Monthly Archives: May 2018

Nationwide #KeepFamiliesTogether Rallies Will Demand End to Trump’s ‘Vile’ Abuse of Immigrant Children

“We have the power to change this cruel policy—if enough of us raise our voices.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer  for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2018

“The Trump administration is sending the clear message that immigrants aren’t welcome here—and they don’t mind sacrificing constitutional rights and basic human decency just to get that across,” ACLU wrote on Tuesday. (Photo: ACLU)

Fighting back against the Trump administration’s “vile” new policy of separating young migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, the ACLU is launching “Families Belong Together” rallies at immigration enforcement offices nationwide on Friday in an urgent effort to “end this practice for good.”

“The Trump administration is sending the clear message that immigrants aren’t welcome here—and they don’t mind sacrificing constitutional rights and basic human decency just to get that across,” the ACLU wrote, urging supporters to sign a petition opposing the administration’s policy. “They want to scare people away from coming to this country to seek a better life and aren’t afraid to admit it. We have the power to change this cruel policy—if enough of us raise our voices.” Continue reading

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Hundreds Arrested Nationwide as Poor People’s Campaign Demands ‘End to the War Economy’

“We have a long history of wars against other people, mostly people of color, around the world. It’s time we stopped calling it the Defense Department and started calling it what it is: the Department of War.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-29-2018

In its demands unveiled last month, the Poor People’s Campaign called for “a reallocation of resources from the military budget to education, healthcare, jobs, and green infrastructure needs, and strengthening a Veterans Administration system that must remain public.” (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom,” the Poor People’s Campaign launched its third week of action in cities nationwide on Tuesday with the aim of confronting the American war economy, which pours resources that could be used to provide healthcare and food to the poor at home into the killing of innocents aboad.

Hoisting signs that read “The War Economy Is Immoral” and “Ban Killer Drones,” demonstrators gathered at the capitol buildings of New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and several other states to denounce a militaristic system that profits “every time a bomb is dropped on innocent people.” Continue reading

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What Facebook’s New Political Ad System Misses

Facebook announced a new system to make political ads more transparent. It’s got holes.

By Jeremy B. MerrillAriana Tobin, and Madeleine Varner. Published 5-24-2018 by ProPublica.

Screenshot: Bloomberg

Facebook’s long-awaited change in how it handles political advertisements is only a first step toward addressing a problem intrinsic to a social network built on the viral sharing of user posts.

The company’s approach, a searchable database of political ads and their sponsors, depends on the company’s ability to sort through huge quantities of ads and identify which ones are political. Facebook is betting that a combination of voluntary disclosure and review by both people and automated systems will close a vulnerability that was famously exploited by Russian meddlers in the 2016 election.

The company is doubling down on tactics that so far have not prevented the proliferation of hate-filled posts or ads that use Facebook’s capability to target ads particular groups. Continue reading

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This Memorial Day, support our troops by stopping the wars

By Kevin Basl. Published 5-25-2018 by People’s World

Vietnam Vets Against the War take part in an antiwar rally – 1970. Photo: flickr

“How do you motivate men and women to fight and die for a cause many of them don’t believe in, and whose purpose they can’t articulate?”

That’s what Phil Klay, author and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, asks in an essay published this month in The Atlantic. Unfortunately, he points out in a recent New York Times op-ed, “Serious discussion of foreign policy and the military’s role within it is often prohibited” by what he calls “patriotic correctness.”

In a well-functioning democracy, Klay argues, citizens must debate and question how their elected officials employ their military, an organization which ought to represent the values of the people. But it seems many Americans remain unconcerned about the wars the United States is currently fighting (at last count, we’re bombing at least seven countries) though they foot the bill both in tax dollars and lives. Continue reading

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Workers ready to shut down entire Vegas strip

If 50,000 workers, who toil at 34 big hotels on the Las Vegas strip and downtown, must walk out, it would be the union’s largest strike in decades.

By Mark Gruenberg. Published 5-24-2018 by People’s World

About 25,000 members of the Culinary Union vote to authorize a citywide strike in Las Vegas to demand better employment conditions. | Unite Here Local 226 Twitter

Las Vegas casino owners’ threats to subcontract or automate thousands of workers’ jobs – among other issues — forced the workers, employed by Unite Here Locals 226 and 165, to vote almost unanimously to authorize a strike if bargainers fail to agree on a new pact by June 1.

If 50,000 workers, who toil at 34 big hotels on the Las Vegas strip and downtown, must walk out, it would be the union’s largest strike in decades. The May 23 vote at the Thomas and Mack Center, a basketball arena, drew 25,000 members, who authorized the strike by a 99 percent-1 percent margin. Continue reading

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Irish Women Turn Out in Droves to Repeal Constitutional Ban on Abortion

“This vote can change Ireland into a more caring, compassionate place.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2018

For nearly three decades, reproductive rights advocates have fought to overturn a ban on abortion in Ireland. (Photo: Abortion Rights Campaign)

Ireland expected the higher-than-usual voter turnout to continue into the evening on Friday as Irish citizens headed to ballot boxes in droves and women living abroad returned to their home country to weigh in on a measure that would repeal the Eight Amendement of the Irish Constitution, which bans abortion unless a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

Reproductive rights advocates have created the pro-choice Together for Yes campaign to repeal the amendment, which grants equal rights to women and fetuses, and was added to the constitution in 1983. Votes will be counted beginning Saturday morning, with an announcement expected during the afternoon. Continue reading

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131 House Dems Help GOP Pass Massive Pentagon Budget That Includes Billions for Expanded Nuclear Arsenal

“Instead of a blueprint for peace and security, this NDAA continues the practice of endless war with no input or oversight from our congressional leaders,” lamented Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-24-2018

More than 100 House Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. (Photo: David B. Gleason/flickr/cc)

While the world responds with alarm over President Donald Trump’s spontaneous decision to cancel diplomatic talks with North Korea scheduled for next month—which aimed to ease rising nuclear tensions—131 Democrats in the U.S. House joined with the overwhelming majority of Republicans to pass a $717 billion Pentagon spending bill that includes massive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 authorizes the development of new low-yield submarine-launched nuclear warheads that the Trump administration demanded in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was released in February and denounced by disarmament advocates as “radical” and “extreme.” Continue reading

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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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