to document again. I just finally got back home [in June]. But I'm really not even stopping -- I was up this morning working. They haven't stopped at Standing Rock and neither am I until we get everything resolved.

Tell us about your work on Awake with Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox?

That took me a little while because the truth is, I didn't know Josh Fox. [Co-director] James Spione was all over the place, and I realized they were doing a documentary and they really did understand that this was an Indigenous movement. And they're allies, they've got tools and a lot of interest. So I thought there were allies to help share the story.

What do you see as an appropriate way for non-Native allies to support Indigenous peoples in their struggles?

The problem we're seeing with the Dakota Access Pipeline is the disconnect people have from Mother Earth and the spirit. So when all the relatives and allies come in we can remind them that they are Indigenous from somewhere -- they just forgot. If they can figure this out and find out their link to their homeland and get reconnected, they'll understand what we feel like, what we're fighting for.

But that connection is gone. So when you ask them where they're from, they say, "California, New York, New Jersey" -- those are not their original homelands. And so, reminding our visitors, this is what we're fighting for because we're still here, [the connection to the land and water is] still a part of our way of life, our songs, our dances, our trails, and our ceremonies. This is why we fight: To protect and defend.

Do you feel there's an Indigenous aesthetic, a different way to create?

Oh yeah. There is -- through Indigenous eyes. I mean, just the form is different.

How?

The beauty of Standing Rock was that it had all the different nations bringing their element -- their spirituality, their culture, their way of life. It was the place Standing Rock and people became. So if you're telling the story through Indigenous eyes it's completely different from than anywhere else.

Having the tools, too, [for digital storytelling] -- our people never had the tools for the last 150 years of media. That was the big issue -- things weren't interpreted the way we'd tell it. Even the songs were excluded … because the guys recording the music didn't like them, they didn't sound right. Or take photography in the last century -- a lot of it was inaccurate because it was romanticizing the Indians. And you look at Hollywood, as well -- one of the films recently put out was a comedy by Adam Sandler. He was making fun of Indigenous norms [in 2015's The Ridiculous 6]. He'd lighten up the mood and maybe break that down with comedy.

If you have access to the teachings, if you have access to people who can articulate what happened to the land, about the poverty, the systematic racism, the systematic education, about how Indian children are stolen through the foster care, that's when you become aware and can be idle no more and get up and do something about it.

Do you have any upcoming documentaries?

I'm putting together a documentary of the second half of Standing Rock. The first half, with Josh Fox, that was only 3 percent of the footage I have. It shows continued violations, sharing from an Indigenous perspective what we went through. I'm thinking of calling it Numaga,  a Paiute word that means "all the people."

Have you ever thought about making fictional feature films?

Yes! I did. Kind of like [Michael Apted's 1992] movie Thunderheart, which was inspired by the American Indian Movement. I saw a lot documenting the Dakota Access Pipeline -- I've been thinking a lot about writing a script and the characters and showing what happened… I actually thought about doing it while I was there.

Were you charged with any so-called "crimes" at Standing Rock?

Yes. I was charged with stalking. I actually spoke with an officer about how there was stalking happening at the camp, and we documented it. Later on … they issued a charge. I was charged with stalking the Dakota Access security, which we now know was [the private security firm] TigerSwan.

We got some charges dropped by providing our own evidence showing they had fabricated their claims. I go to court July 12. It looks pretty good, but I'm willing to go to jail if I have to. Eight-hundred-fifty water protectors have been arrested for practicing, as American citizens, the First Amendment.

Anything you'd like to add?

I'd just like to thank everybody that helped, all of the water protectors, the media, and the lawyers that stood beside everybody. It felt lonely out there -- standing against a billion dollar corporation that had all of the resources they needed, as well as officers, National Guard, homeland security, the FBI, and militarized security forces. I want to thank everybody for taking that chance and standing up for Indigenous people. 

Poverty Wages, Deportations, Wage Theft, Cockroaches: Farmworkers Demand Dignity From Ben & Jerry's

Truth-Out - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 00:00

As monolithic ice cream producers like Ben & Jerry's impose ever-shrinking prices on their supply chains, the largely migrant dairy farmworkers at the receiving end of the poverty wages and unsanitary living conditions have organized for justice. Intimidation by immigration police has only created greater solidarity among workers.

Enrique Balcazar leads hundreds of farmworkers and allies in marching on Ben & Jerry's factory. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

More than 200 farmworkers and allies marched on the Ben & Jerry's factory Saturday, June 17, to demand that the ice cream corporation with $600 million in annual revenue implement "Milk with Dignity." On their 13-mile march from Vermont's statehouse to the tourist-laden ice cream factory, farmworkers told of illegally withheld wages in the Ben & Jerry's supply chain, 40 percent of farmworkers not getting minimum wage, 40 percent not getting a day off a week, exhaustion from insufficient sleep, a lack of clean water and cockroach-infested housing.

"Take our 30-minute guided factory tour and learn how we make ice cream and how we put our values into action at every step of the process," beckons Ben & Jerry's. Yet, just past the police SUVs, the discontinued ice cream "flavor graveyard," families of out-of-state tourists, and Ben & Jerry's employees in their corporation's iconic tie-dyed t-shirts, Migrant Justice members told subaltern stories of hardship -- once invisible labor made visible. Victor Diaz, a farmworker in the Ben & Jerry's supply chain, says the hugely profitable ice cream giant has a responsibility to do something for farmworkers like him who work 13- to 14-hour days. "I can tell you there's still no dignity and justice in the Ben & Jerry's supply chain."

Since the Milk with Dignity campaign began in 2015, farmworkers have streamed into Migrant Justice's assemblies deep in rural Vermont, having heard of the promise of "the bonus" -- the funding which Ben & Jerry's would pay to ensure dignity in their supply chain. That promise has turned to frustration with a corporation as famous for its social justice image as its Cherry Garcia ice cream that has yet to implement Milk with Dignity, the "worker defined social responsibility" program, which the multinational ice cream giant pledged to enact in July 2015.

