Category Archives: Civil Rights

‘Real Teeth’: Senator’s Bill Would Punish CEOs With Up to 20 Years in Jail for Violating Consumer Privacy Rules

“There need to be consequences when corporations don’t protect your data. My bill will put reckless CEOs in jail if they lie about protecting your personal information.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-2-201

Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill . Screenshot: C-SPAN

At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like FacebookGoogle, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared,”  Wyden said in a statement. Continue reading

Share

Your Commander-in-Chief Is Lying to You: Veterans Issue Open Letter to Active Duty US Soldiers

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.

By 

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace.  Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.  History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Share

After Years of Tireless Demands to End Carnage, Anti-War and Relief Groups Cautiously Welcome US Call for Yemen Ceasefire

After years-long efforts by human rights groups and lawmakers to end U.S. backing of the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Trump administration follows the Koch brothers’ lead in calling for a ceasefire

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2018

The market in Yemen that was destroyed by U.S.-made bombs on March 15. (Photo: Amal al-Yarisi/Human Rights Watch)

After years of working to call international attention to the death and destruction caused by Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed war in Yemen, human rights and anti-war groups expressed cautious optimism that the war-torn, impoverished country may see some relief in the coming weeks, following calls for a ceasefire by the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday both called for all participants in the war to come together for peace talks within the next 30 days, putting a stop to a conflict in which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—with weapons, fuel, and tactical support from countries including the U.S. and U.K.—have killed 16,000 Yemeni civilians and displaced an estimated two million while leaving 22 million on the brink of famine. Continue reading

Share

Trump NLRB moves to restrict unions right to picket

 

Hotel workers picket outside the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 2018.
Photo: Unite Here Local 7/Facebook

By Bill Aiman. Published 10-22-2018 by Fight Back! News

A recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said that janitors who were picketing for better working conditions were not protected from unfair labor practices committed by their employer. The Board ruled that the janitors, who were being contracted by a building management company, were engaged in secondary picketing. With a Trump-appointed NLRB, workers fighting for rights on the job will be facing new challenges.

The janitors were working for Rafael Ortiz, under a company called Ortiz Janitorial Services (OJS), which was hired by Preferred Building Services to fulfil a contract with Harvest Properties in San Francisco. The workers had reached out to SEIU Local 87 and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition (SFLWC) to help them organize for higher wages and an end to sexual harassment on the job. Continue reading

Share

Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

Share

Minnesota Police Train at Military Base as Line 3 Pipeline Protests Escalate

Pipeline protests in Standing Rock pitted police against Native Americans and their supporters.

By Andrew Neef. Published 10-25-2018 by Unicorn Riot

Unicorn Riot has uncovered documents showing coordination between state-wide authorities to prepare for anti-pipeline protests. Emails obtained from Minnesota State Patrol under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act show close cooperation between state and local law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safet, pipeline company security staff and a private police foundation.

One such email, dated June 18, 2018, shows discussion about a “table top” exercise located at Camp Ripley, a military base operated by the Minnesota National Guard which also hosts trainings for the Minnesota State Patrol. The email states the exercise “relates to MFF [Mobile Field Force] and the Line 3.”  Line 3 is a controversial pipeline project proposed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge, and has been the focus of years of protests by indigenous tribes and environmental activists. Continue reading

Share

For Violating Oath to Defend Constitution, 200+ Veteran Journalists Condemn Trump for “Utterly Unlawful” Attacks on Free Press

“Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-26-2018

Screenshot: Fox News

More than 200 veteran journalists have signed a letter demanding that President Donald Trump end his repeated attacks on the news media in light of the attempted bombing at CNN‘s New York offices, calling his open support for violence against reporters and media outlets “unconstitutional, un-American, and utterly unlawful.”

“Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press—which includes labeling any reportage he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’ and barring reporters and news organizations whom he wishes to punish from press briefings and events,” wrote the journalists, many of whom are retired after working for media outlets including ABC NewsCNN, and CBC. Continue reading

Share

‘Insulting, Inhumane, and Unacceptable’: LGBTQ Rights Advocates Blast Trump’s Latest ‘Reckless Attack’ on Trans Americans

“The cruelty and bigotry of this administration truly has no limit.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-21-2018

LGBTQ Americans and allies rally outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s effort to ban trans people from military service. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

Sparking immediate outrage among LGBTQ Americans and allies on Sunday, the New York Times reported on a memo revealing that “the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.”

In a move that “would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves—surgically or otherwise—as a gender other than the one they were born into,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is currently considering a legal definition that “would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” according to the Times. Continue reading

Share

‘Disgraceful and Enraging’: Supreme Court Halts Youth Climate Case After Last-Ditch Trump Effort to Kill Suit

“A newly configured Supreme Court seems poised to close the courthouse doors. But the tide of #ClimateAction cannot be stopped.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-20-2018

The Minnesota March for Science was held in St. Paul in April of 2017. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/Flickr/cc)

In a move author and activist Naomi Klein denounced as “disgraceful and enraging,” the U.S. Supreme Court has halted a lawsuit brought by 21 American children and young adults that aims to hold the federal government accountable for its ongoing failure to adequately curb greenhouse gas emissions to battle the global climate crisis.

The decision came in response to a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration to kill the “potentially landmark” case ahead of the trial slated to begin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on Oct. 29. Continue reading

Share

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

Share