Why Native Americans struggle to protect their sacred places : The Conversation


Forty years ago the U.S. Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act so that Native Americans could practice their faith freely and that access to their sacred sites would be protected. This came after a 500-year-long history of conquest and coercive conversion to Christianity had forced Native Americans from their homelands.

Today, their religious practice is threatened all over again. On Dec. 4, 2017, the Trump administration reduced the Bears Ears National Monument, an area sacred to Native Americans in Utah, by over 1 million acres. Bears Ears Monument is only one example of the conflict over places of religious value. Many other such sacred sites are being viewed as potential areas for development, threatening the free practice of Native American faith.

While Congress created the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to provide “access to sacred sites,” it has been open to interpretation. Native Americans still struggle to protect their sacred lands.

Land-based religions

Native Americans have land-based religions, which means they practice their religion within specific geographic locations. As Joseph Toledo, a Jemez Pueblo tribal leader, says, sacred sites are like churches; they are “places of great healing and magnetism.”

Some of these places, as in the case of Bears Ears National Monument, are within federal public lands. As a Native American scholar, I have visited many of these places and felt their power.

For thousands of years, tribes have used Bears Ears for rituals, ceremonies and collecting medicines used for healing. The different tribes – the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe and the Pueblo of Zuni – have worked to protect the land. Together they set up a nongovernmental organization, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to help conserve the landscape in 2015.

 

Source: Why Native Americans struggle to protect their sacred places : The Conversation

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Virgin handed £2bn worth of NHS England contracts : Welfare Weekly


This week’s news that £2 billion worth of NHS England contracts are being handed over to Virgin Care Services, which follows on from the damning report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last month into the outsourcing of primary care services in England to Capita, has highlighted how the Tories’ shambolic Brexit poses a major threat to the future of the NHS in Scotland, the SNP has said.

SNP Health spokesperson at Westminster Dr Philippa Whitford MP has warned that the power grab over public procurement allows the Tories at Westminster to put Scotland’s NHS under the same threats as the health service south of the border, with the Tories able to open up Scotland’s public services to profiteering firms.

In addition – the increasing threat of a disastrous No Deal Brexit will leave the Tories more desperate than ever to secure a trade deal with Donald Trump’s administration, no matter the cost to our public services. Prime Minsiter Theresa May has continually failed to rule out opening up the NHS to private US firms post-Brexit.

 

Source: Virgin handed £2bn worth of NHS England contracts : Welfare Weekly

How Trump’s trade war affects working-class Americans : The Conversation


President Donald Trump justifies tariffs on imports by arguing that “unfair trade policies” have harmed American workers. This has led to a trade war in which the U.S. and China have placed tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s products.

Most recently, China said it’s ready to slap tariffs on US$60 billion in U.S. imports if Trump goes ahead with his threat to tax another $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Since the president claims to be acting on behalf of working-class Americans, it’s fair to ask: How do tariffs actually affect them?

Scholars of international political economy, such as myself, recognize that trade hasn’t always been good for poorer Americans. However, the economic fundamentals are clear: Tariffs make things worse.

 

Source: How Trump’s trade war affects working-class Americans :  The Conversation

Omarosa Claims Trump Repeatedly Used ‘N-Word’ During ‘The Apprentice’ : Huffington Post


Former “Apprentice” contestant and White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claims President Donald Trump repeatedly used “the N-word,” according to The Guardian, which obtained an advance copy of her

Newman, who left the White House last year, says that Trump used the racial slur while taping “The Apprentice” and that he was caught on camera. Trump starred on the reality TV show for years.

Rumors have swirled for years that such outtakes exist. In a passage of the book obtained by NPR, Newman describes a “source” telling her about the tape, but does not specify whether she herself heard the tape. When pressed by NPR, she told the outlet, “I heard the tape.”

Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and political consultant, tweeted Friday that Newman’s book credits him with hearing Trump use the word, a claim he calls “flat-out false.” The Guardian did not name Luntz in its report, and HuffPost has not independently obtained a copy of the book, which comes out Tuesday.

 

Source: Omarosa Claims Trump Repeatedly Used ‘N-Word’ During ‘The Apprentice’ : Huffington Post

How on earth have we let Trump get away with hiding his tax returns? – The Washington Post


The Treasury Department has issued a set of proposed regulationsclarifying who can and can’t take advantage of the “pass-through” loophole that Republicans included in the tax cut they passed last year, which, in ordinary circumstances, would be a story of interest only to a relatively small number of tax nerds.

But in this case, it is of special interest to President Trump, which is why it is yet another reminder that the American public absolutely, positively needs to see his tax returns.

These new regulations make it clear once again that the Republican tax bill is going to shower millions of dollars on the president. The problem is that we don’t know exactly how much.