"The three weeks I was detained [by Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and the time my compañeros were detained affected me personally, but we've come out of it even more committed to keep fighting," said Miguel Alcudia, a member of Migrant Justice, walking beside Vermont's bucolic Route 2.

An ancillary benefit of the march for Alcudia is, "to let consumers know that inside Ben & Jerry's supply chain, there's injustice and exploitation of workers." Like so many Vermont migrant farmworkers, Alcudia had his wages illegally withheld. Redolent with pest infestations and cockroaches, Alcudia's precarious housing is just above the dairy cows themselves.

With individual farm owners being subject to monolithic ice cream and cheese corporations' milk pricing, farmworkers are left to organize not just inside a single workplace but on an industrial scale to win justice, a classic example of what labor journalist Josh Eidelson describes as the "Who's the Boss" problem. Just as fast-food strikes have brought about joint employer liability for McDonald's for the labor conditions inside its franchise restaurants, so too, farmworkers have used direct actions in an attempt to leverage the largest corporation in the Vermont dairy industry to raise standards across the supply chain.

Farmworkers' capacity to win justice is complicated by a racialized exclusion from the National Labor Relations Act, the bureaucratic legal framework which regulates the labor movement. Following the Trump administration's executive orders on immigration, emboldened Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have used the mass deportation infrastructure created under the Obama administration to target prominent Migrant Justice organizers.

Victor Diaz leading the march on Ben & Jerry's flagship scoopshop in 2015. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

Migrant Justice has a history of people-powered victories which expand rights for farmworkers, of developing transformative leaders, and defending their leaders from ICE deportation proceedings.

The first time I interviewed Victor Diaz, he lived next to the manure pit on a dairy farm inside the Ben & Jerry's supply chain in Vergennes, Vermont. Manure was leeching into his drinking water, and his wages were illegally being withheld. Diaz and the farmworker movement confronted his employer, won his back wages and Diaz developed a poetic voice in the process. Diaz would tell me, "There are days of winds, days of fury, and days of tears, but also there exist days of love that give us the courage to continue on."

The second time I interviewed Diaz, he was at the forefront of a 17-city national day of action, which Migrant Justice successfully used to bring Ben & Jerry's to the bargaining table to negotiate dignity and respect. Labor journalist Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times would recapitulate Diaz's wage theft story in half a million print editions of the Times in the subsequent days. Diaz would tell me, "[The wage theft victory] was a transformative moment for me. I had endured years of abuse. If you look back, we had that type of transformation happening with all of our victories, whether it's with drivers' licenses, or our work to stop collaboration with immigration by police, and now the number of people getting involved -- and also being transformed -- just keeps growing and expanding."

The third time I interviewed Diaz, he'd just been released from a federal detention center after being targeted outside a Migrant Justice event by ICE.

Diaz would detail his sense of isolation inside the ICE detention center, yet even inside that carceral setting, his movement-building would again leaven his circumstances. Building a culture of solidarity and mutual aid, Diaz and his 20 cellmates supported Jamaican migrants who were facing racial discrimination from guards, advocated for migrant detainees who were having medicine withheld, and bolstered each other as guards dropped the temperature of their cell to unbearable levels.

"There was this big movement around my case, something that I totally wasn't expecting," said Diaz. "We're like a family, all united. I've fought for the rights of other workers and that's something that people recognized. They had a saying, 'Victor fought for us, now we need to fight for Victor'."

Witnessing their movement win his freedom, Diaz described how emergent leaders among Migrant Justice members would say, "It's really important being involved in committees and assemblies. There is an assembly coming up, and there'll be a lot to talk about so this sort of thing doesn't happen to others."

Zully Palacios leading the 13-mile march on the Ben & Jerry's factory. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

Following Diaz's arrest, Zully Palacios, a Migrant Justice member from Peru, described how she began organizing with Migrant Justice, "working with schools, women's groups, other assemblies, getting together with other compas (comrades)."

"I helped with Victor's freedom and when I was arrested, it was really terrible for me and my family," said Palacios. Through the most arduous moments while held inside ICE's detention center, Palacios says she was sustained by the "many people in solidarity with us." Palacios' story would capture national headlines, grow Migrant Justice's number of allies nationally and win Palacios and Enrique "Kiké" Balcazar, a farmworker leader from Mexico, the Cesar Chavez award from the nation's largest union.

"They don't want to make us raise our voice and fight for our rights," Palacios said of ICE, "but it won't happen because we are strong, we're united and we're not going back into the shadows."

"Although there's still a little bit of fear, Victor, Kiké and I, we're still on the front lines. We're showing other compas we're not giving up. I think it encourages them to keep fighting for our human rights," said Palacios.

Yesenia Hernandez and Esau Peche, Migrant Justice members who helped lead the march on Ben & Jerry's factory, would be targeted by ICE as they returned home to the dairy farms they work on, arrested and put into deportation proceedings.

Having helped win Diaz his freedom and experienced that solidarity herself, Palacios would be at the forefront of the movement-building to free Hernandez and Peche. "Nobody deserves that. You're separating families, breaking dreams. They are part of our community, we won't give up until they are reunited with us."

Two weeks, several rallies and 1,400 petition signatures later, Palacios would help lead farmworkers, faith leaders and allies rallying outside Boston's Immigration Court. Hernandez and Peche would be freed, just like Diaz, Palacios and Balcazar before them, through the constituent power of so many migrant farmworkers.

Enrique "Kiké" Balcazar leading farmworkers and allies past police, towards the Ben & Jerry's factory. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

Balcazar, now a leader inside the migrant farmworker movement, first started working on Vermont dairy farms at 17, like his mother and father before him. He had been told by farmworkers for months that he was being targeted by ICE for his ability to weave together a movement from a population rendered largely invisible. He and Palacios were arrested by ICE just steps from the Migrant Justice organizing office.

