Monthly Archives: October 2019

With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new “pre-crime” program inspired by “War on Terror” tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

By Whitney Webb. Published 10-25-2019 by MintPress News

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Disturbing’: Missouri Health Director Testifies He Kept Spreadsheet of Planned Parenthood Patients’ Menstrual Periods

“Missouri politicians have gone too far. Tracking patients’ periods is government overreach at its worst and a major violation of privacy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-29-2019

In a revelation Tuesday that Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri described as “deeply disturbing,” the state health director Dr. Randall Williams testified at an administrative commission hearing that he kept a spreadsheet to track Planned Parenthood patients’ menstrual periods.

Williams’ testimony came as part of a contentious legal battle over the Missouri Health Department’s refusal to renew the license for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in St. Louis, which is the state’s last remaining abortion care provider. Continue reading

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Trump’s Stated Plan to Loot Syria’s Oil Reserves ‘Would Be a War Crime,’ Critics Say

“He’s pulling back that curtain and just telling you the truth.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

While announcing that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed over the weekend, President Donald Trump made explicit the longstanding U.S. military policy of securing oil reserves in the Middle East regardless of the human lives that are lost in the process, a number of critics said Monday.

Trump told reporters in his Sunday press conference that the U.S. is entitled to Syria’s oil following the withdrawal of troops from the northeastern region of the country bordering Turkey. The president pulled soldiers out of the area earlier this month, while deploying troops to other parts of the country to protect oil fields from ISIS. Continue reading

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‘What Is the Fed Not Telling Us?’: Fears of Economic Instability After Central Bank Intervention Spikes

“A financial system that requires over $100B of liquidity injections every day, temporary, permanent or otherwise, has major issues.”

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

Is the Fed reacting to market volatility or preparing for recession? (Public domain)

A number of financial experts and investors are sounding the alarm over the Federal Reserve’s recent infusion of cash into the market and warning that the actions by the central bank could be the precursor to economic crisis.

On October 22, the Fed pumped $99.9 billion in temporary liquidity into the market to ease stresses brought on by a tightening credit market. Two days later, on October 24, the bank upped that to $134 billion. Continue reading

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Why the US has nuclear weapons in Turkey – and may try to put the bombs away

A B-61 bomb, like the ones stored at the US Incirlik Airbase in Turkey. Flickr/Kelly Michals, CC BY-SA

Miles A. Pomper, Middlebury

As the Syrian crisis pits Turkish troops against former U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, Pentagon officials have been reviewing plans to remove 50 nuclear bombs stored at a U.S air base in Turkey.

A congressional directive to the Pentagon to quickly assess alternative homes for U.S. “personnel and assets” currently stationed at Incirlik Air Base is part of a broader bipartisan bill, still being debated, that proposes sanctions against Turkey. President Donald Trump has been forced to issue public reassurances that the weapons are secure. Continue reading

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‘Talk About Direct Action Getting Results’: Bankrupt Blackjewel Agrees to Pay Over $5 Million to Laid Off Coal Miners Who Blocked Train Tracks

“When workers stand together, fight back, and demand an end to corporate greed—they win,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-25-2019

Coal miners from Blackjewel coal company started blocking a train in Cumberland, Kentucky on 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

Progressives on Friday highlighted the power of direct action following a series of federal court settlements this week that will provide coal miners who blocked train tracks in Kentucky for nearly two months this summer to protest against unpaid wages from their bankrupt employer, Blackjewel LLC, with over $5 million in back pay.

Congratulating the laid off coal miners on their victory, longtime labor advocate and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) tweeted Friday, “When workers stand together, fight back, and demand an end to corporate greed—they win.” Continue reading

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‘We Have to Get This Right’: Historic Bill in US House Would Create Specific Protections for Climate Refugees

“If we are going to meaningfully discuss comprehensive climate equity and climate justice, we must inject security assistance and resettlement opportunities for climate-displaced persons into our conversations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-24-2019

A group of Syrian refugees arrives on the island of Lesbos after traveling in an inflatable raft from Turkey near Skala Sikaminias, Greece on July 15, 2015. (Photo: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell)

Rep. Nydia Velázquez on Wednesday introduced historic legislation in the Democrat-controlled House that would establish formal federal protections in the United States for refugees fleeing impacts of the human-caused global climate crisis.

“If we are going to meaningfully discuss comprehensive climate equity and climate justice, we must inject security assistance and resettlement opportunities for climate-displaced persons into our conversations,” the New York congresswoman said in a statement. Continue reading

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‘No Other Path to Redress’: South Carolina Prisoners Appeal to UN After State and Federal Officials Ignore Pleas for Livable Conditions

“Beyond the basic level of terror in U.S. prison conditions, conditions in South Carolina have been specifically repressive for a few years now.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-23-2019

Organizers in Washington D.C. with D.C. Abolition Coalition and the D.C. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee deliver the demands of South Carolina Prisoners to the local United Nations Office. (Image: Fight Toxic Prisons)

Prison rights activists and advocates are appealing to the United Nations Wednesday for relief of conditions under which prisoners in South Carolina are suffering—conditions that are creating a situation where all prisoners are effectively living in solitary confinement.

“For years, prisoners and their families have been decrying the notoriously bad conditions within South Carolina prisons, as the U.S. Department of Justice has demonstrated through reports and consent decrees with states in violation of basic human rights protections,” the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons said in a statement. Continue reading

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‘This Is Just Cruelty and Exclusion’: Amid Trump’s Attack on Poor, One Million Fewer Kids Receiving Medicaid and CHIP

“This is not people reaching self-sufficiency,” warned Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-22-2019

The Trump administration’s aggressive efforts to monitor who is benefiting from government assistance programs have had what critics say is their desired effect—pushing more than a million children off Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in less than two years.

Between December 2017 and June 2019, according to the New York Times, about three percent of children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP were dropped from the program. Continue reading

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Homeless Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison After Powdered Milk Was Mistaken for Cocaine

It’s become very common for people to plead guilty, even when they’re innocent, so that they can get shorter sentences or get out of pre-trial detention.

By Elias Marat  Published 10-21-2019 by The Mind Unleashed

The Oklahoma City Police Department is dealing with embarrassment on a nationwide scale after a local man who pleaded guilty on charges of possession of cocaine was found to have actually been arrested for carrying powdered milk that he had gotten from a local food bank.

Cody Gregg, 26, pled guilty to trafficking drugs on October 8 before being sentenced to 15 years in prison for his crime, according to documents from an Oklahoma County court. Continue reading

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