Author Archives: ew

About ew

ew came of age during the winddown to the Vietnam War, and like many other Americans, as soon there wasn't an issue that didn't affect him personally, he became indifferent. This gradually changed during the Reagan and Bush I years, continued through the Clinton years and finally came to a head with the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. He works as a freelance consultant/tester for various music hardware and software companies, and lives in Minnesota with his cat and other weird and wonderful noise machines.

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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Accusing Trump of Crossing Constitutional Line, PEN America Sues Over Threats and Reprisals Against Free Press

“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for  Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2018

The lawsuit filed by PEN America and its partners seeks “to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes.” (Image: PEN America)

Arguing that President Donald Trump has crossed the line from “verbal attacks on the press” that are protected under the his First Amendment rights into using his authority to punish journalists and media outlets he dislikes with threats of intimidation or reprisal, the literary rights group PEN America has announced a lawsuit against the president in order to bring an end to such attacks.

The lawsuit (pdf) brought in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday—with PEN joined by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic—states that while Trump has constitutionally-protected rights and “is free to criticize the press vehemently,” the president “is not free to use the  power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.”   Continue reading

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Men, We Can Do Better

Survivors of sexual assault like Christine Blasey Ford deserve our support, not our opposition.

By . Published 9-28-2018 by YES! Magazine

Rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the Supreme Court, Washington DC. Photo: Avery Jensen {CC-BY-SA-4.0} via Wikimedia Commons

Like millions of Americans, I sat riveted before the television on Thursday watching the quiet, calm, and dignified testimony of a woman, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who was scarred for life by sexual assault. She sat in a room full of powerful men and described her ordeal at the hands of another powerful man.

Then I watched that accused man, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, yell and scream about how it was all just unfair and a political hit job and a conspiracy by Democrats to get revenge for the 2016 election. His unbridled rage was shared by several other powerful men in the room, especially Senator Lindsay Graham, whose rant seemed to be an audition for a senior appointment in the Trump administration. Continue reading

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Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

The massive shutdown affected many progressive sites devoted to covering war, police brutality, and other issues neglected by the corporate media

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12-2018

“Those who demanded Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants censor political content—something they didn’t actually want to do—are finding that content that they themselves support and like end up being repressed,” noted The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald in response to Facebook’s announcement. “That’s what has happened to every censorship advocate in history.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

After Facebook announced on Thursday that it shut down and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that it vaguely accused of spreading “spam” and engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” some of the individuals and organizations caught up in the social media behemoth’s dragnet disputed accusations that they were violating the platform’s rules and raised alarm that Facebook is using its enormous power to silence independent political perspectives that run counter to the corporate media’s dominant narratives.

While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics. Continue reading

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Israel’s Education Minister Wants “Shoot to Kill” Policy Against Palestinian Children

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

By Middle East Monitor. Published 10-9-2018

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday that he would impose a “shoot to kill” policy in Gaza, including against Palestinian children.

Bennett made the comment on Israel’s Army Radio after he was asked what he would do differently if he were the defence minister. Bennett replied:

“Everything. I would not allow terrorists to cross the border from Gaza every day… and if they do, we should shoot to kill. Terrorists from Gaza should not enter Israel… Just as in Lebanon, Syria or anywhere else we should shoot to kill.”

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“Stunning”: State Court Silences Climate Experts Set to Testify in Valve Turners’ Necessity Defense Trial

“Four days before trial, for no apparent reason, the court eviscerated our defense, and essentially overruled itself.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2018

The trial for valve turners Annette Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston, along with their support person, Benjamin Joldersma, began in Minnesota court on Monday. (Photo: Climate Direct Action Facebook)

In an eleventh hour decision, a Minnesota court “eviscerated” the defense of three activists—whose landmark trial began Monday for their 2016 multi-state #ShutItDown action that temporarily disabled tar sands pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border—by barring experts from testifying that their civil disobedience was necessary because fossil fuels are driving the global climate crisis.

