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Don’t blame Hurricane Michael victims for voting for climate deniers

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When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle and Southern Georgia last week, it devastated areas known for their poverty — and their conservative politics. And some media outlets didn’t hesitate to lean into the apparent irony.

A day after the calamity, while many were just beginning to process the scope of the damage, The Guardian ran a story originally titled “Victims of Hurricane Michael voted for climate deniers,” which some readers interpreted as victim-blaming. “Florida voters could put an end to this nonsense,” wrote the article’s author John Abraham. “Climate deniers are making these storms worse by stopping action on climate change. What the hell do we expect to happen when the deniers are writing the laws?”

The backlash to the article varied. Some people criticized the tone of the headline. Others, like Union of Concerned Scientists fellow Michael Lautner, had a different issue with the story — he saw the premise as patently flawed.

“It’s not that [those affected by Hurricane Michael] are voting for climate deniers,” Lautner told Grist. “It’s that they don’t really have much of a choice to vote in the first place.”

According to Latner, officials in both Florida and Georgia have used a vast arsenal of voter suppression methods to reduce voter turnout and distort civic representation. He says these techniques include heavy gerrymandering in low-income communities — the same places that are often most vulnerable to environmental woes.

Many of the Florida and Georgia residents who were most dramatically affected by Hurricane Michael live in low-income communities. Think Calhoun County in Georgia with a 33 percent poverty rate or Franklin County in Florida with a 23.5 percent poverty rate. (The states’ poverty rates stands at about 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively.)

Both Georgia and Florida have specific policies that could result in voter suppression. Florida has disenfranchised an estimated 1.5 million ex-felons — that’s ten percent of the state’s adult population, including one in five African Americans. And earlier this year, Florida Governor Rick Scott, a known climate denier, banned early voting at university campuses, which represent a younger, more liberal, diverse and climate-conscious electorate. A federal judge halted the policy, but three Florida universities announced they still would not allow early voting at their campus polls.

In Georgia, secretary of state and current Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Kemp froze 53,000 voter registration applications, nearly 70 percent of which belonged to African Americans, because of a mismatch with drivers license or social security information. Georgia has also reduced the number of polling places, closing eight percent of the state’s total since 2012. Three-quarters of the counties affected are communities of color. In Randolph County, an area that’s now reeling from wide-spread damage due to Hurricane Michael, local election officials attempted to close seven of nine polling places in an overwhelmingly black area, abandoning the plan only when faced with a statewide protest.

It’s unclear what, if any, effect these policies have on election outcomes. But in states like Georgia and Florida, where gubernatorial races are known to be razor-close, both voter suppression and Hurricane recovery could be significant factors.

“[In Florida and Georgia] you have a combination of factors… that are often times worse off in environmental disasters,” Lautner said. “And in communities that are already overburdened with socioeconomic distress and the like, these barriers make a difference.”

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Don’t blame Hurricane Michael victims for voting for climate deniers

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Democrats Don’t Brag Enough About the Stuff They Do

Mother Jones

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A couple of days ago Paul Krugman wrote about the Trump double-cross:

Let’s talk about West Virginia, which went Trump by more than 40 percentage points, topped only by Wyoming. What did West Virginians think they were voting for?

They are, after all, residents of a poor state that benefits immensely from federal programs: 29 percent of the population is on Medicaid, almost 19 percent on food stamps. The expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare is the main reason the percentage of West Virginians without health insurance has halved since 2013.

….Trumpcare, the budget office tells us, would cause 23 million people to lose health insurance, largely through cuts to Medicaid….Then we need to add in the Trump budget, which calls for further drastic cuts in Medicaid, plus large cuts in food stamps and in disability payments. What would happen to West Virginia if all these Trump policies went into effect? Basically, it would be apocalyptic.

….So many of the people who voted for Donald Trump were the victims of an epic scam by a man who has built his life around scamming. In the case of West Virginians, this scam could end up pretty much destroying their state. Will they ever realize this, and admit it to themselves? More important, will they be prepared to punish him the only way they can — by voting for Democrats?

Since I happened to be chatting about this yesterday, I want to offer an alternative explanation for what’s going on here. More accurately, I guess, it’s a supplementary explanation, since there’s not much question that Donald Trump has indeed pulled a very long con on voters like the ones in West Virginia.

