When the Second Amendment speaks of militias and speaks also of guns, they’re expressing a fear of slave revolts. The Second Amendment did not apply to enslaved Africans. The Second Amendment did not apply to the indigenous population. In fact, it could be considered a capital offense to sell weapons to the Native American population since the European settlers were seeking to take their land.
—  Historian and University of Houston professor Gerald Horne on Philando Castile and open carry lawsWatch the interview: Historian: “You Can’t Disconnect History of the 2nd Amendment From the History of White Supremacy”
FBI Released Documents proving Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun fled to Argentina in a Submarine

FBI Releases Documents proving Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun fled to Argentina in a Submarine

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After many years of lies from the US governments. They finally confess that YES both Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun did in fact escape to Argentina, and did NOT kill themselves in the infamous bunker in Berlin. The newly declassified FBI documentsprove what the Russians had been stating all along. The US government knew Hitler was alive and well, and living in the Andes Mountains long after World…

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From Regulating Uber to Subsidizing It

On March 21, the Orlando suburb Altamonte Springs is starting a pilot program that pays for part of riders’ Uber fares. This misguided year-long initiative has a budget of $500,000 and will cover 20 percent of each fare for rides within the city’s limits and 25 percent of each fare for rides that start or end at mass transit stations.

Altamonte Springs is not alone in its push to subsidize Uber. Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area just started a pilot program that pays up to $3 per trip to riders who take Ubers or taxis to bus stops. While the intentions behind both of these localities’ subsidies are to increase access to government-provided transportation, subsidizing Uber—and taxis—is an expensive, pointless, and distortionary mistake.

University of Chicago economics professor Casey Mulligan told me, “A subsidy creates two prices: one that riders pay and the other that Uber receives.” In other words, though consumers may see a lower price, the difference between the discounted price and the full cost of a ride must be paid by someone (usually taxpayers). Additionally, subsidies push prices up by making it appear that prices are lower and artificially raising demand (see the cases of subsidies for student loans, sugar, film, and professional sports stadiums, just to name a few). These effects could lead to an outcome that simply transfers funds from taxpayers to Uber, with little effect on riders’ fares.

Yet, support for Uber subsidies continues to grow. This is likely because the so-called “last mile” problem of how to get to and from a mass transit system has plagued mass transit since its inception, leaving many residents underserved by existing options. Ridesharing has the potential to solve this problem, and proponents of subsidies argue that paying for Uber rides is the most cost-effective solution.

Uber has already helped to solve the last mile problem—without any taxpayer assistance. Last year, Uber released a case study of its effects on Chicago’s mass transit system. The study found that, “Chicago’s public transit system provides frequent, efficient, and convenient service across the city, but it only goes so far. Uber offers residents of areas underserved by public transit a reliable and fast link to public transportation, effectively expanding the coverage of existing transit networks.”

This experience is not unique to Chicago. Out of all the Uber trips in Portland in February 2015, 25 percent started or ended within a quarter mile of a mass transit station. A similar trend was seen in Austin during a summer 2015 analysis of the city’s Uber trips.

Additionally, because Uber is a reliable form of transportation at all hours of the day, more people can take mass transit without worrying about how they will get home later in the evening.

Uber already has partnerships with government transportation agencies in cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The point of these partnerships is to create greater integration between government transit systems and Uber by coordinating the systems’ and Uber’s apps. Similarly, TransLoc, a transportation technology company, started government transit integration programs with Uber in Memphis and Raleigh-Durham last month. Clearly greater mass transit access is achievable without Uber subsidies.

Other important questions over localities’ subsidizing Uber still exist. Lyft, Uber’s largest competitor, is currently in subsidy negotiations with government transit agencies, but what about future or smaller competitors? If subsidies fail to apply evenly across an industry, new, smaller firms that already face barriers to success must also compete with government funding for their larger competitors. Similarly, Altamonte Springs’ program provides subsidies to Uber but not taxis, which makes it even harder for taxis to remain competitive.

Since Uber entered the market, its prices have steadily declined. Lyft’s prices have done the same. This stands in stark contrast to the heavily-regulated taxi industry, in which prices rarely (if ever) fall and are often determined by government commissions. Expanding shared ride options such as UberPOOL and LyftLine have already driven down the costs of for-hire vehicle transportation, and this trend will only continue as the services attract more riders. Using these services I can make the two-and-a-half mile trip across Washington, DC from my home to work for just over $6, even during rush hour.

After winning policy battles across the country, ridesharing has been able to expand in most areas relatively free of burdensome regulations. During this impressive expansion, competition and innovation have driven down the cost of rides. If policymakers want to ensure that residents have convenient and affordable access to government transit systems, all they have to do is resist the urge to stifle the growing industry through over-regulation.

