Posts tagged with "nation"

The Nation cover illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original cover art Illustration by Barry Blitt) for 360 Magazine

Elie Mystal × The Nation

Can Biden Fix the Courts That Trump Broke?

There is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges.

In The Nation’s latest cover story, justice correspondent Elie Mystal explains:

“While previous Republican administrations tried to break government, Donald Trump tried to break democracy. He did this boldly and brazenly, by attacking elections, and he did it less boldly but no less brazenly, by working alongside Mitch McConnell to take over the unelected branch of government that sets the rules for all the others: the federal judiciary. That branch is now stuffed with conservative ideologues masquerading as jurists.”

Making the case that there is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges, Mystal evaluates whether Biden can fix the courts that Trump broke: Happily, there is a solution, and that solution is to expand the lower courts.

Congress has used its constitutional authority throughout history to expand the federal judiciary. Historically, these lower court expansions were bipartisan: As the country grows in population, so does the number of lawsuits. Adding judges is just a thing we used to do to keep the judiciary running smoothly. But since 1990, when the last judgeship bill was passed, the US population has grown by a third; the number of district court cases has grown by 38 percent; and the number of cases involving a felony defendant has grown by 60 percent. The number of judges has not changed.

“I absolutely believe that if Trump had won reelection and McConnell had hung onto the Senate, Republicans would be working on court expansion right now,” writes Mystal. “There just aren’t a lot of vacancies left in the federal judiciary. Republicans can always find some casus belli for stacking the courts with conservative judges. The only question is whether Democrats will ever realize there’s a war, and they’re losing it.”

“To balance out decades of inequity, Biden’s judicial appointments shouldn’t ‘look like America;’ they should overrepresent the kinds of Americans routinely excluded by Republican administrations,” he continues. “You can’t balance a seesaw by standing in the middle when an elephant is sitting on one side.”

Read the full cover story here. Mystal, who covers the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics for The Nation, has also recently reported:

Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Is Designed to Fail

Biden’s recently announced commission to study court reform isn’t designed to offer solutions—it’s designed to be an excuse to do nothing.

How the Supreme Court Gave Cops a License to Kill

Derek Chauvin’s defense team is hoping that the 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling will be his ticket to acquittal.

The Blue Wall of Silence Is Crumbling Around Derek Chauvin

For one of the first times in memory, police are testifying against one of their own. But will it lead to an actual conviction?

ABOUT Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal is The Nation’s justice correspondent—covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics—and the force behind the magazine’s monthly column, “Objection!” He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Mystal was previously the executive editor of Above the Law and a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. He’s a frequent guest on MSNBC and Sirius XM. 

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.

Agriculture illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

USDA Announces Investment

USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.

Leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.

“These investments reflect President Biden’s commitment to supporting locally-led conservation efforts from coast to coast and to honoring and building on the proud private land stewardship traditions of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments will not only protect our natural heritage, but they will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help tackle climate change.”

The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs: The Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition program. Together, these programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests on both private and public lands. The Forest Service will invest more than $94 million to fund 28 projects under the Forest Legacy Program and $123 million to fund Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other needs.

Land Acquisition Program highlights include:

  • $6.4 million in FY 2021 to acquire 8,590 acres for the Lolo Trails Project in Montana. This project aims to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing the cold water that federally listed bull trout and other species need to sustain healthy populations in a warming climate.
  • $3.7 million to acquire 1,550 acres in the Yakima River Basin for the Washington Cascades Project. Supported by a wide coalition of public, private and non-profit partners, this project seeks to ensure a long-term water supply in the face of climate change.

Forest Legacy Program highlights include:

  • Protecting 12,500 acres of habitat, water and timber on the Ceylon Forest in Georgia. 2.5 million people depend on the Ceylon for drinking water that flows from and through the forest. As a working forest, the Ceylon supports a local wood-based economy that includes 121 mills, with a $1.69 million payroll impact. Once completed, the area will also become part of a much larger Wildlife Management Area and serve as an ideal hunting and fishing destination for sportsmen across the Southeast.
  • The East Grand-Weston in Maine builds on a century-old tradition of sustainable forestry and expands recreation opportunities over more than 4,300 acres. The property supports a thriving local recreation industry by protecting lands, waters and trails while also providing sustainable wood products to up to 15 mills. The property will remain in private hands while continuing to be managed for public benefits.
  • The second phase of the Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project will permanently protect nearly 28,000 acres of land in northwest Montana. The project area belongs to the Stimson Lumber Company and contributes to the local economy while allowing free public access as a recreation destination for hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and more. The project will also protect the area from further residential development, reducing future firefighting costs by more than half.

