As a Republican President in the states is undergoing an impeachment trial the Republican Party is also going under many trials. For the last few decades the Republican Party has engaged in gerrymandering to ensure that their party wins instead for the Democrats (or independents). This modification of electoral maps has been argued to be everything from racist to classist and everything in between. The predominantly old, white, and male Republican Party has been denying all the allegations against them, and now they’ve met their match.
The daughter of the leader of the gerrymandering effort, Stephanie Hofeller, has released documents that prove true all the Republicans are denying in the courts. Sometimes it takes one brave person to speak up to help ensure a nation’s democracy can continue.
Stephanie says she connected with the North Carolina chapter of Common Cause, an advocacy group that had brought a lawsuit against Republican state officials to overturn political maps Thomas Hofeller helped draw. After mentioning the hard drives to Common Cause, Stephanie received a court order to turn them over as potential evidence for the lawsuit. She did so in March after making a copy of some of the files for herself.
Since then, the Hofeller files have led to bombshell developments in two major legal battles in the political world.
In September, Common Cause won its legal challenge to political maps in North Carolina, where a state court cited some of the files as evidence of gerrymandering designed to unfairly give Republicans an advantage in winning elections and maintaining control of the state legislature.
You’ve probably already seen this pop up in your filter bubble a couple weeks ago but I want to make sure it’s not forgotten. Facebook (and likely other platforms) are being manipulated by powerful interests to edit what can be said and shared on their sites. They are self-regulating to benefit themselves at the cost of our democracies. Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his comedy, has gotten serious about calling out Facebook and the “silicon six” on their complicity in spreading hate. It’s up to us to support him and do our best to fight back against these corporate interests putting profits before all else.
Zuckerberg tried to portray the issue as one involving “choices” around “free expression.” But freedom of speech is not freedom of reach. Facebook alone already counts about a third of the world’s population among its users. Social media platforms should not give bigots and pedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target victims.
Zuckerberg seemed to equate regulation of companies like his to the actions of “the most repressive societies.” This, from one of the six people who run the companies that decide what information so much of the world sees: Zuckerberg at Facebook; Sundar Pichai at Google; Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Brin’s ex-sister-in-law, Susan Wojcicki, at YouTube; and Jack Dorsey at Twitter. These super-rich “Silicon Six” care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. This is ideological imperialism — six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. Surely, instead of letting the Silicon Six decide the fate of the world order, our democratically elected representatives should have at least some say.
In Canada, the Conservative party seems to hate actually conserving anything that isn’t their own party. In Ontario, the party has loosened laws around how much damage companies can do to nature, cut emission targets, heck they’ve basically got rid of any piece of policy that actually works (including road safety issues). One thing the Conservative party is actually good at (since good governance isn’t their strength) is getting sued. This week a bunch of kids have sued the government because of the removal of the carbon tax and other anti-environmental policies. The suit is backed by EcoJustice and has a good chance of making a difference to make the world better (unlike the Conservatives).
“I just want to live a normal life in the future; I shouldn’t have to be doing this, but adults aren’t doing a good job,” she told CBC News.
“I’m afraid that so many species that I love will go extinct,” added Zoe Keary-Matzner, 13, from Toronto. “And that children in the future won’t be able to enjoy nature the same way I do.”
The applicants, ranging from age 12 to 24, are represented by Stockwoods LLP and Ecojustice, a group that specializes in public interest lawsuits in the name of environmental protection.
Their challenge is part of a growing trend in which young people across the globe are suing governments over perceived inaction on climate change.
To address the climate crisis we need to cut back on the amount of carbon we pump into the atmosphere and there’s a simple way to do that: get 20 companies to improve their businesses. A mere 20 companies are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions and if we can get them to reduce their output then we can greatly reduce the global carbon output. What’s more we now have the proof that these companies have been negligent and ought to make them pay for the global harm they have caused.
Heede said: “These companies and their products are substantially responsible for the climate emergency, have collectively delayed national and global action for decades, and can no longer hide behind the smokescreen that consumers are the responsible parties.
“Oil, gas, and coal executives derail progress and offer platitudes when their vast capital, technical expertise, and moral obligation should enable rather than thwart the shift to a low-carbon future.”
The climate crisis has gotten out of hand. Young people have seen the science and are terrified that they’re inheriting a dead planet killed by their parents and grandparents. Obviously the trajectory the planet’s ecosystem is on is a bad one – and it’s all out fault. It’s now time to own up to our mistakes and correct our errors. This is the time to speak up and tell everyone that a dead planet isn’t what you want. Millions around the world are doing this just that and it’s not too late to join the movement!
Today is just the start, the strike lasts for a week and will culminate in mass action next Friday. Join in the action!
Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it. People everywhere are at risk if we let oil, coal and gas companies continue to pour more fuel on the fire. Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. If we don’t act now to transition fairly and swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy access for all, the injustice of the climate crisis will only get worse. We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart. But it’s going to take all of us working together to succeed. Join the Climate Strikes starting on September 20 – three days out from the UN’s climate emergency summit and continuing on September 27. Millions of us will walk out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and show our politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.