While integrating with government agencies to increase transportation systems’ efficiency is a welcome next step for Uber and its competitors, accepting subsidies sets ridesharing down a dangerous road. Reliance on government funds would allow some to argue for mandatory handicap accessibility and more burdensome labor regulation. New York City is already exploring these requirements. More important, an industry that is consistently applauded for its real-world example of the power of innovation and the dangers of government intervention and special treatment risks losing that reputation by advocating for government handouts.

Ridesharing has aided mass transit by increasing access and helping to alleviate the last mile problem. This much should be celebrated. But the case for Uber subsidies is weak at best and yet another case of government playing favorites at worst.

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The media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth. Instead, all too often, from the Vietnam War, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria today, it is wielded as a weapon of war. And that has to be challenged.
—  Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of Democracy Now!, an independent daily global news hour. Read about her recent speech at the University of Michigan.
Trump, Brexit ... and now the constitutional convention movement

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There was the Brexit movement with all of its fallout. Much still to come.

Right now, there is the Donald Trump movement and what that could mean to the United States.

And soon, the push for a constitutional Article V convention may be in the same classification.

“This is a movement,” spokesman Mark Meckler of the Convention of the States told WND on Wednesday.

Eight states already have adopted a call to Congress for such a convention, the group now has supporters in every state legislative district in the nation, and 1.45 million activists are working on the project.

The idea is that the nation has gone so far off the rails that the states need to come together, recommend amendments to the Constitution and set some new boundaries for the bureaucracies, the executives, the judges, even the lawmakers in Washington.

That idea is the focus of a new policy brief from The Heartland Institute’s Robert Natelson, a senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence there. He also was a professor of law for 25 years and taught First Amendment and constitutional history, among others.

He explains a first step would be what’s known as “interposition,” an idea voiced by James Madison in The Federalist No. 46 when he said, “Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular states, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand.”

That means the U.S. Constitution has ways for citizens to fight the feds.

An essential resource for anyone interested in the founders’ intended role for the American judicial system: David Barton’s “Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution & Religion”

In straightforward fashion, Natelson explains, individuals can engage in “throwing the bums out” as well as “individual lobbying and disquiet.” Or simply refusing to cooperate.

But Madison also raised the issue of the “state duty to resist federal overreaching as the duty to ‘interpose.‘”

States are involved because Madison’s ideas included:

  • State-coordinated campaigns of public and political education – that is, public relations;
  • state lobbying efforts directed at Congress;
  • state-led lawsuits;
  • state legal provisions designed to hinder or fail to cooperate with federal actions;
  • interstate coordinate of all of the above; and
  • the Article V convention.

Most of the items have already been tried.

So it’s that Article V convention that now is developing.

It’s the constitutional provision that states can call a convention, proposed amendments to the constitution, and Washington has to step out of the way, essentially.

For example, states could add term limits for Congress, a requirement for a balanced federal budget, a ban on courts reviewing certain issues, such as marriage, and more.

Meckler said he expects proposals to be considered in another 38 state legislatures over the coming year, driven by polls that 72 percent of Americans say the “federal government is too big and does too much.”

He described America’s issues as not “personnel problems” but “structural problems.”

That means the rules need to be changed because simply swapping out members of Congress, or a president, or a judge, won’t impact the nation enough.

It’s surging, he said, because Americans are now in their own “communities,” online and elsewhere, more than they have been since the nation’s founding.

To make a convention go, 34 states need to call for it. Any resulting amendments that are proposed then, would need the support of lawmakers in 38 states.

There are those who warn of a “runaway” convention that could destroy the Constitution, but he said the three-quarters approval requirement defuses that.

For example, any attempt to take away gun rights could be stopped by lawmakers in either state legislative house in the 13 most conservative states.

He said progressives have done well in their campaign of disinformation over the past few decades, scaring people away from what the Constitution provides is the solution to a runaway Washington.

Natelson pointed out the founders’ opinions:

Madison, for example, stated, “The states … have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintain within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”

Founder John Dickinson said, “The government of each state is, and is to be, sovereign and supreme in all matters that relate to each state only. It is to be subordinate barely in those matters that relate to the whole; and if will be their own faults if the several states suffer the federal sovereignty to interfere in things of their respective jurisdictions.”

Natelson also cited the “extraconstitutional” efforts: nullification and revolution.

It is not recognized by the Constitution, he wrote, but nullification “refers to a state law declaring one or more federal laws void within its boundaries of the state.”

But the source of the idea was the Kentucky Resolutions from 1798, by Thomas Jefferson, at a time when only half the states adopted the idea that states could not act as final authority on the constitutionality of federal law.

Finally, there’s revolution.

“As The Federalist No. 46 makes clear … Madison did agree that under certain circumstances the people have the natural right to revolt against a government and establish another.”