Background

The Forest Service has been administering LWCF projects since 1964 along with the Department of the Interior. The fund supports Forest Service-led conservation projects including acquisition of critical non-federal lands within the boundaries of national forests and grasslands. Now, with full and permanent funding through the Dingell Act and the Great American Outdoors Act, the Forest Service is poised to strengthen its conservation program and provide greater recreation access to national forests and grasslands.

The agency worked with partners, considered multiple criteria and used established competitive processes to select projects for fiscal year 2021. During the review, the agency evaluated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of proposed projects and whether they contributed to other conservation initiatives. The Forest Service also considered local recreation access needs, the level of local support for strategic land acquisitions and how likely it would be for project areas to be converted to non-forest uses.

For more information on the Great American Outdoors Act and related projects, visit the website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration under Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit USDA.

Israel – A Nation

An Army Like No Other How the Israel Defense Force Made a Nation

By Haim Bresheeth-Zabner

“It is said that Israel is an army with a state. This book validates fully this assumption. With a clear and accessible style and with illuminating of many hidden chapters in Israel’s history, Bresheeth exposes fully the militarization of the Jewish State. The book unpacks successfully the military grip of the IDF on every aspect of life in Israel and Palestine, from crucial decisions of going to war to the formulation of the policies towards the Palestinians. Even if you are a knowledgeable reader on the topic, this book will be an essential contribution to your library.”

Ilan Pappe, author of 10 Myths About Israel

“An original and a remarkable interpretation of the wide-ranging impact of the military on Israeli society and one of the most insightful and challenging works on Israeli society from 1948 to our days. His book traces the ways in which military power acquired legitimacy in civilian society and how the use of organized violence became an acceptable solution to all conflicts in Arab-Israeli history. Anyone interested in understanding the Middle East should read this book.”

Shlomo Sand, author of The Invention of the Jewish People

“Bresheeth—one of the most important anti-colonial intellectuals of our era—takes the Israeli army as an entry point to undertake a deep analysis of Jewish-Israeli society. The original contribution of the book lies in its ambitions and scope: Bresheeth brilliantly describes the way an army whose ethos is rooted in Jewish historical trauma, has grown to become the occupation arm of Zionism, the motor of its settler-colonial domination and the basis of its politics of separation.”

Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land

Hardback / $29.95 / August 25, 2020 / 9781788737845

A history of the IDF that argues that Israel is a nation formed by its army.

The Israeli army, officially named the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), was established in 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who believed that “the whole nation is the army.” In his mind, the IDF was to be an army like no other. It was the instrument that might transform a diverse population into a new people. Since the foundation of Israel, therefore, the IDF has been the largest, richest and most influential institution in Israel’s Jewish society and is the nursery of its social, economic and political ruling class.

In this fascinating history, Bresheeth-Zabner charts the evolution of the IDF from the Nakba to wars in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the continued assaults upon Gaza, and shows that the state of Israel has been formed out of its wars. He also gives an account of his own experiences as a young conscript during the 1967 war.

He argues that the army is embedded in all aspects of daily life and identity and that we should not merely see it as a fighting force enjoying an international reputation, but as the central ideological, political and financial institution of Israeli society. As a consequence, we have to reconsider our assumptions on what any kind of peace might look like

Professor Haim Bresheeth-Zabner is a Filmmaker, Photographer and a Film Studies Scholar, and 2nd Researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He is the editor of The Gulf War and the New World Order (with Nira Yuval-Davis), and the author of The Holocaust for Beginners (with Stuart Hood). His films include the widely shown State of Danger (1989, BBC2)—a documentary on the first Palestinian Intifada—and London is Burning, after the 2011 riots. He has also written in the Israeli Ha’aretz and the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Weekly.

