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Scraping by on six figures? Tech workers feel poor in Silicon Valley’s wealth bubble

February 27, 2017

: theguardian – excerpt

Big tech companies pay some of the country’s best salaries. But workers claim the high cost of living in the Bay Area has them feeling financially strained

Carcinogen Warning Label on Roundup Weed Killer Coming to California

February 26, 2017

By

California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed killer Roundup as a carcinogen, according to a ruling by a judge in Fresno, California, although the corporation maintains that the product is harmless.

California would be the first state to order this level of labeling if this decision by the California Carcinogen Identification Committee is sustained by further court action. Monsanto previously sued the nation’s foremost agricultural producing state by filing court motions to the effect that California’s carcinogen committee acting under the powers given to it by Proposition 65, had illegally based their decision for mandatorily requiring the warnings on “erroneous” findings by an international health organization based in France.
What is Roundup and what is the problem with its chief ingredient, glyphosphate?

Environmentalists, consumer protectionists, and straightforward victims of glyphosphate-caused cancers and related poisoning object to Roundup’s principle ingredient, the odorless and colorless glyphosate, which was patented by Monsanto then marketed as early as 1974 to kill weeds but leave crops (apparently) intact. In 2017, it is sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

Trenton Norris, Monsanto’s lawyer, argued in court Friday that the labels would result in irreparable and immediate negative fiscal effect for Monsanto, because millions of consumers stop buying Roundup because of the labels.

After the hearing, Monsanto responded to the ruling by threatening to challenge the ruling, about all it can do, at this point. The EPA, to date, has never issued any warnings about this pesticide or glyphosphate, nor is it any more like to do so over the next four years, given the current state of the EPA, recently suffering from hiring freezes and budget cuts, and which maybe in the process of being entirely dismantled…

Glyphosphate is not only in Roundup! Monsanto lost patent protection on glyphosate in 2000, and a large number of herbicides now use it as an active ingredient, including OrthoGroundclear, KleenUp, Aquamaster, Sharpshooter, StartUp ,Touchdown, Total Traxion, Vector, and Vantage Plus Max II… (more)

We encourage you to read the rest of the article for further details.

Is this going to be a repeat of the Soccer Fields? Environmentalists and others warned that the material planned for use on the soccer fields and other city parks is toxic, and especially harmful to young children based on prior evidence. Soon after the city approved the use of the toxic material, the state legislature up a halt on use of the product. How many times are city officials going to ignore the voices of scientists and environmentalists, and allow the purchase and application of toxic substances into our environment? Can we not find a less toxic means of dealing with weeds and unwanted plants?

This s particularly alarming now that we are mixing ground water into our drinking water. Everything that goes into the ground will end up in our drinking water. It is more important than ever to protect the ground water. There must be other ways to manage our parks and open space that does not require the use of toxic substances. City Hall should order those methods be used.

Trump and The Courts: Presidential Attacks On The Courts Have A Long History

February 26, 2017

The guys who came before Trump didn’t have Twitter, but they found ways to make it clear.

When President Trump called Senior District Court Judge James Robart “this so-called judge” after the issuance of an order temporarily restraining Trump’s executive order on immigration, the response from all sides of the political spectrum was immediate and alarmed. It was called “bone-chilling” and “authoritarian.” Some even compared Trump to Hitler.

However, it was not only relatively mild for Trump but positively tame in comparison with past conflicts between presidents and judges. Even so, Trump might want to consider history before he follows the lead of his judge-trashing predecessors. Article III, the part of the Constitution that gives judges their power, is designed for days (and presidents) like this. It is why presidents have largely found that attacking judges did more to destroy their own credibility than that of their judicial antagonists.

Undeterred by the firestorm over his criticism of Robart, Trump then attacked the three-judge appellate panel after the 9th Circuit hearing as “disgraceful” and described the hearing a “sad day” for the United States. In a particularly curious distinction, Trump added, “I won’t say the court was biased. But so political.”.

While these comments were unfounded and decidedly unhelpful to the government case, they are not necessarily outside of the norm for presidents in criticizing judges. In 2010, President Obama criticized the justices sitting in front of him at the State of the Union for their ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

The courts and the presidency developed certain rules of engagement that have served both well. Judges learned to stay out of politics, while presidents learned to avoid personal attacks on judges.

