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.

‘Sledgehammer to Permanently Silence Opposing Voices’: Outrage Over Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Proposed Anti-Protest Bill

“This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives,” said ACLU of Florida executive director Micah Kubic.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-21-2020

George Floyd Miami Protest, June 7, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/CC

The American Civil Liberties Union joined Florida Democrats on Monday in condemning a proposed bill by Gov. Ron DeSantis that would newly classify certain forms of protest as felonies and impose harsh penalties on some protesters.

Flanked by Republican lawmakers and law enforcement officials at an afternoon press conference in Winter Haven, DeSantis referred to Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon as he announced the proposed legislation. Continue reading

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Trump EPA Denounced for ‘Disgusting’ Decision on Atrazine, Herbicide Tied to Birth Defects

One critic warned that “this decision imperils the health of our children and the safety of drinking water supplies across much of the nation.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2020

Atrazine is mostly used on corn, according to Civil Eats, “but also on sorghum, sugarcane, and a few other crops, as well as on golf courses, Christmas tree farms, and in residential landscaping.” (Photo: TumblingRun/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration alarmed environmental and public health advocates on Friday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reauthorize the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as birth defects and cancer.

“Use of this extremely dangerous pesticide should be banned, not expanded,” declared Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). “This disgusting decision directly endangers the health of millions of Americans.” Continue reading

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Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wages for People With Disabilities

“Paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage is discrimination—plain and simple—and it’s way past time we repeal this outdated policy.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2020

NYC DOT joined the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in the first ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Photo: NYC DOT/flickr/CC

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ recommendation that Congress repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act—which allows employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage—was praised Thursday by numerous Democratic lawmakers.

According to the USCCR’s report—titled “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities” (pdf)—there are over 1,500 “sheltered workshops,” separate work centers where employees with disabilities are “not integrated into a broader community or work setting,” in the U.S. that employ over 100,000 people. Continue reading

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USDA and Meatpacking Industry Collaborated to Undermine Covid-19 Response, Documents Show

Hundreds of emails obtained by Public Citizen and American Oversight offer a rare inside look at the meat industry’s power and access to the highest levels of government.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2020

Some critics have called keeping meat processing plants open during the Covid-19 pandemic a “death sentence” for workers.. Screenshot: CBS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.

The documents (pdf), which the groups obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reveal that a week before President Donald Trump issued his controversial executive order in April to keep meatpacking plants open—overriding closure orders from local health officials—a leading meat industry lobby group drafted a proposed executive order that was strikingly similar to Trump’s directive. Continue reading

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‘There Has to Be Retribution’: Trump Openly Endorses Extrajudicial Killings of Suspects by Law Enforcement

“State violence to advance the end of ‘retribution’ is death squad logic,” said one critic.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-13-2020

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Minden-Tahoe airport in Minden, Nevada on September 12, 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

Discussing the recent police killing of a self-described anti-fascist suspected of fatally shooting a far-right activist in Portland, Oregon, President Donald Trump openly endorsed extrajudicial executions in a Fox News interview Saturday, declaring that “there has to be retribution.”

“I put out, ‘When are you going to go get him?’ And the U.S. Marshals went in to get him,” the president told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, referring to Michael Forest Reinoehl. “This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something—that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.” Continue reading

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‘Reckless, Violent, Massacre’ of 570 Wolves and Wolf Pups in Idaho Bolsters Alarm Over Trump Attack on Species Protections

Wildlife advocates warn that if a Trump administration effort to lift nationwide protections proceeds, “this cruelty could extend to all wolves within our country’s borders.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-11-2020

A gray wolf pup emerges from a den. Conservation groups warn that the mass killing of wolves in Idaho over a one-year period that ended this summer “represented nearly 60% of the 2019 year-end estimated Idaho wolf population.” (Photo: Hilary Cooley/USFWS)

Conservation groups on Friday raised alarm about the Trump administration’s push to lift protections for gray wolves across the country after an analysis revealed how a record-breaking 570 wolves, including dozens of pups, were brutally killed in Idaho over a recent one-year period.

“It’s sickening to see how wolves have been slaughtered in Idaho once federal Endangered Species Act protections were lifted,” Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in statement. “If wolves are delisted nationwide, this cruelty could extend to all wolves within our country’s borders. This treatment of our nation’s wildlife is unacceptable.” Continue reading

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Emails Show How Trump Official at HHS Tried to Get Fauci to Downplay Covid-19 Threat to School Children

“This sort of story will be recalled years from now as an example of the government interfering with science, with predictably disastrous results.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

Reporting from Politico Wednesday revealed that a Trump-allied official within the Department of Health and Human Services tried to censor Dr. Anthony Fauci from communicating to the press dangers the coronavirus may pose to school children.

According to Politico, the messaging directives came from Paul Alexander, a Trump administration appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services. Alexander is a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, a Trump ally and assistant HHS secretary for public affairs. Continue reading

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“Touted as ‘Essential’… Treated as Disposable”: Labor Day Anger as Migrant Farm Workers Toil Inside Wildfire Evacuation Zones

“For the workers, their hands were forced by a combination of circumstances as toxic as the ash that falls over the region’s famous vineyards.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.

While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept. Continue reading

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Shadow armies: how the West wages war but keeps its soldiers at home

ISIS is enjoying a renaissance and the West is fighting back with a shadow war, free of public debate or political scrutiny.

By Paul Rogers  Published 9-3-2020 by openDemocracy

Others do the dirty work. Screenshot: CNN

In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.

Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading

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‘Full Frontal Attack on Rule of Law’: Trump Sanctions Top ICC Officials Probing US War Crimes in Afghanistan

Human rights advocates blasted the move as “another brazen attack against international justice” that “is designed to do what this administration does best—bully and intimidate.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2020

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division director. (Photo: ICC)

Human rights advocates the world over condemned the Trump administration on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court—just the latest act of retaliation for the Hague-based ICC’s ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. forces and others in Afghanistan during the so-called War on Terror.

“The Trump administration’s perverse use of sanctions, devised for alleged terrorists and drug kingpins, against prosecutors seeking justice for grave international crimes, magnifies the failure of the U.S. to prosecute torture,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “The administration’s conjuring up a ‘national emergency’ to punish war crimes prosecutors shows utter disregard for the victims.” Continue reading

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