Examining Concussions In Youth Sports

A recent article by Time Magazine cited that children who have been diagnosed with depression are more likely to suffer a concussion while playing youth sports. This correlation flips a common belief that athletes of all ages are more likely to experience symptoms of depression during and after suffering the effects of a concussion.

The article is just the latest in a string of new discoveries regarding brain injuries in American sports. Researchers from across the nation are looking at different angles in order to keep American athletes safer in the future. Consider that Philly.com reported that between 1.1 million and 1.9 million children and teens are treated for concussions caused by organized sports.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story as one of the links between depression and concussions is the fact that students who have suffered from depression are more in tune with their bodies. They are more likely to document the injury and speak up about an issue.

Not reporting a concussion can come from a fear of missing a game, school or after work job. It can also come from simply not understanding what is happening to a person’s body.  Concussion awareness is just as important as the equipment being used in the prevention and proper medical care after a concussion.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation has determined that at least 1 in 5 sports-related concussions are the result of a head impact with the playing field surface. The turf is the common culprit in all sports.

It’s why GreenPlay is helping athletes at all levels become safer through synthetic turfgrass technology. Turfgrass is the term used to describe engineered natural turf on playing fields. Pristine turfgrass is proven to be the benchmark for safety and performance. Compared to synthetic turf, turfgrass has shown to produce exceptional results under impact tests to access head injuries.

Owner of GreenPlay, Domenic Carapella, explains the impact pristine Turfgrass is making for athletes across the country saying, “Turfgrass helps lessen the harsh blows to the head and body that often happen during sports activities at all levels. When it comes to what we can control, the playing surface should be just as important as the equipment being worn.”

According to Greenplay Organics:

  • It’s important to discuss the issue of concussions in American youth sports in order to help drive change for the children of our country.
  • Pristine Turfgrass is the benchmark for the safest, high-performance playing surface.
  • Turfgrass is firm to run on, provides ideal traction and is resilient under bodily and head impacts.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez ‘Fund the Wall and Give Us DACA’

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez issues the following statement on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

“As week three of the current government shutdown drags on, we at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) believe now is the time to come together as a nation, and we must do so quickly. We can and we must seize upon one of the great debates of our time, and chisel from the hard stone of division just the sort of compromise which has built the foundations of our national unity so many times before.

“First, we must stop oversimplifying the immigration debate into right and wrong and ‘us’ versus ‘them’. We are unified as a nation not when we agree on specific policies, but rather when we hold fast to the same civic rules on how to reach conclusions to our most difficult questions. Both sides of this debate believe they know what’s best for America, and both believe they know how best to get us there. In that spirit, and in joining with millions of Hispanic Americans all across the country, the NHCLC urgently calls upon both Democrats and Republicans to end our current impasse. We urge Democrats to fund the president’s calls for increased border security, and we likewise call on Republicans to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers.

“The time is now, fund the wall and give us DACA!”

TRIGGER WARNING: New Kavanaugh Video

***WARNING: This video is a dramatization of alleged events. It contains violent images that may be disturbing to some viewers. Caution is strongly advised.***

WATCH THE AGENDA PROJECT’S NEW VIDEO: TRIGGER WARNING

The Agenda Project released a new video featuring a dramatization of the alleged attempted rape several years ago by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as described by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. As the text above warns, the footage may be disturbing for some. This is a delicate subject matter for many, but with the future of our nation at stake, we felt this video was an important one to make. If you feel up to it, we encourage you to watch, then act.

The video ends by providing the number to the US Senate switchboard. If you are as outraged as we are that a man credibly accused of attempted rape is being considered for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, please take a minute to call your Senators and demand that they vote against confirming Kavanaugh.

The video was released in conjunction with a piece written by Agenda Project Founder Erica Payne explaining the rationale behind putting out such potentially disturbing footage. In it, she writes:

“Senator Dean Heller called it “a little hiccup.” For Senator Lindsay Graham, it was “a smear.” The Honorable Orrin Hatch said, “This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.” The X chromosome knows exactly what the Y chromosome means when it says things like that. It means we are nothing. Our claims to our bodies are NOTHING. Like a little hiccup, we will pass.

So it’s come to this. To showing them – showing as many men who have and would do this, and the ones who dismiss it when it’s done – what we’re actually talking about here.”

For more information on why we felt this video was so important for us to release, you can read more in the rest of her article HERE