THE AGENDA / .MicCheck

U.S. government reveals legal argument for striking U.S. citizens with drones
The New York Times

On Monday, a federal appeals court in New York made public a redacted version of a 2010 Department of Justice memo that signed off on the targeted killing of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, without a trial. The memo, signed by acting head of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel David Barron, concluded it would be lawful to target Awlaki for killing if his capture was not feasible, as Awlaki was an “operational terrorist.” Awlaki was killed in an American drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen. Another American citizen, Samir Khan, died alongside him, although Obama administration officials have said that Khan was not specifically targeted in that strike.

Supreme Court rules EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions, with some limits
The Washington Post

The Supreme Court mostly validated the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate power plant and factory emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming while imposing some limits on the agency’s reach. The justices said the EPA could not rewrite specific standards written into the law. They did, however, hand the Obama administration and environmentalists a big victory by agreeing there was another way for the EPA to carry out its program. “[The] EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” Justice Antonin Scalia said while announcing the decision. “It sought to regulate sources that it said were responsible for 86% of all the greenhouse gases emitted from stationary sources nationwide. Under our holdings, EPA will be able to regulate sources responsible for 83% of those emissions.”

Iraq’s military is facing a “psychological collapse” after losses, desertions
The Washington Post

The 300 U.S. advisers authorized to assist the Iraqi security forces will find an army in crisis mode, so lacking in equipment and shaken by desertions that it may not be able to win back significant chunks of territory from al-Qaida renegades, the Washington Postreports. After tens of thousands of desertions, the Iraqi military is reeling from what one U.S. official described as “psychological collapse” in the face of the offensive from militants of the ISIL. The desperation has reached such a level that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is relying on volunteers, who are in some cases receiving as little as a week’s military training, to protect his ever-shrinking orbit of control.

The FDA may take a huge step that could open the floodgates for marijuana

The FDA is considering removing marijuana from its list of the most dangerous and harmful drugs. Schedule 2 status will mean that weed for research will become more abundant, which will allow scientists to finally research the therapeutic value of cannabis, and will give legalization advocates evidence of its efficacy through controlled clinical trials rather than anecdotal data from self-prescribers. State lawmakers will have one less reason to stand against medical marijuana in their states — a change in the federal government’s stance is a signal to the rest of the country.

Al Jazeera journalists have been jailed by Egyptian authorities

Three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced to seven years in jail by an Egyptian judge on Monday for aiding a “terrorist organization,” drawing criticism from western governments who said the verdict undermined freedom of expression. Washington called the punishments “chilling, draconian sentences” that must be reversed, while Cairo defended the journalists’ convictions — for aiding a “terrorist organization” — and rejected the widespread condemnation as “interference in its internal affairs.”


Gun nuts are terrorizing America

“Here is a truth so fundamental that it should be self-evident: When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger,” rages Rick Perlstein in Salon: “And yet that is exactly what happened at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch this spring: An alleged criminal defeated the cops, because the forces of lawlessness came at them with guns — then Bureau of Land Management officials further surrendered by removing the government markings from their vehicles to prevent violence against them. What should be judged a watershed in American history instead became a story about one man’s racist rants. Even as two more Nevada lunatics, inspired by their stint at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, allegedly ambushed and mowed down two police officers and killed a bystander after crying, ‘This is the start of a revolution.’ And now, an antigovernment conspiracy theorist named Douglas Cole recently shot at two police officers in Nevada County, California (though you may not have heard about that, because the New York Times hasn’t found the news yet fit to print). Such actions are the logical conclusion of a movement that has been veritably sweeping the nation for years now.”

There’s an African-American recession in America that no one is talking about

“The surprising truth about the impact of the Great Recession on African-Americans isn’t that the recession hurt blacks more than whites,” writes Mic’s Chris Walker. “It’s that the impact of the Great Recession pales in comparison to what African-Americans have experienced over the past several decades.”

The map above animates black migration patterns around the U.S., and the constellation of bright spots is almost miraculous. Moving dots converge toward cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and LA, economic hubs attracting African-American migrants in search of opportunity.

“The map provides a strong visual sense for the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism in the African-American community,” writes Walker. “But the broader story of African-American economic conditions is not about opportunity. It’s about the many more unseen dots on the map, the African-Americans with zero bright prospects due to high unemployment, high poverty, and low economic mobility. The economic crisis took a toll on African-Americans that few recognize. For simple comparison, the national unemployment rate during the Great Recession peaked at 10%. For black America? 16.9%.”

Even the most progressive university in North America doesn’t know how to handle sexual consent

BuzzFeed’s Katie Baker has a horrifying report from the front lines of the American higher education system’s sexual assault crisis: “Located on an idyllic mountain range in British Columbia and operating under the motto ‘Question everything,’ Canada’s first and only private, secular nonprofit university is a promising experiment in higher education: A 2013 national survey ranked Quest, which is only seven years old, the best university in Canada. Quest certainly looks like collegiate paradise: The 60-acre campus in Squamish, a tiny town off the spindly Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, overlooks looming granite peaks, lush forests, and sparkly turquoise fjords. Students access the panoramic library via a glass elevator that rises over a native fern garden. After class, they build tree houses above babbling brooks and wildflowers. But Quest became the center of a less utopian experiment last spring when it faced a flood of sexual harassment allegations, many against the same male student.”




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