Balcazar describes how the visibility of leaders who have been targeted by ICE at the front of the march on Ben & Jerry's empowers new farmworkers to emerge into the movement's leadership. "The actions of ICE against community leaders has had an impact, and this is what ICE and this administration wants -- to instill fear in the community," said Balcazar.

"When the ICE arrest happened, it's always something that I thought could happen. It's impacted my plans, my dreams," Balcazar said. "Being in detention and seeing so many compañeros -- some of them don't know what their rights are, or who live in other states, where the movement hasn't been there for them -- I felt so inspired. Getting out of immigration detention, I felt like I had even more power to do even more for my community. And so now it's more important than ever for us to win Milk with Dignity, and because of the political environment we find ourselves in. Because the workers -- those of us who are invisible, those of us without documents -- we're the ones who face the greatest challenges, in any industry, and so if there are problems in the dairy industry, now more than ever, we need to be pushing forward with the solution, which is Milk with Dignity."

Migrant Justice and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers marching on Wendy's in Essex Junction, Vermont, in 2015. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

A Worker-Driven Model for Supply Chain Dignity Emerges

The Nation's Michelle Chen writes many corporate social responsibility campaigns are "paternalistic" efforts "to stave off labor unrest." Through the lens of corporate social responsibility (CSR) rebranding, it's perhaps unsurprising that, just as Migrant Justice's supply-chain organizing was poised to go public, Ben & Jerry's Social & Environmental Assessment Report proudly claimed that the corporation had established "some of the highest standards in the dairy industry." Many CSR campaigns erect firewalls of sustainability verbiage to preserve  profits amidst a public relations crisis. "The only real remedy," Chen writes, "would be one directed by workers themselves, if they can marshal their collective power through workplace organizing."

"We discovered a successful model from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in Florida," says Balcazar, eagerly delineating the worker control which distinguishes Milk with Dignity from corporate-defined rebranding efforts. "Education to the worker, so that we know what our rights are, and how to defend them." A worker-defined code of conduct, and a third party to monitor the industry, "which is the teeth of the program, because there are a lot of programs out there, but if you don't have a way to enforce your standards, then it's not real change." Economic relief for the farm owners, as well as the farm workers, and a legally binding contract. "That's the other set of teeth in the program, because a corporation could say, 'Yes, I'll join,' and then decide it doesn't work, and leave, abandoning their workers."

Lucas Benitez, the award winning co-founder of CIW, said those elements have fundamentally transformed work in Florida's tomato fields. "In our case, the Standards Council interviewed 80 percent of the workers in the industry. I don't know of any other program that has that capacity to interview such a high percentage of workers, and for the first time ever, we workers have a voice in the industry we work within."

"We started with a boycott of Taco Bell," said Benitez. "We created alliances with the primary markets of these restaurants: students, young people and then to churches, and now we have a network of allies in 45 states." To date, CIW has won worker-driven agreements with 14 corporations, from Walmart to Burger King to Taco Bell. Benitez is convinced Ben & Jerry's could play a similarly transformative role for Vermont migrant farmworkers.

Two years into shaping Milk with Dignity, farmworkers -- and even Ben & Jerry's CEO -- say the program is ready to go. All that's missing is Ben & Jerry's signature to begin the work of raising standards. This "everything but the signature" dynamic has caused many farmworkers to grow impatient with Ben & Jerry's slow-rolling "the bonus" that inspired so much hope in the farmworker community.

"In 2015 we talked with Ben & Jerry's in good faith, trying to open up a conversation with them, and they weren't interested in hearing it," said Balcazar. When the 17-city national day of action was featured in the New York Times, "the workers were alight, we were really happy because we saw in the near future, this new day, this new dawn that we dreamed of and organized for." Yet, after two years of being across the bargaining table from Ben & Jerry's, Balcazar said Migrant Justice members "got tired of excuses to not implement the program." So, farmworkers decided, "it's time to re-launch the public campaign."

Several hundred Migrant Justice members and allies outside the Ben & Jerry's factory. (Photo: Jonathan Leavitt)

Migrant Farmworkers Take Action at Ben & Jerry's Point of Production

As tourists clamored in front of the iconic ice cream factory, with all its Vermont landscape branding, nostalgic videos and gleaming production lines, Victor Diaz stated to scores of marchers that if they don't get justice, farmworkers are ready to escalate further for the promise of Milk with Dignity.

"We're going to continue struggling, continue fighting until we see this new dawn, this new day in the dairy industry that Milk with Dignity will bring," said Diaz to more than 200 marchers. "We're going to keep struggling and keep fighting, and if Ben & Jerry's doesn't sign next time, we'll be back, twice as large."

Speaking to the farmworkers assembled before his production facility, Ben & Jerry's CEO Jostein Solheim said, "We have all the key pillars of the program defined and clear, we've got the right incentive structure for workers and farmers, and Ben & Jerry's is ready to go."

"Sign it now! Sign it now!" the crowd of several hundred farmworkers and allies chanted.

Solheim demurred and quixotically signed a poster-sized letter from Human Rights Watch, the ACLU and 13 other national human rights organizations asking him to sign the Milk with Dignity agreement, not the Milk with Dignity agreement itself, and slipped back into the crowd.

At the march and rally's denouement, farmworkers are transported across that liminal threshold, from visibility to invisibility, from their mass movement back to their respective 60-80 hours a week jobs inside the dairy barns and milking parlors, their interrupted sleep schedules, their inability to take a day off to see their kids, their substandard housing, their poverty wages, their fears of la migra (ICE). Meanwhile, Solheim and the $600 million a year ice cream corporation ponder the timetable for farmworker dignity.

