Category Archives: Economics

San Juan Mayor Says Trump’s “Total Neglect’ of Puerto Rico Must Be Called Out

“The United Nations says that when people are denied the access to basic human services—like electric power, like water, like food, like appropriate medical care—it is like a violation of human rights.”

Rally for Puerto Rico hurricane relief at the Capitol. Screenshot: YouTube

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-4-2018

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tore into the Trump administration’s response to the ongoing catastrophe on Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and denounced the president’s “total neglect.”

Her comments to MSNBC on Sunday follow a Harvard study estimating that the death toll as a result of the storm was in the range of 793 to 8,498 and deeming the original official estimate of 64 excess deaths “a substantial underestimate.” Continue reading

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Scathing UN Report Condemns Trump and GOP for ‘Deliberately’ Driving Up Already Devastating Inequality

“At the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2018

Rev. William Barber unveils Poor People’s Campaign’s list of demands at a rally in April. (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

It is no secret that the United States has among the worst levels of inequality, poverty, and infant mortality of all wealthy nations, but a scathing new United Nations report (pdf) concludes that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress are “deliberately” working to make these already devastating crises worse by waging war on the poor while lavishing the rich with massive tax cuts.

Highlighting the Trump administration’s push to dismantle the last vestiges of the American social safety net, Philip Alston—U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the new report—told the Guardian on Friday: “This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty.” Continue reading

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Scott Pruitt, Courtside Seats, Corruption, and—Oh, Yeah—the Destruction of the Planet

“True, our planet is being wrecked by climate change, but at least Scott Pruitt got good seats to a basketball game.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-2-2018

At the University of Kentucky, Mr. Pruitt attended one of the biggest games of the season last December, sitting in seats belonging to Mr. Craft. (Photo: Michael Huang/with overlay)

Trump’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt is once more facing accusations of bald-faced corruption and ethics violations after the New York Times reported that he and his son enjoyed a courtside experience at a high-profile college basketball game last year—sitting in the VIP seats of a billionaire coal company executive Joseph W. Craft III who was actively lobbying the Trump administration to loosen restrictions on the industry.

“Because his seat was so close to the court, he was visible during the telecast,” the Times reports. “A video clip on Twitter and Instagram showed Mr. Pruitt and his college-age son, Cade, standing in the players’ entrance as the team walked to the court.” Continue reading

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Trump Taxpayer-Funded Coal and Nuclear Bailout Decried as ‘Breathtaking Abuse of Authority’

Critics called the plan an “outrageous ploy” by Trump “to help his rich friends” at the expense of Americans’ pocketbooks and the environment

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2018

Photo: flickr

Environmental advocates on Friday responded with outrage to confirmation from the White House that President Donald Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to plot what’s being called an “unprecedented intervention” by the federal government to bail out financially strapped coal and nuclear power plants that can’t compete with the renewable energy sector.

“This is an outrageous ploy to force American taxpayers to bail out coal and nuclear executives who have made bad decisions by investing in dirty and dangerous energy resources,” declared Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship’: Federal Workers Union Sues Donald Trump

“This president seems to think he is above the law, and we are not going to stand by while he tries to shred workers’ rights.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2018

What’s disgusting? Union busting.’ The AFGE on Wednesday filed suit against the Trump administration over its attack on the right of public sector unions to organize. (Photo: @AFGENational)

The nation’s largest union of federal workers filed suit against the Trump administration on Wednesday over an executive order signed by President Donald Trump that seeks to deny workers the right to job site representation—an established guarantee in existing labor law.

The lawsuit (pdf) by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a member of the AFL-CIO which represents approximately 700,000 federal employees, argues that among a slate of anti-worker orders signed by the president last Friday, one of them specifically exceeds the president’s constitutional authority and violates the First Amendment right of workers to freely associate. Continue reading

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Hundreds Arrested Nationwide as Poor People’s Campaign Demands ‘End to the War Economy’

“We have a long history of wars against other people, mostly people of color, around the world. It’s time we stopped calling it the Defense Department and started calling it what it is: the Department of War.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-29-2018

In its demands unveiled last month, the Poor People’s Campaign called for “a reallocation of resources from the military budget to education, healthcare, jobs, and green infrastructure needs, and strengthening a Veterans Administration system that must remain public.” (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom,” the Poor People’s Campaign launched its third week of action in cities nationwide on Tuesday with the aim of confronting the American war economy, which pours resources that could be used to provide healthcare and food to the poor at home into the killing of innocents aboad.

