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Protesters took to the streets in midtown Manhattan and dozens of U.S. cities on April 15, coinciding with the traditional deadline for U.S. federal tax returns (this year the filing date has been pushed backed two days, to April 18). Protesters marched, calling on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, saying Americans deserve to know his tax history, his business ties with foreign powers, and conflicts of interest, if any exist.

Trump's tax returnsTrump is the first major-party presidential nominee in more than 40 years to refuse releasing his tax returns, saying that he is under IRS audit – however, there is no law prohibiting him from releasing his own returns in these circumstances. Trump also stated that American voters don’t care; he declared a $916 million loss in 1995, which was, The New York Times reported, “a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”

“Thanks to Trump, I think that releasing your taxes when you run for president now has to be a law,” 51-year-old New Yorker Marni Halasa, who arrived in a tutu and leggings made of fake dollar bills and holding a sign that read “Show Me The Money!”, told Reuters.

The nationwide protests, dubbed the Tax March for economic justice, stemmed from the Women’s March that took place a day after Trump’s inauguration. The Tax March, among the largest protests since the Women’s March, unfolded a day after the White House announced that it would end the practice of releasing White House visitor logs, an attempt by Trump (who had promised to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington) to shield his activities from scrutiny.

The tax returns of presidents and vice presidents are automatically audited every year, and it is totally legal to publish their tax returns. Although there is no legal obligation, U.S. presidents and presidential candidates have released their returns voluntarily for decades.

But Trump – who has repeatedly admitted using legal loopholes to minimize his tax burden – has justified his refusal to publish tax returns by noting they are being audited; however, federal tax authorities say that does not bar him from releasing the documents.

67-year-old Ellen Lodwick, a retired corporate researcher from Maryland, cast doubt on Trump’s businesses: “There are probably many illegal or questionable investments in things that could affect how he looks at government and legislation, because he’s too connected.”

Why does he want to hide his taxes? That’s what I want to know. He promised transparency; remember ‘Drain the swamp?” 53-year-old Martha Marquez, a graduate school professor who attended the Palm Beach march holding a sign that read “Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine,” told The New York Times.

Trump's tax returnsIn Los Angeles, television director Mike Stutz turned up at the march holding a sign that read: “What Tax Returns? Putin paid cash. Trust your oligarchs,” referring to allegations of contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin.


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A New York Cop Blocker has filed two lawsuits against the NYPD totaling $1 million for two unlawful arrests, that he alleges were for filming police. Jose LaSalle was tired of cops getting away with arresting the residents of his south Bronx neighborhood on trumped-up charges. In 2013, he established the South Bronx chapter of Cop Block, an organization dedicated to uncovering police misconduct through a network of citizen volunteers.

cop blocker

According to LaSalle, he is well known to the cops of the 46th precinct. After garnering a reputation for filming police during their encounters, he believes they began to target him for exercising his right to film. The first of two incidents happened on September 28, 2014. LaSalle saw three cops and approached them for identification. He even had the NYPD code that stated it was mandatory for officers to provide this information when requested. They instead demand LaSalle’s ID, grab him by the arm and throw him against a chain link fence.

“So one grabs one arm and the other grabs the other arm. My face slams against the gate. I felt something snap in my shoulder,” LaSalle said.

After being arrested and taken back to the station, instead of providing medical assistance, they proceeded to strip search him and hold him for several hours. They eventually released him with a jaywalking ticket and one for possessing a police scanner. “I’m well known, so it’s amazing for them to go after me.” LaSalle eventually got his phone back, and he was shocked to see that the recordings he was making while he was arrested were still on there.

cop blocker

LaSalle had told several of his friends that he thought he had footage of the cops trying to break into his phone. LaSalle had collected his recording devices, including a GoPro and his phone, but before he had a chance to see what the devices had captured, the NYPD tracked him down at a local diner and arrested him again, telling him that they never gave him a court date while he was in jail, and that they wanted his cell phone. He was repeatedly asked for the password but refused to give it.

He had installed an app that notified him whenever someone entered the wrong password, which in turn recorded audio for 20 seconds. This resulted in over 2 minutes of audio and a dozen or more pictures taken by the phone’s camera. Initially when released, the police would not release his phone to him. Eventually he was able to retrieve it, and along with it, the photos and audio recordings of police attempting to illegally access his phone. LaSalle believes that his arrests were purely retaliation for filming police and potentially embarrassing them on the internet.


