Monthly Archives: November 2018

‘The Whole Internet Is Watching’: As Deadline Nears, Day of Action Takes Aim at House Members Still Standing Against Net Neutrality

“Will you vote to restore net neutrality and help save the free and open internet? Or will you go down in history as one of the politicians who helped hasten its death?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2018

“We have an opportunity to show the entire world which elected officials are willing to fight for net neutrality, and which ones decide to sit on their hands and let big telecom companies take control,” Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer declared in a statement. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

With the Dec. 10 deadline for the House of Representatives to reverse the FCC’s deeply unpopular repeal of net neutrality rapidly approaching, a coalition of websites, prominent celebrity activists, and advocacy groups representing millions of Americans are participating in an internet-wide day of action on Thursday to pressure members of Congress to back the legislative effort to restore net neutrality protections before it’s too late.

During the day of action and in the week leading up to the final deadline, advocacy groups are urging supporters of the free internet to flood the phone lines of their representatives and sign on to their open letter to Congress demanding that they act to save net neutrality. Continue reading

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In Historic Vote, Senate Advances War Powers Resolution to End US Complicity in Saudi Assault on Yemen

“Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end, and help bring peace and humanitarian aid to this tortured country,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-28-2018

“Today’s victory is a testament to the power of grassroots activism across the country to bring about change,” said Diane Randall, FCNL’s Executive Secretary. “This vote sets a historic precedent for future action Congress can take to reclaim its constitutional authority over war and end American involvement in wars around the world.” (Photo: Twitter/ @PeaceAction)

In a historic vote that could “mark the beginning of the end of American complicity” in Saudi Arabia’s mass atrocities in Yemen, the Senate on Wednesday voted to advance Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Yemen War Powers resolution by an overwhelming margin of 63-37.

“I’ve been at this for three years, and I am blown away by this,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who sponsored the resolution alongside Sanders and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.). “The Senate just voted, for the first time, to move forward with a debate on ending American involvement in the Yemen war.” Continue reading

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‘Yemen Can’t Wait’: Ahead of War Powers Vote, Urgent Push for Senate to End US Complicity in Saudi Atrocities

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2018

“It’s long past time to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen,” Peace Action wrote on Twitter. (Photo: CodePink/Twitter)

With a vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) resolution to end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen expected as early as Wednesday, grassroots anti-war organizations are ramping up pressure on Democratic senators who sided with the Republican majority in voting down the same measure earlier this year and demanding that Senate Minority Leader MChuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) act on his words by co-sponsoring the resolution.

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough,” Sanders, who introduced the bill alongside Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), declared on Tuesday. “The Senate must vote to end U.S. support for this war.” Continue reading

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‘Mark of Shame on All Our Societies’: UN Finds More Women Killed by Domestic Violence Than Any Other Crime

50,000 women around the world were killed by family members or intimate partners in 2017

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-26-2018

A U.N. study found that violence perpetrated by family members or intimate partners is the leading cause of death for women worldwide. (Photo: CMY Kane/Flickr/cc)

In a quarter of the world’s countries, no laws exist protecting women and girls from what a new United Nations study says is the crime most likely to kill them: violence perpetrated by their intimate partners and family members.

Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime on Sunday released a global study on homicide, focusing on gender-related killings, and revealed that out of 87,000 women who were murdered around the world in 2017, 58 percent of them were killed by family members or partners. Continue reading

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Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

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An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018. NASA

Richard E. Peltier, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The impacts of recent forest fires in California reach well beyond the burned areas. Smoke from the Camp Fire created hazardous air quality conditions in San Francisco, more than 170 miles to the southwest – but it didn’t stop there. Cross-country winds carried it across the United States, creating hazy conditions in locations as far east as Philadelphia.

