Monthly Archives: May 2018

As Documents Reveal ‘Pervasive Abuse’ of Immigrant Children Under Obama, Fears It’s Even Worse Under Trump

Thousands of government records “provide a glimpse into a federal immigration enforcement system marked by brutality and lawlessness.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2018

A new report based on government records details “pervasive” abuse of immigrant childen by U.S. officials. (Photo: ACLU)

A new report out Wednesday that’s based on government documents details the “pervasive abuse and neglect of immigrant children” in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the Obama administration—and experts are warning such behavior could be much worse under the Trump administration, infamous for its “dehumanizaing” and “cruel” immigration policies.

Fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, tens of thousands of children come to the United States each year and are detained by CBP, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The report (pdf) from the ACLU and University of Chicago Law School says detained children have faced “physical and psychological abuse, unsanitary and inhumane living conditions, isolation from family members, extended periods of detention, and denial of access to legal and medical services.” Continue reading

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‘This Is Not Ok’: Guard Shoves Reporter as EPA Bars Multiple News Outlets From Water Pollution Event

“When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2018

Scott Pruitt press conference. Screenshot: C-SPAN

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked reporters from CNNE&E News, and the Associated Press from attending a summit about water pollution on Tuesday, and a security guard reportedly grabbed a journalist by the shoulders and “forcibly” shoved her out of the building.

“Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building,” the AP said Tuesday. Continue reading

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‘Terrible News for Workers’ as Supreme Court Makes It Harder for Them to Fight Back When ‘Screwed’ by Employer

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says decision allowing forced arbitration clauses is ‘egregiously wrong’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-21-2018

With forced arbitration agreements, “a worker who is not paid fairly, discriminated against, or sexually harassed, is forced into a process that overwhelmingly favors the employer—and forced to manage this process alone, even though these issues are rarely confined to one single worker,” write EPI’s Celine McNicholas. (Photo: Ron Cogswell/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to worker rights, saying that employers can bar their employees from banding together to challenge workplace abuses including wage theft and sexual harassment.

MSNBC host and legal analyst Ari Melber summed up the 5-4 decision (pdf) by tweeting: “Supreme Court rules that you have the right to your day in court, unless a corporation effectively makes you give up that right.” Continue reading

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EU and Iran Will Attempt to Salvage Nuclear Deal Following Trump’s Breach of Agreement

“America’s actions…show that it is not a trustworthy country in international dealings.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2018

Miguel Arias Canete, the EU’s top energy official, announced Saturday that the EU will attempt to salvage the Iran nuclear deal without the U.S.(Photo: Union Europea en Peru/Flickr/cc)

The European Union and Iran signaled on Saturday that they would not permit President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal to deteriorate their own involvement in the agreement.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement the Europeans will…fulfill their commitment. And they said the same thing on the other side,” Miguel Arias Canete, the EU’s top energy official, told reporters in Tehran. Continue reading

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Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.

An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last February — and no new members have been appointed.

By Rebecca MossThe Santa Fe New Mexican. Published 3-9-2018 by ProPublica

The most contaminated nuclear site in the country: the old Hanford site in Washington. . (Photo: Tobin/flickr/cc)

Nearly three years ago, President Barack Obama responded to long-standing concerns that workers exposed to toxic chemicals at the country’s nuclear weapons labs were not receiving proper compensation.

Obama created an advisory board to be composed of scientists, doctors and worker advocates. Their recommendations have led to significant changes, including the repeal of a rule that made it more difficult for workers who’d been injured in the last two decades to get compensation. Continue reading

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Citing ‘Common Good,’ Nearly 1,500 Scientists Demand Congress Shield Endangered Species Act From GOP Attacks

Their call comes on Endangered Species Day and as the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers continuously work to roll back environmental regulations

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2018

“Despite significant recovery successes,” according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the black-footed ferret “remains one of the most endangered mammals in North America.” (Photo: Kimberly Fraser/USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr/cc)

In honor of Endangered Species Day on Friday, 1,452 American scientists sent a letter to Congress demanding that they “protect the scientific foundation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and reject any attempts to weaken or compromise the role of science in protecting species.”

