The Flouridation Trial: Science 4, EPA 0

The Most Revolutionary Act

By Rick North, FluorideAlert.org

The fluoridation trial is going INCREDIBLY well. Our scientists are just knocking it out of the park. The score so far: Science 4, EPA….

Below are links to the written declarations of the four main scientists testifying, all now cleared for release to the public. These scientists’ credentials are extensive and impeccable, three having been funded by NIH and all having been funded or worked with EPA. Grandjean, for instance, conducted the study on the neurotoxicity of mercury that led to the EPA’s tightened regulations. Lanphear did the same for lead, which persuaded EPA to determine there is no safe level. Their main quotes, toward the beginning of each document under “Summary of Opinions,” are powerful. We have the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence on our side. Some examples:

Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD The IQ losses associated with community water fluoridation are…

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Minneapolis Votes For New “Community Safety System” to Replace Disbanded Police Force… — The Last Refuge

The Most Revolutionary Act

Last Refuge

Yesterday the Minneapolis city council voted to disband the police.  Today they voted to establish a new public safety system based on the equities of all persons within the city; a greater need for social justice; and the dignified contribution of all life-forms.

The ‘imagine justice‘ concept is predicated on all elements within the society agreeing to a social compact of equity and collective peace.  This will be interesting to watch, and may not end the way the group intends.

(Reuters) – The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously passed a resolution to pursue a community-led public safety system to replace the police department following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the city’s police.

The move comes days after a veto-proof majority of the council voted to disband the police department. […] According to the resolution, the city council will begin…

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New Zealand: Racist Statues Removed Amid Maori Protests

The Most Revolutionary Act

John Hamilton statue removal, Hamilton City, New Zealand, June 12, 2020.

John Hamilton statue removal, Hamilton City, New Zealand, June 12, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @alghadeertv_eng

Telesur

Meanwhile, Australia’s PM Scott Morrison maintains that slavery did not exist in his country.

In New Zealand, Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate Friday removed the statue of John Hamilton, a British captain who died in the Gate Pa battle against the Maori people in 1864.

Her decision occurs after a Maori resident publicly declared that he had planned to tear the statue down during anti-racist protests over the weekend.

“An increasing number of people consider the statue to be personally and culturally offensive. We cannot ignore what is happening around the world,” Southgate said, as reported by RNZ.

The removal of the Hamilton statue is part of the reaction generated by the George Floyd’s murder in the United States, a violent act that triggered marches against racism and the withdrawal of symbols linked to…

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In Seattle, a ‘project’ toward a cop-free world

Seattle, the United States – In this Pacific Northwest city, police concluded more than a week of protests by picking up and walking away. 

Demonstrators calling out a deep and prominent history of racism in the United States have filled the gap and cordoned off roughly six blocks of storefronts and a city park in the middle of Seattle in Washington state. The sign above the Seattle Police Department has been graffitied over, now reading Seattle People’s Department. 

The result is a nascent commune, built through mutual aid and driven by a singular progressive message to address racism in the police. No cops may enter, and almost everything is free. 

The Black Lives Matter message that has erupted in protests and police violence around the country is taking a different turn in Seattle. Some residents of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, as some call it, believe it’s an experiment in a cop-free world.

“We came out here to protest and while doing that we made the autonomous zone, and that just shows you how much love and unity happens when community comes together,” said Malcolm H, “and what happens if we throw money to the community and not the police force.”

Malcolm, who did not want to share his last name, is one of dozens of people who have coordinated daily life in the zone and among the dozens more who regularly speak out publicly to address violence at the hands of police. 

CHAZ Seattle Malcom
Protester Malcom (who did not want to give his last name) is an organiser in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, Washington, speaking to the crowd about how to end police violence [Ian Morse/Al Jazeera] 

Hundreds of protesters faced tear gas and violence from police for nine days after the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

Malcolm would be a good candidate to lead the new area. He is well-spoken and has had his own experiences in prison and with homelessness. Black people in the US are disproportionately imprisoned and disproportionately homeless as a result of systemic racism. 

But there are no leaders in the zone. Problems have been addressed as they come up, and regular “town hall” meetings are beginning to give structure and rules to living there. 

Each night, 50 to 100 people remain in the zone, staying awake into the early hours to ensure people don’t co-opt the space for their own benefit. They sleep in tents, their cars, or surrounding apartment buildings. One night, a group of people tried to break into the police precinct, but residents say they held them back. 

Hundreds more wander the zone by day. A list of the residents’ 31 demands for change in the justice system, health and human services, education and the economy are posted all over the area.