Basically it’s this: what do you expect if Democrats don’t support their own policies? For the past five years, Republicans have battered Obamacare as the most horrific policy ever enacted. Democrats have—what? Hidden under rocks, mostly. Moderates looked at the polls and decided to avoid even talking about Obamacare. Progressives mostly scorned it as a piece of crap and spent their energy explaining why we should all support single-payer instead. So what’s the result? Lots of people think Obamacare is horrific. After all, that’s what one side says, and the other side hardly even fights back.

West Virginians on Medicaid probably have no idea they’re getting it via Obamacare. West Virginians who buy insurance from Healthcare.gov probably have no idea they’re insured via Obamacare. West Virginians who got a payroll tax break early in the Obama years probably have no idea they even got it, let alone that it came from Democrats. West Virginians who got new roads or schools from the stimulus program probably have no idea it came from Democrats. West Virginians who got an increase in the minimum wage in 2007-09 probably have no idea it was passed by Democrats.

On the other hand, they certainly do know that Obamacare is destroying the nation; that Democrats want to take away their guns; that Mexicans took away all their jobs; that Obama wanted to let a flood of ISIS terrorists into the country; and that fanatical leftists want to allow men into their daughters’ bathrooms.

Republicans are going to say what they’re going to say. There’s not much you can do to stop them from lying. What you can do is to loudly and proudly demand credit for the stuff you’ve done. If no one really knows that you subsidized their insurance or provided them with Medicaid or raised their wages or built them new schools, you can hardly expect them to vote for you.


Democrats Don’t Brag Enough About the Stuff They Do

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DHS Public Database Includes Personal Information of Abuse Victims

Mother Jones

The Trump administration’s effort to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants has become a nightmare for immigrant victims of abuse, with the personal information of undocumented victims appearing in a publicly searchable database launched last month by the Department of Homeland Security.

Last month, DHS created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, aimed at assisting the victims of crimes committed by immigrants. At the same time, it rolled out a database called Victim Information and Notification Exchange, or DHS-VINE, ostensibly to provide information on the custody status and detention information of immigrants who have been accused of crimes. But the database appears to contain information about a much broader group of people, including undocumented immigrants in detention who are not suspected of crimes other than lacking legal status—and who are sometimes themselves victims of abuse.

The problem was first highlighted by the Tahirih Justice Center, which supports immigrant women and girls escaping gender-based violence. On Thursday, the group wrote a letter to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement explaining that the personal information of immigrant survivors was searchable in DHS-VINE.

Earlier this month, the center was able to find the personal information of one of its clients in the database. The group then reached out to attorneys who work with immigrant survivors; together, they confirmed that the names, custody status, and detention location of other survivors were searchable in the DHS-VINE system. The database also includes information about where detainees are housed and sends notifications when they are transferred or released, potentially allowing abusers or traffickers to find their victims and cause further harm. “Their listing in the public database is a violation of federal statute which carries significant penalties under the law, and puts survivors’ lives in danger,” the center notes in its letter.

Immigrant advocates first notified ICE of the problem earlier this month but received no response. They then sent a second letter on May 25, calling for the information of survivors to be pulled from the system immediately or for DHS-VINE to be shut down by Friday.

“We’re concerned that DHS does not seem to be seriously considering the concerns of victims of crime,” says Archi Pyati, chief of policy for the Tahirih Justice Center. The inclusion of survivors’ information, she says, is a violation of federal law protecting the information of people applying for special visas or other protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking.

In statements to Mother Jones and other media outlets, ICE said that it was aware of the problems with the database. “ICE continually strives to ensure that information protected both by policy and law is never divulged,” the agency said. “When the agency receives evidence suggesting that non-releasable information is unintentionally available, immediate actions are taken to ensure proper mitigation both to correct and to prevent further disclosures.” The agency did not respond to questions about how long it would take to remove survivors from the DHS-VINE database. Earlier on Friday, the Guardian reported that some names were removed from the database after the outlet sent an inquiry to ICE. But the names of other survivors remain in the system.

The VOICE office has been criticized for painting immigrants as uniquely engaged in criminal activity despite evidence that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than US citizens. Shortly after the office launched, the Los Angeles Times reported that it was able to find the information of children as young as three years old in the VINE database.

