Monthly Archives: June 2016

Travel Alert: US Border Agents Want to Know What You’ve Been Doing on Social Media

Department of Homeland Security says collecting social media data will “provide greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-29-2016

los-angeles-social-media

 

File this under Another Unsettling Development: People who want to travel to the United States may soon have their Facebook profiles and other social media accounts “vetted” by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before entering.

A proposed change to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and to Form I-94W posted to the government’s Federal Register last week suggests adding the following question: “Please enter information associated with your online presence—Provider/Platform—Social media identifier.” Continue reading

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FEMA Contractor: Unrest After 395% Food Price Spike Coming Soon

By Claire Bernish. Published 6-27-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Bill Koplitz (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: Bill Koplitz (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons.

Preparations by various cogs of the national security complex, including FEMA, indicate a coming worldwide food shortage — and a resulting crisis marked by extreme civil unrest around the globe.

As Motherboard noted of two reports published previously by CNA Corporation, but which largely escaped attention, the world’s food supply could be insufficient to maintain even current populations much further into the future. And the crisis — which several factors indicate may already be underway — may begin to worsen considerably as early as 2020. Continue reading

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Turkey-Israel Pact Betrays Gazans, Grants Immunity for 2010 Flotilla Attack

Normalized relations allow Israel to maintain siege on Gaza and raise the prospect of a mutually-beneficial natural gas deal

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-27-2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he was "not willing to compromise" over Israel's protracted siege on Gaza. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he was “not willing to compromise” over Israel’s protracted siege on Gaza. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Abandoning Palestinians and its pledge to fight Israel’s protracted blockade of Gaza, the Turkish government on Monday announced an agreement to normalize relations with the Middle East powerhouse—reportedly just in time for a new, lucrative natural gas deal.

The two countries have been engaged in a bitter dispute since 2010 when the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) attacked the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, which was carrying humanitarian supplies to the people of the Gaza Strip, killing nine people at the time and and fatally injuring a tenth. Continue reading

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Landmark Survey Finds Special Interests are Pouring Money into Local Elections

Secret spending on the local level rose from 24 percent in 2006 to 71 percent in 2014

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-26-2016

Photo: Brennan Center

Photo: Brennan Center for Justice

While the outsized influence that Big Money is having on federal elections is well-documented, the local impact of the Supreme Court’s 2011 Citizens United ruling has not been fully realized—until now.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law on Sunday published a landmark report (pdf) documenting how secret donations have corroded democracy at the state level, where it is “arguably most damaging.” Continue reading

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Transforming the poverty industry

When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all.

By Daniel L. Hatcher. Published 6-21-2016 by openDemocracy

openDemocracy oD-UK oDR oD 50.50 Transformation Activism Economics Intersectionality Nonviolence Culture Love and Spirit Environment Care OurBeeb More Transforming the poverty industry DANIEL L. HATCHER 21 June 2016 When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all. Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

In an effort to shore-up its budget, New Jersey is taking federal government assistance away from school children from poor families. The state has hired a private contractor called the Public Consulting Group to access more school-based federal Medicaid funds. This money is intended to help schools serve special education needs more effectively, but New Jersey has diverted over 80 percent of the funds to its general coffers for other uses—effectively taking tens of millions of dollars from school children every year. Meanwhile, in the face of insufficient funding, schools in the state have resorted to selling ads on school buses. Continue reading

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After Brexit, European Left Calls for ‘Massive Political Opposition’

‘What Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-24-2016

Photo: Amnesty international via Twitter

Photo: Amnesty international via Twitter

In the tumultuous aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the European left is responding with a mix of reason, measured reassurances, and righteous defiance.

Left Unity, a populist UK political party, released a statement early Friday morning that criticized the right-wing organizers of the Leave campaign and vowed to “step up the fight against neo-liberalism here—opposing all cuts, defending the NHS [National Health Service], fighting for decent housing—and across Europe.”

“In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here,” Left Unity’s executive committee said. “We deeply regret that the working people of Britain have been deceived and manipulated into believing that Brexit will bring about relief from the grinding austerity that is destroying lives and communities.” Continue reading

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The West Remains Silent as NATO Member Supports Islamist Militants in Syria

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 6-23-2016 by The Anti-Media.

The Turkish role in the Syrian conflict is purely political. Islamist militants are strategically vital in order for Turkey to carry out its political agenda in the region, and this is why Turkey continues to support them today.

Image via twitter.

Image via twitter.

Following the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida — and other recent attacks seen around the world, including Europe — one might naively assume eliminating support for Islamist militants in the Middle East would be at the top of the list of issues that need to be addressed. According to a recent report by RT’s Lizzie Phelan, however, this is not the case.

Turkey openly supports Islamist militants in Syria — and this has been going on for years. These militants have ties to al-Sham, who have ties to al-Qaeda, who have ties to ISIS. Al-Sham has been documented carrying out atrocities against civilians in Syria as recently as May 2016, but the NATO establishment still refuses to classify them as a terrorist group — despite the fact they have been openly fighting alongside al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. As Turkish journalist Fehim Tastekin, who writes for Al-Monitor, told RT, “Al-Nusra uses other groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, as proxies to distribute weapons ‘coming from Turkey.’” Continue reading

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Say What? Judge Says Feds Lack Authority to Regulate Fracking on Public Lands

Wyoming judge strikes down Obama administration’s fracking rule

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2016

A sign at a Keep It in the Ground protest earlier this year. (Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/cc)

A sign at a Keep It in the Ground protest earlier this year. (Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/cc)

In a blow to environmentalists calling on the Obama administration to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a judge on Tuesday struck down as unlawful the new rule meant to regulate fracking on federal lands.

The decision from Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming “is a major loss for the administration, which worked for years to update its oil and natural gas drilling regulations to account for dramatic increases and innovations in fracking,” The Hill reports. Continue reading

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Berta Cáceres Was at Top of Honduras Military’s Kill List: Whistleblower

U.S.-trained special forces in Honduras are ordered to systematically “eliminate” environment and land defenders, whistleblower says

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. published 6-21-2016

Justice for Berta Cáceres demonstation, Washington DC. Photo: Slowking4 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Justice for Berta Cáceres demonstation, Washington DC. Photo: Slowking4 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

It appears the United States government is not the only one in the world with a ‘kill list.’

According to new reporting by the Guardian published Tuesday, U.S.-trained special forces units within the Honduras military are operating an assassination program—complete with a hitlist comprised of names and photos—that targets social justice and environmental activists with “elimination.” Continue reading

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‘Corroding Civil Liberties,’ Supreme Court Codifies Unlawful Police Stops

“This case tells everyone…that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the dissent

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2016

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence collected during an illegal stop can be used in court if the search was conducted after the discovery of an arrest warrant. (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc)

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence collected during an illegal stop can be used in court if the search was conducted after the discovery of an arrest warrant. (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that evidence recovered during illegal stops may still be used in court, if police officers conducted their searches after learning that a defendant had an outstanding arrest warrant.

In a 5-3 ruling (pdf), the Supreme Court said such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented, slammed the decision, writing in a sharp rebuke that the case “tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent…that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.” Continue reading

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