NYMHM for 25 Nov 2018

News You May Have Missed for 25 November 2018 is also news you need to know. Look in particular at the climate change story, the neo-Nazis, the closed border…


  • If you want to be heard quickly—about the teargassing of children at the border, say—text “resist” to 50409, and a bot will turn your text into a fax and send it to your appropriate elected officials. It takes about three minutes.
  • If you have more than three minutes, Sarah-Hope has a new, very informative list of people to write: Family separation, gun control, asylum issues, the underpayment of incarcerated firefighters, and much more.
  • Martha tells us that the comment period is open on oil drilling in Alaska federal waters. See her list for opportunities to comment on environmental regulations, access to contraception, sales of public lands—among other issues.


1. Tear gas fired on children trying to cross border

Trump closed the border between Tijuana and San Diego after a few migrants tried to get through the fence; US border agents fired tear gas on the whole group. Migrants have been waiting in Tijuana for their asylum applications to be considered; only about 100 per day have been processed, though about 5000 are waiting. [Guardian, AP] Meanwhile, legal residents returning to the U.S. after the Thanksgiving break cannot get through; some 90,000 people cross the border legally each day and the closure jeopardizes jobs and schoolwork.

Migrants who arrived at the border have already weathered violence in their home countries and in Mexico; crimes against migrants in Mexico quadrupled between 2015-2017—which is why people travel in caravans. Shakedowns, sexual assault, and random gunfire are common. See the Texas Tribune for a glimpse of what migrants have been through.

Meanwhile, NBC reports that the Department of Homeland Security has undercover informants among the migrant caravan, and that it is monitoring their text massages as well. NBC does not speculate on whether paid informants were among those storming the fence earlier today. [Mother Jones, Vanity Fair]

2. Neo-Nazis uniting, forming paramilitary groups

A neo-Nazi who calls himself Norman Spear is developing a network, both digital and in-person, of people committed to fighting what he says will be an upcoming race war. He calls the digital network “The Base,” and members are organizing through meet-ups and weapons trainings. Vice has an extensive description on what is on the website, from methods of guerrilla warfare to survival tactics to manuals for creating explosive devices. Last year Spear said, “We don’t need to convert or transform every weak-willed white person into a great Aryan warrior in order for us to win. We just need to unite the best of us who are willing to fight to do what’s necessary.”

3. Native American tribe who created Thanksgiving deprived of land

In September, the Department of Interior formally ruled to reverse an Obama-era decision that placed 321 acres of land into a federal trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, the tribe credited with aiding the Pilgrims in the Thanksgiving myth. Despite evidence that the federal government was aware of the Mashpee prior to the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, the tribe wasn’t recognized by the federal government until 2007, which forms the legal basis for the DOI’s decision. The decision and related court cases are wrapped up in competing gaming interests trying to eliminate competition on native land. [HuffPost, Lakota Law]

If you want to comment on this issue, see Sarah-Hope’s list.

4. Indigenous sites in Arizona bulldozed

Ancient stone tools, some more than 12,000 years old, were dug up and archaeological sites bulldozed at several Arizona state parks. The State Parks director and deputy director have been suspended, while archaeologists and Native American politicians are pressing for investigations. As the director of the Arizona State Museum put it, these kinds of actions are:

destroying the unwritten history of their people, affecting real human beings who have descendants, ancestors who need to be cared for in a respectful and dignified way.

[Indian Country Today]


5. As Trump makes nice, Saudi women’s rights activists tortured in prison

While Trump sided with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the CIA’s allegations that he ordered the killing of assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, imprisoned advocates for the repeat of the driving ban in Saudi Arabia have been beaten, tortured with electric shocks and sexually harassed, according to separate investigations by the Washington Post and Amnesty International. Even though the driving ban has been repealed, the women remain in prison. [WaPo, WaPo]

6. Significant incident between Russia and Ukraine

Tensions have flared between Russia and Ukraine after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in waters off the Crimean peninsula. Russia has also placed a tanker vessel directly under a bridge in the Kerch Strait, blocking access to the Sea of Azov, which is shared by Russian-occupied Crimea and Ukraine. Ukraine is set to declare martial law on the 26th. [BBC]

7. Surprise! Steven Bannon and Cambridge Analytica were involved in Brexit

As NYMHM reported a number of months ago, Cambridge Analytical was involved in shaping the eventual vote in Britain to leave the U.K. While Cambridge executives deny that Cambridge was involved, emails show that the company was engaged in planning; Steve Bannon was copied on some of the emails the New Yorker obtained. One strategy was that Cambridge Analytical targeted Americans with British relatives. Yet to be determined is whether foreign money was used in the Brexit campaign, a practice that would have been illegal. [New Yorker]

8. Buy too many video games? No flights for you!

China is continuing to roll out its social credit scheme, blocking millions of people from bookING flights or train trips, according to the Independent, which based its reporting on a Chinese government website. People gain points by volunteering or giving blood, and lose points for traffic infractions or purchasing too many video games. Other penalties are expected to include being banned from particular kinds of employment, restricting children from better schools, prohibiting people from moving, and so forth, creating a downward spiral. [Independent]


9. Climate Change: What did they know and when did they know it?

As early as 1954, the American Petroleum Institute knew that fossil fuels were leading to climate change. According to a Stanford historian, the Institute commissioned a study which showed that CO2 levels had risen 5 per cent in the previous hundred years. The president of the Institute said at the time, “The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.” [Democracy Now]

64 years later, the National Climate Assessment, produced by 300 respected scientists, came out on Black Friday. Its 1,656 pages detail the devastating effects of climate change, from California’s wildfires to billions of dollars of economic losses. The Trump administration is unfazed: Steven J. Milloy, a member of Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. transition team, summed up the Trump administration’s view on the report: “We don’t care,” he said. “In our view, this is made-up hysteria anyway.” [Atlantic, FAIR]

10. Why you can’t eat Romaine: deregulation

Six months ago, the FDA placed an Obama-era regulation on hold that would require the testing of farm irrigation water for pathogens such as E. coli. The implementation of this regulation could have prevented the recent outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of E. coli that has sickened 32 people in the United States and 18 in Canada. [Wired]

11. Sea turtles frozen in icy water

146 sea turtles, including some from endangered species, died after they were found frozen off the coast of Cape Cod, following a sudden temperature drop. Another 54 were saved. According to the Daily Beast, a change in their migration patterns has put them at risk; warming waters leads them to expand their range, into some territories where they cannot be sustained:

The Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary has said that ‘once in a lifetime’ weather—including high winds and tide—effectively incapacitating these turtles.

[Daily Beast, Buzzfeed]

12. Ecological devastation from palm oil plantations

Palm oil along with other biofuels was supposed to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, but it has instead lead to environmental catastrophe. In Borneo, slashing and burning of carbon-rich forests to grow palm trees released “more carbon than the entire continent of Europe,” according to the New York Times. Corporations which owned palm-oil plantations are very profitable, relying on abusive labor practices and quasi-legal appropriation of land from villages and small farmers. Though the Bush-era initiative to produce palm oil was intended to support American farmers currently producing corn and soy and to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, those crafting the policy did not consider how land would actually be used. In addition to carbon release, another consequence of the destruction of forests has been out of control wildfires.

As the Times put it:

This was what an American effort to save the planet looked like. It was startlingly efficient, extremely profitable and utterly disastrous.