"Ben & Jerry's has to implement the Milk with Dignity program soon, because humans' lives can't wait," said Palacios. "It's frustrating because [Solheim] doesn't understand, he doesn't have the same life we have. We're only asking for our fundamental rights: good housing conditions and fair wages. We're frustrated at [Solheim's] excuses and excuses, over two years. At the same time, we won't give up until we get it."

Lessons From Vermont: What the State's Successes and Setbacks Should Teach Us About Single-Payer

Truth-Out - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 00:00

Vermont's failure to enact universal health care under Act 48, signed into law in 2011, is often cited as proof that single-payer health care is economically impractical. But a closer look at the movement's setbacks and the current fight to finally implement Act 48 provides important lessons for other states now battling for single-payer.

Former Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont speaks at the Community College of Vermont graduation in Montpelier, Vermont, June 7, 2014. (Photo: Community College of Vermont)

This piece is part of Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All, a Truthout original series.

In 2011, Peter Shumlin, the former Democratic governor of Vermont, signed Act 48 into law and the state became the first to enact universal health care.

Act 48 wasn't just a historic victory, it was a blueprint for successful organizing and effective politics. Activists developed a plan of action years before applying pressure on lawmakers, mobilizing the grassroots support needed to win. "A lot of big, mainstream groups were advocating incremental steps, while not addressing the roots of the problem," James Haslam, the director of Vermont Workers' Center told Truthout in 2014. "We made a conscious decision to respectfully walk away from that process and do it on our own." Third-party efforts are often maligned by liberals for "spoiling" the chances of Democrats, but the reality in Vermont was much different. The state's Progressive Party was instrumental in the single-payer fight, using its leverage to pressure Shumlin on the issue while he was running for office.

Six years later, Vermont still doesn't have universal health care. The plan was effectively abandoned in 2014 and now the state has a Republican governor. Vermont's failure to implement the policy is now cited by some as proof that the single-payer system is virtually unobtainable. The prevailing narrative is that the plan was simply too expensive to implement, with Shumlin himself declaring the taxpayer burden would be too high when he went back on his campaign promise. "The gains would almost surely be bigger than the losses," admitted Paul Krugman, "but that's not going to make the very hard politics go away."

Exactly what were the hard politics of the Vermont fight? A closer look at the movement's setbacks, and its current fight to finally implement Act 48, provides important lessons for other states that are now battling for single-payer.

What Really Happened in Vermont?

Peter Shumlin ran on single-payer and was presumably elected because of it, but when it came time to evaluate a plan, he didn't actually assess a single-payer system. In an interview from 2015, Dr. Margaret Flowers explained the crucial differences between single-payer and what Vermont attempted to implement:

[Single-payer] has three kinds of main features, huge cost-saving features. One is very simplified administration. You have one plan, one set of benefits. Everybody's in it. Makes it very simple to use. We have a hugely burdensome administrative system here in the United States. And that's one of the prime reasons why we're the most expensive.

They also use something called global operating budgets. So hospitals don't have to have a whole floor of administrative staff trying to work out the billing. The hospital gets a check every month. And that's how they pay for the things that they do. So that is also a much better way to manage your finances.

And then a third thing is bulk purchasing, being able to purchase the pharmaceuticals and medical devices and other things. You have -- as a single system -- you have a lot of negotiating power to get the best price for that.

So the Vermont system really had none of those. It was designed to be the closest to a universal health care system and to be, ultimately, a universal health care system for the state of Vermont. But they were not using a single payer.

Shumlin eventually declared that the state lacked the funding needed to put this plan into practice. This is why conservatives, and liberal skeptics like Krugman, have been able to frame Vermont's failure as an economic one. "By admitting that single payer will make health care both more expensive and less efficient," the Wall Street Journal explained, "[Shumlin] has shown other states what not to do."

The actual economics tell a much different story. In 2015, the Vermont Workers' Center, a grassroots organization that helped lead the fight for single-payer, released a financing program that was endorsed by 100 economists. The system of progressive taxation would have provided relief for low and middle-income people, while lifting Vermont's cap on what its wealthiest citizens pay. Economist Gerald Friedman summed it up succinctly: "Peter Shumlin was scared of raising taxes on business and the rich."

In this sense, Vermont serves as a cautionary tale for states like California, which recently passed a Senate bill aspiring to establish single-payer, only to have it shelved by the State Assembly. "The corporate interests aren't any different in California," Vermont Workers' Center President Ellen Schwartz told Truthout. Schwartz said that California activists shouldn't take politicians at their word and continue to apply pressure during every part of the process. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a major Koch brothers' benefactor, invested heavily in Vermont during the 2014 elections. These efforts paid off, as Republicans gained a number of seats.

Schwartz explained that, while the media has declared Vermont's single-payer push dead, health care advocates continue to organize in the state. Schwartz believes that the GOP's recent efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have actually created a new political space for Vermont's single-payer activists. "The ACA never fulfilled the human right to health care," said Schwartz. "Here in Vermont, we've spoken with many people who remained uninsured or underinsured.... That creates the space for those of us organizing for universal health care to propose a replacement that would actually enable people to access needed care and put people, rather than profits, at the center."

The Vermont Workers' Center has held an organizing drive to put pressure on lawmakers, which is an immediate priority as the state's legislature reconvenes in January of 2018. The drive has a variety of components, including petitions, events and health screening clinics. Organizers are also gearing up for the state's Green Mountain Care Board (the group "charged with reducing the rate of health care cost growth") rate hike hearings on July 13. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which provides coverage for about 250,000 Vermont residents, is requesting a 12.7 percent premium increase this year, and this event will be one of the only times the board hears directly from residents who will be severely impacted if the increases are accepted.

James Haslam told Truthout that the state's health care setbacks led to the creation of the organization Rights and Democracy, a grassroots group he co-founded that is working for healthy and just communities. "We realized we needed to have a full impact on elections to put our own people into office -- nurses, people impacted by health care crisis," said Haslam.