The letter (pdf) comes amid the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers‘ war on science, and particularly in response to their attempts—including through the “disastrous” GOP Farm Bill that was defeated on Friday—to undercut or strip away key elements of the ESA, landmark legislation enacted in 1973 that aims “to conserve to the extent practicable the various species of fish or wildlife and plants facing extinction.” Continue reading

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Rebuking Industry-Friendly Trump Plan, Doctors Offer Blueprint to Confront ‘Greed of Big Pharma’

“The outrageous cost of prescription drugs in this country is a crisis that the American people feel every day. There are real solutions we can implement that we know will lower drug prices and save lives.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2018

After President Donald Trump conclusively demonstrated last week that he is unwilling to take on the pharmaceutical industry and has no “legitimate plan” to lower drug prices, a group of 21 American and Canadian doctors on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan that—unlike Trump’s “pharma-friendly” approach—would confront the drug industry and ensure the healthcare systems of both nations place the public good over private profit.

“Through a series of commonsense reforms, we can increase the affordability, safety, and effectiveness of medicine for our patients,” Dr. Adam Gaffney, co-chair of the Pharmaceutical Reform Working Group and one of the authors of the new plan, said in a statement. “Our pharmaceutical system prioritizes industry profits over public health, but it doesn’t have to be this way.” Continue reading

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Defenders of Open Internet Deliver ‘Historic Win’ as Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality

“The fight ahead is not going to be easy, but victory is within reach.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2018

“Today the Senate has taken a giant step toward unwinding the least-popular policy decision in the history of the FCC,” Free Press President Craig Aaron said in a statement. (Photo: Free Press/Twitter)

The open internet scored a huge victory on Wednesday, but you wouldn’t know it by watching America’s major corporate television networks.

Thanks to weeks of sustained grassroots pressure in the form of 16 million emails, over a million phone calls, and nationwide demonstrations both online and off, three Republicans voted with the Senate Democratic caucus on Wednesday to block the GOP-controlled FCC’s net neutrality repeal, clearing a crucial hurdle on the path to saving the web from the greed of the telecom industry. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Big Deal’: Fearing ‘Public Relations Nightmare,’ Pruitt’s EPA Blocked Release of a Major Water Contamination Study

Journalists, members of Congress, environmental and public health advocates, and water experts are all calling on the Trump administration to “immediately” release the report

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-15-2018

Screenshot: YouTube

Fearing a “public relations nightmare,” President Donald Trump’s White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the reign of administrator Scott Pruitt, blocked the release of a major water contamination story, according to emails obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists and reported on by Politico.

News of the Trump administration’s interference with a federal study on “a nationwide water-contamination crisis” infuriated reporters, politicians, experts, and advocates for public health and the environment. Friends of the Earth tweeted, “Scott Pruitt is more worried about journalists than poisoning millions of Americans.” Continue reading

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Investors Controlling $2.5 Trillion Stand With Indigenous People Against Trump Plan to Drill ‘Sacred’ Arctic Refuge

“Any oil company or bank that supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…would be associated with trampling on human rights, destroying one of the world’s last remaining intact wild places, and contributing to the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-14-2018

Investors and indigenous people alike appealed to oil and gas companies on Monday, demanding that they end efforts to drill for fossil fuels in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: Alaska Region USFWS/Flickr/cc)

An indigenous group was joined by investors controlling trillions of dollars in assets on Monday as they called for fossil fuel companies and the banks that fund them to end efforts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—making clear that harming the protected land is bad for business as well as destructive to indigenous groups’ land and the environment.

“We strongly urge banks and oil and gas companies to honor their fiduciary duty to investors and refuse to engage in drilling in the Arctic Refuge,” the investors wrote. “We, as investors, encourage expanding support for the wide range of clean energy solutions and sustainable industries in Alaska, instead of helping to destroy this natural wonder.” Continue reading

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