Monthly Archives: February 2020

“Unconscionable”: Fury as Federal Appeals Court Upholds Trump’s Anti-Women, Anti-Choice “Gag Rule”

“Leaving women in the dark about their healthcare and restricting from providing candid advice is simply not in the best interest of public health.”

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Reproductive rights advocates criticized a federal court’s ruling on Monday upholding the Trump administration’s Title X rule, which bans health clinics from counseling patients on abortion care. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Women’s healthcare advocates fumed Monday after a federal appeals court upheld the Trump-Pence administration’s so-called domestic “gag rule.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the 7-4 decision regarding the administration’s policy of preventing Title X funds from going to clinics that provide referrals for abortions, even though no federal funds pay for abortions. Continue reading

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Think the US is more polarized than ever? You don’t know history

Union dead at Gettysburg, July 1863. National Archives, Timothy H. O’Sullivan photographer

Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia

It has become common to say that the United States in 2020 is more divided politically and culturally than at any other point in our national past.

As a historian who has written and taught about the Civil War era for several decades, I know that current divisions pale in comparison to those of the mid-19th century.

Between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox in April 1865, the nation literally broke apart. Continue reading

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What the Trump budget says about the administration’s health priorities

President Donald Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2021. AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Simon F. Haeder, Pennsylvania State University

The Trump administration recently released its budget blueprint for the 2021 fiscal year, the first steps in the complex budgetary process.

The final budget will reflect the input of Congress, including the Democratic House of Representatives, and will look significantly different.

However, budget drafts by presidential administrations are not meaningless pages of paper. They are important policy documents highlighting goals, priorities and visions for the future of the country. Continue reading

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‘Meant to Hide the Poor’: Trump Gets His Wall—In India—Ahead of Monday Visit

The newly-erected barrier will allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to offer a carefully-curated view for the U.S. president.

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-21-2020

U.S. President Donald Trump with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two will meet in India on Monday. (Photo: White House/Flickr)

U.S. President Donald Trump with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two will meet in India on Monday. (Photo: White House/Flickr)[/caption[

When President Donald Trump arrives in Ahmedabad, India on Monday, he’s expected to be greeted by roughly 100,000 cheering Indians along a sparkling clean route to the world’s largest cricket stadium where another crowd of 110,000 will attend a rally with the U.S. president and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It’s pure spectacle. Continue reading

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Yemen’s deadly ghost ship

An abandoned oil tanker with over a million barrels of oil on board is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

By Chris Baraniuk. Published 2-18-2020 by openDemocracy

he FSO Safer is moored five nautical miles off the coast of Ras Isa on Yemen’s west coast. | Image: Conflict and Environment Observatory

Five miles off the coast of Yemen lies a floating bomb. An oil storage vessel called the FSO Safer has been sitting more or less unattended in the Red Sea for half a decade.

A victim of Yemen’s current civil war, the Safer has fallen in to a dire state of disrepair, with rust spreading around her hull and on-board equipment. She is packed with more than a million barrels of crude oil, which over time is thought to have steadily released flammable gases meaning the Safer could explode if she doesn’t simply begin leaking huge volumes of oil into the sea. Continue reading

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Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children’s Hopes for a Livable Planet

Children’s “collective concerns must now be heard, and effective actions taken to prevent the next generation inheriting an irreversibly damaged planet.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-19-2020

Climate Strike demonstration in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Julian Meehan/flickr/CC

A major new report released Wednesday says every nation on the planet is failing children because of the threats to their health and wellbeing from the climate and ecological crises and commercial exploitation.

The damming assessment comes from 40 global child and adolescent health experts in “A Future for the World’s Children?” The expert commission was convened by the World Health
Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. Continue reading

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A military perspective on climate change could bridge the gap between believers and doubters

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2018, after Hurricane Michael. AP Photo/David Goldman

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it.

With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book,“All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change,” the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap. Continue reading

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‘Victory for Farmers’ as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto’s Dicamba

“This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2020

Field day participants make their way past dicamba damaged soybeans to hear University of Arkansas System Div of Ag Weed Scientist Jason Norsworthy talk about volatility of dicamba products on Aug 8, 2017. Photo: uacescomm’flickr/CC

German chemicals giant Bayer announced Monday its intention to “swiftly appeal” a U.S. jury’s decision to award a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million in compensation for years of crop losses as a result of drifting dicamba weedkiller.

The legal challenge was the first dicamba suit to go to trial and was brought forth by Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Bader farms. Dicamba is produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018. Continue reading

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Why so many architects are angered by ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again’

The U.S. Supreme Court building, completed in 1935, is considered a neoclassical masterpiece. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Kai Gutschow, Carnegie Mellon University

Decades of federal architectural policy would be upended if the Trump administration follows through on an executive order that was leaked to the Architectural Record on Feb. 4.

Titled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” it announces that the classical style of architecture – which refers to architecture inspired by the monumental buildings of ancient Greece and Rome – will be the “preferred and default style” for many federal buildings. Continue reading

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Groups Challenge Louisiana Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Giant Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

“The fight against Formosa’s polluting and unjust petrochemical complex is part of a growing national movement to address the triple threat of climate chaos, plastics pollution, and environmental racism.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Local and national organizations are fighting against a proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana. (Photo: Louisiana Bucket Brigade/Twitter)

A coalition of local and national groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to a Louisiana state agency’s decision to approve air permits for a $9.4 billion petrochemical complex that Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group plans to build in the region nationally known as “Cancer Alley.”

Louisiana residents and environmental justice advocates have pressured local, state, and federal officials to reject permits for the proposed project in St. James Parish. Critics have raised concerns that the complex would adversely affect public health and the environment by emitting cancer-causing chemicals and producing an estimated 13.6 million tons of planet-heating emissions annually. Continue reading

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