Monthly Archives: November 2018

New Study Details ‘Staggering’ $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War

“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-15-2018Wa

Total U.S. spending on war and all of its related costs will hit nearly $6 trillion by the end of 2019, according to the Watson Institute (Photo: Carpetblogger/flickr/cc)

While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans’ care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments. Continue reading

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As Trump DOJ Argues ‘No Journalist Has First Amendment Right to Enter White House,’ News Orgs Rally Behind CNN Lawsuit

“It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons,” over a dozen news organizations state

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-14-2018

President Donald Trump gets into an exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN after giving remarks a day after the midterm elections on November 7, 2018 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Screenshot: CNN

The ACLU fired off a reminder Wednesday that the “White House belongs to the people, not the president” after the Trump administration asserted in a legal filing that the president has “broad discretion” to bar reporters from press briefings.

“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” Justice Department lawyers argued in a 28-page filing in response to CNN’s lawsuit against the administration for revoking the “hard pass” of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last week. Continue reading

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#HQ2Scam Hashtag Lifts Off After Cities Reveal $2.1 Billion in Tax Giveaways for Amazon

City councilor among those who doesn’t understand why “a company as rich as Amazon would need nearly $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, and education.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-13-2018

Critics say Amazon has contributed to rising housing costs in Seattle as well as heavy traffic and income inequality. (Photo: Kiewic/Flickr/cc)

While business-friendly politicians applauded Amazon’s decision to establish two new headquarters in New York and just outside Washington DC, local officials, residents, and critics of the “race to the bottom” the $800 billion corporation held in its search for new office locations denounced the move on Tuesday, decrying the effects the new headquarters will likely have on the chosen cities.

After a 14-month-long process in which Amazon pitted cities against one another in a competition to see who would offer the company the most enticing tax incentives and other perks, the neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens, New York and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia were named as Amazon’s new second and third homes. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Wants to Cut Off Federal Relief Funds to Puerto Rico Despite Post-Maria Devastation

The president claims, with no evidence, that local officials want to use recovery money to pay down the U.S. territory’s sizeable debt

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2018

President Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut off federal relief funding to Puerto Rico even though much of the island is still devastated by Hurricane Maria, which hit the isalnd in September of 2017. (Chris Grogan/Air Force Magazine/Flickr)

Although it has been more than a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, in parts of the U.S. territory, “it’s like the hurricane hit yesterday“—yet President Donald Trump wants to cut off recovery money, according to Axios, “because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.”

The unfounded claims about federal funds being misappropriated come from Trump’s misreading of an October Wall Street Journal article, multiple unnamed sources told Axios‘ Jonathan Swan. Continue reading

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Election Day Was Filled With Frustrations, Claims of Mischief and Glimmers of Hope

Some states had ballot measures aimed at making it easier to vote or designed to take some of the politics out of how electoral districts are drawn up. In nearly every case, Americans seized the opportunity — with what the vote totals suggest was enthusiasm.

By Jessica Huseman. Published 11-9-2018 by ProPublica

Photo: Tom Arthur [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Election Day in America brought its familiar mix of misery and allegations of mischief: Aging voting machines crashed; rain-soaked citizens stood in endless lines; laws that many regarded as attempts to suppress turnout among people of color led to both confusion at the polls and angry calls for recounts and investigations.

 

The root causes have been at play for years. The neglect of America’s elections infrastructure, after all, has persisted, and all levels of government are responsible. And since the Supreme Court in 2013 voided a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, local governments have been emboldened in crafting hotly debated requirements for people to cast their ballots. Continue reading

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UN Food Storage Facility Targeted as Saudi Coalition Closes in on Hodeida

A UN World Food Program grain facility, responsible for milling about a quarter of the wheat flour that the WFP distributes to Yemen’s hungriest people, was destroyed after being hit with more than 10 airstrikes as well as targeted shelling.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem. Published 11-9-2018 by MintPress News

Hodeida grain silo

At least 15 civilians were killed on Thursday after Saudi-led coalition aircraft and artillery carried out strikes against a residential area in Yemen’s strategic western province of Hodeida and the border areas of Sadaa.

A local source told MintPress News that Saudi jets conducted airstrikes against the al-Jabaliyah area in the al-Tuheita district in southern Hodeida on Thursday afternoon, killing 45-year-old Hassan al Ameri and his four daughters Sumiah, Hunood, Laila and Hend, who ranged in age from eight months to nine years old. Al Ameri’s twelve-year-old son, Ali, was also killed in the attack. Continue reading

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Saying Approval by Trump Ignored Obvious Facts and Threats, Federal Judge Halts Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline

Native tribes and environmentalists celebrated the ruling as “a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2018

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a major victory for the planet and blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up fossil fuel extraction and production in the face of grave climate consequences, a federal judge on Thursday halted all construction of TransCanada’s 1,200-mile long Keystone XL pipeline and tossed out the White House’s fact-free approval of the project.

Issued by Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana, the ruling ripped President Donald Trump’s State Department for blithely tossing out “prior factual findings related to climate change” to rush through the Keystone pipeline and using “outdated information” on the severe threat the tar sands project poses to endangered species, tribal lands, and the water supply. Continue reading

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330,000+ Sign Petition Calling on White House Press Corps to ‘Stand Up and Fight Back’ After Acosta Blacklisted

“The rest of the White House Press Corps will line up in solidarity—and either refuse to participate in White House press events or only ask questions on behalf of the banned reporter/outlet until the ban is lifted.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2018

Jim Acosta at a campaign rally. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

An online petition is surging towards its goal of 350,000 signatures on Thursday as it called on members of the White House Press Association to stand in solidarity against the Trump adminstration’s decision to strip credentials from CNN report Jim Acosta.

Posted on MoveOn.org’s platform, but coordinated by the watchdog group Media Matters for America, the petition reads:

If Trump blacklists or bans one of you, the rest of you need to stand up. Instead of ignoring Trump’s bad behavior and going about your business, close ranks and stand up for journalism. Don’t keep talking about what Trump wants to talk about. Stand up and fight back. Amplify your colleague’s inquiry or refuse to engage until he removes that person/outlet from the blacklist.

Continue reading

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US Uses Banned White Phosphorus Bombs in Syrian City for the Fourth Time in Two Months

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-6-2018 by MintPress News

White phosphorus attack. Photo: Human Rights Watch

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has been accused of using white phosphorus incendiary munitions for the fourth time since mid-September.  White phosphorus is banned internationally when used in areas with civilian populations.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported on a bombing conducted by the U.S.-led coalition that had targeted the small city of Hajin in Syria’s Eastern Deir Ez-Zor province over the weekend. The bombing, allegedly intended to target Daesh (ISIS) terrorists who control the city, killed fifteen civilians – among them women and children – and injured scores more. Civil sources cited by SANA reported that white phosphorus bombs had been used, which – in addition to resulting in several civilian deaths and injuries — caused massive property damage due to the fires resulting from the use of the banned substance. Continue reading

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With Broken Machines and Hours-Long Waits Stopping Voters From Casting Ballots, Majority Says, “Make Election Day a Federal Holiday”

“Is voting meant to be an obstacle course?”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2018

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

A poll released as Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday shows that more than half of the country believes Election Day should be made a national holiday—a likely partial solution to a number of problems that plague the voting system.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to the survey, taken by Hill.TV and HarrisX, say workers should be given the day off on Election Day, allowing them far more time to vote, saving them from having to leave their polling places without voting due to long lines and issues with voting machines, and potentially changing the United States’ generally low election turnout for the better. Continue reading

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