They include calls for police funds to be directed toward social services, rent control and degentrification, that hospitals employ Black doctors and nurses and that Black and Native American history be taught in schools. 

“The goal of this zone is to set an example for the world, that we do not need the current police system to maintain order. We do not need a man with a gun to show up at our door every time we have a problem and call 911,” said Mark Henry, who has been staying overnight in the zone to stop looters. 

“Some of the first hurdles were just making sure that we’re all here for the same goal and we’re all united.”

Those who are living in the CHAZ zone rely on donations from store owners, activists and just anyone who wants to contribute. 

The “No Cop Co-op” grocery store doesn’t charge for its food or drinks, yet stock remains plenty. City officials dropped off portable toilets. On Wednesday, the second night of the zone’s inception, residents showed a documentary film on the mass incarceration of Black citizens. 

In a nearby park, where some have begun creating community gardens, hundreds enjoy a brief moment of sun and discuss plans for the zone’s future. At one of two medical stations, workers trained in CPR and how to handle trauma offered basic health care to the homeless and to sex workers.

CHAZ Community Garden
Residents and volunteers have begun planting a community garden in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, Washington [Ian Morse/Al Jazeera] 

“We pulled this together when cops were tear-gassing protesters,” said Marie, a medical station worker. “Hopefully, we only ever need to be a hydrating station. But healthcare has been inaccessible, especially to Black people.”

Perhaps the most conspicuous element of the CHAZ is the Black Lives Matter mural stretched across 100 metres (328 feet) of street pavement. On Wednesday, a local painter and bar owner invited Black artists to each design their own letter. On Thursday, they worked all day to finish it before the rain.

Brandon Thomas was given a few hours to paint the “A” in “Matter”. The design he chose: a Black Power fist designed into a comb in an afro.

“When I woke up this morning, I did not think I would be part of history,” he said. He said he was especially motivated by the death of a Black man in his home state of Nebraska at the hands of a white bar owner during Black Lives Matter protests there on May 30. 

CHAZ BLM
Brandon Thomas was one of a number of artists who painted a Black Lives Matter mural across 100 metres of street pavement [Ian Morse/Al Jazeera]

Opponents have criticised the zone, claiming it is full of anarchists. The controversy has drawn in the local police as well as US President Donald Trump, who said Seattle’s mayor and governor are failing to control their citizens. 

Seattle police officials initially said there were reports of armed groups extorting businesses and passersby, but later retracted those claims. Other unsubstantiated reports of people checking identification when entering the zone have also been denied by demonstrators.

Trump has called it a “Seattle takeover” labelling residents of the zone “Domestic Terrorists”.  He directed the governor and mayor to “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will”.  

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan responded by telling him to “go back to your bunker” a reference to the president heading to the secure area under the White House as protesters drew near last week. 

Governor Jay Inslee told the president to “stay out of Washington State’s business”.

Seattle police say they will watch the situation, and that there has been no timeline established for police officers to return to Capitol Hill in the middle of the zone.

For demonstrator Henry, the zone may only need to last as long as it takes for a constructive dialogue to begin with police.

“I would say it’s a project,” said Henry. “It’s something we’re working on and we don’t have all the answers yet.” 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Fauci concerned over coronavirus spikes as US reopens

Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, cautioned that the “blips” of rising coronavirus hospitalizations being reported by some states could get out of control if robust contact tracing regimes are not put in place.

About half a dozen US states are grappling with a rising number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds, with Texas and North Carolina reporting on Friday their highest hospitalization rates since the pandemic began. 

Fauci, in an interview with CNN, underscored that increased hospitalizations was a worrying trend and a sign that “maybe we need to slow down a little” on reopenings.

“When you start seeing more hospitalizations, that’s a sure fire sign that you’re in a situation where you’re going in the wrong direction,” he said.

Brazil’s coronavirus death toll now world’s second highest

Brazil’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s on Friday to become the second highest in the world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) said the nation’s health system was standing up to the pressure.

The Ministry of Health recorded 909 deaths on Friday, putting the total at 41,828. It also reported a cumulative total of 828,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 25,982 new infections in the last 24 hours – numbers that were second only to the United States’s.

Experts warn the actual number of cases in Latin America’s biggest economy could be many times higher.

Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said the situation in Brazil remains “of concern,” although he acknowledged that intensive care bed occupancy rates are now below 80 percent in most areas of the country.

“Overall the health system is still coping in Brazil, although, having said that, with the sustained number of severe cases that remains to be seen,” Ryan said at a briefing in Geneva.

