Monthly Archives: May 2017

Trump Official Praises Autocratic Rule: ‘Not a Single Hint of a Protester’ in Saudi Arabia

No ‘bad placards’ in nation where such political dissent is punishable by death

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2017

Wilbur Ross. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Putting a fine point on the spin that President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East has been a glowing, peace-dealing success, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praised the fact that there were no protesters in Saudi Arabia—a nation where political dissonance is punishable by death.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Ross, who accompanied Trump on the weekend trip to Riyadh, said he found it “fascinating” that he did not see “a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.” Continue reading

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Trump Admin. Now Deploying Controversial Surveillance Tool in Immigration Crackdown

Detroit News reports on “troubling” use of Stingrays in hunt for undocumented immigrant

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-20-2017

Federal investigators’ use of Stingrays to hunt for an undocumented immigration marks “the latest sign of mission creep in domestic deployment of battlefield-strength surveillance technology,” said EFF’s Adam Schwartz. (Photo: Håkan Dahlström/flickr/cc)

As the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans continue to push for a harsher immigration crackdown, new reporting reveals that FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents employed a controversial surveillance technology known as Stingrays to hunt down undocumented immigrants.

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Adam Schwartz, the The Detroit News report, based on a federal search warrant affidavit, marks “the latest sign of mission creep in domestic deployment of battlefield-strength surveillance technology.” Continue reading

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Brazil’s tide against corruption swells

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Calls for Brazilian President Michel Temer’s ouster are growing louder due to allegations of government corruption. Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University

Brazil’s political turmoil is going into overdrive, exacerbated in recent days by the discovery of a tape recording allegedly of President Michel Temer approving some US$600,000 in hush money to pay off a disgraced political ally. Temer denies wrongdoing and is rebuffing calls to resign even though the new reports are consistent with others that implicate the Brazilian leader and his associates. Along with leaked audio of damning conversations, a prominent news outlet has published photos said to show the wads of cash used for the payoffs. The Conversation

Despite the severity of this crisis, as a scholar of the political economy of corruption, I see some grounds for optimism. As Paul Lagunes and I have previously written for The Conversation, the ongoing investigations and convictions demonstrate that, overall, Brazil’s independent prosecutors and judges remain deeply committed to investigate and punish high-level corruption. They have strong public support, and their efforts to end the impunity of the business and political elite are beginning to succeed. Continue reading

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As Trump Pushes Massive Saudi Weapons Deal, Yemenis Suffer from Cholera, War, and Famine

One possible outcome of Trump’s visit could be a green light to attack the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, where the bulk of the humanitarian aid enters Yemen

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2017

Cholera patients line the halls of Yemen’s few medical facilities, less than 45 percent of which are fully functional after two years of war. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/IRIN News)

President Donald Trump will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Friday bearing a major arms deal for the Gulf kingdom, which observers warn will swiftly then be used against the people of Yemen, who are currently facing a deadly cholera outbreak, devastating famine, and two years of war that shows no sign of abating.

In exchange for the $110 billion package, said to be the largest arms deal in history, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has offered “to invest at least $200 billion in American infrastructure and open up new business opportunities for U.S. companies inside the kingdom,” according to Alternet‘s Max Blumenthal, a move that is expected to win the U.S. president points in the rust belt states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Continue reading

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Trump Administration to Raid Public Ed to Fund School Choice Programs

With key K-12 and higher ed programs on the chopping block, education advocate Diane Ravitch declares: “Don’t agonize. Organize.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration is preparing to unveil a sweeping school choice plan that would be prioritized at the expense of student aid and debt relief as well as public education programs that help low-income children, according to news reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a wealthy philanthropist who lobbied for voucher programs and charter schools before being tapped to lead the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems, will reportedly announce the school choice proposal Monday at an Indianapolis summit hosted by the conservative group she formerly chaired, the American Federation for Children.  Continue reading

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‘Today Is a Great Day’: After 7 Years, Chelsea Manning Takes First Steps of Freedom

Army whistleblower’s release celebrated as “a victory for human rights and the future of freedom of expression”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2017

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, released from a federal military prison on Wednesday, tweeted this image with the message: “First steps of freedom!!” (Photo: Twitpic/@xychelsea)

“Today is a great day!”

That’s the message from supporters of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who on Wednesday, after seven years in military prison, is a free woman.

