Monthly Archives: August 2019

Tipping Point: UN Biodiversity Chief Warns Burning of Amazon Could Lead to ‘Cascading Collapse of Natural Systems’

“If we don’t work together, we are going to die together.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2019

The fires engulfing the Amazon rain forest are a sign that the Earth is approaching an environmental and ecological “tipping point” that all of humanity must work together to avoid, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday. (Photo: ©Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace)

Unless world governments, consumers, and businesses all work together to address the root causes of the current burning of the Amazon rain forest, the Arctic, and forests in the Congo and Angola, the planet will continue careening toward a point of no return, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday.

Cristiana Paşca Palmer, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, called the fires that have torn through more than 1,300 square miles of the Amazon this year “extraordinarily concerning.” Continue reading

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Despite ‘Relentless’ Assault by Corporate America, Gallup Poll Shows Support for Unions at Near 50-Year High

“The labor movement has a powerful wind at its back. And we will carry this momentum into new organizing campaigns and our work in the 2020 elections.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2019

Union workers at a locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania launched strike on Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo: United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America/Facebook)

Just ahead of the 125th anniversary of the creation of Labor Day as a national holiday, a Gallup poll published Wednesday showed support for unions among the American public is at a near 50-year high despite the best efforts of corporations and right-wing politicians.

The Gallup survey found that 64 percent of Americans approve of unions, up 16 percent from 2009. Continue reading

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Greta Thunberg Comes to America: Celebrations as Teen Climate Activist Arrives at Coney Island

“Your journey is a symbolic reminder of the ways we need to work together across every ocean!” tweeted 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2019

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City by boat to attend a U.N. summit. (Photo: Jen Edney/Team Malizia via Boris Herrmann/Twitter)

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived Wednesday in New York City ahead of a United Nations summit after two weeks of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a fossil fuel-free vessel, the Malizia II.

The 16-year-old tweeted Wednesday morning that the Malizia II had anchored off of Coney Island and that those aboard—including Thunberg’s father, a documentary filmmaker, and sailors Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann—would come ashore as early as mid-afternoon once they cleared customs and immigration. Continue reading

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Israeli Bombings Considered a ‘Declaration of War,’ Says Iraqi Political Bloc

Journalist Rania Khalek said it was “difficult to believe Israel would strike Iraq without a green light from the U.S.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2019

Israel over the weekend launched drone attacks against three of its neighbors, adding to tensions in the region. (Photo: U.S. Army/cc)

Iraqi parliamentary Shiite leaders in the Fatah Movement political party on Monday issued a statement calling weekend airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in western Iraq tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

The statement placed blame for the strikes not only with the Israeli military but also with American forces. Continue reading

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Legal Aid Group for Immigrants Says ICE Shutting Down Hotline Was ‘Retaliation’ for Advocacy Work

“The line’s termination undermines trust and accountability of government institutions, dissuades public service by community organizations, and further isolates vulnerable detained individuals.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2019

The non-profit group Freedom for Immigrants is denouncing ICE for shutting down its pro bono hotline offering legal aid for immigrants in detention earlier this month. (Photo: @MigrantFreedom

A non-profit legal aid organization is threatening action against ICE unless the agency restores its pro bono hotline which has enabled tens of thousands of detained immigrants to obtain legal counsel.

The National Immigration Detention Hotline was available to immigrants in ICE detention through ICE’s pro bono extension, *9233#, but the agency blocked access to the hotline on August 7. According to Freedom for Immigrants, the group that ran the service, ICE objected to the organization’s work publicizing the harsh and unsafe conditions the Trump administration has subjected immigrants to. Continue reading

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As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert ‘Astronomical’ Impacts to ‘Life on Earth’

Pope Francis urges protection of “that lung of forests” and French President Macron says G7 nations pledged help at summit

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-25-2019

The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. Photo: @capnfrenchie/Twitter

Brazil’s army on Sunday deployed aircraft to battle the raging fires in the Amazon as global concern and outrage over the potential consequences—and the destructive causes—of the disaster grow.

The military operations involving C-130 aircraft to put out fires came after Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro triggered global protests over his government’s policies and failure to take swift action to combat the flames. Continue reading

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While “The World Is on Fire,’ DNC Kills Resolution for Climate Forum

Party had been reminded of its platform asserting it will combat the ‘global climate emergency’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2019

DNC chairman Tom Perez. Screenshot: MSNBC

Update: The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to strike down a resolution that would have allowed for a multi-candidate climate forum.

“Tom Perez just killed the #ClimateDebate,” the youth-led Sunrise Movement said on its Facebook page, referring to the DNC chair. Continue reading

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Critics Condemn Inclusion of Anti-Semitic, White Nationalist Blog Post in Daily Briefing Sent to Immigration Judges by Trump’s DOJ

“There is no bottom,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said of the Trump administration

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-2019

An immigration office in the U.S. Department of Justice sent an anti-Semitic blog post to the entire immigration court system this week, taken from an anti-immigration white nationalist website. (Photo: Ad DeCort/Flickr/cc)

A nationwide organization of U.S. immigration judges demanded immediate action to ensure that the U.S. Department of Justice operates without xenophobia, racism, and anti-semitism after the department sent an email with a link to a white nationalist website to employees of the immigration court system.

As Buzzfeed News first reported late Thursday, the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent a link to a blog post from the white nationalist website VDare, attacking immigration judges and calling for the decertification of the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), as part of a regular news briefing it sends to all court employees. Continue reading

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Protests Break Out After DNC Committee Votes Against Holding 2020 #ClimateDebate

Outraged members of the Sunrise Movement stood on chairs singing the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-22-2019

Members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement protested at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting after the Resolutions Committee voted against holding a climate-specific 2020 debate. (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

Sparking immediate protests at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in San Francisco Thursday, the organization’s Resolutions Committee voted down a resolution that called for a climate-focused debate among 2020 presidential primary candidates.

The committee’s 8-17 vote on the resolution outraged members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement in attendance, who stood on their seats and sang the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?” before walking out. Continue reading

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‘No Pay, We Stay’: 23 Days Into Train Blockade Protest, Kentucky Coal Miners Demand Stolen Wages With Support of Progressives Nationwide

“I see us blocking the trains until we get paid.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2019

Coal miners from Blackjewel coal company have been blocking a train in Cumberland, Kentucky since July 29, to prevent a shipment from their former employer until Blackjewel pats them their lost wages. The miners were suddenly put out of work when the company declared bankruptcy in July. Photo: BlackJewel Miners Blockade/Twitter

As of Wednesday, coal miners in Cumberland, Kentucky are now 23 days into a train blockade that they say will go on until their former company pays them.

The miners suddenly lost their jobs in the middle of a shift on July 1 when their company, Blackjewel, announced it had gone bankrupt. The company wrote two weeks’ worth of bad checks for a total of 1,700 coal miners, including 350 people in Harlan County, Kentucky. The company owes a total of $5 million to its former employees—about $3,000 per person. Continue reading

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