Monthly Archives: March 2015

Opposition Grows as Shell Drilling Fleet Heads to Arctic Waters

Obama administration expected to approve Shell’s Arctic drilling program as early as Wednesday

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for CommonDreams, published March 24, 2015

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Susanne Miller/USFWS) Image via Wikimedia.

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Susanne Miller/USFWS) Image via Wikimedia.

Marking 26 years since the Exxon Valdez ran aground spilling as much as 38 million gallons of oil into the Port William Sound in Alaska, activists on Tuesday protested the Obama administration’s continued support for Arctic oil exploration.

Despite the known threat to the fragile Arctic ecosystem and high risk of a devastating oil spill, the Department of the Interior is expected as early as Wednesday to sign off on the revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for Shell’s Chuckchi Sea lease, which would clear a major hurdle for the company to restart its Arctic drilling program this summer. Continue reading

Share

TPP vs. Democracy: Leaked Draft of Secretive Trade Deal Spells Out Plan for Corporate Power Grab

WikiLeaks reveals negotiators planning to expand secret corporate tribunals

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for CommonDreams, published March 26, 2015

"With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty," said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen. (Photo courtesy of Wikileaks)

“With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen. (Photo courtesy of Wikileaks)

Newly leaked classified documents show that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, if it goes through as written, will dramatically expand the power of corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge—and supersede—domestic laws, including environmental, labor, and public health, and other protections.

The tribunals, made infamous under NAFTA, were exposed in the “Investment Chapter” from the TPP negotiations, which was released to the public by WikiLeaks on Wednesday. Continue reading

Share

The Silence of the Lands

Grand Canyon National Park. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Grand Canyon National Park. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

If there is one thing all Americans have reverence for, it would have to be our National Parks and Public Lands. Ever since that day when Theodore Roosevelt gazed across the wonders of Yellowstone, hunted the lands of South Dakota and forever taught us the benefits of conservation. His vision led to the world’s first national park in 1872, Yellowstone.

As each jewel was added to America’s crown of riches for future generations, we never believed these lands and parks so carefully set aside and visited by millions of families as well as guests from other nations would ever become endangered by the very people we elect to represent us.

But that is what has happened. In a rush to balance a budget and avoid making responsible, all-be-it difficult, decisions, they have decided that auctioning off public lands to the highest bidder is the best alternative. Going to the pawn shop is more favored then sitting down at the kitchen table and making really hard choices. Continue reading

Share

The People’s Budget – Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System

The budget plan ‘fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to get ahead,’ says Congressional Progressive Caucus

Written by Deirdre Fulton, Staff Writer for CommonDreams, published March 18, 2015.

Offering a sustainable alternative to regressive federal budget proposals put forth this week by the Republican majorities on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday released The People’s Budget: A Raise for America, which aims to “level the playing field” for low- and middle-income Americans.

Surrounded by constituents the proposal is designed to help, leaders of the CPC unveiled the budget blueprint at a Washington, D.C. press conference at noon EST:

“The People’s Budget fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to get ahead,” the document reads. “Despite their skills and work ethic, most American workers workers and families are so financially strapped from increasing income inequality that their paychecks barely cover basic necessities. They earn less and less as corporations and the wealthy continue amassing record profits. It has become clear to American workers that the system is rigged.” Continue reading

Share

We Should De-Kline

Yesterday morning, I was doing my usual wake up routine; coffee and catching up on the news. One of the first stories that caught my eye was about the University of Phoenix having lost half its students over the last five years.

On Wednesday, Apollo Education Group (University of Phoenix’s parent company) announced that both revenues and enrollment were down 14% last quarter compared to a year ago. The market predictably responded; the stock was down 30% by the end of the trading day. But, what does this have to do with Occupy World Writes? And, what does de-Kline mean?

John Kline

John Kline

Continue reading

Share

Saudi Arabia Launches Airstrikes as Yemen Civil War Ignites Regional Firestorm

Situation remains complex, but human rights activist declares “Hell is on the door” and “The worst is coming” as bombs fall in capital of Sanaa

Written by Jon Queally, Staff Writer for CommonDreams, published March 25, 2015

Saudi air strike on Sanaa. Photo via Twitter

Saudi air strike on Sanaa. Photo via Twitter

Updated (8:11 PM EST): Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies launches airstrikes inside Yemen, says Saudi ambassador to the United States

Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States,  confirmed in a press briefing on Wednesday night that the Saudi military, along with regional allies, has begun airstrikes against targets in Yemen. Reports from the ground in the capital city of Sanaa confirm that a wide-scale bombing operation was currently underway with explosions rattling buildings across the city. Continue reading

Share

Yemen Being Driven to ‘Edge of Civil War’

‘Unless a solution can be found in the coming days the country will slide into further violent conflict and fragmentation,’ says UN special envoy

Written by Jon Queally, Staff Writer for CommonDreams, published March 23, 2015.

Photo via Twitter

Photo via Twitter

During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Sunday, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Jamal Benomar, warned that the country is fast approaching “the edge of civil war” and urged all parties to redouble diplomatic efforts before it is too late. Continue reading

Share

‘Recipe for Disaster’ as US Supreme Court Refuses Challenge to Voter ID Law

Written by Lauren McCauley, Staff Writer for CommonDreams, published on March 23, 2015.

US Supreme Court

US Supreme Court

In a move that will impact hundreds of thousands of voters and may carry national implications, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s restrictive voter identification law.

Immediately after the high court rejected, without comment, to hear the case of Frank v. Walker, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an emergency motion with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the court stop the law from taking immediate effect. In Wisconsin, voting is currently underway in the April 7 general election as absentee ballots have already been sent to voters and early voting began Monday morning. ACLU warned that if the law is immediately enacted, some 300,000 Wisconsin voters will be impacted.

Continue reading

Share

The Sky is Falling (Again)

We have hit the debt ceiling – again. This time, the manufactured crisis is being put on slow-track, while Congress refuses to address one of the principal responsibilities they have.

US Capitol. Photo by Scrumshus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

US Capitol. Photo by Scrumshus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As of March 16, we are at risk of defaulting or having our credit rating reduced if Congress does not act. The US Treasury will have to take “extraordinary measures” to keep the federal government’s head above fiscal water. Continue reading

Share

US needs to borrow from New University model

Rethinking higher education: what is the New University?

Written by Nicholas Vrousalis. Published March 18, 2015 in Roar Magazine.

Image via Roar Magazine.

Image via Roar Magazine.

The occupation of the Senate House by staff and students at the University of Amsterdam has rekindled the flame for a free and democratic university.

The heart of the student movement today beats in Amsterdam. The occupation of the Senate House by staff and students at the University of Amsterdam has rekindled the flame for a free and democratic university. Continue reading

Share