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cop blocker

According to LaSalle’s lawyers, “This is an illegal Fourth Amendment search and seizure and a privacy rights violation.”

The recording captured the officers discussing whether or not they could charge LaSalle with a felony. “There’s no felony charge option? It’s a misdemeanor, maybe you could see like a felony charge…” one voice could be heard saying. They also discussed how far away he was standing from police, with one officer admitting he was 15 to 20 feet away, more than enough space to be called a safe distance. After learning of the audio, the district attorney dropped all charges against him.

“There has to be some way for us to hold them accountable,” LaSalle told the press. “If filing the lawsuit is going to bring attention to it and that’s the only way, then that’s what we have to do.”

LaSalle’s lawyers believe that this is not an isolated incident and that he frequently hears reports of the NYPD tampering with suspects’ phones. LaSalle has also petitioned Mayor Bill DeBlasio to open a formal investigation into the incident.

Sources: NY Daily News, The Nation.


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In October 1993, during the Battle of Mogadishu (the Black Hawk Down incident), 18 US soldiers were killed and 73 wounded, with a pair of Black Hawk helicopters shot down. The US responded by ceasing military operations, and within a few months had withdrawn all troops from Somalia. Today, they are headed back.

The new deployment, which US African Command (AFRICOM) is presented as a simple training operation, will be the first time US ground troops are officially deployed to Somalia, though of course the US has had some special forces present on the ground on and off, conducting occasional operations and spotting for US airstrikes.

AFRICOM also insists the new deployment was at the request of the Somali government, though indications in recent weeks has indicated that military officials have been pushing for an escalation of US intervention in the country at any rate, aimed at fighting al-Shabaab.


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When commanders want to push for fighting in Somalia, al-Shabaab is presented as either ISIS or al-Qaeda affiliated, though in practice the group is largely an independent Islamist operation with a similar ideology. The group’s operations are confined almost exclusively to Somalia, though they have launched some strikes into neighboring countries, as retaliation for those countries (particularly Kenya) being involved in interventions against them.

A lot has changed in Somalia in the 24 years between direct US interventions, with the country undergoing a long period of comparatively stable anarchy followed by a protracted war designed to prop up a self-proclaimed government. It was this war, and African Union interventions to try to claim territory for this government, that largely fueled the creation of al-Shabaab.

By Jason Ditz / Republished with permission / AntiWar.com / Report a typo


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at trueactivist.com

Felix planted his millionth tree in Germany at age 13 and is now on a mission to plant 150 trees for every person on the planet.

When Felix Finkbeiner was nine years old and in the fourth grade, he researched how climate change affects polar bears (his favorite animal) for a class assignment. After learning that two-thirds of wild polar bears might disappear by 2050, he began seeking out methods to slow global warming and protect the planet. That’s when he stumbled upon Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai.

Maathai has planted 30 million trees in Africa over a period of thirty years, a feat which won him the Nobel Prize in 2004. Delighted to have found an individual actually doing something about climate change rather than discuss the imminent threat in length, he wrote his paper about trees and ended with a bold promise to plant one million of them in his home country of Germany. Finkbeiner started by planting the first tree near the entrance of his elementary school.

Credit: Inhabitat

His vision never wavered and he ended up planting the millionth tree in Germany by age 13. After launching a website and even hiring a full-time employee, Plant for the Planet was founded. The movement gained momentum, resulting in Finkbeiner speaking to the UN and to the European Parliament. Not long after, Plant for the Planet received stewardship of the United Nations’ (UN) Billion Tree Campaign, relays Inhabitat. Together, the two organizations have planted over 14 billion trees in over 130 countries. Best of all, the 19-year-old is just getting started.


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Last year, the teen spoke at an Urban Future conference, stating:

“If we follow the scientists and we act and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, we didn’t do any mistakes. But if we follow the skeptics and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, it will be too late to save our future.”

Imagine if every individual was as inspired to “do good” as Felix. You can learn more, get involved or donate by visiting the Plant for the Planet website.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


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This changes everything scientists thought they knew about early civilization in North America.

