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.

‘It’s Not Up to Him,’ Respond Critics as DeJoy Says He Plans to Remain Postmaster General for a ‘Long Time’

“DeJoy is daring Senate Democrats to do something about him.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-24-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Update:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday that he intends to remain in his role “for a long time” and added, “Get used to me.”

But critics were quick to note that how long DeJoy remains postmaster general is ultimately up to the Postal Service Board of Governors, which is composed of up to nine Senate-confirmed officials who have the authority to remove and replace DeJoy. The postmaster general does not serve a fixed term. Continue reading

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‘No Safe Amount’: Environmentalists Sound Alarm Over Texas Refineries’ Release of Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Pollutants During Storm

337,000 pounds of benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide were flared, as well as an indeterminate amount of methane.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-22-2021

Flaring at Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park TX. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

Texas oil refineries released hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants including benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide into the air as they scrambled to shut down during last week’s deadly winter storm, Reuters reported Sunday.

Winter storm Uri, which killed dozens of people and cut off power to over four million Texans at its peak, also disrupted supplies needed to keep the state’s refineries and petrochemical plants operating. As they shut down, refineries flared—or burned off—gases in order to prevent damage to their processing units. Continue reading

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Report of Illegal $80 Million Arms Transfer by Erik Prince to Libyan Warlord Raises Question of Who’s Backing Former Blackwater CEO

Prince has “been linked to the Trump administration, the Emirati leadership, and the Russians,” noted one expert.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2021

Erik Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater. Screenshot: C-SPAN

Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the mercenary firm Blackwater and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, sent weapons to a Libyan warlord in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, according to a confidential U.N. document reported Friday by the New York Times.

The U.N. report, which investigators sent to the Security Council on Thursday, reportedly details how Prince sent foreign mercenaries armed with attack aircraft, gunboats, and cyberwarfare capabilities to support renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar during a major 2019 battle in eastern Libya. Continue reading

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‘We Need Answers’: House Dems Demand Probe Into US Military Purchases of Location Data From Muslim-Focused Apps

“We cannot pick and choose who the Constitution applies to,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib. “Our government cannot continue to violate the privacy of Americans.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-18-2021

More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers concerned about possible violations of civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Bill of Rights asked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Thursday for more information about how and why the U.S. military is buying “access to large quantities of personal data” collected from cellphone applications targeted toward Muslim users.

The letter (pdf) requesting an investigation into U.S. military purchases of private location data was led by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Continue reading

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This Is Yemen After Biden Declared an End To American Support for the War

The Biden administration sparked a sense of hope around the world that the war on Yemen could finally be over. For those on the ground though, the bombs keep falling, food is scarce and hope is in short supply.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem Published 2-12-2021 by MintPress News

A group of children play soccer against a backdrop of ruined houses in Sa’ada. Photo: Karrar-al Moayyad/ICRC/CC

SANA’A, YEMEN — Seated next to his 13-year-old daughter Hakimah’s bed in al-Thawra Hospital, S. al-Hanishi watches a breaking news report on a small TV screen announcing that the president of the United States has announced an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on his country.

But al-Hanishi took the news with skepticism. “[Biden] said he’ll end support to Mohammed Bin Salman but will help Saudi Arabia to defend her herself… Come on!” S. al-Hanishi, who asked that only his first initial and tribal surname be used for fear of reprisal, said in dismay. Continue reading

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‘Fire DeJoy Before He Burns Down USPS’: Postmaster General Pushes Plan for Slower Mail, Higher Prices

“Biden should fire the governors of the USPS who appointed DeJoy, install new ones, and have them fire DeJoy. He should not be allowed to continue destroying the Postal Service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2021

Undeterred by the backlash and widespread delays that followed his disruptive operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service last year, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is reportedly planning to roll out another slate of policies that would significantly hike postage rates and further slow the delivery of certain kinds of mail.

While the plan has yet to be finalized, new details of the proposal—first reported by the Washington Post—intensified pressure on President Joe Biden to take decisive action before DeJoy inflicts any more damage on the most popular government institution in the country. Continue reading

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Aung San Suu Kyi overlooked Myanmar’s deepest problems

Ambition drove the military’s coup. But long before that, the country’s deposed leader squandered many opportunities for real change

By Khin Zaw Win.  Published 2-12-2021 by openDemocracy

Aung San Suu Kyi ‘failed to pay attention’ to Myanmar’s ethnic groups. Photo: Comune Parma/CC

The Myanmar coup is a sad and onerous turn of events for a country with a long and unhappy experience of military rule. It is important to note that this is not an institutional crisis. What we are witnessing is a squabble among court factions for the throne.

In such power struggles, the wellbeing of the country and the people generally aren’t of concern. The military’s attitude in this regard is well known, but there would have been higher expectations of the country’s ousted party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Continue reading

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America ‘Should Be Ashamed’: Texas Teen Forced to Use College Savings to Prevent Mom’s Eviction

“Americans owe $70 billion in back rent that they won’t be able to pay. If we don’t get them relief, there will be millions of stories like these.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-10-2021

“This is not a feel-good story,” said Public Citizen on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. “It’s a dystopian nightmare.” (Photo: Twitter screengrab from ABC7 News)

After Alondra Carmona, a high school senior in Houston, recently exhausted all of her college savings to prevent her unemployed mother from being evicted, one media outlet on Tuesday tried to portray it as an “act of kindness,” but progressives are emphasizing that the all-too-common story is an indictment of a deeply unequal society reliant on private charity as a result of policymakers’ failure to guarantee livable incomes, affordable housing and higher education, and more.

“In February of 2020, my mom broke her ankle and was not able to work,” Carmona explained in a GoFundMe ad she created to support her family. “Come March, the coronavirus started, which added to the financial problems we already had. Today, I found out that my mom has not had a job for 3 months and hid it from us. She owes two months of rent and will most likely get evicted in March.” Continue reading

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As DeJoy Readies New Assault on Postal Service, Pressure Grows for Biden to ‘Clean House’

“My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy’s wrecking of USPS,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

With Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week, President Joe Biden is facing growing calls from lawmakers, mail carriers, and others to take urgent steps to protect the U.S. Postal Service from further damage, pave the way for DeJoy’s removal, and shore up the agency’s finances for the near and distant future.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to former President Donald Trump—soon intends to “outline a new vision for the agency, one that includes more service cuts, higher and region-specific pricing, and lower delivery expectations.” Continue reading

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‘Better Late Than Never’: Palestinians Welcome ICC Decision Enabling War Crimes Probe of Israel

An investigation “would not, for sure, bring my kids back to life,” said a survivor of an Israeli airstrike. “However, I am certain that I need to continue to try to find some sort of justice.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2021

Israeli white phosphorus attack on the main compound of the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) in central Gaza City on 15 January 2009, during Operation Cast Lead.. Photo: HRW/CC

Palestinian families and human rights groups are welcoming a Friday decision that clears the way for the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations against Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of apartheid in occupied Palestinian territories as a long-overdue step toward justice.

Given that the state of Palestine—as recognized by the United Nations and scores of countries, though not the United States nor Israel—is party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber I decided by majority that the court’s jurisdiction “extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” Continue reading

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