Monthly Archives: October 2018

Humanity ‘Sleepwalking Towards the Edge of a Cliff’: 60% of Earth’s Wildlife Wiped Out Since 1970

“Nature is not a ‘nice to have’—it is our life-support system.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-30-2018

Human activity has wiped out 60 percent of animal populations around the world since 1970 according to a new study by the World Wildlife Fund. (Photo: s.imeon/Flickr/cc)

Scientists from around the world issued a stark warning to humanity Tuesday in a semi-annual report on the Earth’s declining biodiversity, which shows that about 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been wiped out by human activity since 1970.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index details how human’s uncontrolled overconsumption of land, food, and natural resources has eliminated a majority of the wildlife on the planet—threatening human civilization as well as the world’s animals. Continue reading

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Trump NLRB moves to restrict unions right to picket

 

Hotel workers picket outside the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 2018.
Photo: Unite Here Local 7/Facebook

By Bill Aiman. Published 10-22-2018 by Fight Back! News

A recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said that janitors who were picketing for better working conditions were not protected from unfair labor practices committed by their employer. The Board ruled that the janitors, who were being contracted by a building management company, were engaged in secondary picketing. With a Trump-appointed NLRB, workers fighting for rights on the job will be facing new challenges.

The janitors were working for Rafael Ortiz, under a company called Ortiz Janitorial Services (OJS), which was hired by Preferred Building Services to fulfil a contract with Harvest Properties in San Francisco. The workers had reached out to SEIU Local 87 and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition (SFLWC) to help them organize for higher wages and an end to sexual harassment on the job. Continue reading

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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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Minnesota Police Train at Military Base as Line 3 Pipeline Protests Escalate

Pipeline protests in Standing Rock pitted police against Native Americans and their supporters.

By Andrew Neef. Published 10-25-2018 by Unicorn Riot

Unicorn Riot has uncovered documents showing coordination between state-wide authorities to prepare for anti-pipeline protests. Emails obtained from Minnesota State Patrol under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act show close cooperation between state and local law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safet, pipeline company security staff and a private police foundation.

One such email, dated June 18, 2018, shows discussion about a “table top” exercise located at Camp Ripley, a military base operated by the Minnesota National Guard which also hosts trainings for the Minnesota State Patrol. The email states the exercise “relates to MFF [Mobile Field Force] and the Line 3.”  Line 3 is a controversial pipeline project proposed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge, and has been the focus of years of protests by indigenous tribes and environmental activists. Continue reading

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For Violating Oath to Defend Constitution, 200+ Veteran Journalists Condemn Trump for “Utterly Unlawful” Attacks on Free Press

“Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-26-2018

Screenshot: Fox News

More than 200 veteran journalists have signed a letter demanding that President Donald Trump end his repeated attacks on the news media in light of the attempted bombing at CNN‘s New York offices, calling his open support for violence against reporters and media outlets “unconstitutional, un-American, and utterly unlawful.”

“Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press—which includes labeling any reportage he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’ and barring reporters and news organizations whom he wishes to punish from press briefings and events,” wrote the journalists, many of whom are retired after working for media outlets including ABC NewsCNN, and CBC. Continue reading

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‘Disaster Waiting to Happen’ as Trump Quietly Approves Massive Oil Drilling Project in Arctic Waters Off Alaska Coast

“This project sets us down a dangerous path of destroying the Arctic. We’ll keep fighting this project and any new ones that follow.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-25-2018

“As the Arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet, it is irresponsible to permit new oil development that will only exacerbate the problem of climate change,” said Dan Ritzman, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands, Water, Wildlife Campaign. Photo: BSEE/flickr

Ignoring once more the existential necessity of keeping fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to a global energy system powered by renewable sources, the Trump administration on Wednesday delivered another major victory for Big Oil by quietly approving a Texas company’s plan to drill in federal Arctic waters six miles off the coast of Alaska.

Kristen Monsell, ocean legal director with the Center for Biological Diversity, denounced the plan developed by Hilcorp Energy as a “disaster waiting to happen” and vowed to do everything possible to ensure that the project doesn’t move forward. Continue reading

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‘Appalling’: Asbestos Imports Soar 2,000% as Trump Loosens Restrictions on Cancer-Causing Material

“Americans cannot identify or manage the risks of asbestos. The time is now for the EPA to say no to the asbestos industry and finally ban asbestos without exemptions.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-24-2018

Photo: Amazon

As President Donald Trump’s industry-friendly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes steps to loosen restrictions on the commercial use of asbestos—which is known to cause cancer and lung disease—an analysis of federal data published Tuesday found that asbestos imports to the U.S. surged by nearly 2,000 percent between July and August of this year.

Conducted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group (EWG), the analysis found that “the U.S. imported more than 341 metric tons of asbestos” last year, with imports expected to double in 2018 thanks to the Trump administration’s aggressive and deeply harmful deregulatory agenda. Continue reading

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World hunger has risen for three straight years, and climate change is a cause

File 20181019 105748 ykw4l7.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

A man walks through a greenhouse in northeastern Uganda where sustainable agriculture techniques such as drought-resistant crops and tree planting are taught, Oct. 19, 2017. AP Photo/Adelle Kalakouti

Jessica Eise, Purdue University and Kenneth Foster, Purdue University

World hunger has risen for a third consecutive year, according to the United Nations’ annual food security report. The total number of people who face chronic food deprivation has increased by 15 million since 2016. Some 821 million people now face food insecurity, raising numbers to the same level as almost a decade ago.

The situation is worsening in South America, Central Asia and most regions of Africa, the report shows. It also spotlights a troubling rise in anemia among women of reproductive age. One in 3 women worldwide are affected, with health and developmental consequences for them and their children. Continue reading

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In ‘Historic Moment’ for Climate Action, Wales Pledges to Leave Its Remaining Coal in the Ground

“More countries must rapidly follow the path of Wales in leaving fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to renewables.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-22-2018

Breaking with its past as one of the world’s top coal users, Wales announced it would end its use of all fossil fuels following the IPCC’s report on the climate crisis. (Photo: Walt Jabsco/Flickr/cc)

Climate action groups on Monday applauded the government of Wales for demonstrating that it is taking seriously the existential and planetary threat posed by fossil fuels by announcing that the country would end its extraction of coal.

Wales’ new proposed plan to reject all future coal mining applications is set to be finalized by the end of the year, a government spokesperson told the BBC last week, as part of the country’s new energy strategy which will aim to ensure that 70 percent of Wales’ energy is derived from renewable sources by 2030. Continue reading

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‘Insulting, Inhumane, and Unacceptable’: LGBTQ Rights Advocates Blast Trump’s Latest ‘Reckless Attack’ on Trans Americans

“The cruelty and bigotry of this administration truly has no limit.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-21-2018

LGBTQ Americans and allies rally outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s effort to ban trans people from military service. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

Sparking immediate outrage among LGBTQ Americans and allies on Sunday, the New York Times reported on a memo revealing that “the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.”

In a move that “would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves—surgically or otherwise—as a gender other than the one they were born into,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is currently considering a legal definition that “would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” according to the Times. Continue reading

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