In a recent op-ed, Jessica Early, a health care justice organizer for Rights & Democracy and a registered nurse pointed out that Vermont was poised to make real changes. While acknowledging that the task of building a real health care system seems monumental, Early notes the state has a blueprint: "We have Act 48 -- a current law in Vermont -- which commits us to equitably and publicly financed universal health care."

Beyond the States

While recent state efforts have been inspiring, health care advocates like Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of Physicians for a National Health Program have stressed that federal legislation will also be a crucial component of the universal health care battle.

"I'm a big supporter of [the state] work," said Woolhandler in an interview. "But we're going to have to get a Congress and a president who's going to allow the states to experiment with single-payer, and right now we don't have that.... But you do have to get Congress to allow you to incorporate Medicare and federal employees into a state single-payer bill, and that can't just be done administratively."

Vermont activists might get a federal boost from their most famous resident this summer. Sen. Bernie Sanders has announced that he will introduce legislation to create a single-payer health care system. Sanders introduced a similar bill in 2011, which failed to attract a co-sponsor. However, the political reality has drastically shifted over the last six years. If Sanders introduces this legislation, it will be a companion to a John Conyers (D-Michigan) "Medicare For All" bill that has never been more popular. "Obviously, we're all united in opposition to Trumpcare. That's easy," said Conyers at a press conference introducing the legislation. "People know what we're against, but we want to promote more what we are for."

Anyone who has been following the fight for single-payer knows that Vermont's activists have a clear vision that lawmakers should begin paying close attention to.

Navy Introduces Toxins to Drinking Water, Then Expands Operations

Truth-Out - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 00:00

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout; Adapted: US Pacific Fleet)

In Washington State, a Naval Air Base on Whidbey Island has turned the area into a Superfund site and local residents fear that the island's soil and water may be compromised beyond recovery. The Navy's response has been to avoid mentioning some of the highly toxic substances in its environmental impact report as it seeks to expand operations at the base.

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout; Adapted: US Pacific Fleet)

Washington State's Whidbey Island already has problems with inadequate water supplies. Located in Puget Sound, the residents have to face a long, dry summer with no aquifer replenishment and ongoing threats of saltwater intrusion.

But now they have to deal with the US Navy introducing toxic chemicals into Whidbey Island's public and private wells, particularly in the area around the small town of Coupeville, where the Navy maintains a heavily used air strip to practice touch-and-go landings, among other exercises.

Cate Andrews is a member of Citizens for Ebeys Reserve (COER), a group of locals working to protect their land, homes and health from environmental and sound pollution from the US Navy. Andrews said some of the wells in Coupeville contain toxic chemicals from the Navy's firefighting foam exercises at levels 400 percent over what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers acceptable.

"Residents are being provided bottled water by the Navy, but warned not to drink, cook or water their vegetable gardens," Andrews told Truthout. "The Navy says, 'Don't worry about showering,' but research has shown that these chemicals are transmitted through dermal absorption. Homes valued at over $1 million are unsalable, and people are trapped."

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

The chemicals, Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), are perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), also called PFCs, and come from the AFFF firefighting foam used in training exercises at the Navy's Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Coupeville and Ault Field in Oak Harbor, the latter of which is at Naval Air Station Whidbey.

"They were found in the aquifer beneath the OLF airstrip in October of 2016 and are known to have migrated off-site to contaminate public and private drinking water," Rick Abraham, who has worked on toxic pollution issues as a public interest advocate for 30 years, told Truthout.

Last December, the story made regional television coverage.

Coupeville's unprotected and contaminated well, which sits next to the OLF, is providing PFAS-laced water to schools, businesses, Whidbey General Hospital and hundreds of families. Since late 2016, some families with contaminated wells near the OLF have even had to abandon them and drink, cook and brush their teeth with water in plastic bottles, according to Abraham, who has investigated PFAS contaminations in a number of states, taking samples, interfacing with regulatory officials and researching internal company documentation of PFAS-related health harms.

Along with ongoing Navy obfuscation around the crisis, the Whidbey Island Health Department -- which has described the Navy as a "partner" -- has actively worked with the Navy in shaping the health department's message about the contamination to the community. The health department also kept secret from the public a plan to test the wells in the community -- at the Navy's request -- and who also did not allow citizens to provide input for what was tested and at what levels.

And this is not a new phenomenon.

There are numerous examples across the country of the Navy contaminating water around its bases with toxic chemicals. As of last year, there are literally hundreds of towns across the country dealing with this or similar issues.

Meanwhile, Naval Air Station Whidbey has recently dramatically expanded its fleet of "Growler" aircraft, the single loudest aircraft on the planet, and corresponding operations will increase as well.

Citizens as "Collateral Damage"

Many of the residents around NAS Whidbey, OLF Coupeville, other islands in Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and even Canadians living in nearby Victoria on Vancouver Island have grown accustomed to ear-piercing jet noise from the Navy's war machines.

Naval plans to conduct electromagnetic warfare training on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as the fact that they had already been doing so on state highways unbeknownst to residents, and news of the Navy being permitted to kill or harass nearly 12 million whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals across the North Pacific Ocean over a five-year period are things people in this region have grown accustomed to hearing about their naval neighbors.

Pleas from residents about these issues (and many others they are concerned about) have for the most part been ignored, or sometimes residents have even been chided, by the Navy.

The issue of the toxic chemicals in residential drinking water, however, has people directly impacted very upset, and many are angered by what they see as a cover-up.

"All 'official' PFAS [perfluoroalkyl substances] testing done in the community has only been for PFOA [Perfluoroheptanoic acid], PFOS and PFBS [Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid]," Abraham said. "The Town of Coupeville had its water independently tested, but like testing done by the Navy, PFHxS [Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid] and PFHpA [Perfluoroheptanoic acid] have been ignored."

He went on to add that no references to these chemicals could be found in the "colorful posters and materials at the Navy's 'Open House' public meetings," nor are they mentioned on the Navy's informational website, or websites for Island County and Coupeville.

