Monthly Archives: August 2018

Amid ‘Epidemic’ of Campus Sexual Assault, Women’s Groups Decry Rollback of Protections by ‘See No Evil Betsy Devos’

“These new rules further protect abusers in a system that is already rigged in their favor.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2018

USC students protest the University’s handling of rape and sexual assault cases. (Kylie Nicholson/SCAR)

Women rights groups and victim advocates expressed outrage on Thursday following reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has plans to weaken federal protections for sexual assault survivors on U.S. campuses—reducing liability for school administrators and increasing protections for accused sexual predators.

The proposed rules, first reported by The New York Times, narrow the definition of sexual harassment to mean “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.” Continue reading

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Legal Analysis Exposes Kavanaugh’s Long History of Siding With Corporate Power Over the Common Good

“The most eye-catching conclusion,” says the author, is the Trump nominee’s inconsistent reasoning coupled with an “overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2018

Critics of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh protested at Foley Square in New York City on Aug. 26. (Photo: Ivan Pereira/Twitter)

Bolstering calls for the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an analysis out Wednesday reveals that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly sided with corporate power over public interest while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the past 12 years.

The new report (pdf), authored by Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement. Continue reading

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UN Probe Says Repeated Bombing of Yemen Civilians by US-Backed Saudi Coalition Likely Amounts to War Crimes

“Despite the severity of the situation we continue to see a complete disregard for the people in Yemen,” says co-author of UN’s investigative report

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2018

A young boy runs with his tire past buildings damaged by Saudiled airstrikes in Saada Old Town in Yemen. (Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA)

Evidence presented as part of a wide-ranging investigation sponsored by the United Nations and released Tuesday shows that the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates waging a war in Yemen—armed and with backing from the United States and the United Kingdom—have likely “perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, violations and crimes under international law.”

Conducted by the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen, a body of Yemen and regional experts created by the UN Human Rights Council, the report documents how indiscriminate bombing by the Saudi-led coalition has devastated the Yemeni population and details how civilian targets have repeatedly been struck. Continue reading

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Eyeing Landmark Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case, Vietnam Demands Monsanto Be Held Liable Over Agent Orange

“We believe Monsanto should be responsible for compensating Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange for the damages caused by the company’s herbicides”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2018

A man wears a shirt calling for justice for Agent Orange victims during the March Against Monsanto in San Francisco on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

In the wake of a U.S. court ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man who says its weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer, Vietnam has called on the agrichemical giant to pay reparations to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

“This case is a precedent that rejects previous arguments that the herbicides supplied to the U.S. military by Monsanto and other U.S. chemical companies during the Vietnam War are not harmful to people’s health,” spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Phuong Tra said to reporters last week. Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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Trump Administration Announces $200 Million Cut in Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

“The U.S. administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2018

The Trump administration announced Friday it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid. (Photo: Begemot/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid, redirecting the funds to what it called “high priority projects elsewhere.”

The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv—a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the international community—while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.  Continue reading

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Saudis Move to Behead Female Activist as Facebook Censors Anti-Saudi Content

Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.

By Randi Nord. Published 8-23-2018 by Geopolitics Alert

Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old woman activist for crimes such as chanting slogans at a protest. Beheading a woman is unprecedented in the kingdom. Meanwhile, Facebook has sprung into action to protect Riyadh’s back by initiating a crackdown on hundreds of accounts posting anti-Saudi content.

  • Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five activists with non-violent charges.
  • All of the activists belong to the kingdom’s historically oppressed Shia minority. One is a woman.
  • Facebook has coincidentally begun removing anti-Saudi accounts under the guise of fighting “Iranian interference.”
  • A private cybersecurity firm with ties to the US military tipped off Facebook to the accounts.

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South African Officials Among Many Denouncing Trump’s “Disgusting” White Supremacist Talking Point on Land Reforms

“Tucker Carlson is acting as a direct pathway communicating narratives between white nationalists and the president of the United States.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-2018

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to insert himself into the debate of land expropriation in South Africa, using debunked white nationalist talking points. (Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr/cc)

After apparently tuning in to Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump waded into the affairs of the South African government, pushing a talking point favored by white nationalists regarding the country’s land reforms—and angering South Africans as well as others who understand South Africa’s history of racial oppression.


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California Fire Dept Says Verizon Throttling During Deadly Wildfire ‘Has Everything to Do With Net Neutrality’

“It shows that the ISPs will act in their economic interests, even at the expense of public safety. That is exactly what the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality allows and encourages.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-22-2018

Satellite image of the Mendocino Complex Fire. Photo: NASA

As California lawmakers prepared on Wednesday for a key committee vote on their state’s net neutrality bill—which, in its current form, would restore the protections repealed by the FCC in December—the Santa Clara County Fire Department accused the telecom giant Verizon of dramatically cutting its data speed as it recently fought the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

After Verizon admitted that it slowed the fire department’s data—a despised practice known as throttling—but claimed it was a simple mistake that “has nothing to do with net neutrality,” Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams responded in a statement on behalf of the fire department on Wednesday that “Verizon’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality.” Continue reading

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With Sixteen “Guilty” Verdicts All in a Row, Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Hit Streets If Trump Issues Pardons or Moves Against Mueller

“Manafort could spend the rest of his life in jail, and Cohen could be headed there too. This raises the threat that Trump will try to pardon his way to obstruction of justice. If he does, we will take to the streets.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2018

“If Trump pardons Paul Manafort, 350,000 Americans in more than 900 cities are ready to take to the streets to assert that nobody is above the law.”

In response to the admission of guilt to eight charges by President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the eight guilty verdicts against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Tuesday afternoon, the national progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org issued a blistering thread on Twitter in which it said the developments prove the Special Counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, is “on the right track” and also vowed that its millions of members are standing ready to defend the probe against any interference by the president. Continue reading

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