Hoisting signs that read “The War Economy Is Immoral” and “Ban Killer Drones,” demonstrators gathered at the capitol buildings of New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and several other states to denounce a militaristic system that profits “every time a bomb is dropped on innocent people.” Continue reading

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What Facebook’s New Political Ad System Misses

Facebook announced a new system to make political ads more transparent. It’s got holes.

By Jeremy B. MerrillAriana Tobin, and Madeleine Varner. Published 5-24-2018 by ProPublica.

Screenshot: Bloomberg

Facebook’s long-awaited change in how it handles political advertisements is only a first step toward addressing a problem intrinsic to a social network built on the viral sharing of user posts.

The company’s approach, a searchable database of political ads and their sponsors, depends on the company’s ability to sort through huge quantities of ads and identify which ones are political. Facebook is betting that a combination of voluntary disclosure and review by both people and automated systems will close a vulnerability that was famously exploited by Russian meddlers in the 2016 election.

The company is doubling down on tactics that so far have not prevented the proliferation of hate-filled posts or ads that use Facebook’s capability to target ads particular groups. Continue reading

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This Memorial Day, support our troops by stopping the wars

By Kevin Basl. Published 5-25-2018 by People’s World

Vietnam Vets Against the War take part in an antiwar rally – 1970. Photo: flickr

“How do you motivate men and women to fight and die for a cause many of them don’t believe in, and whose purpose they can’t articulate?”

That’s what Phil Klay, author and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, asks in an essay published this month in The Atlantic. Unfortunately, he points out in a recent New York Times op-ed, “Serious discussion of foreign policy and the military’s role within it is often prohibited” by what he calls “patriotic correctness.”

In a well-functioning democracy, Klay argues, citizens must debate and question how their elected officials employ their military, an organization which ought to represent the values of the people. But it seems many Americans remain unconcerned about the wars the United States is currently fighting (at last count, we’re bombing at least seven countries) though they foot the bill both in tax dollars and lives. Continue reading

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Workers ready to shut down entire Vegas strip

If 50,000 workers, who toil at 34 big hotels on the Las Vegas strip and downtown, must walk out, it would be the union’s largest strike in decades.

By Mark Gruenberg. Published 5-24-2018 by People’s World

About 25,000 members of the Culinary Union vote to authorize a citywide strike in Las Vegas to demand better employment conditions. | Unite Here Local 226 Twitter

Las Vegas casino owners’ threats to subcontract or automate thousands of workers’ jobs – among other issues — forced the workers, employed by Unite Here Locals 226 and 165, to vote almost unanimously to authorize a strike if bargainers fail to agree on a new pact by June 1.

If 50,000 workers, who toil at 34 big hotels on the Las Vegas strip and downtown, must walk out, it would be the union’s largest strike in decades. The May 23 vote at the Thomas and Mack Center, a basketball arena, drew 25,000 members, who authorized the strike by a 99 percent-1 percent margin. Continue reading

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131 House Dems Help GOP Pass Massive Pentagon Budget That Includes Billions for Expanded Nuclear Arsenal

“Instead of a blueprint for peace and security, this NDAA continues the practice of endless war with no input or oversight from our congressional leaders,” lamented Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-24-2018

More than 100 House Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. (Photo: David B. Gleason/flickr/cc)

While the world responds with alarm over President Donald Trump’s spontaneous decision to cancel diplomatic talks with North Korea scheduled for next month—which aimed to ease rising nuclear tensions—131 Democrats in the U.S. House joined with the overwhelming majority of Republicans to pass a $717 billion Pentagon spending bill that includes massive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 authorizes the development of new low-yield submarine-launched nuclear warheads that the Trump administration demanded in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was released in February and denounced by disarmament advocates as “radical” and “extreme.” Continue reading

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