"What the Navy and many public officials dismiss as acceptable amounts of PFASs in drinking water are thought by many research scientists to be a threat to human health," Abraham added.

PFASs build up and stay in the body for a long time. It takes eight to nine years to get rid of half the amount of PFHxS already in the blood, two to four years for PFOA, and five to six years for PFOS. By drinking contaminated water, you can have more PFASs in your blood than is in the water due to the bio-accumulative effect.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, studies indicate PFASs can, "affect the developing fetus and child, including possible changes in growth, learning, and behavior. In addition, they may decrease fertility and interfere with the body's natural hormones, increase cholesterol, affect the immune system, and even increase cancer risk."

"The Navy has known of private contaminated wells for years, and is only now taking action after a threat of public exposure," Andrews said.  

In January, Andrews told Truthout that the Navy was testing 100 wells in Coupeville within a one-mile radius of the OLF, but each time another contaminated well was discovered, the Navy moved ground zero out another mile.

"I believe that Whidbey Island could be environmentally compromised beyond recovery, just as it has been culturally destroyed by the Navy's total indifference and abuse of those living here," she said. "Who is going to pay for all of this cleanup? The water and air are compromised, citizens' health has been compromised, and yet the Navy -- who could easily practice their exercises elsewhere and begin the arduous clean up now -- has opted for willful ignorance and arrogance."

There are numerous other health impacts from the chemicals the Navy has added to the drinking water of Whidbey Island.

Studies, including those related to child exposures, suggest PFASs can reduce immune response to certain vaccinations and increase risk of infection. Additionally, children with higher blood levels of PFHxS were found to have an increased chance of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and perfluorinated compounds, such as PFHxS, affect the function of sex hormone receptors.

While the EPA's "acceptable" level for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water is 70 parts per trillion (ppt), this level has been widely criticized as not being protective. As a result, several states have set far more conservative standards.

Minnesota's Drinking Water guidance level is 35 ppt for PFOA and 27 for PFOS, while Vermont's drinking water health advisory level for PFOA is 20 ppt.

Vermont doesn't even recommend using water with any level of PFOA for its livestock.

Upon finally admitting to finding levels of the chemicals in several wells, the Navy offered bottled water to people.

"Their offer of bottled water is patronizing when you consider the numbers of organic farms located on hundreds of acres on this island who sell their fruits and vegetables to some of the most well-known restaurants in Seattle," Andrews said.

"Early on, we were told by several Navy staff that 'we' were collateral damage to the 'war on terror," Andrews said of what the Navy told her several years ago, when the so-called war on terror was driving US foreign policy. "And while unbelievable at first glance, I now believe this to be true."

Lying by Omission

Karen Sullivan is a retired endangered species biologist who worked at the US Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years and is an expert in the bureaucratic procedures the Navy is supposed to be following, including Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). Sullivan cofounded the website West Coast Action Alliance, which acts as a watchdog of naval activities in the Pacific.

"In still another example of the flaws in this EIS, the contamination of drinking water in residential and commercial areas near the naval runways due to use of hazardous chemicals is not addressed," Sullivan told Truthout.

The Navy's EIS concludes, "No significant impacts related to hazardous waste and materials would occur due to construction activities or from the addition and operation of additional Growler aircraft."

But according to Sullivan, these chemicals have never been analyzed and have been used in conjunction with Growler training and operations for many years; therefore, their analysis should not be excluded.

"With flights at OLF Coupeville increasing from 3,200 in 2010 to as many as 35,500, nobody can claim that a 1,000 percent increase in seven years for which no groundwater or soil contaminant analyses have been done is not significant," she said.

The Navy's publication of the EIS she is referencing was on November 10, 2016, and she believes the Navy "was well aware of potential problems with contamination of residential drinking water due to what it calls 'historic' use of fire suppressants for flight operations."

In May 2016, the EPA issued drinking water health advisories for two PFCs, and the Navy announced in June 2016 that it was in the process of "identifying and for removal and destruction all legacy perfluorooctane sulfonate (and PFOA) containing AFFF [aqueous film forming foam]."

Yet, on page 3-62, the Navy's EIS dismisses concerns with a statement about actions that took place nearly 20 years ago: "Remediation construction was completed in September 1997, human exposure and contaminated groundwater exposures are under control, and the OUs at Ault Field and the Seaplane Base are ready for anticipated use (USEPA, 2016e)."

"The statement is ludicrously outdated, and recent events refute it," Sullivan said. "Three days before the EIS was published, on November 7, 2016, the Navy sent a letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners expressing concern that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property."

Nevertheless, the word "perfluoroalkyl" or "PFAS" is not mentioned once in the entire 1,600-page Growler EIS, nor the 2005 or 2012 Environmental Assessments.

The Navy's Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding sought to reassure the public in late 2016 in an interview with a local TV station: "The Navy is going to provide those people with safe drinking water until we can figure out how to remove the contaminant from the water well, filter it out or something like that. It's something that still needs to be worked out."

Unfortunately, according to Sullivan, a statement from the Department of Defense's own "MERIT" program contradicts the Navy's diagnosis: "Currently, there are no in situ technologies and very limited ex situ options to treat soil or groundwater contaminated with PFCs."

"The EIS confines its discussion of groundwater contamination to soil compression and compaction effects from new construction, and concludes there will be no impacts to groundwater," Sullivan said. "No mention of contaminated soil is found in the EIS. Extensive evaluations for a variety of hazardous materials, however, were included in the Northwest Training and Testing EIS, so why leave it out of the Growler EIS? This is the equivalent of a doctor refusing to look at an EKG that clearly shows a heart attack, and diagnosing the patient with anxiety."