“The court barred testimony from defense experts on the barriers to effective political action for addressing climate change, the efficacy of civil disobedience historically, and the imminence of climate change,” according to the group Climate Direct Action. Continue reading

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Fifty-Thousand Come Together in Germany to Defend Ancient Forest and Fight Coal

“This rally is about demanding that the German government break the deadlock of a climate policy that has failed to reduce carbon emissions for nearly a decade now, but it also is about showing governments everywhere that a growing climate movement is demanding an end to dirty and outdated fossil fuels.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-6-2018

50 000 people participate in the demonstration at the Hambacher Wald near Koeln-Buir for a quick coal phase-out and for the rescue of the Hambacher Forest. The demonstration “Save forest-stop coal” near the forest is the largest of its kind so far. The initiative Buirer for Buir, the German Federal Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), Campact, Greenpeace and the nature friends of Germany are calling for a fast exit from coal. They demand energy group RWE to definitively stop logging in the Hambach Forest. The banner reads: “We will end coal. #hambibleibt.” (Photo: Bernd Arnold/Greenpeace)

More than 50,000 people from across Europe gathered near the Hambacher Forest in western Germany on Saturday to defend the area from the expansion of coal-fired energy and demand much more ambitious climate action.

According to Greenpeace, one of the organizers behind the demonstration, the enormous crowd made up of local farmers, environmental activists, church groups, local residents and supporters from other countries, including Italy, France and the Netherlands. It was the largest-ever anti-coal demonstration in the Rhineland. Continue reading

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‘Incredible’ Win for More Than 300,000 Migrants as Federal Judge Blocks Trump From Ending Temporary Protected Status

The court, as ACLU SoCal noted, found “sufficient evidence that racism is a motivating factor behind Trump’s decision to terminate TPS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-4-2018

The Trump administration’s attacks on the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program have spurred organized protests across the country. (Photo: LIUNA/Twitter)

A federal judge on Wednesday delivered an “incredible” win for immigrant rights advocates and beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), blocking the Trump administration from ending protections for more than 300,000 people from El SalvadorHaitiNicaragua, and Sudan who live in the United States.

San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen concluded in his 43-page ruling (pdf) that the TPS holders from those four countries and their children—including many who were born in the United States—would “suffer irreparable harm and great hardship” absent the court’s temporary injunction. Continue reading

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Warning of Propaganda ‘Loudspeakers’ in Every American’s Pocket, Lawsuit Aims to Stop Trump’s Unblockable Text Messages

The suit argues the presidential alert system violates “Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from government-compelled listening.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-2-2018

Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

With President Donald Trump set to send out the first unblockable “presidential alert” to every single U.S. resident with a cellphone on Wednesday, three New Yorkers are attemping to stop the intrusive text messages with a lawsuit arguing that the new emergency alert system “is tantamount to hijacking private property for the purpose of planting a government-controlled loudspeaker in the home and on the person of every American.”

Filed last week in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan by three New York activists—J.B. Nicholas, Kristine Rakowsky and Liane Nikitovich—the suit (pdf) claims the presidential alert system violates “Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from government-compelled listening, as well as warrantless, non-consensual trespass into and seizure of their cellular devices.”

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Shutting Down Free Speech in America: Government and Lobbyists Work Together to Destroy the First Amendment

By Philip Giraldi. Published 9-24-2018 by American Herald Tribune

During the past several years, there has been increased pressure coming from some in the federal government aided and abetted powerful advocacy groups in the private sector to police social and alternative media. It is a multi-pronged attack on the First Amendment which has already limited the types of information that Americans have access to, thereby narrowing policy options to suit those in power.

The process has been ostensibly driven by concerns over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, but it is really about who controls and limits the public’s right to know what is going on out of sight in Washington and New York City, where politics and money come together. If one is interested in the free flow of information and viewpoints that comes with the alternative media, it certainly does not look that way. Robert Parry described it as a deliberate process of “demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.” Continue reading

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