The controversy over the DHS-VINE is the latest blow to immigrant victims of abuse, who have already moved into the shadows as the Trump administration continues to push aggressive immigration enforcement. A recent survey of service providers working with immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault found that three in four providers had worked with survivors concerned about opening themselves up to deportation if they contacted the police or went to court to address their abuse.

Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, reached out to the Tahirih Justice Center on Friday about the issue. “I assure you that we are implementing additional measures to strengthen the information protections of the system,” he wrote.

If survivors’ names are still in the database next week, Pyati says advocates will reach out to the agency again. “Now that they’re on notice, we are going to pursue every avenue that we can to ensure that victims are safe,” she says.

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DHS Public Database Includes Personal Information of Abuse Victims

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The Conservative Beef With ESPN Is All About Curt Schilling

Mother Jones

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ESPN has been losing viewers for a while now, and there are various theories to account for it. Maybe millennials just aren’t into sports that much. Or maybe cord cutting of all types is the culprit. Or maybe ESPN has gotten too liberal.

That last one is a favorite among conservatives, and I don’t really get it. I’m not a heavy ESPN viewer, but I watch enough to have some sense of its political leanings. And I haven’t really discerned much. Mostly they seem to call games and then argue about whether Tom Brady can play football into his fifties. You know, sports stuff.

But today, Paul Hiebert at the polling firm YouGov presents this chart:

First off, I’m impressed that YouGov has been polling this question since 2013. I wonder why?

In any case, this chart suggests that the problem isn’t liberalism in general, but the fact that ESPN fired Curt Schilling. The Caitlyn Jenner thing hurt for a few months, but by April of 2016 all was forgiven and Republican support of ESPN was back to normal. It was the Curt Schilling affair that killed them. Just to refresh your memory, here’s the Facebook meme he shared that was the final straw:

This was after Schilling “shared a meme that compared extremism in today’s Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940 and told a radio station that Hillary Clinton ‘should be buried under a jail somewhere,’ in apparent violation of an ESPN policy on commentary relating to the presidential election.”

So politics is part of the answer after all. But not a slide into liberal politics. Conservatives were mad because Schilling engaged in venomous conservative politics, and eventually ESPN fired him before he did something that could get them sued. Conservatives are always the victims, aren’t they?

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The Conservative Beef With ESPN Is All About Curt Schilling

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Monsters or Victims? Let the Viewer Decide.

Mother Jones

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In a trailer park outside St. Petersburg, Florida, where around 120 convicted sex offenders live and receive counseling, Tracy Hutchinson broke down on camera. Hutchinson, a convicted sex offender, had never told her story before, even in therapy. Now, she was revealing to Frida and Lasse Barkfors, a pair of Scandinavian filmmakers documenting the lives of the trailer park’s inhabitants, what her father had done to her: “We went down the hall to the bedroom, and he locked the door, and he said, ‘You know that you’re daddy’s girl, and I love you, and I just want to share this with you.”

Many years later, as an adult, Hutchinson sexually abused her son. He, in turn, abused a three-year-old child. Lasse, listening to her story from behind the camera, had tears in his eyes. Every few minutes, Frida gently asked a question. Otherwise, she just let Hutchinson talk.

“It was like a need in her almost, to tell her story, that no one had wanted to listen to before,” Frida says. “That we came in the park with an open mind and said that we just wanted to listen—was very unusual for them.”

The Barkfors’ documentary, Pervert Park, doesn’t flinch from the crimes of its subjects, but it refuses to define them solely by their offenses. The result is a provocative look at the lives of convicted sex offenders and the cycle of abuse—as well as at a counseling program that could offer a model for rehabilitation. (According to the film, less than 1 percent of the park’s residents have been convicted of another sex offense after completing the two-year program.)

“When we made the film, we were quite certain that no one wanted to see it,” Lasse says. That goes especially for American viewers, whom the pair expected to be particularly hostile to the notion of humanizing sex offenders. But Pervert Park will debut on PBS tonight (10 pm ET) after months collecting praise on the festival circuit. I caught up with the filmmakers to discuss how one tells such stories responsibly, and why it’s important that they be told.

