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Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Leads to Diminished College Enrollment

(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)

(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)

Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate speech and incidents have contributed to a sharp decline in international student enrollment at US colleges. Some undocumented students are also staying away, administrators say. And many US-born students are struggling to support undocumented family members while staying in school. The impacts on the economy, some estimate, will run into billions of dollars.

(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)

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Two-and-a-half years ago, when Margarita left her home in Venezuela to study in the US, she had high hopes. No one in her family had ever attended university, let alone studied abroad, and she relished the opportunity to perfect her English and complete a Bachelor’s degree.

Trump’s election changed that and Margarita says that she now worries about whether it is in her best interest to remain in the country. Despite having a student visa, she says that she’s always on edge. Nonetheless, she has decided to stay and finish her degree. “I want to make my dreams come true,” she told Truthout. “I do not want to leave something half-way, that is incomplete.” She expects to receive her undergraduate diploma in the spring of 2019.

Like most international students, Margarita is not eligible for financial aid and her family pays her tuition and living expenses out of pocket, in this case at $320 a credit. It’s a huge investment, and as bias incidents and hateful rhetoric about immigrants ramp up, many would-be international students are asking themselves if it makes sense to continue …read more

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Economic Update: Capitalism and Democracy

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This week’s episode discusses Puerto Rico, slave labor in the cocoa fields, worsening UK inequality, leaders imposing austerity on others and Canada’s Girl Guides among tourists to shun US. The episode also addresses rising US wage inequality, connection and opposition between capitalism and democracy, and key differences between capitalist and worker-coop enterprises.

To see more stories like this, visit Economic Update: Your Weekly Dose of Revolutionary Economics

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Economic Update is in partnership with Truthout.org

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Visit Professor Wolff’s social movement project, democracyatwork.info.

Permission to reprint Professor Wolff’s writing and videos is granted on an individual basis. Please contact profwolff@rdwolff.com to request permission. We reserve the right to refuse or rescind permission …read more

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Empire Files: The Sikh Experience in the US

People of the Sikh faith, commonly mistaken for both Muslims and Hindus, are frequent targets of bigoted hate crimes — in fact, the first victim of post-9/11 hate crimes was a Sikh man. In 2016, attacks against Muslims — and people perceived to be Muslims, in particular Sikhs — has reached an all-time high.

With 70% of Americans not able to properly identify the Sikh community, Abby Martin visits a place of worship to learn about their experience in the United States and who they are as a people.

Promoting respect and understanding of this religious and cultural tradition, The Empire Files profiles this minority community with a long and rich history in America, and explores the roots of anti-Sikh racism with Georgetown Professor and civil rights attorney Arjun Singh Sethi (@arjunsethi81) .

…read more

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Trumping Trump and Howling at the Moonves

Les Moonves cannot lose … and he knows it. The all-too-well compensated CEO of CBS said as much back in late February of 2016. The Bataan Death March of presidential campaigns had finally kicked into high gear and a month-long barrage of primaries, caucuses and televised debates portended just the sort of never-ending story-line that makes a media mogul’s dreams come true.

The man at the center of that long, pitched battle for the hearts and mindlessness of the American people was none other than future Reality-Star-in-Chief and all-around good for business-man President Donald J. Trump. His starring role in the daily melodrama also known as “The race for the White House” had Les leaping over the moon with financial excitement.

Moonves was so effusive that, in a fit of gleeful honesty, the titular head of America’s number one network told the denizens of a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco that Trump’s candidacy “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

At the time, Moonves was just pondering all the advertising dollars that would inevitably pile up on the way to a profitable political train-wreck. And Les was right. Train-wrecks may make for bad politics and even worse policy, but boy-oh-boy … do they ever make for great television!

In fact, televising train-wrecks, car crashes or any kind of contentious conflict is a sure-fire way to goad world-weary audiences into rubbernecking. In this age of low-overhead/high-drama reality programming, it’s also the cheapest and easiest way to pile up cash on a corporate media balance sheet.

And no doubt, Moonves could see early on that Trump would pile it higher and deeper than anyone who’d come before him. As the Hollywood Reporter detailed, Les wanted a lot more. He hoped the …read more

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Attorney for “Frozen Trucker”: Neil Gorsuch May Have Been Most Hostile Judge I've Ever Encountered

As confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch wrap up and Senate Democrats vow to filibuster his nomination, we look at Gorsuch’s ruling in a case known as the “frozen trucker.” Truck driver Alphonse Maddin was fired after he disobeyed a supervisor and abandoned the trailer that he was driving, because he was on the verge of freezing to death. We speak with Robert Fetter, the attorney who represented Maddin in his wrongful termination lawsuit.

Please check back later for full transcript.

…read more

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Where Does Neil Gorsuch Stand on the Environment? Why Many Greens Are Worried

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, is a conservative judge who environmentalists fear will put up roadblocks to their legal standing. These fears are based on some of Gorsuch’s previous rulings, which have disempowered green groups. At the same time, EnviroNews research uncovered instances where he has ruled against big polluters in the past. Gorsuch is undergoing confirmation hearings this week. So, should environmentalists be concerned?