A new settlement has been discovered by researchers from the Hakai Institute, University of Victoria and local First Nations members, and it changes everything scientists thought they knew about early civilization in North America. The 14,000-year-old village contains artifacts that date all the way back to the Ice Age and is believed to be one of the oldest human settlements ever uncovered in North America. It’s even suspected to be older than the Giza pyramids!

As IFL Science reports, the discovery lines up with the oral history of the Heiltsuk Nation. For generations, stories have been handed down that tell of an ancient coastal village. William Houston of Heiltsuk Nation told CTV News Vancouver Island:

“To think about how these stories survived all of that, only to be supported by this archaeological evidence is just amazing.”


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Artifacts from the village were discovered on Triquet Island, approximately 310 miles northwest of Victoria, Canada. Fish hooks, spears, and tools to ignite fire were found. The ancient village may have been discovered last year, but only now are researchers asserting that a massive human migration occurred along British Columbia’s coastline, relays The Independent.

Archeologists once believed humans arrived in North America via a land bridge between Russia and Alaska, continuing to migrate on foot. Now, however, archaeologists suspect people moved down the coast, possibly in boats. In the event both occurred, it is likely the coastal route came before the inland route.

Commented University of Victoria PhD student, Alisha Gauvreau, who was part of the excavation:

“I remember when we get [sic] the dates back and we just kind of sat there going, holy moly, this is old. What this is doing is just changing our idea of the way in which North America was first peopled.”

Watch the video below to learn more:


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The area is home to more tribes than anywhere else in the world.

Canadian energy company has just agreed to withdraw their plans to drill for oil in an area of Peru that is currently inhabited by a tribe that wants no part of the modern Western culture. As oil companies have come into contact with many tribes over the years through their destruction of the cultural land, activists are working to help to preserve those areas of the rainforest that are inhabited, in an attempt to prevent the important lands from being destroyed by oil and gas exploitation.

The region, in particular, is home to uncontested members of the Matsés tribe, according to recent reports, and the effort to convince Pacific Rubiales E&P to withdraw from Block 135 was led by Survival International, a “global movement for tribal people’ rights”. Despite the area being home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on earth, Block 135 has been sold to Pacific E&P by the Peruvian government for the exploration of oil and natural gas. The company overview states,

“Peru Block 135 and 138 was acquired by Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. Peru Block 135 and 138 comprise two petroleum and natural gas exploration and development blocks. Peru Block 135 comprises a gross area of approximately 926,000 hectares with two drilling prospects in Maranon Basin. Peru Block 138 comprises a gross area of approximately 370,000 hectares with four drilling prospects in Ucayali Basin. The reserves are located in Peru.”

Survival International explained, “The company, Pacific E&P, had previously been awarded the right to explore for oil in a large area of the Amazon Uncontacted Frontier, a region of immense biodiversity which is home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. It began its first phase of oil exploration in 2012.”


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Survival International then wrote an open letter to the world, explaining the Peruvian government’s role in selling out the rainforest and its people, “Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable people on the planet. They have made the decision to be isolated and this must be respected. The Yavarí Tapiche region is home to uncontacted people. Despite knowing of their existence and enormous vulnerability, the government has failed to guarantee their protection. These tribal people face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Only by creating the proposed Yavarí Tapiche indigenous reserve and implementing effective protection mechanisms that prevent the entry of outsiders, will the indigenous people be given the chance to determine their own futures. We are also concerned about the government’s refusal to exclude oil exploration within the proposed reserve…. No exploration or exploitation of oil should ever be carried out on territories inhabited by uncontacted Indians.”

The tribal council of the Matsés expressed their concerns for the future if oil companies were to destroy their land, in a statement in 2016. They stated, “I don’t want my children to be destroyed by oil and war. That’s why we’re defending ourselves… and why we Matsés have come together. The oil companies … are insulting us and we won’t stay silent as they exploit us on our homeland. If it’s necessary, we’ll die in the war against oil.”

Whilst activists are fighting to protect these areas of the rainforest, reports state that more needs to be done globally to bring justice to the Amazonian people to ensure the survival of their future generations. Perceptions of the rainforest need to change from viewing the biodiversity-rich areas as a profit center to viewing it as a center of life on planet earth that holds thousands of years of history and culture. It is clear that oil companies have a long history of destroying the ecosystems and wildlife of the rainforest, whilst simultaneously contaminating the earth and water with harmful oil spillages.