As an air pollution exposure scientist, I worry about the extreme levels of air pollution that rise from these fires and affect many people across great distances. They can create unhealthy conditions in far-flung locations where residents probably never think about wildfires. But since major wildfires are becoming increasingly common, I believe it is important for all Americans to know some basics about smoke hazards. Continue reading

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Hospital Letter Urging Patient to Start ‘Fundraising Effort’ to Pay for Heart Treatment Seen as Yet Another Reason America Needs Medicare for All

“‘You can’t have a heart unless you do GoFundMe for 10K’ is not a just system.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2018

Photo: USAF

As progressive lawmakers and healthcare experts have frequently pointed out in recent months, few growing trends have laid bare the fundamental immorality and brokenness of America’s healthcare system quite like the rise of GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms as methods of raising money for life-saving medical treatments that—due to insurance industry greed and dysfunction—are far too expensive for anyone but the very wealthiest to afford.

Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication. Continue reading

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Here’s the Dire Climate Report the Trump White House Didn’t Want You to See

“The decision to release this damning report when families are beginning to celebrate the holidays and newsrooms are short-staffed is a brazen attempt to bury the truth.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-23-2018

The Carr Fire burned in Shasta and Trinity counties during the summer of 2018. Photo: BLM/flickr

In a move environmentalists and journalists denounced as a blatant effort to bury facts that conflict with the president’s denialism and pro-fossil fuel agenda, the Trump administration used the Friday after Thanksgiving to quietly release Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), which warned “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization” and concluded that “greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account” for planet-threatening warming.

“The decision to release this damning report when families are beginning to celebrate the holidays and newsrooms are short-staffed is a brazen attempt to bury the truth from the public that we must act now to move off fossil fuels and stabilize the climate,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘Destructive and Irreversible Impacts’ as Greenhouse Gases Hit Highest Levels in 3-5 Million Years

“The science is clear,” says the head of the World Meteorological Organization. “The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-22-2018

Atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming gases have hit record highs, according to a leading U.N. climate agency. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

As communities most impacted by the climate crisis ramp up demands for urgent global action, atmospheric concentrations of the top three greenhouse gases driving global warming have hit record high levels, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) out Thursday.”

Last year, as the latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf) details, average concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide all rose—with CO2 hitting 405.5 parts per million (ppm), its highest level in a few million years.

The report also noted that there was a “resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance”—called trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11—likely tied to “increased emissions associated with production of CFC-11 in eastern Asia.” Continue reading

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‘Entirely Preventable’ Deaths of 85,000 Yemeni Children Is Part of What Trump Has Embraced With ‘America First’ Allegiance to Saudis

“For children under the age of five this situation is proving a death sentence.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-21-2018

The London-based NGO Save the Children estimates some 85,000 children under the age of five have died in Yemen due to starvation over the past three years. (Photo: Fuad/UNICEF)

As President Donald Trump faces criticism for issuing a “dangerous” and “imbecilic” statement in which he vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a London-based organization is estimating that some 85,000 children under age five have starved to death in Yemen since the U.S.-backed, Saudi- and UAE-led coalition launched military action there three years ago.

Drawn from United Nations data, Save the Children’s new figure is, as the Guardian put it, “a conservative estimate.”

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” declared Tamer Kirolos, the group’s country director in Yemen. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop. Their immune systems are so weak they are more prone to infections with some too frail to even cry.” Continue reading

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With Statement Equal Parts ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Imbecilic,’ Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis

“This Donald Trump statement—simultaneously pledging never-ending support for Saudi Arabia and blaming Iran for every Middle East problem—reads like a 6th grader’s school report.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-20-2018

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

In a bizarre, exclamation point-riddled statement on Tuesday that one critic said reads more “like a 6th grader’s school report” than an official White House press release, President Donald Trump shrugged at the CIA’s conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—”maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”—and declared that the U.S. will continue to back Saudi Arabia because it is one of the world’s largest oil producers, a major purchaser of American arms, and an ally in the “fight against Iran.”

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn just hours after his statement went public, Trump said Khashoggi’s murder “is a very complex situation, it’s a shame, but it is what it is.” Continue reading

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