If Trump continues his battles with judges, he could still prevail, but he should always remember that judges get the last word, even if he thinks they are wrong. As Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in a 1953 Supreme Court decision, “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley... (more)

Economic nationalism, war and the fight for international socialism

February 24, 2017

What is an economic nationalistic agenda?

By Nick Beams : wsws – excerpt

Fundamental questions of perspective and orientation for the international working class are raised by the promotion of economic nationalism, which is assuming an ever more prominent role in the political life of one country after another under conditions of deepening economic crisis, mass unemployment and worsening social conditions.

In the campaign over Brexit—the referendum on June 23 to decide whether Britain is to remain within the European Union—both the “Leave” and “Remain” camps, reflecting different sections of the British bourgeoisie, are couching their arguments in terms of what is “best” for Britain. In the United States, the presidential election campaigns of both the leading Republican contender Donald Trump and the self-styled “socialist” Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders are making appeals on the basis of an economic nationalist agenda.

Seeking to exploit the legitimate anger and hostility of workers to the destruction of jobs and living conditions as factories are closed and jobs outsourced to cheaper labour areas, Trump promises to “make America great again” and denounces “unfair” trade deals, while Sanders lashes out against trade agreements with China and Mexico as “stealing American jobs.”

Despite their differences, the two sides share a common platform. They seek to remove the question of the “export of jobs” from its foundation—the capitalist system itself and its drive for profit… (more)

White House Opens Door To Crackdown On Recreational Marijuana

February 24, 2017

By Matt Ferner : huffingtonpost – excerpt (includes video)

Trump pledged to respect states’ rights on marijuana during his campaign. This may signal a reversal on that promise.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested during a press conference Thursday that the federal government may crack down on states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Spicer explained that President Donald Trump sees the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana as two distinct issues. When it comes to medical marijuana, Spicer indicated that the president understands the importance of the drug’s availability, especially to those facing terminal diseases. But when it comes to recreational use, Spicer had a very different take, connecting recreational marijuana use to the opioid crisis currently ravaging the nation…

When asked if the federal government will take action around recreational marijuana, Spicer said, “That’s a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it. Recreational use … is something the Department of Justice will be looking into.”…

Drug policy reformers have raised concerns that Sessions could use the FBI to crack down on marijuana operations nationwide, or direct the Drug Enforcement Administration to enforce federal prohibition outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The court ruled in August that a federal rider blocks federal officials from prosecuting state-legal marijuana operators and patients. But that rider must be re-approved annually, and if it’s allowed to expire, Sessions could then order the DEA to enforce federal law nationally. He could also sue the various state governments that have set up regulatory schemes.

Either the President is flip-flopping or his staff is, once again, speaking out of turn.” – Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado)…

A federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana is in direct opposition with what American voters have said they want. A new survey from Quinnipiac University released Thursday found that a strong majority of American voters ― 71 percent ― want the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents and every age group polled agreed: the feds should not enforce prohibition in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana…

Recreationaal use … is something the Department of Justice will be looking into.”White House press secretary Sean Spicer…

“If the administration is looking for ways to become less popular, cracking down on voter-approved marijuana laws would be a great way to do it,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states. With a clear and growing majority of the country now supporting legalization, reneging on his promises would be a political disaster and huge distraction from the rest of the president’s agenda.”.

National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said it would be a “mistake” for DOJ to “overthrow the will of the voters and state governments” who have set up regulated adult-use programs…(more)

Just when you thought it was safe to bring a large industry into the public and open new commercial opportunities we get the two steps back approach. This may become a matter of states rights again, which is where it started. The original intent was to rid the country of aliens. Déjà vu.

Retired judge Kopp appears headed for reappointment to Ethics Commission

February 23, 2017

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Retired judge Quentin Kopp appears headed for reappointment to the Ethics Commission for a full six-year term.

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee – on which sits supervisors Norman Yee, Ahsha Safai and Sandra Fewer – voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Kopp’s reappointment. Kopp has served on the commission since September. The full board will vote on the reappointment next week… (more)

What every member of Congress from California said — or hasn’t said — about Trump’s immigration order

February 22, 2017

By Sarah D. Wire : latimes – excerpt

http://spreadsheets.latimes.com/where-california-congressmembers-stand-trump-order/

Download: CSV, XLS, JSON

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