In a way, you have to give some credit to Trump for outside-the-box thinking. Every presidential nominee for half a century made their tax returns public, because to avoid having a corrupt president, at a minimum we’d need to know how much income they had and where it was coming from. But Trump simply refused, offering up transparently phony excuses about how he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. No one else would have had the unmitigated gall, but Trump correctly surmised that whatever criticism he’d get for stonewalling, it wouldn’t be as bad for him as what would happen if the public actually got to see his returns.

Eventually, everyone stopped asking, despite the fact that there has never in U.S. history been a president for whom it was more important that we know the details of his finances. That’s not only because Trump was a spectacularly corrupt businessman. And it’s not only because, unlike presidents before him, he refused to divest himself of his holdings, offering a plethora of opportunities for people to shove money into his pockets while he serves in the Oval Office. It’s also because, unlike previous presidents, Trump’s income comes from an incredibly complex web of companies that are impossible for outside observers to completely understand.

 

Source: How on earth have we let Trump get away with hiding his tax returns? – The Washington Post

Trump is trying to argue collusion isn’t illegal. But he’s admitted it is — on multiple occasions. – The Washington Post


Last week, President Trump and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani argued that collusion isn’t a crime. But on Monday, Trump suggested that Hillary Clinton should be investigated for this supposed non-crime.

“Collusion is very real with Russia,” Trump quoted conservative commentator Dan Bongino as saying on Trump’s favorite Fox News morning show, “but only with Hillary and the Democrats, and we should demand a full investigation.”

 

Source: Trump is trying to argue collusion isn’t illegal. But he’s admitted it is — on multiple occasions. – The Washington Post

Collusion Isn’t a Crime, But Aiding and Abetting Is – Bloomberg


Rudy Giuliani can’t seem to get the law right. The president’s lawyer suggested Monday on CNN and Fox News that Donald Trump didn’t commit a crime even if he colluded with Russians during the 2016 campaign by encouraging them to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server. “I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians,” Giuliani put it. “You start analyzing the crime – the hacking is the crime. The president didn’t hack. He didn’t pay them for hacking.”

 

Source: Collusion Isn’t a Crime, But Aiding and Abetting Is – Bloomberg

Trump Fury Over Mueller ‘Conflicts’ Goes Back to Oval Office Meeting – Bloomberg


President Donald Trump sat with Robert Mueller in the Oval Office in May of last year to interview him for a job: director of the FBI.

The next afternoon, Trump was in another Oval Office meeting when an aide interrupted with news that Mueller had taken a different post: special counsel to investigate Trump’s campaign.

Robert Mueller

Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who attended both meetings, were blindsided, according to a person familiar with both meetings. The president immediately blasted Sessions for not knowing the announcement was coming and challenged how the person he’d just interviewed for the FBI job — and who Trump said had a past dispute with him over golf club fees — could now be investigating him, the person said.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!s a question as to whether you could be perfectly objective in making an important decision about that person,” said Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who said there are additional conflicts the legal team is aware of but not making public.

Donald Trump’s golf resort wrecked special nature site, reports reveal | US news | The Guardian


The spectacular dunes system picked by Donald Trump for his golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been “partially destroyed” as a result of the course’s construction, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.

Scottish Natural Heritage, which has been under pressure for years to speak out on the issue, now acknowledges that serious damage has been done to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Foveran Links on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen, since the course opened in 2012, the documents show.

As a result, Foveran’s SSSI status – given because of its unusual shifting sands and diverse plant life – now hangs in the balance.

“Construction of the new golf course involved earthworks, planting of trees, greens and fairways, drainage, irrigation and grass planting,” states one of the reports released by Scottish Natural Heritage inspectors. “This has affected the natural morphology of the dunes and interfered with natural processes. Most of its important geomorphological features have been lost or reduced to fragments. Nearby marine terraces have also been reduced to fragments.”

“These documents show that considerable damage has been done to Foveran Links, and that it is very unlikely that it will retain its SSSI status,” said Bob Ward, the policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, who obtained the reports under FoI. Ward has also asked the Scottish government to investigate whether proper environmental monitoring has been carried out at the site since 2012.

 

Source: Donald Trump’s golf resort wrecked special nature site, reports reveal | US news | The Guardian

God, Trump and the meaning of morality – The Washington Post


The presidency of Donald Trump has created unavoidable moral dilemmas not just for the members of First Baptist in Luverne but for a distinct subset of Christians who are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly evangelical and more uniformly pro-Trump than any other part of the American electorate.

In poll after poll, they have said that Trump has kept his promises to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, fight for religious liberty, adopt pro-life policies and deliver on other issues that are high priorities for them.

At the same time, many have acknowledged the awkwardness of being both self-proclaimed followers of Jesus and the No. 1 champions of a president whose character has been defined not just by alleged infidelity but accusations of sexual harassment, advancing conspiracy theories popular with white supremacists, using language that swaths of Americans find racist, routinely spreading falsehoods and an array of casual cruelties and immoderate behaviors that amount to a roll call of the seven deadly sins.

 

Source: God, Trump and the meaning of morality – The Washington Post