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.

With Support of Just One Republican, House Passes ‘Historic’ Bill to Restore and Expand Voting Rights

“Brings us one step closer to restoring the Voting Rights Act.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-6-2019

The introduction of H.R. 4 on February 26, 2019. Photo: PFAW

Just one Republican—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania—joined a united House Democratic caucus on Friday to pass what rights groups hailed as “historic” legislation to restore and expand voter protections that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, said passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) is a “critical step” in combating Republican voter suppression efforts that have proliferated in the six years since the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Continue reading

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Report Details How Social Security Has Become Rigged for the Wealthy While Leaving Behind Those It Was Designed to Help

“The program’s become less progressive,” said Jim Roosevelt, a former Social Security Administration official and grandson of FDR.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2019

The benefits of Social Security, a program designed to help vulnerable and low-income people, have since the 1980s become increasingly skewed toward the wealthy due to demographic shifts and soaring inequality, according to a new report.

Proponents of Social Security expansion, responding to the report (pdf) by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, said the New Deal-era program’s increasing regressivity was not inevitable, but the result of lawmakers’ refusal to enact basic progressive reforms such as lifting the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Continue reading

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Jair Bolsonaro accused of inciting genocide before the International Criminal Court

A complaint against President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has been presented in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. This adds international pressure to his continuous attacks on human rights, indigenous peoples and environmentalist NGOs

By openDemocracy. Published 11-29-2019

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, seen here at the U.N. General Assembly’s 74th session on Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo: Cia Pak/U.N.)

A group of Brazilian lawyers, along with a powerful human rights group and some former ministers, denounced President Jair Bolsonaro before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for inciting the “genocide of indigenous peoples” of Brazil and committing “crimes against humanity”.

The Arns Commission and the Human Rights Defense Collective delivered a note to Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, this last Wednesday. Lawyers promoting the complaint reported to democraciaAbierta and other media that the document is 60 pages long and identifies 33 actions and official speeches of Jair Bolsonaro that might have a criminal character, as established by the Rome Statute, ratified by Brazil in 2002. Continue reading

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Thousands of Activists Stage Protests at Three German Coal Mines to Demand Bolder Climate Policies

“We’re at a critical moment—the window of opportunity to stop the climate crisis is closing rapidly.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-30-2019

Climate activists protests at three coal mines in Germany Saturday. (Photo: Ende Gelände/Twitter)

On the heels of Friday’s global youth-led climate strike, thousands of activists staged demonstrations at three coal mines in Germany Saturday to protest the government’s plan to phase out coal by 2038, which activists say isn’t soon enough.

The German news agency dpa reported that “protesters ran into the Jänschwalde and Welzow-Süd open-cast mining sites in the eastern state of Brandenburg, as well as the United Schleenhain lignite mining area in neighboring Saxony.” Continue reading

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Why Are Drug Prices Rising So Much? Pharma Exec Admits ‘No Other Rationale’ But Profit-Making

“The industry executive said the quiet part out loud,” said one outside expert in response. “Price-gouging is central to the industry business model.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-28-2019

Photo: Liz McGregor

Corporations’ quest for profits is what “is driving up drug prices and nothing more.”

That’s according to Dennis Bourdette, M.D., chair of neurology in the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, who co-authored a study published Monday that sought to find out companies’ rationale for the escalating prices on medications for patients with multiple sclerosis. Continue reading

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Climate Expert Says UN Emissions Report Makes Clear Only Solution Is to ‘Cut Off Supply of Fossil Fuels at Their Source’

“Climate policy proposals that do not squarely confront the issue of supply are not making a serious attempt to avert catastrophe.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-26-2019

“The urgent, necessary solution is to stop the supply of fossil fuels by banning fracking and all other forms of fossil fuel drilling,” says climate campaigner Mitch Jones. (Photo: CGP Grey/Flickr/cc)

An annual United Nations report published Tuesday on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions shows the “urgent need for supply-side action” to combat the climate emergency, according to the advocacy group Food & Water Action.

Mitch Jones, director of Food & Water Action’s Climate & Energy Program, released a statement responding to the new Emissions Gap report from the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), which warned that global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9°C by the end of the century. Continue reading

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Emperor Penguins could march to extinction if nations fail to halt climate change

Emperor Penguin in Antarctica. Stephanie Jenouvrier, CC BY-ND

Stephanie Jenouvrier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The concept of a canary in a coal mine – a sensitive species that provides an alert to danger – originated with British miners, who carried actual canaries underground through the mid-1980s to detect the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas. Today another bird, the Emperor Penguin, is providing a similar warning about the planetary effects of burning fossil fuels.

As a seabird ecologist, I develop mathematical models to understand and predict how seabirds respond to environmental change. My research integrates many areas of science, including the expertise of climatologists, to improve our ability to anticipate future ecological consequences of climate change. Continue reading

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Unprecedented ‘Architecture of Surveillance’ Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report

“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-22-2019

A new report from Amnesty International says Facebook and Google have a “surveillance-based business model.” (Photo: flickr/GostGo/cc)

A new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ right to privacy and other human rights.

The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed “unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” Continue reading

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‘Naked Violation’ of Human Rights: Global Condemnation Over New US Position on Israeli Occupation

“The American government’s decision to jettison international law and to legitimise the illegal Israeli settlements is probably the very last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2019

International voices condemned the U.S. decision to no longer consider the Israeli settlements in Palestine a war crime. (Photo: rpb1001/flickr/cc)

A worldwide chorus of condemnation continued Tuesday over the U.S. decision to no longer ofiicially consider Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal.

Michael Lynk, U.N. Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory, said the decision was “not a step towards peace or justice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Continue reading

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Police in Bolivia Pepper Spray Journalist ‘On Purpose’ During Live Coverage of Anti-Coup Protests

“I hate to be the story because we are here to report on what is happening to the people in the amazing country,” said Al-Jazeera English senior correspondent Teresa Bo. “I hope it helps denounce that such practices cannot be tolerated. Not here not anywhere.”

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

Teresa Bo, a senior correspondent for Al-Jazeera was sprayed directly in the face—clearly “on purpose,” she says—while covering anti-coup demonstrators in the city of La Paz, Bolivia on Friday, November 15, 2019. (Photo: Al-Jazeera/Screenshot)

Becoming part of the story she was seeking to cover, international news correspondent Teresa Bo was assaulted by Bolivian state security forces on Friday—shot directly in the face, while on camera, with tear gas or pepper spray.

Perpetrated while she was reporting for Al-Jazeera English in the city of La Paz—where ongoing streets protests erupted this week after a coup forced the resignation of the nation’s president Evo Morales—the attack on Bo, which occurred while she was giving an on-camera account of the protests, was caught on film. Continue reading

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