Typical Response

"The Navy's approach to this pollution problem is no different than that of any big industrial polluter seeking to avoid criticism, reduce liability and continue business-as-usual," said Abraham. "Downplaying the seriousness of the problem, dragging out investigations and keeping the public in the dark is what they too often do."

He told Truthout that the Navy has not revealed all the contaminants found in the aquifer, and their draft EIS did not mention the contamination issue, even after the Navy sampled wells and discovered contamination and notified residents living within a mile radius. 

COER is suggesting that people near the OLF have their water independently tested for the same chemicals found by the Navy, and that the Navy be asked to pay for the tests.

"The testing of our water should not be a one-time event, and the analysis should identify the lowest detectable concentrations of those chemicals," COER's Maryon Attwood said in a press release on the issue. "We have a right to know what's in the water we drink."

Bruce Saari, another long-time Whidbey Island resident who has lived many years near the naval base or OLF Coupeville, is deeply disturbed by the ordeal.

"Those early fears have been realized I think," he told Truthout, referencing the contamination found at the air base. "And now it is Coupeville that is under the same cloud. I lived 20 years on Whidbey on Long Point near the OLF and in Oak Harbor near the base. I have a lifelong interest in the area, worked the farms on Ebey's reserve as a student, and feel a sense of impending doom regarding these developments."

Solutions?

What COER, Abraham and countless other Whidbey Island residents being impacted by the crisis want is simply clean and safe drinking water, and for the Navy to take responsibility for the crisis it has caused.

Abraham believes the Navy must immediately install appropriate filtration systems on private and public wells that are contaminated or at risk, which includes all of Coupeville's wells and water treatment plant. He also thinks it only makes sense for the Navy to provide alternative sources of clean water to all entities who have seen their water contaminated.

"Too many people have been living off bottled water for far too long with no end in sight," he said.

On March 4, the Navy tested 27 monitoring wells it had previously installed at OLF Coupeville, where it found even higher levels of contamination in the aquifer in some of the wells. PFOA was found up to 1,190 ppt, PFOS up to 54.7, and PFBS up to 473 ppt. The Navy's "plan" for testing these monitoring wells did not include testing for PFHxS or PFHpA, even though both were known to be in the water as well.

Andrews, COER and Abraham are all calling for the Navy to retest and monitor all public and private wells known to be contaminated or "at risk."

They are also calling for PFHxS, PFHpA and PFNA [Perfluorononanoic acid] to be added to the list of chemicals monitored at OLF's on-site monitoring wells; for all public and private drinking water in the area to be tested and monitored for all six PFAS found at the OLF; for the migration of contaminated water to be stopped; and for the PFASs to be removed from the aquifer, as technologies already exist for doing so.

But these are tall orders when viewed from the fact that even getting the Navy to admit to the extent and severity of the problem still remains the first step.

AL wins MLB All-Star Game, 2-1 in 10 innings

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 23:49

The American League beat the National League, 2-1 in 10 innings, in a lackluster MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Miami. Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners smacked the game-winning home run in the top of the 10th off Chicago Cubs reliever Wade Davis. Cano was also named the game's MVP. The game, which lingered three hours and 15 minutes, featured more strikeouts (23) than hits (17) between the two teams. The AL has won five All-Star Games in a row, and 17 of the past 21. For the first time since 2003, the winning league will not get home-field advantage in the World Series. That rule was changed prior to this season, and the home-field advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

The "News" Is Content-Free

Charles Hugh Smith - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 23:04
We're "your" trustworthy news source, even though we're all owned by six corporations or billionaires with political agendas. The "news" has loomed large in The News--a classic self-referential loop in which the media itself becomes its own content. While the controversy over what constitutes "fake news" and "real news" has itself become "the news," the cold reality is all "news," "real" or otherwise, is content-free.The "news" is so devoid of content that a simple software program could assemble a semi-random daily selection of headlines, scrolling banners, and radio/TV "news" reports from a pool of typical "news" stories and insert a bit of context (local highways that are congested, rough neighborhoods where shootings occur, names of local authorities, etc.), and the consumer of "news" would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the randomly generated "news" and the "real news."Here's a taste of the Random Content-Free News Generator Application that would produce "news" that was virtually indistinguishable from the "real" news.Traffic is backed up near the (insert the usual congestion point) on the I-XX (local Interstate/highway). (TV/video: show randomly selected video clip of slow-moving traffic).A serious accident occurred on I-XX (TV newscasters look somber if the wreck resulted in fatalities.)Local Authorities held a news conference to Say What People Want to Hear about (insert hot-button topic): this concern is being addressed by authorities. We've got top people working on this--top people. (Newscasters look serious.)A horrific terrorist attack occurred somewhere in the world--insert semi-randomly selected city, with preference given to Mideast and Central Asian war zones and Western capitals.Bad weather of some kind is threatening us, or could threaten us shortly. (Insert video clip of flooding, heavy rain, or scorching heat in desert climes, etc.)Sports celebrity XYZ apologizes for (choose one or more: spousal abuse, gambling, serial infidelity, public drunkenness, loutish treatment of adoring fans, etc.) while his wife/family/attorney hover in the background.Coach XYZ explains why the team lost: the other team made some key plays, we lost focus, our guys/gals gave it their all, but we see some areas of improvement we're going to work on, etc.The latest food fad taking the hipster 'hoods by storm is (combine traditional ingredient with an Asian or Indian flavor: kim-chee-flavored watermelon, etc.)Somebody graduated (heart-warming story that gives newscasters a chance to smile): insert video of cute kindergartners collecting their diplomas, Grandmother in cap and gown, etc. (An over-credentialed society loves to see graduations, especially of kids, elders and underdogs--supporting the narrative that our meritocracy thrives on piling up credentials.)Good news on the economy: insert manipulated official statistic on declining unemployment, higher median wages, rising home values, etc. Alternative report: insert story of an underdog taking ownership of a house for the first time, new food truck serving customers, etc.You don't see this every day: insert YouTube clip of person being struck by lightning but miraculously walking away, truck overturning on a highway, spilling huge steel girders, etc.More evidence surfaces that Russia Did Something Bad to Us (insert random clip of Putin, Russian missiles, etc.)Self-congratulatory advertorial: We're doing a great job here, folks, of investigating what needs to be investigated and reporting what needs to be reported, etc. Count on us for "real news." We're "your" trustworthy news source, even though we're all owned by six corporations or billionaires with political agendas:If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.Check out both of my new books, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print, $5.95 audiobook) For more, please visit the OTM essentials website.NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.Thank you, John C. ($5/month), for your superbly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.Thank you, Earl V. ($5/month), for your splendidly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.Go to my main site at www.oftwominds.com/blog.html for the full posts and archives.