Interestingly, Gorsuch’s mother, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, was a head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Reagan. She is remembered for making drastic cuts to the EPA, reducing the number of lawsuits against polluters and gutting the agency’s staff. She resigned in 1983 after a short 22-month tenure. A year later, the Chevron Deference was established in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., in which “the Supreme Court held that courts should defer to agency interpretations of such statutes unless they are unreasonable,” according to Cornell University Law School. This set a precedent that government agencies, like the EPA, could interpret laws for the courts in some cases.

Like his mother, Gorsuch opposes the concentration of federal government influence and wrote an opinion against the Chevron Deference, characterizing it as a threat to the balance of power. Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones points out this ruling was essential to the EPA’s successful defense of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule in 2014.

Another big concern for environmentalists is that Gorsuch will undermine or formally delegitimize their standing in court. “Standing” is the plaintiff’s right to bring suit based on a requirement that they “have sustained or will sustain direct injury or harm and that this harm is redressable,” Cornell Law explains.

In 2015, <a class="colorbox" rel="nofollow" …read more

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The Great Unraveling: Imagining the Shattered World of 2050

(Photo: Pexels; Edited: LW / TO)

“Empires, like adolescents, think they’ll live forever…. As a result, it can be hard to distinguish growing pains from death rattles. When the end comes, it’s always a shock.” In this excerpt from Splinterlands, written in the form of a fictitious journal from the year 2050, John Feffer offers a grim speculative account of how the world unraveled.

(Photo: Pexels; Edited: LW / TO)

In a striking new novel, John Feffer imagines a dystopian yet all too familiar future in which the world’s superpowers have fractured, global temperatures have soared, the global economy has collapsed and violent nationalism prevails. Order Splinterlands today by making a tax-deductible donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt from Splinterlands, written in the form of a fictitious journal from the year 2050, Feffer offers a grim speculative account of how the world unraveled.

Water boils most fiercely just before it disappears. And so it is, evidently, with human affairs.

Before all hell broke lose in 1914, the world witnessed an unprecedented explosion of global trade at levels that would not be seen again for more than six decades. Before the Nazis took over in 1933, Germans in the Weimar Republic were enjoying an extraordinary blossoming of cultural and political liberalism. Before the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, Soviet scholars were proudly pointing to rising rates of intermarriage among the many nationalities of the federation as a sign of ever-greater social cohesion.

And in 2018, just before the great unraveling, the world still seemed to be in a frenzy of what was then labeled “globalization.” The volume of world trade was at an all-time high. Facebook had created a network of 3 billion active users. People on every continent were dancing to Drake, watching the …read more

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Ramona Africa Talks MOVE, Liberation and Surviving 1985 Bombing

Ramona Africa, sole living survivor of U.S. bombing of the MOVE home in Philadelphia.

Ramona Africa, the sole living survivor of the US bombing of the MOVE home in Philadelphia. (Photo: Courtesy of Lamont Lilly) Former U.S. political prisoner, Ramona Africa, is the Minister of Communication for the MOVE Organization and a Philadelphia-based organizer with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. She is also the only living survivor of the 1985 MOVE bombing, when the FBI and Philadelphia police dropped two C-4 bombs on her organization’s Philadelphia home, killing 11 people.

Lamont Lilly: Ramona, for those who may be unfamiliar, what is the MOVE Organization? Who founded MOVE, and what is the organization about?

Ramona Africa: The MOVE Organization is a revolutionary organization founded by a Black man named John Africa. He brought people together from all different backgrounds, nationalities, religions, etc., and gave us one common revolutionary belief. That belief is in the sanctity, and all importance of life, on all levels, without exception. And it is that uncompromising belief commitment to life that has put us in direct conflict with the system that we’re living under, a system that doesn’t care anything about life — whether it’s the air, the water, the soil that feeds us, they don’t care. But as members of MOVE, we are committed to life.

We were animal rights activists long before that term was ever invented. We were environmentalists before that term was ever invented. Everything that John Africa taught us has come full circle.

John Africa had even coordinated a raw food diet for us. He put us in touch with what our natural diet is. People said we were crazy, that we were going to get sick and make our children sick. “You can’t eat raw food like that. You …read more

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Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns

On a lake, plumes of gas, most likely methane from the breakdown of carbon in sediments below the lake, keep the water from freezing in spots, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, October 21, 2011. With temperatures warming across much of that region, which scientists primarily believe is because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases, permafrost is also warming, and signs are emerging that frozen carbon may be destabilizing. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

An impending release of methane hydrate across the Arctic could potentially doom life on Earth, according to a new study in a prestigious journal. The Permian Mass Extinction event that occurred 250 million years ago, annihilating 90 percent of species, was largely due to methane hydrate.

On a lake, plumes of gas, most likely methane from the breakdown of carbon in sediments below the lake, keep the water from freezing in spots, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, October 21, 2011. With temperatures warming across much of that region, which scientists primarily believe is because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases, permafrost is also warming, and signs are emerging that frozen carbon may be destabilizing. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire — and possibly prophetic — warning, though it garnered little attention in the media.

“Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic,” reads the study’s abstract. “But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”

The study, titled “Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction,” highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate.

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

In the wake of that mass extinction event, less than 5 percent of the animal species in the seas lived, and less than one-third of the large land animal species made it. Nearly all the trees died.

Methane hydrate, according to the US Office of Fossil Energy, “is a cage-like lattice …read more

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