“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived,” Manning said in a statement upon her release: “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now—which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me,” she said.  Continue reading

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EPA Asked for Public Input On Massive Regulation Rollback—and the Resistance Delivered

With a number of important regulations already dismantled and many more on the chopping block, the public was asked to give input—and respond they did

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2017

Activists protest the nomination of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/cc/flickr)

It turns out, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt’s plan to gut environmental protections is wildly unpopular as a call for public comment amassed nearly 60,000 responses that ranged from simply “No” to passionate reminders that the “EPA is for the people.”

The public comment period, which closed on Monday, gave voters a chance to weigh-in on President Donald Trump’s effort to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens,” as stated in a February executive order that directed federal agencies to “evaluate existing regulations…and make recommendations…regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification.” Continue reading

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Trump invites foreign terrorist to White House

Trump has investments and business dealings in Turkey, where his son enjoys hunting with rich businessmen. How Trump deals with Turkey in relation to ISIS could be in direct conflict with these business interests. Which one will Trump prioritize?

By Carol Benedict for Occupy World Writes

On Monday night, news broke that the Trump Administration revealed information to the Russian officials during their visit to the White House last week. This could not come at a worse time – right on the heels of the Comey firing and on the eve before another foreign power visits the White House.

On Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits US President Donald Trump at the White House. While many Americans who rely only on US news don’t see this as alarming, the international community, unafraid of hard hitting headlines, realizes that Turkey and Erdogan have been cooperating with ISIS in Syria since at least 2014 and the attack on the Kurdish city of Kobane.

The US has taken the stand that we do not negotiate with terrorists. Yet, Erdogan is invited to Washington to attempt to persuade our President to turn on the only reliable fighting force on earth capable of defeating ISIS on the ground. Last week it was announced that the US will arm the Syrian YPG/YPJ forces in the battle to take Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold and capitol in Syria.

Trump will place the security of the US at risk if he backs down from his commitment to arm the Kurds. He will reveal that he himself in indirectly working with ISIS by cooperating with Turkey’s government to assist in the defeat of the Syrian Kurds, which is Erdogan’s objective in Syria.

If you or someone you know are in or near the Washington DC tomorrow, you can add your voice to a protest taking place at Lafayette Square. Details below.

Protest Against The Erdogan Dictatorship.

Join supporters of human rights, religious liberty, and regional peace at a rally outside the White House (in Lafayette Park) during President Trump’s May 16th meeting with Turkish President Erdogan.

The protest will take place from noon to 2 pm.

Protesters will call on President Trump to challenge Erdogan on a broad range of issues, including:

— Erdogan’s post-coup consolidation of authoritarian power;
— Erdogan’s mass arrests of the HDP leadership;
— Erdogan’s vast purge of his political opposition;
— Erdogan’s arrest of record numbers of journalists;
— Erdogan’s restrictions on religious freedom and worship
— Erdogan’s Wikipedia ban and social media crackdown;
— Erdogan’s aggression against Kurds in Syria and Iraq;
— Erdogan’s anti-American rhetoric and actions;
— Erdogan’s continued military occupation of Cyprus;
— Erdogan’s obstruction of justice for genocide of Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Greeks
— Erdogan’s illegal economic blockade of Armenia

There’s also a Facebook event page.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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As Trumpcare Targets Women’s Health, GOP Mother’s Day Hypocrisy Slammed

“I wonder how many GOPs who voted #trumpcare will wish their moms Happy Mothers Day while their vote said, hey your healthcare means nothing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-14-2017

A woman holds a sign as people gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday to protest the Republican’s Trumpcare plan. (Photo: WISN/12)

President Donald Trump wished “all of the great mothers out there” a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, but voters from across the nation responded harshly to what they considered a hollow message from the Republican president who has proved repeatedly, both in word and in deed, that he is no friend to women’s health and well-being.

With an emphasis on the Trumpcare plan now being crafted by the president and his GOP allies in the House and Senate that would, if passed into law, decimate healthcare options and access for women, the president and other GOP leaders were on the receiving end of scorn for what many take to be their callous indifference, ignorance, hypocrisy, or some combination of the three. Continue reading

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Massive Corporate Consolidation of Local News Underway

By Anti-Media Staff. Published 5-12-2017 by The Anti-Media

Image: LittleRoughRhinestone [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In a deal that will allow one broadcasting company to reach 72 percent of U.S. households through ownership of local news stations, it was reported this week that Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying Tribune Media for nearly $4 billion.

Such a move wouldn’t have been possible a few weeks back, but Donald Trump’s new Federal Trade Commission (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, just began implementing sweeping changes to previously established media ownership rules. Bloomberg explains: Continue reading

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