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.

Global Temps Continue to Soar Upward as NOAA Confirms July 2019 Was Hottest Month Since Records Began in 1880

“We are seeing record after record after record.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-15-2019

NOAA revealed Thursday that July 2019 was the hottest month on record since the U.S. government began recording temperature date in the lat 19th century. Photo: Martin/flickr

As climate scientists raise alarm over hotter and hotter global temperatures, a top U.S. weather agency reported on Thursday that July 2019 was the hottest month the planet has ever experienced since the government began recording global temperatures nearly 140 years ago.

NOAA’s monthly Global Climate Report revealed that last month the average worldwide temperature was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature observed in the 20th century. Continue reading

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To Stave Off ‘Climate Disaster,’ 29 States and Major Cities Sue Trump EPA Over ‘Dirty Power’ Rule

“President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is foolish. It’s also unlawful.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of 22 states and seven major American cities sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and a replacement that critics have dubbed the “Dirty Power” rule.

The lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, targets the administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which eases restrictions on coal plants imposed by the Obama plan, the first national policy to limit power plants’ carbon emissions. Continue reading

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Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2019

“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate Court Ruling on Class-Action Suit Targeting Facebook’s Facial Recognition Tech

“Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people’s privacy and safety.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2019

A federal court ruled Thursday that a class-action suit targeting Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology can continue. (Photo: Legal Loop)

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the social media giant on the grounds that its facial recognition technology violates a strict state privacy law.

“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement after the ruling. Continue reading

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Bolstering Call to Expand Social Security, New Reporting Reveals How Corporations Are Offloading Pensions

Not only are pensions being offered less, existing pensions are being transferred to insurers, with employees suffering consequences

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2019

Economists “warn that rarely, if ever, can people replicate the security of a pension,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center. (Photo: 401kcalculator.org)

New reporting showing companies’ scrapping of pension plans has gone into overdrive means that Social Security must be expanded, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

“Expanding Social Security is important for today’s retirees,” Social Security Works said in a tweet, “but even more important for tomorrow’s.

The shift from traditional pensions to 401(k) or similar retirement plans—a change panned as an inequality-fueling disaster—isn’t new. “But lately,” reported Axios, “those changes are happening even faster.” Continue reading

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In Wake of Nuclear Treaty Collapse, Putin Says if US Pursues Previously Banned Missiles, Russia Will Also

“The collapse of the INF Treaty last Friday opens up a Pandora’s Box of dangerous possibilities.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-5-2019

Photo: moi 84/flickr

Days after the U.S. ditched a Cold War-era weapons treaty with Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his country would move to develop new intermediate-range nuclear missiles if the U.S. did so first.

“If Russia obtains reliable information that the United States has finished developing these systems and started to produce them,” Putin said in a statement, “Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles.” Continue reading

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There’s a dark political history to language that strips people of their dignity

 

Baltimore’s inner harbor. Photo: needpix

William A. Donohue, Michigan State University

Dehumanizing language often precedes genocide.

One tragic example: Extreme dehumanizing language was a strong contributor to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As I have written, the Hutu majority used a popular radio station to continually refer to Tutsi tribal members, a minority in Rwanda, as “cockroaches.”

As support for this characterization grew among Hutus, it essentially stripped away any moral obligation to see Tutsis as fellow humans. They were just vermin that needed to be eradicated. Continue reading

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‘Should Send Shockwaves Across the Nation’: Grave Warnings as McConnell Accelerates Right-Wing Takeover of US Courts

“Senate Republicans will stop at nothing to stack the courts with partisan judges who will push their radical agenda through at any cost.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2019

Screenshot: CNN

The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed 13 of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees this week, a major victory in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s years-long effort to reshape the nation’s courts and drag them further to the right for decades to come.

The breakneck speed with which McConnell has ushered young—and often unqualified—right-wing judges through the Senate confirmation process “should send shockwaves across the nation,” the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted Wednesday.

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New BLM Appointee Brings Conflicts of Interest and Plans to Sell Off Public Lands to Agency Charged With Protecting Them

“It’s hard to imagine anyone in this position more dangerous than William Perry Pendley.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-30-2019

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona is among the public lands which could be threatened by the appointment of William Perry Pendley to oversee the Bureau of Land Management. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Control over nearly 250 million acres of public lands was placed Monday in the hands of a former Reagan administration official who has argued that all federal lands should be sold to fossil fuel and other corporate interests in accordance with the goals of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed attorney William Perry Pendley as acting head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), sending fears throughout conservation groups that many of the country’s minerals and resources will soon be handed over to oil and gas companies. Continue reading

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Asylum-Seekers Who Followed Trump Rule Now Don’t Qualify Because of New Trump Rule

Migrants hoping for U.S. protection have been waiting in Mexico for months, as the U.S. allowed fewer than ever to enter. Then it changed the rules entirely.

By Dara Lind. Published 7-22-2019 by ProPublica

An asylum seeker arrives in Tijuana, 2018. Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr

 

The Trump administration has long said that there’s a right way to seek asylum in the United States: Come to an official port of entry at the border, then invoke the right under U.S. law to humanitarian protection.

But now, thousands of people are being barred from the U.S. precisely because they followed those rules.

Under an administration policy issued last week, most migrants who’ve passed through a third country — say, Mexico — will not even be allowed to request asylum at official border crossings. Continue reading

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