Streaming TV apps grapple with password sharing

Top Reuters News - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:37
(Reuters) - More than one-fifth of young adults who stream shows like "Game of Thrones" or "Stranger Things" borrow passwords from people who do not live with them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a finding that suggests media companies are missing out on significant revenue as digital viewership explodes.

Among Trump associates, concern and frustration over Donald Jr. crisis

Top Reuters News - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:33
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fresh off one foreign trip and preparing for another, Donald Trump was enjoying a period of relative calm - until the White House was rocked by a fresh controversy over contacts between the president's campaign and Russia.

Among Trump associates, concern and frustration over Donald Jr. crisis

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:33
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fresh off one foreign trip and preparing for another, Donald Trump was enjoying a period of relative calm - until the White House was rocked by a fresh controversy over contacts between the president's campaign and Russia.

EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:28
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said.

Trump-Russia revelations raise hopes for U.S. sanctions bill

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:22
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump's son and a Russian attorney, and the failure to disclose it, add new urgency to the push to pass a Russian sanctions bill that has been stalled in Congress, lawmakers and aides said on Tuesday.

Trump Jr.'s Russia emails could trigger probe under election law

Top Reuters News - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:19
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that could help his father's presidential campaign could lead investigators to probe whether he violated U.S. election law, experts said.

Trump Jr.'s Russia emails could trigger probe under election law

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:19
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that could help his father's presidential campaign could lead investigators to probe whether he violated U.S. election law, experts said.

Top Senate Republican to unveil revised healthcare plan

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 20:13
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Senate Republican said on Tuesday he would unveil a revised version of major healthcare legislation sought by President Donald Trump on Thursday but deep divisions within the party left the stalled bill's prospects uncertain.

Trump administration limits government use of Kaspersky Lab software

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:50
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Tuesday removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns the cyber security firm's products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into U.S. networks.

Trump seen replacing Yellen at Fed with NEC's Cohn: Politico

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:15
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is increasingly unlikely to nominate Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen next year for a second term, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn is the leading candidate to succeed her, Politico reported on Tuesday, citing four people close to the process.

Spy Games at the Dawn of the Cold War – Mike Swanson (07/11/2017)

TheWarState.Com - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 18:58

I will be live on The Ochelli Effect tonight at 8:00 PM EST. To listen go to www.ochelli.com

Over the past few years a question I have asked myself is HOW does the national security state function.

Looking at details is the only way to answer that.

This talk will focus on a new book released about OSS/SSU operations in 1946 – a year left empty in accounts of the US intelligence community until this book:

Spying Through a Glass Darkly: American Espionage against the Soviet Union, 1945-1946 .

This was a transition year as WWII ended and Cold War began in which operations were being paired back and missions changed.

We’ll also look at a secret group called “The Pond” – Special Services Branch – created by the head of army intilligence Major General George Strong under the direction of US Army Captain William Grombach. It operated in some areas unknown to anyone in the OSS/SSU under their noses.

The CIA historical room put out on article on this group and how James Angleton destroyed it in 1955’s with an intel operation of his own:

The Pond: Running Agents for State, War, and the CIA – The Hazards of Private Spy Operations

notes…

OSS/SSU

value of intelligence? value of book…

2 stories
France and YORK/BINGLEY 237-239

Czech ops 219-223

Hungary and the Pond and James McGargar – 212

…….
Origins –

Grombach writes the report goes to Truman smashes Donovan
CIG Group before CIA and SSU

Italy a 2 dozen people Angleton

Berlin Base…. Dulles/Wisner – Richard Helm’s driver p.106

Peter Sichel…. about 20…

Early priorities – werewolves and battlegroups…

General Clay sees gossip in “kidnapping central” of lightbulbs

The early proities of the troops and spies…

Friendly travelers and walk in defectors…

one single key safehouse – 138

the promise of the emigre

page 127 naval intelligence and US army give up -127

Gehlen to Fort Hood and back with a black box 127 – 131***

Austria – ANGEL and PRIEST and their 300 agents -154

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Categories: The War State

US hopes to keep military footprint in Iraq after IS: General

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 18:39
Language Undefined

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said Iraq's government had expressed interest in having US and coalition troops stay

Ocular Therapeutix shares plummet after FDA pushes back on eye-drug approval

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 17:47

Shares of Ocular Therapeutix Inc. lost a quarter of their value in the extended session Tuesday after the Food and Drug Administration told the drug maker it could not approve a marketing application for an eye-pain drug in its current form. Ocular Therapeutix shares, which had been halted at $7.55, dropped 26% to $5.60 after hours, following a 17% gain during the regular session. Tuesday's regular-session gain followed the company's announcement late Monday that it had amended a marketing application for its drug Dextenza to address FDA concerns with its manufacturing process.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Cohn reportedly front-runner to replace Yellen as Fed chief

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 17:40

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn is the front-runner to replace Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen next year, Politico reported, citing unnamed people close to the process. Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president, would be easily confirmed, the report said. Former Fed Gov. Kevin Warsh is also a candidate to be Fed chief, and like Cohn, doesn't have a Ph.D. in economics. Yellen is due to testify to Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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