“Clearly the health system in Brazil across the country needs significant support in order to sustain its effort in this regard. But the data we have at the moment supports a system under pressure, but a system still coping with the number of severe cases.”

Brazil’s mounting toll comes as the country moves to ease quarantine restrictions and reopen businesses, amid pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro and his followers. 

The right-wing leader has minimised the gravity of the novel coronavirus, dismissing it as “a little flu,” and has accused state governments of exaggerating the number of infections and deaths to undermine him.

On Thursday night, Bolsonaro encouraged his supporters to “find a way to get inside” hospitals to film whether the ICU beds are occupied or not, to provide images that the police and Brazil’s intelligence agency could investigate.

Separately, the Ministry of Health last week stopped publishingcumulative totals of infections and deaths, and reversed the decision only after a Supreme Court ruling. The top court has previously ruled that state and local governments have the authority to order businesses to close in the face of the pandemic. 

Gustavo Ribiero, founder of the Brazilian Report, said Bolsonaro was unlikely to change his stance on the pandemic despite the increasing number of deaths.

“If his time in office has taught us anything, it is that Bolsonaro will always double down on his bet. Now Bolsonaro’s strategy to put all the blame for the deaths and the economic crisis on the governors,” Ribiero said from Sao Paolo.

“He’s saying that since the Supreme Court has ruled that state governors and mayors have the authority over lockdowns, everything regarding the pandemic is their fault and not the federal government’s.”

Ribiero added: “Jair Bolsonaro’s approval rating has been consistent at 30 percent, but its not the same 30 percent that supported him a year ago. Due to the economic backlash from the coronavirus crisis, he has lost support among the wealthy and the businessmen. He has gained support among poor voters because the government has put in place a coronavirus stipend of $120 per month for three months – that has aided a lot of people below the poverty line to stay afloat.”   

A poll by brokerage XP Investimentos released on Friday showed that 52 percent of Brazilians now favour easing quarantine restrictions versus 44 percent against, even though 61 percent of those surveyed believe the worst is still to come.

Last month, an XP Investimentos poll had found that 76 percent saw social distancing as the best way to avoid the spread of the virus and 57 percent thought quarantine measures should remain in place until the risk of infection subsided.

Facebook fires employee who protested inaction on Trump posts

Facebook Inc has fired an employee who had criticised Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action against inflammatory posts by US President Donald Trump earlier this month, citing the software engineer’s tweet challenging a colleague’s silence on the issue. 

Brandon Dail, a user interface engineer in Seattle, said in a tweet on Friday that he was dismissed for publicly scolding a colleague who had refused to include a statement of support for the Black Lives Matter movement on developer documents he was publishing.

“I don’t doubt that violates Facebook’s respectful workplace policy,” Dail wrote on Friday.

“I’m not claiming I was unjustly terminated. I was fed up with Facebook, the harm it’s doing, and the silence of those complicit (including myself).”

Dail sent the offensive tweet a day after joining dozens of employees, including the six other engineers on his team, in abandoning their desks and tweeting objections to Zuckerberg’s handling of Trump’s posts targeting demonstrators protesting systemic racial injustice in the country. 

“Intentionally not making a statement is already political,” Dail wrote in the June 3 tweet, mentioning his colleague by name. He said on Friday that he stood by what he wrote.

Trump’s posts which prompted the staff outcry included the racially charged phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in reference to demonstrations against racism and police brutality held after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Twitter affixed a warning label to the same post, saying it glorified violence. Facebook opted to leave the post untouched.

Zuckerberg defended his decision at a tense all-hands meeting with employees that week. During the meeting, Dail tweeted that it was “crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us”.

Facebook confirmed Dail’s characterisation of his dismissal but declined to provide additional information. The company said during the walkout that participating employees would not face retaliation.

Dail did not respond to a request for comment.

Dail again voiced objections this week after both Facebook and Twitter declined to take action against a Trump post that contained an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old protester who was critically injured by police in Buffalo, New York.

“Trump’s attack on Martin Gugino is despicable and a clear violation of Facebook’s anti-harassment rules. It’s again extremely disappointing that we (and Twitter) haven’t removed it,” he said.

Internal dissent is often encouraged at Silicon Valley tech giants, but the companies have been accused of penalising workers who organise and air complaints publicly.

Alphabet’s Google fired at least five workplace activists late last year, while Amazon dismissed critics of its warehouse conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Both companies denied firing employees for speaking out.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES