Progressive Briefing for Friday, October 12

Law students launch nationwide strike against illegitimate justice, Chinese intel officer arrested and charged with economic espionage, Enbridge Pipeline explosion forces First Nations community to flee, and more.

Image Credit: Strike Against Kavanaugh/Twitter

Bannon and Kobach were behind citizenship census question, the government admits

New revelations about a citizenship question the Trump administration added to the 2020 census raise the possibility it was motivated by a desire to undercut immigrants’ political power.

In a court filing Thursday, the Justice Department admitted that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross consulted former White House adviser Stephen Bannon and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach before adding the census question. Bannon and Kobach both favor severely restricting immigration.

“Secretary Ross recalls that Steve Bannon called Secretary Ross in the spring of 2017 to ask Secretary Ross if he would be willing to speak to then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about Secretary Kobach’s ideas about a possible citizenship question on the decennial census,” the filing states.

To save the planet from climate catastrophe, new study says put down the damn meat

Amid fresh warnings from United Nations researchers that there is a closing window to enact the “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented” societal changes needed to prevent a climate catastrophe, a new study of the global food system underscores the environmental necessity of a massive reduction in meat consumption worldwide.

Considering projections that the world’s population could grow to 10 billion by 2050, Options for Keeping the Food System Within Environmental Limits, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, found that mitigating the climate crisis requires overhauling the current system by shifting toward more plant-based diets, improving technologies and management, and slashing food waste by at least half.

Enbridge Pipeline explosion forces First Nations community to flee

A 36-inch natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge exploded around 5:45 p.m. in rural land north of Prince George, British Columbia on Tuesday, the Canadian pipeline company said in a media release.

The blast forced 100 people to evacuate from the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation as a precaution, Enbridge said.

“I was able to see it very clearly from the hill,” Prince George resident Dhruv Desai commented to the Canadian Press. “It was huge even from this distance.”

Chinese intel officer arrested and charged with economic espionage

The U.S. Justice Department recently unsealed a 4-count indictment against a Chinese intelligence officer who has been extradited and charged with attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from multiple aviation and aerospace companies. This marks the first time that the U.S. government has extradited a Chinese intelligence officer facing economic espionage charges.

Beginning in 2013, Yanjun Xu, a Deputy Division Director with China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), allegedly worked with several other MSS officials to target and extract sensitive information from at least three aviation companies, including Cincinnati-based GE Aviation. Responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence, and political security as MSS operatives, Xu and his co-conspirators used multiple aliases and fraudulent academic credentials to deceive employees from the companies into traveling to China in attempts to steal trade secrets from them.

Demanding Kavanaugh impeachment, law students launch nationwide strike against illegitimate justice

“We are in the middle of a national emergency,” declared an open letter as students of at least a dozen U.S. law schools walked out of class on Wednesday afternoon to launch a three-day strike calling for the impeachment of recently confirmed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“We cannot accept a system that empowers a man who repeatedly lied under oath and a judiciary review process that only performs a sham of an investigation into his misconduct,” the letter continues, referencing allegations of perjury and sexual assault that have been levied against the newest member of the nation’s highest court, and the “charade” of an FBI investigation conducted to address the assault claims, which Kavanaugh has denied.


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