News & Analysis of Economic, Racial, Gender Justice and More

President Donald Trump said to reporters on Monday that he does not believe the report released by his own government laying out the impacts of global warming. The National Assessment, released late on the Friday after Thanksgiving, painted a dire picture of the scenarios we face in continuing to burn fossil fuels. But Trump was having none of it. He then claimed that the US was the only country committed to clean air. Under Trump the US is in fact one of the only countries that has backed out of the Paris climate Accord which was agreed to under Obama at the UN climate conference in 2015. This year’s UN meeting, COP24, will take place in Poland next week. Reports emerged earlier this month that the Trump administration was planning a side event promoting fossil fuels, in particular coal – among the dirtiest of fuels.

In news from the US border the Mexican government has asked the US to launch “a full investigation” into the use of tear gas canisters over the weekend that US Border Patrol agents lobbed over the fence into Mexico near the San Diego port of entry. Trump defended the use of tear gas during his trip to Mississippi where he had two rallies to boost a Republican senate candidate. He told reporters, “Nobody’s coming into our country unless they come in legally,” and added that the gas used was “very safe” and was a “very minor form” of tear gas. He also said at a roundtable, that some of the mothers with children affected by the gas were, “grabbers,” who traffic children across the border in order to appear more sympathetic. He gave no evidence for his ludicrous claim. He then blamed mothers for putting their children into harm’s way saying, “Why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed and they were running up with a child?”

Mississippi voters are heading to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the very last special election of the Congressional midterms. The run-off between Trump-backed Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy has been roiled by accusations of racism and corruption. On Monday seven nooses were found hanging in trees outside the Mississippi Capitol. According to Associated Press, “The Mississippi Department of Public Safety says the nooses were accompanied by handwritten signs referring to Tuesday’s election as well as to lynchings — most of them in the state’s turbulent past, but also one recent case that remains under investigation, of a black man whose body was found hanging in central Mississippi.” It is not clear what the motivations of the perpetrator were but one of the accompanying signs read, “We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims,” while the other read, “We’re hanging nooses to remind people that times haven’t changed.”

And the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit against Mississippi’s election officials and governor for sending out absentee ballots late. Officials apparently did not begin to send out ballots until November 17th which meant that many out-of-state voters did not receive their mail-in ballots until the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving them very little time to fill it out, notarize it, and have it received by county officials the day before the election, as required by state law.

In news from the Special Counsel investigation, Robert Mueller’s team on Monday in a court filing accused Paul Manafort of violating the terms of his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators. Manafort was Trump’s campaign chair and had already been jailed and convicted of several charges. He remains in jail and is yet to be sentenced. With Mueller’s team accusing him of violating his plea agreement, he could now be prosecuted on those additional charges that were dropped.  Meanwhile the Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday that, according to an anonymous source, Manafort met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London months before the release of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. Mr. Assange has denounced the story as a hoax.

Meanwhile,Jerome Corsi has said he will reject a plea deal with the Mueller team. Corsi is an associate of Trump’s long-time confidante, Roger Stone and the former Washington Bureau chief of the extremist right-wing conspiracy website Infowars. Both Corsi and Stone are in Mueller’s crosshairs over whether they had foreknowledge of the Clinton campaign email trove obtained by Wikileaks. And, a former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos is heading to a federal prison camp for two weeks after failing in his bid to delay his surrender date.

On Cyber-Monday – as the Monday after Thanksgiving is now called – protesters stormed the Amazon store in Manhattan, New York. They were angry about the plans for the online-retail giant to set up one of its headquarters in the state and the overly generous public subsidies that the New York’s mayor and the state’s governor are supporting. “GTFO, Amazon has got to go,” is what protesters were chanting as they stormed an Amazon store in Manhattan on Monday.

GM has announced plans to lay off a whopping 14,000 workers across its factories in North America and possibly shut down 5 plants. President Trump says he plans on pressuring GM over the layoffs.

The US’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has strong words for Russia over the seizing of three Ukrainian naval ships calling it an, “outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory,” and, “another reckless Russian escalation.” Her words came a day after Russian forces had fired upon and rammed into several Ukrainian vessels. The Ukrainian Parliament on Monday voted to impose martial law within its borders.

And finally in France, thousands of French protesters have continued their marches and demonstrations over fuel-tax increases in France, setting up a tense political conundrum for President Emanuel Macron. The protesters, wearing yellow vests, have blocked streets, burned cars and clashed with police. More than 400 people have been injured and at least one person has died.

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