Mother Jones: The idea for this film came from a newspaper article about Florida Justice Transitions. How did you pick it up from there?

Frida Barkfors: We started out believing we were going to make a film that was a little more anthropological about the place itself. We read this article about five years ago, and the park was described as this parallel society where the sex offenders didn’t want to reintegrate into society—and couldn’t. As soon as we got to the park, we realized that what’s stated in the article wasn’t really accurate. They did try really hard to reintegrate to society, and they had this housing program where they were trying to be contributing citizens.

MJ: What were your attitudes toward the sex offenders when you began?

Frida: We had completely bought into the mainstream media portrait and didn’t think there was much more to tell. Meeting the sex offenders was kind of a journey for us. In the beginning we were quite cautious. We wanted to stick together while we were shooting. But we got less and less scared, because we saw the people behind the crimes. It’s not like sex offenders are sex offenders only. The story’s much more complex. That provoked a lot of emotions and thought processes in us, and that’s what we wanted to share with the audience.

Lasse Barkfors: It’s also a very simple idea, in the end, to listen to someone who is seldom asked to speak. What happens if we see what they have to say? Is that useful for us?

MJ: You said you completely bought into the mainstream portrayal of sex offenders. And what would that be?

Frida: We see them as monsters controlled by their sexual lust, with a lack of morals. We see them as dangerous. But there’s a really fine line between the victim and the abuser, because there are so many abusers who are untreated victims. They were once these innocent victims. But they weren’t able to get treatment, so they acted out and became abusers themselves.

Lasse: Of course, the stories that always comes up in the media are the very harsh ones and the awful ones.

Frida: We see sex offenders as the worst of the worst. We talk mostly about these stories where they’re hiding in the bushes, waiting for a child to kidnap and molest and maybe even murder. But those incidents are extremely rare. We were trying to show the diversity of the sex offender label. From Patrick—who kidnapped a five-year-old girl in Mexico and raped her in the desert and left her there—to Jamie, who was looking for a 30-year-old sex worker and was caught in a sting when the prostitute wanted to include her 14-year-old daughter. It turned out to be a police officer. There are also stories of people in the park who have urinated in public and are now convicted sex offenders.

MJ: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your work?

Frida: People say we made a film about pedophiles. In fact, there’s no pedophile featured in our film. Not even Patrick is a pedophile, because being a pedophile is a sexual orientation. Being a sex offender means you have abused someone sexually, but it doesn’t mean that you have a lust to be together with kids. There are many pedophiles who will never act out because they know the emotions they have, the lust they have, are wrong. Then there’s the combination of a pedophile and a sadist, and that’s really dangerous. Those are the cases we read about in the newspaper, and those are the cases that we base our laws on.

MJ: Compassion for sex offenders is central to the film. But relating to them, especially those convicted of really violent crimes, had to be a challenge. How did you accomplish that?

Frida: That’s the core question for us. How can we listen to these people without minimizing their crimes? What we realized is that you can actually have empathy for a person at the same time that you despise their crimes. We have this tendency to paint people in good colors and bad colors, but it’s more than that. These people need treatment. Some of them are still minimizing, and some of them are still excusing, and they’re not completely healed, but I feel that a lot of them are working on becoming better people. So it’s very complex.

MJ: Why did you not include the voices of the victims?

Frida: There are so many films that are made from the classical victim perspective. We wanted to give a voice to the people who are normally not heard. And there are victims in our film. You can be a victim and an abuser at the same time. I think we show very clearly—for instance, in the interview with Tracy—how it’s passed on throughout generations.

MJ: Still, I’m sure some viewers would feel that giving voice to the abusers silences the victims.

Frida: I was once like that, so I understand. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to listen to their story.” But we’re trying to help widen the debate. Making this film, we worked very closely with victim organizations, lawyers, and defenders of victims of sexual abuse, and also psychologists and therapists. They all say this is crucial for victims to heal, the abuser’s story being told. That was the purpose: We made the film because we thought that it was helpful for everyone.

Lasse: These people walk around with this their whole life without telling anyone, because it’s so shameful. I think a lot of them really need to talk about it in order to move on.

