Monthly Archives: January 2019

‘Extremely Concerned’ World Leaders and Experts Implore Trump and Putin to Preserve Nuclear Treaty

Alongside warnings withdrawal from INF would be “stupid and reckless,” one signatory to open letter said conflict “should be resolved through the treaty, not by abandoning it.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-30-2019

Photo: kremlin.ru

Elected officials and experts from more than 40 countries have sent an open letter to U.S. President Donald, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and various other world leaders imploring them to preserve the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the Trump administration has said it plans to withdraw, despite warnings that doing so “would be stupid and reckless.

While welcoming progress on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, the letter (pdf) emphasizes alarm over the “erosion” of the INF Treaty; war games and nuclear weapons development the United States ditching the Iran nuclear deal; and “unresolved conflicts between Russia and the West including over Crimea and Syria and between nuclear armed states in other regions including South Asia and the South China Sea.” Continue reading

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With Trump Seen as ‘Symptom Not a Cause,’ US Rank Plummets on Global Corruption Index

“The U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2019

People gathered in the streets of London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom in July of 2018. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr/cc)

An analysis out Tuesday from Transparency International “reveals the United States as a key country to watch in a global pattern of stagnating anti-corruption efforts and a worldwide crisis of democracy,” according to the group, with the U.S. rank on a global index plummeting by four points in just the past year under President Donald Trump.

The United States earned a score of 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), knocking it out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011. Continue reading

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A Year After ‘One of the Greatest Heists in US History,’ Survey Confirms Corporate Tax Cuts Didn’t Lead to Hiring and Raises for Workers

“The GOP Tax Scam was always about making the wealthy and big corporations richer while leaving millions of working families behind.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-28-2019

A poll released Monday confirmed that corporations’ financial windfall following the passage of the Republican tax plan in 2017 did not lead to corporate investment in jobs and raises. (Photo: @zacjanderson/Twitter)

The release of a new survey on Monday confirmed that corporations used the $1.5 trillion giveaway in the Republicans’ 2017 tax plan for their shareholders and top executives—not their workers or reinvesting in their businesses.

The National Association of Business Economics’ (NABE) quarterly poll found that 84 percent of companies were not ramping up spending in the form of hiring, raises, and other capital investments. Continue reading

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People Power: 160,000 European Protesters Demand Action on Climate Crisis

Tens of thousands march in France, Belgium over climate crisis

By Common Dreams. Published 1-27-2019

70,000 protesters ignore the rain in Brussels. Photo: Greenpeace EU/Twitter

At least 80,000 people marched in a cold rain in Brussels Sunday in another massive protest demanding that the European Union take urgent and far-reaching action to address the world’s climate crisis.

Sunday’s march was the fourth climate march in the past three weeks—each one significantly bigger than the last—as students across Belgium and other European countries have skipped their high school and college classes in order to shame those in power who refuse to move urgently. Continue reading

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The Trump administration wants to tighten SNAP work requirements, bypassing Congress

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Fewer people getting SNAP benefits can lead to more skipped meals. maradon 333/Shutterstock.com

Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, North Carolina State University

The Trump administration wants to tighten even further longstanding restrictions on who is eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The farm bill, which gets updated every five years or so, spells out who can participate in SNAP, the assistance program previously known as food stamps. The most recent version of this legislation, which President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018, left out new limits on the eligibility of adults without children. Those limits were part of the House version, but Congress dropped them prior to the bill’s passage. Continue reading

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Right “To Their Faces,” 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells Davos Elite Climate Crisis Their Fault

“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to make unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-25-2019

That awkward moment of silence when a teenager tells you you’ve set the planet on fire.

Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg just told a group of the elite gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum—as they were seated just feet away from her—that they are among those directly responsible for the climate crisis.

Speaking Thursday before a panel that included U2 frontman Bono, former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, acclaimed conservationist Jane Goodall, and panel host and billionaire Marc Benioff, Thunberg echoed themes from a video she created to share with Davos-goers  Continue reading

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With Corporate Interests at the Helm, EPA Polluter Fines Down 85%, Hitting Lowest Level in 25 Years

“With its scientists censored and a coal lobbyist in charge, its no wonder why EPA’s civil fines for polluters are down 85 percent.”

By Julia Conley , staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-24-2019

A new analysis shows that civil penalties for polluters have declined 85 percent since President Donald Trump took office. (Photo: isciencetimes.com)

With a former coal lobbyist at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the past six months—and a self-described “advocate” against the agency’s work prior to that—the EPA has drastically reduced the fines it’s levied against pollution-causing industries and companies since President Donald Trump took office.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that under Trump, the agency collected just $72 million in fines last year from automobile, fossil fuel, and other companies that pollute the environment—compared with an average of $500 million, which the EPA annually collected during the two decades prior to the Trump administration. Continue reading

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Fears of US-Backed ‘Coup’ in Motion as Trump Recognizes Venezuela Opposition Lawmaker as ‘Interim President’

In response to Trump declaration, President Nicolas Maduro gives diplomats from ‘imperialist’ U.S. 72 hours to leave the country

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-23-2019

Protester holding a sign criticizing what the Venezuelan state media tells its citizens.. Photo: FEGO3011 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela officially cut off dipomatic ties with the U.S. government on Wednesday—and gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country—in response to President Donald Trump declaring formal recognition of an opposition lawmaker as the “Interim President” of Venezuela, despite not being elected by the nation’s people for that position.

“Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president,” declared Maduro to a crowd of red-shirted supporters gathered outside the presidential residence in Caracas, “I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government.” Continue reading

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Leaked Memo Reveals Trump Administration’s “Immoral” Plan to “Traumatize” Migrant Children

“It appears that they wanted to have it both ways—to separate children from their parents but deny them the full protections generally awarded to unaccompanied children.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2019

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D.-Ore.) appeared on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” Thursday night to discuss a leaked document about the Trump administration’s family separation policy. (Photo: MSNBC)

Following reports on Thursday that federal officials forcibly separated thousands more migrant children from their families than previously reported, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D.-Ore.) released a document to NBC News revealing the Trump administration intended to “traumatize children and intentionally create a humanitarian crisis at the border.”

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Virginia’s uranium mining battle flips traditional views of federal and state power

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The Supreme Court is likely to rule on the case by June. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Cale Jaffe, University of Virginia

The Supreme Court will decide in 2019 whether a Virginia law that bans uranium mining is preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the U.S. law governing the processing and enrichment of nuclear material.

The case, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, will require the court to interpret laws governing nuclear fuel production. But its most significant, long-term impact might be the glimpse it provides into the court’s view of the proper balance between federal regulatory power and the rights of states in setting their own policies. Continue reading

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