Monthly Archives: February 2019

In ‘Historic Vote,’ Ohio City Residents Grant Lake Erie Legal Rights of a Person

“What Toledo voters and other places working on rights of nature are hoping is to not only change laws but to change culture.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2019

Voters in Toledo, Ohio approved a measure to give Lake Erie a Bill of Rights, enabling residents to fight against polluters who violate the body of waters right to thrive naturally. (Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr/cc)

Tired of receiving notices warning that their drinking water may have been compromised and having little recourse to fight corporate polluters, voters in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure granting Lake Erie some of the same legal rights as a human being.

Sixty-one percent of voters in Tuesday’s special election voted in favor of Lake Erie’s Bill of Rights, which allows residents to take legal action against entities that violate the lake’s rights to “flourish and naturally evolve” without interference. Continue reading

Share

‘Shocking’ Report Reveals Thousands of Migrant Children Have Been Sexually Abused While in US Custody

“The horrifying conditions these children face is a human rights emergency that won’t be solved with a wall.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-26-2019

The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, obtained by Reuters June 25, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Handout)

A House hearing on the Trump administration’s family separation policy on Tuesday revealed that thousands of children in U.S. custody over the past five years have been subjected to sexual abuse in migrant detention centers.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) released documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against minors were filed between 2014 and 2018. More than 1,300 complaints were referred to the Department of Justice. Continue reading

Share

‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop

“We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-25-2019

A new study warns that if the Earth’s atmospheric carbon hits a certain level, stratocumulus clouds could completely vanish, causing the planet’s temperatures to skyrocket even higher. (Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/cc)

As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.

Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. Continue reading

Share

How America Rescued Its Weapons Runners After Their Arrest in Haiti

“The fact that the U.S. took these people and did not charge them, it shows there was a conspiracy. They didn’t want them to go before Haitian justice.” — Pierre Esperance, National Human Rights Defense Network

By Alexander Rubinstein. Published 2-23-2019 by MintPress News

Americans who were arrested after being caught smuggling weapons in Haiti are shown in the Port au Prince Airport prior to being flown back to Miami on Feb. 20, 2019. Screenshot | YouTube

Earlier this week, MintPress News reported that a  number of suspected American mercenaries were arrested transporting a cache of assault rifles and other weapons in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince amid an uprising against government corruption.

As MintPress noted at the time, many Haitians believed that the men were part of a team of mercenaries hired by Haitian President Joven Moise. One of the men, Chris Osman, wrote on Instagram on Friday that they were operating “for people who are directly connected to the current President” Continue reading

Share

‘We Refuse to Create Technology for Warfare and Oppression’: Microsoft Workers Demand Company End Army Contract

“As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-23-2019

The Hololens is demonstrated at the Penn Museum. (Photo: Penn Libraries-TRL/flickr/cc)

Declaring to chief executives that they refuse “to become war profiteers,” a group of Microsoft workers on Friday demanded the company cancel a contract with the U.S. Army that they say would “help people kill” and turn warfare into a “video game.”

Their open letter is addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, and, according to the “Microsoft Workers 4 Good” Twitter handle, which posted the document, it got over employee 100 signatures in its first day. Continue reading

Share

‘Horrific Attack on Women’s Health’: Trump-Pence Regime Blasted for New Domestic Gag Rule

Final draft of changes to federal family planning program would unleash devastating consequences, say healthcare advocates

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-22-2019

Demostrators in Chicago protest against Trump’s expected “gag rule” on May 24, 2018. (Photo: Charles Edward Miller/flickr/cc)

Reproductive rights advocates sounded the alarm Friday after the Trump administration released a final draft of a rule critics have called an attack on women’s rights and dubbed a “domestic gag rule.”

The implications of the restrictive changes to Title X—on which over 4 million people rely—”are staggering,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, adding that the move amounted to “an attack on poor women and people of color.” Continue reading

Share

‘Kicking Ass for Her Generation’: Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat

“Greta Thunberg, literally changing the world.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-21-2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg led the seventh students’ climate strike in the last seven weeks in Brussels on Thursday. (Photo: @choucachamia/Twitter)

Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.

In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis. Continue reading

Share

‘Illegal Boondoggle’: US Government Rebuked for Giving 1,400 Private Companies Access to Dubious Terrorism Watchlist

“We call on congressional leadership to investigate the private sector dissemination of watchlisting information that stigmatizes the innocent and makes none of us safer.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2019

“The indiscriminate dissemination of the watchlist is but the latest indication that the federal government’s watchlisting system is an illegal boondoggle,” said CAIR litigation director Lena Masri. (Screenshot/The Intercept)

Denouncing the database as “an illegal boondoggle,” a civil rights organization on Wednesday is calling for a congressional probe after the FBI admitted it lied for years when it insisted federal authorities do not share the so-called terrorist watchlist with private entities.

In fact, as the Associated Press first reported, the federal government has shared the

controversial Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) with 1,441 private entities including universities, detention facilities, and hospitals. Continue reading

Share

With Trump Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela, Critics Warn News Outlets Failing US Viewers Once Again

“If the US had a major state TV network it would sound exactly like this. 100% pure, uncritical cheerleading.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-18-2019

Marco Rubio at Citizens United Freedom Summit. Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr

Ahead of a speech in Miami on Monday in which President Donald Trump promoted the ouster of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, progressive media critics continued their warnings that corporate news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and others are carrying water for the White House’s regime change policy in the country despite interventionist failures like the invasion of Iraq in 2002, the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011, and the long U.S. history of backing bloody coups and civil wars in Latin America going back to the 1980s.

Leading the charge is journalist Adam Johnson, a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and host of the Citations Needed podcast, who recently warned that the “same U.S. media outlets that have expressly fundraised and run ad campaigns on their image as anti-Trump truth-tellers have mysteriously taken at face value everything the Trump White House and its neoconservative allies have said in their campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuela.” Continue reading

Share

Despite ‘War Crimes’ Concerns in Yemen, Raytheon Nabs $1.6 Billion Arms Deal With UAE

Announcement comes as resolution to end U.S. complicity in Yemen war edges toward Senate vote

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-18-2019

Destroyed house in Sanaa. Photo: brahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) just inked billions in deals to secure new weapons from top Pentagon contractor Raytheon a week after an Amnesty International investigation further implicated the Gulf nation in war crimes for transferring Western weapons to unaccountable militia groups, thereby deepening the humanitarian crisis and fueling carnage in war-ravaged Yemen.

“The ongoing carnage against civilians in Yemen—including at the hands of the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition and the militias it backs—should give serious pause to all states supplying arms,” said Patrick Wilcken, arms control and human rights researcher at Amnesty International. “Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to siphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes.” Continue reading

Share