True Activist / Report a typo


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The USDA is responsible for the death of a family dog and the near death of a teenager in Idaho. To quell the overbearing coyote population, the USDA has planted cyanide bombs on public land. Cyanide bombs are lethal to anyone or any animal that comes into contact with them. The family is now fighting the government to have these deadly devices removed.

cyanide bomb

Fourteen-year-old Canyon Mansfield of Pocatello, Idaho was walking with his dog near the edge of the family property. He came across the device – which he believed to be a sprinkler head – bent down to touch it, when it exploded. It covered him and his dog in an orange mist. It immediately incapacitated him. Canyon had to lay on the ground and watch as his dog died in front of him. “I sprinted toward him and landed on my knees and saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure,” Canyon told a local newspaper.

Cyanide enters the bloodstream and blocks oxygen from being absorbed by the brain. Despite the air all around you, cyanide kills in a matter of minutes by suffocating you. The device in question is called an M-44 spring activated trap. It is triggered when something touches it and can be found on public land all across the country. The devices kill coyotes, but this case in particular shows how dangerous they can be to anyone who encounters them.

cyanide bomb

According to the USDA, who made a statement after the incident, “The unintentional lethal take of a dog is a rare occurrence. Wildlife Services policies and procedures are designed to minimize unintentional take or capture of domestic pets. It posts signs and issues other warnings to alert pet owners when wildlife traps or other devices are being used in an area for wildlife damage management. M-44s are spring-activated devices that release cyanide when they are activated through upward pressure or pulling. These devices are only set at the request of and with permission from property owners or managers. This is the first unintentional take with an M-44 device in Idaho since 2014.”


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cyanide bomb

“We didn’t even know cyanide bombs existed. Even all of the deputy sheriffs, the hazmat team and the Bannock County Sheriff did not know these things existed. As a result, there was a delay in figuring out what it was and therefore a delay in getting my son to the emergency room. Thank God he is alive; just inches from death,” Canyon’s mother told the Huffington Post.

While the USDA assured the public they will do everything they can to ensure the traps do not harm people or pets, there is simply no way for them to do this without altering the device or removing them completely, two things they made no promise to do. The family has started an online petition to have these bombs taken out of use.

UPDATE: As of April 10, the USDA announced they will cease to use cyanide traps in Idaho.

Sources: Huffington Post.


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Documents uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that the NYPD’s surveillance of the Black Lives Matter movement went much farther than anyone could have anticipated. The records uncovered by a New York law firm have painted a picture of overreach and mass surveillance directed toward the BLM movement

Most of the documents uncovered were emails. The emails showed that not only had the NYPD been on a mission to infiltrate the BLM movement, but it had in fact succeeded. The emails also revealed that undercover officers had gained enough trust in the organization to be actively included in planning meetings, and even took part in demonstrations.

Black Lives Matter

Many of the communications documented the activities of members to include times and places of planned demonstrations. According to Elsa Waithe, a Black Lives Matter organizer, she confirmed that the NYPD was in fact in possession of information that was only distributed among management.

“The text loop was definitely just for organizers, I don’t know how that got out. Someone had to have told someone how to get on it, probably trusting someone they had seen a few times in good faith. We clearly compromised ourselves,” Waithe said.

Black Lives Matter

The suggestion is that NYPD undercover operatives were able to infiltrate the organization in its early stages and those undercover officers were able to rise in the organization. Keegan Stephan, who has been involved with the BLM movement and was familiar with the organizational structure, agrees. “I feel like the undercover was somebody who was or is very much a part of the group, and has access to information we only give to people we trust.”


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According to Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD detective and consultant to the Guardian, it would have been difficult for undercover agents to infiltrate and get so close to leadership in such a short period of time. When asked about why the NYPD would go to such lengths to spy on the organization, Giacalone stated, “If you take out the biggest mouth, everybody just withers away, so you concentrate on the ones you believe are your organizers. Once you identify that person, you can run computer checks on them to see if they have a warrant out or any summons failures, then you can drag them in before they go out to speak or rile up the crowd, as long as you have reasonable cause to do so.”

Black Lives Matter

Lawyers are now examining the emails to see if the NYPD broke any laws while undergoing their surveillance. Typically, surveillance this intrusive has to be authorized by a special committee within the NYPD, however, in this instance there is no criminal justification for spying on a civil rights group. Spying on civil rights groups was done by the federal government in the 1950’s and 60s to quash uprisings. In this case, the NYPD may have overstepped its boundary.

The emails only tell a part of the story, which left BLM and their attorneys wondering if the NYPD has withheld additional documents which would clarify their actions. Requests have already been submitted for any relevant documents that were not produced. The outcome, whether intended or not, was to undermine the trust that members had in the BLM organization. The knowledge that an undercover cop may have held a leadership position in the group has left many within wondering who at the top they can trust.

Sources: The Guardian.


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Governor Peter Shumlin reached out to the people of Vermont who had been convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana and offered them full pardons as one of his final acts in office.

marijuana convictions

Schumlin told the media, “Today I am announcing an effort using the governor’s pardoning power to expedite our move to saner drug policy and criminal justice system. Decriminalization was a good first step in updating our outmoded drug laws. It makes no sense that minor marijuana convictions should tarnish the lives of Vermonters indefinitely.”

According to Vermont criminal justice system statistics, thousands of citizens are eligible for the pardon, however, only 450 actually applied.

By Jan. 4, out of the 450 people who had applied for the pardon, 200 had been processed.

“While attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it,” Governor Shumlin continued. “My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it.”

Anyone who did not get their application in on time still has a chance for redemption. Under a 2013 law, which Shumlin used as the basis for his idea, those with cannabis convictions can still apply to have their cases expunged.


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marijuana convictions

Marijuana arrests make up the majority of drug arrests in the US. On average, 1.5 to 2 million people are arrested each year for drug violations. More than half of those arrests are for simple possession or selling of cannabis. “We’ve got folks who got charged for an ounce or less of marijuana in a different era when we were running a failed war on drugs. Let’s give those folks the opportunity to have a clean record,” Shumlin told the press.

marijuana convictions

Marijuana laws have become lenient in most American states, however, there are still those who have a political interest in maintaining marijuana prohibition. The DEA continues to publish arguably false information on marijuana, and continues to raid state approved and sanctioned businesses in the name of the failed drug war. Attorney Jeff Sessions gives contradictory statements to the press, in one breath stating that he respects the state’s rights to govern themselves, however, they should not have the right to decide their own marijuana laws.

Cannabis is now legal for medicinal use in over 30 states, with recreational adult use legal in 8. The overwhelming sentiment is that marijuana is one of the most beneficial plants for use in medicine ever discovered and that the suppression of it was for political purposes only. Despite the words of Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration, more and more politicians like Governor Shumlin are fighting back and taking logical steps to unwind the damage caused by years of prohibition.

Sources: The Free Thought Project, The New York Times.


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The great Australian political satirist John Clarke has died unexpectedly at age 68 during a hike in the Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia. Known for his comedy acts that parodied sharp wit with political doublespeak, Clarke and his comedy partner Bryan Dawe entertained Australians on national television for decades, starting in the late eighties.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, no stranger to Clarke’s sardonic and often times attacking wit, posted his sadness at the entertainer’s death. “His laconic wit was rarely wide of the mark. I should know. With lethal accuracy he made politicians and prime ministers his prey,” PM Turnbull said.

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But Clarke’s insight into the political arena, both on a domestic front and international stage, always managed to rip down the hypocrisy accompanying it.

“Australian audiences have relied on John Clarke for always getting to the heart of how many Australians felt about the politics of the day, and tearing down the hypocrisy and at times absurdity of elements of our national debate,” Michelle Guthrie, the ABC managing director said.

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The team up of Clarke and Dawe’s mockumentary of politics gave sanity to insane and uncertain times. Their no-punches pulled interviewer-interviewee shorts spurred debate otherwise left untouched, often answering and projecting a truth that without the comedy would otherwise hurt.

No one was on a high enough pedestal to not mock, including Alan Bond, George Bush and media moguls. His parodies of those he considered in the elite category, or those who failed to carry their duty as world leaders, were the target of his wit.

John Clarke – to Australians – was one of the last true voices of reason.

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