Monthly Archives: June 2019

‘The Changes Are Really Accelerating’: Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt

“The numbers needing relocation will grow, the costs are going up, and people’s lives and cultural practices will be impacted.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2019

The Sawyer Glacier in Alaska, July 2016. The Arctic is enduring unprecedented warming this year, affecting Alaska and Greenland specifically. (Photo: Ian Keating, Flickr)

The climate crisis is rapidly warming the Arctic, and the effects are being felt from Alaska to Greenland.

The northernmost point on the planet is heating up more quickly than any other region in the world. The reason for this warming is ice–albedo feedback: as ice melts it opens up land and sea to the sun, which then absorb more heat that would have been bounced off by the ice, leading to more warming. It’s a vicious circle of warmth that’s changing the environment at the north pole.

In Alaska, the crisis led this year to the warmest spring on record for the state; one city, Akiak, may turn into an island due to swelling riverbanks and erosion exacerbated by thawing permafrost and ice melt. Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Center scientist Susan Natali told The Guardian that what’s happening in Akiak is just an indicator of the danger posed to Alaska by the climate crisis. Continue reading

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Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases

Citing the “flawed foundation” of the initial probe, state prosecutors announced they are launching a new “uncompromising” investigation

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-13-2019

Photo: Mark Dixon/flickr

In a move that elicited fresh concerns and demands for justice, the Michigan prosecution team investigating the Flint water crisis announced Thursday that it was dismissing all pending criminal charges against eight former and current officials and launching a new probe, citing concerns with the initial one.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel appointed Fadwa Hammoud as the state’s solicitor general in January and assigned her to take over the criminal cases related to Flint’s water crisis, which started five years ago when a governor-appointed emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to a polluted river. Continue reading

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At White House Gates, Hundreds of Religious Leaders Demand Trump and His Enablers “Repent of Their Sins”

“We must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2019

Religious leaders walk towards the White House on Wednesday as part of the “Moral Witness Wednesday” protest against the Trump administration. (Photo: AFSC via Twitter)

Hundreds of interfaith leaders stood ready to face arrest outside the White House on Wednesday where they delivered a “moral indictment to an immoral administration.”

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‘Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized’ as German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years in Prison For Saving Refugees

“We have only followed international law, especially the law of the sea, where the highest priority is to save people from distress.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2019

Captain Pia Klemp in 2017. (Image: Seawatch)

A German boat captain faces a long and costly trial in Italy for charges targeting her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees.

Captain Pia Klemp, 35, told Basler Zeitung on June 7 that her upcoming trial in Italy for years of efforts with the civilian lifeboat “Iuventa” that saved at least 1,000 lives will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Klemp faces up to 20 years in prison, but, she said, whether or not she ends up in jail—she would challenge any conviction in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France if necessary—the damage has been done. Continue reading

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DHS Agents Treat Undocumented Immigrants as Criminals in Hospitals, Shackling Them to Beds and Impeding Care, Study Finds

“I couldn’t think of the rationale of chaining someone who is so sick he almost died.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2019

Photo: Pride Immigration

Doctors at hospitals near the U.S.-Mexico border report that border patrol agents regularly treat undocumented immigrants like convicted criminals when taking them to receive medical care after apprehending them.

Dozens of asylum-seekers and migrants arrive at hospitals near the border every day in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, often dehydrated and suffering from other complications from their trek across the desert from their home countries. Continue reading

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“This Is What Fascists Do”: Trump Attempted to Suppress State Dept Analyst’s Testimony on Climate Crisis

“This is as damning as it is shameful.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-9-2019

State Department intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover’s testimony was nearly suppressed last week by the Trump administration. Schoonover testified before a House committee about the national security risks posed by the climate crisis. (Photo: Environmental Change and Security Program/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration issued one of its most blatant attacks on climate science this past week when it tried to stop a State Department employee from testifying on the climate crisis, reports showed on Saturday.

As the Washington Post reported, intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover’s testimony was submitted to the White House for approval ahead of his planned appearance before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. His remarks focused on the national security risks posed by the climate crisis. Continue reading

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Convicts are returning to farming – anti-immigrant policies are the reason

Migrant agricultural workers kept out of the US by tough immigration laws are now being replaced by prison labor. Shutterstock

Stian Rice, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.

Convict leasing for agriculture – a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms – became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers.

Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback. Continue reading

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Demanding End to ‘Rotten’ Opposition to Medicare for All, Doctors and Nurses to March on American Medical Association’s Annual Meeting

“It’s time for the AMA to join the majority of physicians who support improved Medicare for All.”

-By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-7-2019

Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles – Feb 2017. Photo: Molly Adams/flickr

Accusing the American Medical Association of putting “profits ahead of patient care” by joining the corporate fight against Medicare for All, a coalition of physicians, nurses, and allies plans to march on the organization’s annual meeting on Saturday to demand an end to its longstanding opposition to single-payer.

The AMA is America’s largest association of physicians, one of the largest lobbying organizations in the U.S., and a founding member of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a coalition formed by insurance and pharmaceutical interests to combat Medicare for All. Continue reading

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Alarm as Trump Energy Dept Redefines ‘High-Level’ Nuclear Waste to ‘Low-Level’ in Order to Save Disposal Costs

“If you’ve got a problem with radioactive waste, you could clean it up, a costly and onerous process, or you could just change the definition of it. Guess which one the Trump administration has decided to do?”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-6-2019

The Savannah River Site in South Carolina is one of three Defense Reprocessing Waste Inventories where the Department of Energy will be reclassifying nuclear waste as safer than it has for decades, allowing the government to dispose of the waste more easily and potentially posing a risk for the surrounding environment. (Photo: Savannah River Site/Flickr/cc)

In a move that will roll back safety standards that have been observed for decades, the Trump administration reportedly has plans to reclassify nuclear waste previously listed as “high-level” radioactive to a lower level, in the interest of saving money and time when disposing of the material.

The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to observe a new interpretation of which nuclear waste qualifies as “high-level waste,” which must be disposed of deep underground to avoid contaminating the surrounding environment. Under the new standards, radioactive materials at three nuclear sites will be classified as low-risk, enabling officials to dispose of the waste in shallow pits. Continue reading

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‘Single Most Important Stat on the Planet’: Alarm as Atmospheric CO2 Soars to ‘Legit Scary’ Record High

“We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2019

Photo: Martin/flickr

In another alarming signal that the international community is failing to take the kind of ambitious action necessary to avert global climate catastrophe, NOAA released new data Tuesday showing that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels—which environmentalist Bill McKibben described as the “single most important stat on the planet”—reached a “record high” in the month of May.

“The measurement is the highest seasonal peak recorded in 61 years of observations on top of Hawaii’s largest volcano and the seventh consecutive year of steep global increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2),” NOAA said in a statement on Tuesday. “The 2019 peak value was 3.5 PPM higher than the 411.2 PPM peak in May 2018 and marks the second-highest annual jump on record.” Continue reading

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