SPLASH! News Recap of December 5, 2016

News Making a Splash Today, Will Have Ripple Effects Tomorrow

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal

Michael Slager, jury declares a mistrial

Mr. Slager was charged in the fatal shooting of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott after an April 2015 traffic stop. The shooting was captured on cellphone video, which showed Mr. Slager, who is white, shooting Mr. Scott repeatedly in the back as he ran away.

Mr. Slager pleaded not guilty, saying the shooting was in self-defense, as he feared for his life after fighting Mr. Scott for control of his police Taser.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in a statement that she plans to retry Mr. Slager. She thanked the jury members on Monday for their service and said she would be in contact as she considers next steps, to seek their insights on the charges, the witnesses and other aspects of the case.

Chris Stewart, a Scott family attorney, said the family is hopeful because the solicitor has told them she will seek a retrial, and Mr. Slager faces federal civil-rights charges as well.

The Injustice Boycott

The 61st anniversary of the launch of the Montgomery Bus Boycott — and now just hours after a major victory was won for the people of Standing Rock, hundreds of thousands of us have joined together to take an organized stand against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States of America.

This is the Injustice Boycott.

It’s not a petition. It’s not a Facebook page. It’s not a retweet or a hashtag.

It’s an organized resistance, driven by local people and activists, supported by passionate believers all over the country and around the world. Just as the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 381 days, we are prepared for this boycott to last as long as it takes to make change happen. Indeed, we won’t stop until it does. This boycott will not weaken but will grow in size, strength, reach, and power every single day.

The Rich Can’t Save Us

Even though the establishment Democrats lost they are not dead. They still have money in the bank and still have the goal of influencing future elections (and future policy). In that vein, Alex Press outlined the big Democratic donors’ next big meeting in her recent piece in Jacobin, “The Rich Can’t Save Us.” She explains how the donor class doesn’t plan on altering their strategy and its subsequent implications:

“Their top-down approach to politics — a service model animated by an unwavering belief in their own superior intelligence — leaves us defenseless in the face of Trump and the right-wing forces he’s empowered. Their existential dread of radical change renders them suspicious of precisely the policies that could unite workers of all races and blunt Trump’s appeal.

In short, the rich can’t save us.”

The White House and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative got together to discuss how to solve poverty and inequality using technology.

Essentially, a bunch of rich people got together in an attempt to solve a problem they have no first-hand experience with. Hamilton Nolan outlines the many issues involved with the conference in his article titled, “Poverty Doesn’t Need Technology. It Needs Politics.”

“With all of the do-gooder conferences in the world, why does the White House come to put its name on one that explicitly holds up technology and private philanthropy and public-private partnership as the solution to poverty? This summit did not spend its time discussing new taxes and government regulations to rein in inequality, or how to purge Congress of members hostile to poverty-fighting legislation; instead, its sessions touted “Philanthropy as a Catalyst” and “Technology to Facilitate Financial Access” and “Tech Talent for Public Impact and the Way Ahead.”

#NoDAPL gets good news and bad

After months of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the water protectors got a bit of good news on Sunday. The Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced that they would not approve the easement needed for DAPL to cross under Lake Oahe.

“‘Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,’ Darcy said. ‘The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.’

Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.”

However, while good, this piece of news did not mean the end of the #NoDAPL movement, nor the end of the pipeline. Sunday night, in response to the Army Corps’ declaration, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics (the companies behind the pipeline) issued a statement indicating their intent to move forward with construction, despite the lack of easement.

“The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.

As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”

Deadly Oakland Fire

Work was halted for about nine hours Monday after authorities determined the building was dangerously unstable for firefighters inching through the wreckage, said Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton.

“Working under a wobbly, potentially collapsing exterior wall is extremely dangerous,” she said. “We will not put our firefighters in danger.”

Later, the building was sufficiently secured and work resumed. But officials announced up to 500 electrical customers in the area would lose power for up to 12 hours to allow a crane to be hauled into the area to aid workers at the scene. Red Cross volunteers and community groups were canvassing the area to ensure the needs of residents would be met, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

“It’s absolutely imperative we take care of our community,” Watson said.

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns

Prime Minister Renzi announced his resignation Sunday after the defeat of his constitutional reform package. He stated, “We tried, we gave Italians a chance to change but we didn’t make it. We wanted to win not to take part in the competition. I lost. I can admit it and I am sorry. I was not able to lead you to the victory. Good luck to us all.”

The 59% no vote was a rebuke to Renzi’s reform ideas including reducing the power of the senate and shifting its power to the lower house as well as shifting the power away from the regions of Italy and concentrating it instead in the central government. The Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment group opposed to Mr. Renzi and his ideas, saw the no vote as a vote against the status quo. The Five Star Movement has also indicated that it wants to sever fiscal commitments to the European Union and desires a vote on whether Italy should remain in the Euro.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key resigns

Prime Minister Key has been in office since 2008. On Sunday, he announced that he would not be seeking a fourth term, surprising many people. He is considered a popular leader but said that the decision was personal and a hard choice to make. Rumors immediately surfaced that his wife had given him an ultimatum, but Key denied that. An excerpt from his full statement is below:

“But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician.  I have certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament.

The National Party is in great shape.  Bill English has told me that in all his years here, ours is the most cohesive Cabinet he has seen.  And I personally am humbled and gratified that after eight years as Prime Minister, my personal support from the public remains high. I absolutely believe we can win the next election.

But I do not believe that if you asked me if I was committed to serving out a fourth term, that I could look the public in the eye and say yes. And more than anything else in my time here, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders.

I also believe that leadership change, for the right reasons and handled well, is good for a political party.

For all these reasons, I today told my Cabinet and caucus colleagues of my decision to step down as Leader of the National Party and as Prime Minister.

Fake News Story Leads To A Real Shooting

“The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms. Even Michael Flynn, a retired general whom President-elect Trump has tapped to advise him on national security, shared stories about another anti-Clinton conspiracy theory involving pedophilia. None of them were true. But the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at children of Comet Ping Pong employees and patrons. The restaurant’s owner was forced to contact the FBI, local police, Facebook and other social-media platforms in an effort to remove the articles.”

Following the incident, Welch has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Police also found two other firearms besides the assault rifle in the restaurant and one in Welch’s car.

The incident is terrifying. As fake news continues permeating social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook, there’s a real concern that more similar events could take place.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Written by Raven Payne

Recently awakened progressive in pursuit of truth in all things.

Raven Payne is an Editor and Writer for Progressive Army, and a member of its Editorial Board.

Written by Andre Roberge

Father, Husband. Went to school for philosophy (university of WA) and now I work for a train company -- Interests include Labor Law, TILA, Unions, Paid Family Leave, Healthcare, Philosophy of Science, Fantasy Football and Open Government-- Fanboy of The Take Down with Nick Nowlin and The Way with Anoa. Follow Andre on Twitter @SubvertingPower.

Andre Roberge is a Researcher and Writer for Progressive Army.

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False Allegations of Anti-Semitism Hurt Progress

SPLASH! News Recap of December 5, 2016