Frida: After a screening, people have come up to us and said, “I am a victim of sexual abuse, and thank you for making this film. I now understand my abuser much better than I used to.” They struggle with a lot of emotions, but if they can understand their abuser, it’s easier for them to heal.

MJ: I suppose it would help answer the question, “Why did this happen to me?”

Frida: Don’t get me wrong—the victims have no responsibility whatsoever. I completely understand why we as a society don’t want to talk about the offenders, because we think that we’re protecting the victims. But that’s counterproductive.

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Monsters or Victims? Let the Viewer Decide.

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Cinemark Is Asking Survivors of the Aurora Massacre to Pay $700,000 in Legal Fees

Mother Jones

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Cinemark, the country’s third-largest movie theater chain, is asking survivors of a 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, cineplex to reimburse it for nearly $700,000 in legal fees.

In 2012, survivors and family members of victims filed a lawsuit accusing Cinemark of failing to take proper security measures before the shooting, which left more than 12 people dead and 70 wounded. In May, a jury ruled against the plaintiffs after Cinemark argued it could not have predicted or prepared for the attack.

Colorado’s courts allow winners civil cases to recover their legal fees, and in June Cinemark filed a “bill of costs” for $699,187, according to the Denver Post. The company’s attorneys declined a request for comment by Mother Jones but have told a judge they need the money to cover expenses related to the lawsuit, like the costs of preserving evidence and retrieving records.

It’s not yet clear whether the survivors will pay the full amount—a judge must approve the final figure, and further appeals could affect Cinemark’s attempts to seek reimbursement. But that hasn’t tempered public outrage at the request, with some calling for a boycott of the movie theater chain on Twitter.

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Cinemark Is Asking Survivors of the Aurora Massacre to Pay $700,000 in Legal Fees

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Why Is It So Hard for Inmates to Sue Prisons?

Mother Jones

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Read Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer’s firsthand account of his four months spent working as a guard at a corporate-run prison in Louisiana.

It began with a complaint about salad.

Since he started serving time in the ’70s, Melvin Leroy Tyler has filed dozens of lawsuits advocating better conditions in Missouri prisons, earning himself the nickname King of the Writs. One newspaper dubbed him one of the “finest jailhouse lawyers this state has ever produced.” In 1994, Tyler filed a case a case about dangerous conditions at Farmington Correctional Center, including allegations of overcrowding and food contamination. But his complaints would become infamous for a passing mention that the prison cafeteria’s salad bar was only available to guards.

Read more: Reporter Shane Bauer’s four months as a private prison guard

Tyler’s salad bar protest was held up as exhibit A in the campaign to stem the supposed flood of frivolous prison lawsuits clogging up the nation’s courts. Jay Nixon, then Missouri’s attorney general (and now its governor), singled out Tyler and sneered that “these recreational litigators can be very creative when it comes to constitutional rights.” Other examples of outrageous cases cited by Nixon and 23 of his fellow AGs included an inmate’s $1 million suit “because his ice cream had melted,” and a demand for LA Gear or Reebok sneakers instead of prison-issued Converse.

Shutting down these lawsuits became a pillar of the tough-on-crime agenda then sweeping Capitol Hill. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1996, prisoners who seek to file federal civil rights cases must first jump through several hoops, like exhausting all internal grievance procedures and paying $350 to file a case.

Yet much of the evidence cited in support of the law was thin. As the bill was making its way through Congress, Jon O. Newman, a federal appeals judge, found that tales of ridiculous lawsuits “were at best highly misleading and, sometimes, simply false.” Tyler’s complaint had been ripped without context from a case that, Newman wrote, “concerned dangerously unhealthy prison conditions, not the lack of a salad bar.”

The law’s backers claimed it would protect inmates with legitimate complaints. Instead, it established a labyrinth of red tape. Between 1995 and 2012, as prison populations swelled 40 percent, the number of federal civil rights cases filed by prisoners dropped by more than 70 percent. About one-tenth of those cases resulted in an outcome favoring inmates, a slight decrease from the 1990s. If the PLRA was meant to filter out flimsy lawsuits, we should see more prisoners winning their cases, notes University of Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger. But now, she says, “each success is harder fought.”