Natelson said, “The American founders stressed the importance of state responses to federal excess, both on behalf of the states themselves and to protect the citizenry. … State officials take an oath to preserve the U.S. Constitution. Madison and other founders further emphasized state officials’ obligation to interpose in a constitutional manner when the people are threatened by federal overreaching. Such interposition is not a mere option.

“It is a solemn duty.”

WND commentator Thomas Sowell addressed the idea, stating that the opposition from progressives is ironic, since “no one has messed with the Constitution more or longer than the political left, over the past hundred years.”

It was Woodrow Wilson who said the document was an impediment to “reforms” he wanted.

An essential resource for anyone interested in the founders’ intended role for the American judicial system: David Barton’s “Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution & Religion”

Equality has been overridden for diversity, and judges routinely make changes in the Constitution, he noted.

But WND reported earlier this year on a plan from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot to push forward with changes.

Under the “Texas Plan” announced at the time, he would:

  1. Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one state.
  2. Require Congress to balance its budget.
  3. Prohibit administrative agencies, and their unelected bureaucrats, from creating federal law.
  4. Prohibit administrative agencies – and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them – from preempting state law.
  5. Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
  6. Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
  7. Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
  8. Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
  9. Allow a two-thirds majority of the states to override a federal law or regulation.

His call for action came during the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual policy orientation.

Get “Constitutional Literacy,” a DVD set that explains how citizens of the U.S. are called on to enforce the sworn duty of every leader to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

A similar call to action was issued by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., just a few weeks earlier.

“Gov. Abbott should be commended for his willingness to endorse an Article V convention and realizing that Washington, D.C., is not able to fix our problems. A state-led constitutional reform effort is the only way to prevent another slow economic recovery from ever happening again,” commented Kyle Miachle, project manager at Constitutional Reform in the Heartland Institute.

And Peter Ferrera, a senior fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy in the same group, said, “I applaud Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in supporting the states acting under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call for a Convention of the States to propose Constitutional amendments to be ratified by the states that would restrict the increasingly oppressive runaway powers seized by the federal government.

“Such amendments are badly needed to restore the original concept of the rule of law to America. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott previously served as the longest running attorney general in the history of Texas, where he learned of the problems he is addressing first hand.”

It is the Tenth Amendment that’s already in the U.S Constitution that should come into play. That said all the rights not specifically given to Washington in the Constitution are reserved to the states and people.

“These increasingly frequent departures from constitutional principles are destroying the rule of law foundation on which this country was built,” Abbott said. “We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our founders fought to escape. The cure to these problems will not come from Washington, D.C. They must come from the states.”

There will never, ever be peace without justice. There will never be calmness without accountability. There will never be order without fairness. So when I hear the authorities call for peace and call for calmness and call for order, I say, yes, but it’s not the absence of tension… I don’t want the police killing on behalf of me. I want the police to be treated with respect and fairly, and I want black youth and brown youth, black men and black women to be treated fairly.
—  Dr. Cornel West, a professor at Union Theological Seminary. See the rest of the interview: Cornel West: Justice and Accountability are Necessary to End Tension over Killings by Police

For months, actor Rosario Dawson has been campaigning across the country for Bernie Sanders. She spoke in Chicago at The People’s Summit on how to build off the momentum generated by Sanders’ campaign.

Watch: Rosario Dawson at People’s Summit: We Need to Stay the Course to Build a New Movement

Meet Abdullah Muflahi, the convenience store owner who filmed Alton Sterling’s shooting and was then detained by Baton Rouge Police.

Today, Democracy Now! looks at a side of the Baton Rouge police shooting that has received little attention: What has happened to the individuals who filmed and distributed the shocking videos of Alton Sterling’s death?

Watch the full interview with Abdullah Muflahi.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Funding Cluster Bomb Manufacturers

150 financial institutions—including U.S. banking giants JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America—have been accused of investing billions of dollars in companies manufacturing internationally banned cluster bombs. The weapons contain bomblets which fan out over a wide area and often fail to explode until civilians pick them up later.

Read more→

Today we remember Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres, who was assassinated in her home in Honduras yesterday. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras, standing up to mining and dam projects that threatened to destroy her community. Last year, Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest environmental award. 

A 2015 report by the group Global Witness found that Honduras is one of the deadliest countries for environmentalists. Between 2010 and 2014, 101 environmental campaigners were killed in the country.

Today we broadcast footage of Cáceres and spoke with her nephew Silvio Carillo and her longtime friend Beverly Bell.

Watch the full segment here. 

In a stunning new exposé for Mother Jones, Shane Bauer chronicles the four months he spent undercover last year as a guard at Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Facility.

Watch Democracy Now!’s interview with Shane Bauer, journalist and author of "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard"