Adam Hudson

California Has a System That Punishes the Poor Through Traffic Violations - Civil Rights Groups Are Starting to Change That

Throughout the United States, cities impose heavy traffic fines to generate revenue. But these expensive fines mostly hurt lower-income people and people of color and often lead to suspended driver’s licenses. As a result, people get trapped in a debtors’ prison as these exorbitant fines pile up. 

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Skyrocketing Rents in California Are Part of a Broader US Housing Crisis

In California and across the country, housing is growing increasingly expensive. Since California's housing crisis is the most acute, the fight for rent control is heating up across the state. But social housing systems in places like Singapore and Vienna, along with community land trusts provide different solutions for expensive housing. 

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Why Water Privatization Is a Bad Idea for People and the Planet

From a years-long drought in California to poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, the issue of access to clean water is increasingly pertinent. Climate change will only exacerbate this problem as water becomes more scarce in numerous parts of the world. As water becomes more scarce and infrastructure deteriorates, there could be more efforts to privatize water systems, which does not help the situation. 

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California Targets, Indebts Poor People of Color for Big Profit

Before a Minnesota police officer fatally shot him, 32-year-old Black man Philando Castile was pulled over 31 times and slapped with 63 traffic charges. Several municipalities, like Ferguson, Missouri, have debtors’ prisons that target and keep working-class people of color in a perpetual cycle of debt to finance their courts. California cities are no exception. A report by the civil legal aid group Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) shows that rates of driver’s license suspensions due to unpaid traffic fines are significantly higher for Blacks and Latinos, particularly those in lower-income neighborhoods.

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Big Water vs. the National Parks: The Fight Against Bottled Water Goes Federal

In mid-December, Congress passed a provision within a $1.8 trillion budget bill requiring the National Park Service to file a report justifying a ban on selling bottled water at a number of parks around the country. Meanwhile, the bottled water industry promoted a rider in the appropriations bill prohibiting use of federal funds to support banning bottled water in national parks. So far, over 20 parks have gone bottled-water-free, including the Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Zion and Bryce Canyon, and Fort Sumter National Monument. This is another development in the ongoing fight between the National Park Service and Big Water over banning bottled water.

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The Distorted Exaggeration of Black-on-Black Crime Ignores Much of America's Criminality

Ongoing protests against police brutality have revealed how distorted the American discourse on crime is. The biggest myth animating this discourse is black criminality: the notion that black people commit more crime, and therefore deserve more heavy-handed policing. Just a few weeks ago, on NBC’s Meet the Press, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani chided the network, saying, “I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks.” Persistent black-on-black crime “is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community,” he continued. After a heated exchange with author and commentator Michael Eric Dyson, who pushed back against his arguments, Giuliani responded, “White police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other 70 percent of the time.” 

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Using its Wealth, Google Has Become a DC Lobbying Juggernaut - And They Still Know Everything About Us

Google has become synonymous with tech buses, San Francisco gentrification and its involvement in NSA surveillance. It's not very popular among its neighbors in the Silicon Valley, or with privacy advocates. But now there’s another reason to look at Google critically— it’s become a lobbying juggernaut, using its vast wealth to push its political agenda in Washington, D.C. and in every state.

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How Google and the Big Tech Companies Are Helping Maintain America's Empire

Silicon Valley has been in the media spotlight for its role in gentrifying and raising rents in San Francisco, helping the NSA spy on American citizens, and lack of racial and gender diversity. Despite that, Silicon Valley still has a reputation for benevolence, innocence and progressivism. Hence Google's phrase, "Don't be evil." A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that, even after the Snowden leaks, 53% of those surveyed had high confidence in the tech industry. The tech industry is not seen as evil as, say, Wall Street or Big Oil.

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Does Oakland Really Need a High-Tech 'Domain Awareness Center'? Evidence Suggests Surveillance Doesn't Do Much to Affect Crime Rates

Oakland, California, a city known as a hotbed of progressive politics, is about to deal a major blow to its residents' privacy rights in a very high-tech 21st-century way. Recently, Oakland City Council approved the next phase in building a Domain Awareness Center (DAC) for domestic surveillance. This push for high-tech surveillance comes in the midst of growing evidence that suggests it has little effect on crime rates, according to recent studies from organizations like the ACLU and the Urban Institute.

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The Astonishing Collapse of Black and Latino Household Wealth

Despite growing economic inequality and mass unemployment, Washington is focused on austerity. Politicians and pundits debate how much to cut and how much revenue to raise rather than creating jobs or alleviating the suffering of millions of people. What also gets lost in the dominant discourse about the economy is the suffering of the black community. The Great Recession has increased racial inequality and set back the modest socioeconomic gains of the civil rights movement. 

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