Human Rights Watch has found that the law is often invoked to throw out cases on technicalities, even suits involving sexual assault, juveniles, or prisoners who are illiterate, deaf, or mentally ill. “This is a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse,” says David Fathi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project. “What we have done is dismantle the only oversight system that we had for prisons, which was litigation,” adds Schlanger.

Most inmates have little recourse but to represent themselves. The law further discourages lawyers from taking their suits by capping damages and recoverable costs. “There were never a whole lot of lawyers doing this in the first place,” says David Rudovsky, a civil rights attorney in Philadelphia. Suing prisons, he says, “is even more difficult than suing police officers.”

Now 73, Melvin Tyler lives in Missouri’s Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison located on No More Victims Road, where he is serving a 185-year sentence for rape, assault, and robbery. (He says he was wrongfully convicted; in 2009, the Innocence Project took up his case.) “I picked up a lot of enemies” due to the salad bar case, he tells me. “But if I hadn’t intervened, there would have been hundreds of people that would have died.”

The Prison Litigation Reform Act, Tyler explains, “destroys the ability of prisoners to seek and pursue legitimate claims.” The most unforgiving part of the law, he says, is its filing fee requirement. Sometimes the only way to fund a new lawsuit is to round up a bunch of guys to pool their money. Even though the Supreme Court unanimously shot down a prisoner’s challenge to part of the PRLA earlier this year, Tyler is working on a class-action suit questioning the constitutionality of the filing fee—one of more than 45 cases currently on his plate.

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Why Is It So Hard for Inmates to Sue Prisons?

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Terrorism in Western Europe Used to Be Much Worse

Mother Jones

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Following the Paris attacks, and now the Brussels bombings, the so-called Islamic State has been described as a terrorist organization unlike any seen in recent history. This isn’t a new idea: Back in 2014 former defense secretary Chuck Hagel said that ISIS “is beyond anything that we’ve seen.”

Yet even with the threat of terrorist attacks from homegrown and ISIS-linked jihadists, the streets of Western Europe are safer now than in the not-too-distant past, when terror groups ranging from the IRA to Basque separatists killed hundreds. After the ISIS attacks that struck Paris in November 2015, killing 130 people, the statistics portal Statista created this chart for Huffington Post showing the number of victims claimed by terrorist attacks in Western Europe since 1970.

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Terrorism in Western Europe Used to Be Much Worse

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Ted Cruz Calls for Security Patrols in America’s "Muslim Neighborhoods"

Mother Jones

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In the wake of the Brussels terror attacks Tuesday morning, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz suggested that the United States “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

Here is the full statement from the Cruz campaign:

Cruz: We Can No Longer Surrender to the Enemy Through Political Correctness
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, presidential candidate Ted Cruz responded to the horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels:

“Today radical Islamic terrorists targeted the men and women of Brussels as they went to work on a spring morning. In a series of coordinated attacks they murdered and maimed dozens of innocent commuters at subway stations and travelers at the airport. For the terrorists, the identities of the victims were irrelevant. They –we—are all part of an intolerable culture that they have vowed to destroy.

“For years, the west has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods.

“We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here. We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.

“We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we are are at an end. Our country is at stake.”

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Ted Cruz Calls for Security Patrols in America’s "Muslim Neighborhoods"

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Map: 116 environmental activists were killed in just one year

Map: 116 environmental activists were killed in just one year

By on 4 Mar 2016commentsShare

The death of Honduran environmental and human rights activist Berta Cáceres this week is an unspeakable tragedy — but it’s not unique. In fact, environmentalists have historically been targeted for their actions, and for speaking out about environmental injustice.

Last April, a report found that in 2014, at least 116 environmental activists were murdered. Of these, the largest percentages were protesting the activities of hydropower, mining, and agribusiness companies. Global Witness compiled the killings into a map by country, giving a startling picture of the dangers facing environmentalists around the world:

Global Witness noted in a statement that many of the murders catalogued “occurred in remote villages or deep within the jungle, where communities lack access to communications and the media.”

Like Cáceres, who was cofounder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, 40 percent of the victims were from indigenous communities. Also like Cáceres, who was fighting a grassroots campaign against proposed hydroelectric dams on land belonging to indigenous people, many of them were battling for the right to keep the land that already belonged to their people.



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Map: 116 environmental activists were killed in just one year

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