Monthly Archives: November 2019

‘Grand American Tradition of Immunizing Its War Criminals’ Continues as Trump Pardons US Soldiers

“A shameful use of presidential powers,” said the ACLU. “It sends a clear message of disrespect for the law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2019

President Donald J. Trump alongside First Lady Melania Trump and members of the U.S. military in this file image posted to a government website to commemorate Veterans Day. (Photo: WhiteHouse.gov)

Continuing what critics of U.S. imperialism have long said is a pattern of refusing accountability for violations of international law and a litany of war crimes over recent decades, President Donald Trump on Friday night issued full pardons for three U.S. soldiers either accused or convicted of serious criminal abuses related to their military service.

Outrage among peace activists and opponents of the U.S. war machine was immediate.

“Utterly shameful,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. Continue reading

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Call Katie Hill’s “Scandal” What It Is: Sexual Assault

The Congresswoman resigned after having an affair with a campaign aide, but she’s also a crime victim, and those two facts don’t cancel each other out.

By . Published 10-31-2019 by YES! Magazine

Katie Hill speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

 

“Someone asked me to write about Katie Hill,” I told my husband over dinner this week.

“Oh,” he said, “the woman who had the relationship with her staffer?”

“The woman who was sexually assaulted,” I said. Continue reading

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Senate Democrats Join GOP to Back ‘Automatic Austerity’ Bill That Would Gut Social Programs, Hamstring Bold Policies

“One priority of a Sanders or Warren White House absolutely must be politically crushing the deficit scolds within the Democratic Party.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-14-2019

Sheldon Whitehouse. Screenshot: MSNBC

A handful of Senate Democrats joined forces with Republicans last week to advance sweeping budget legislation that would establish an “automatic deficit-reduction process” that could trigger trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs—and potentially hobble the agenda of the next president.

The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act (S.2765), authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), passed out of the Senate Budget Committee on November 6. The legislation is co-sponsored by five members of the Senate Democratic caucus: Whitehouse, Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Angus King (I-Maine). Continue reading

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The So-Called War on Terror Has Killed Over 801,000 People and Cost $6.4 Trillion: New Analysis

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-13-2019

A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle during partnered live fire range training at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/U.S. Army/Flickr/cc)

The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths. Continue reading

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A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

“No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2019

No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 10 years behind bars for giving humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert. (Photo: Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International)

Human rights advocates and family members gathered outside a federal courthouse in Arizona on Tuesday as the retrial began for Scott Warren, who faces up to a decade behind bars for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

“We are here today standing together as rural border residents in the firm belief that every life is sacred, deserving of care and dignity,” Arivaca, Arizona resident Patty Miller said on behalf of the Rural Border Community Coalition. “For those of us living on the border, to deny care to those in need would be to deny our own humanity.” Continue reading

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Demands for Bold Climate Action Mount as ‘All But Rainless’ Australia Faces ‘Catastrophic’ Fire Danger

The extreme weather comes as a new report on G20 nations reveals that “Australia is behind [on] climate action in nearly every dimension.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2019

Photo: James ༀ Barrett/Twitter

Demands for bold government action to combat the climate emergency continued to mount in Australia Monday as the continent had hardly any rain for the first time on record while more than 100 fires burned across two eastern states.

The government’s Bureau of Meteorology on Monday “forecast Australia to be all but rainless for the day—aside from a tiny splotch off the Kimberley and western Tasmania,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. A bureau spokesperson said that “the team can’t comprehensively identify a day in our records where there hasn’t been rain somewhere on continental Australia.” Continue reading

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‘Simply Barbaric’: Trump Administration Proposes Charging Asylum Fee for Refugees Fleeing Violence and Poverty

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-10-2019

USCIS office in Atlanta. Photo: Gulbenk/CC

The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.

As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times. Continue reading

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How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Group

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

By Yeganeh Torbati Published 11-7-2019 by ProPublica

Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)

 

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading

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Pentagon Claims US Authority to Shoot Any Syrian Govt Official Who Tries to Take Control of Syrian Oil

“This is not a new mission.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2019

An M-ATV used by U.S. forces near [[Manbij]], [[Syria]], July 2018. Photo: Public domain

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields. Continue reading

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‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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