Category Archives: Civil Rights

Senate Report Details Failure to Confront ‘Persistent and Lethal’ Threat of White Supremacists

“The federal government has continued to allocate resources disproportionately aligned to international terrorist threats over domestic terrorist threats,” the report reads.

By Julia Conley.  Published 11-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally, 2017. Photo Anthony Crider/flickr/CC

Despite the fact that federal law enforcement agencies have in recent years acknowledged that white supremacy represents a major threat to public safety in the United States and is fueling domestic terrorist attacks, a new U.S. Senate report reveals that authorities are continuing to pour resources into fighting international threats instead of addressing extremism stateside.

After a three-year investigation, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this month released a nearly 130-page report detailing how the FBI—part of the Justice Department—and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have “failed to adequately align resources to address the threat from domestic terrorism, despite the agencies highlighting the magnitude of the threat in their annual strategic intelligence assessments.” Continue reading

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90+ Groups Warn ‘Kids Online Safety Act’ Could Have ‘Damaging’ Effects

“Congress needs to pass real laws that rein in the abuses of Big Tech and protect everyone’s privacy and human rights rather than using kids as pawns to advance poorly drafted legislation in order to score political points,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Julia M Cameron/Pexels

Nearly 100 LGBTQ+ and human rights groups warned in a Monday letter to Congress that while “privacy, online safety, and digital well-being of children should be protected,” proposed legislation intended to do so would instead negatively impact all internet users.

Specifically, the letter says that the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) “would undermine those goals for all people, but especially children, by effectively forcing providers to use invasive filtering and monitoring tools; jeopardizing private, secure communications; incentivizing increased data collection on children and adults; and undermining the delivery of critical services to minors by public agencies like schools.” Continue reading

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Effort to recover Indigenous language also revitalizes culture, history and identity

Myaamia Heritage Program students get a lesson from Daryl Baldwin, executive director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Scott Kissell, Miami University, CC BY-ND

 

Daryl Wade Baldwin, Miami University

When the federal government set up boarding schools in the 19th century to assimilate Native American children into American culture, one of the objectives was to get them to turn away from the use of their native languages. In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S., The Conversation turned to Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma who is a leader in Native American language and cultural revitalization and a member of the National Council on the Humanities, for insight into a tribal community’s efforts working with a university to help bring languages back.

How were Indigenous languages lost?

Many actions throughout history put pressure on tribal communities to abandon the use of their languages. This included the forced assimilation that resulted from the Indian Civilization Act of 1819. This act established Indian boarding schools to teach subjects such as math and science while suppressing the use of Indigenous languages and cultures. Continue reading

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‘The Nightmare Materializes’: Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel’s National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir’s elevation to national security minister could have a “catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Itamar Ben-Gvir and radical right political activist Bentzi Gopstein in Sheikh Jarrah in February 2022. Photo: שי קנדלר/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right Israeli lawmaker who was convicted of incitement to racism against Arabs and supporting a terrorist organization in 2007, is poised to become Israel’s national security minister after reaching a deal Friday with incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Haaretz reported that the agreement between Likud and Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party is the first Netanyahu “has signed with another party as part of the coalition negotiations following this month’s elections, which saw his bloc winning the majority of votes.” Under the terms of the deal, Reuters observed, Ben-Gvir “will have an expanded security portfolio that will include responsibility for Border Police in the occupied West Bank.” Continue reading

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Indigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’

“We will not stop telling the truth about the Thanksgiving story and what happened to our ancestors,” says Kisha James, whose grandfather founded the National Day of Mourning in 1970.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-24-2022 by Common Dreams

“Many of the conditions that prevailed in Indian Country in 1970 still prevail today,” Kisha James said in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 24, 2022, pointing to life expectancy, suicide, and infant mortality rates—along with the rising death rate for Native women. (Photo: screenshot/hate5six/YouTube)

The United American Indians of New England and allies gathered at noon Thursday at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the 53rd National Day of Mourning—an annual tradition that serves as “a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide.”

“We don’t have any issues with people sitting down with their family and giving thanks,” Kisha James—who is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and is also Oglala Lakota—told BBC. “What we do object to is the Thanksgiving mythology.” Continue reading

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A brief history of Georgia’s runoff voting – and how this year’s contest between two Black men is a sign of progress

Former President Barack Obama raises hands with Stacey Abrams and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock at a Oct. 28, 2022, campaign event in Georgia.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

 

Joshua Holzer, Westminster College

In the U.S., all elections are administered by the states. But not all states use the same rules.

Georgia uses a version of runoff voting, which entails two rounds of voting. Typically, if a candidate wins more than 50% of the votes in the first round, that candidate is declared the winner. If not, the two candidates with the most first-round votes face off in a second round of voting.

There’s historically been concern that such a runoff system disadvantages Black candidates. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General John R. Dunne once argued that Georgia’s runoff voting system has had “a demonstrably chilling effect on the ability of Blacks to become candidates for public office.” Continue reading

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‘Morally Deplorable’: Biden Admin Recommends Immunity for MBS in Khashoggi Case

“The Biden administration has not only shielded MBS from accountability in U.S. courts, but has effectively issued him a license to kill more detractors and declared that he will never be held accountable.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-18-2022 by Common Dreams

President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. Photo: Saudi Press Agency/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Biden administration said in a U.S. federal court filing on Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity in a civil case brought by the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a stance that human rights advocates condemned as a betrayal of the president’s vow to hold the Saudi leader accountable.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in the new filing that the White House “has determined that Defendant bin Salman, as the sitting head of a foreign government, enjoys head-of-state immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts as a result of that office and is entitled to immunity from the court’s jurisdiction of this suit while he holds that office.” Continue reading

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Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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Israel Refuses to Cooperate With US Probe Into Palestinian-American Journalist’s Killing

Israeli officials condemned the FBI investigation, while Shireen Abu Akleh’s family expressed hope that the probe will lead to accountability for those responsible.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh after her assassination in Palestine. Photo: alwatan_live/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed hope Tuesday that the FBI’s newly announced investigation into her death will bring them “closer to justice,” as Israeli officials said they will not cooperate with the FBI and condemned the U.S. for opening a probe at all.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Biden administration should accept the “professional, independent investigation” already conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which concluded that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank in May was too damaged to determine who had fired it. Continue reading

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

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