Category Archives: Elections

‘Stunning and Dangerous’: DeVos Memo Reveals Plan to Roll Back Civil Rights

“President Trump and his administration can claim to oppose discrimination all they want, but actions speak louder than words,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

In a move decried as “more evidence of backward thinking” by the Trump administration, an internal memo from the Department of Education’s office for civil rights lays out the agency’s plan to roll back investigations into civil rights violations at public schools and diminish Obama-era rules requiring “schools and colleges to overhaul policies addressing a number of civil rights concerns,” the New York Times reported on Friday.

According to the memo, “requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back,” the Times noted. “Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.” Continue reading

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Amid Trump Chaos, Republicans Keep Their Eyes on the Big Prize: The Courts

“Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement… for decades,” Corey Robin wrote

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-15-2017

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, swears in Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. Photo: Public domain

While the Trump administration remains embroiled in scandals of its own making and continues to blunder forward seemingly without direction, Republicans have their collective gaze fixed on a prize they have coveted for years: complete domination of the judiciary.

This goal, thanks to years of obstructionism, may be just on the horizon.

As Esquire‘s Charles Pierce notes, President Trump has effectively “subcontracted the job of picking judges to the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, and various other wingnut intellectual chop shops.” Three of the finalists—Kevin Newsom, Damien Schiff, and John Bush—sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for their confirmation hearings, which were scarcely mentioned by the press. Continue reading

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‘Sacrificing Democracy’: Senate GOP Plans to Hide TrumpCare From US Public

“Republicans know their healthcare bill is super unpopular and so are trying to shield it from public scrutiny,” wrote Nate Silver

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-12-2017

In an act of secrecy denounced by one commentator as “an insult to Americans and our democratic process,” two GOP aides told Axios on Monday that although the Senate will soon complete its version of the widely panned American Health Care Act—also known as TrumpCare—the bill will be withheld from the public indefinitely.

Explaining the reasoning behind the Senate’s lack of transparency, one of the aides remarked, “We aren’t stupid.” Continue reading

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What Democracy Looks Like When You Have to Disagree With Your Neighbors

As much as I dislike and distrust our current national administration, I also deeply value community harmony.

By . Published 6-8-2017 by YES! Magazine

Protestors gather outside the hotel where Republican Rep. John Faso is scheduled to speak in Schoharie, New York. Congressman Faso has an 89.7% track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. Photo by Reggie Harris.

I’m leafing through a stack of protest signs in the corner of the mudroom, reading the markered letters, looking to see what can be recycled for tonight. The subjects we’ve collected thus far are about human rights and the environment. It looks like we’ll need to draft something fresh and new for tonight, because the topic is health care. Our Republican congressman, John Faso, has an 89.7 percent track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. He hasn’t been holding town meetings with constituents, he and his staff have stopped responding to letters, I’ve never had a phone call even answered, and his recent vote to repeal ObamaCare in the House has sparked this last minute protest down in the village of Schoharie, New York, where he’s the keynote speaker at a countywide Republican fundraiser. Continue reading

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Stop Making Excuses for Hateful White Men

Racism—not mental illness—was behind the killings on the Portland train. Let’s call it what it is so we can deal with it.

By . Published 6-5-2017 by YES! Magazine

Austin, Texas, USA – November 19, 2016: ‘White Lives Matter’ demonstrators display an American flag at a protest just south of the Capitol grounds. The ‘White Lives Matter’ demonstrators, numbering about 20 people at the most, came from Houston with the message that the hate crime law is unfair to white people.

A Somali-American Muslim woman was attacked and severely beaten in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend, after coming to the defense of another Muslim woman who was being verbally assaulted.

Portland, Oregon, is still reeling after the previous weekend when two black teenage girls, one who is Muslim and was wearing a hijab, were verbally abused on a commuter train. Their attacker cut the throats of the three men who came to their aid, killing two. Continue reading

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Following Attack, Corbyn Leads Call to Unveil Saudi Role in Fueling Extremism

“We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including ISIS, here and in the Middle East,” Corbyn said

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2017

Theresa May claimed selling arms to Saudi Arabia helps ‘keep people on the streets of Britain safe’, Screenshot: BBC

Two days following the terrorist attacks in London and three days before the culmination of what has become an unexpectedly competitive election, several U.K. political leaders are demanding that a government study reportedly implicating Saudi Arabia in the spread of violent extremism be made public.

“The inquiry into revenue streams for extremist groups operating in the U.K. was commissioned by the former prime minister and is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis,” the Guardian recently reported. “However, 18 months later, the Home Office confirmed the report had not yet been completed and said it would not necessarily be published, calling the contents ‘very sensitive.'” Continue reading

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Tom Price Bought Drug Stocks. Then He Pushed Pharma’s Agenda in Australia

by Robert Faturechi ProPublica, June 1, 2017, 8 a.m.

Tom Price. Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the spring before the 2016 presidential election, the Obama administration’s 12-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was still alive. Negotiators worked on details as Congress considered whether to ratify the pact.

The Australian government was getting in the way of one change demanded by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Makers of cutting-edge biological drugs wanted to have data from their clinical trials protected from competitors for 12 years, as they are under U.S. law 2014 not the roughly five years permitted under the TPP. Australian officials insisted that an extension would deprive consumers of cheaper alternatives for too long. Continue reading

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Trump’s Midnight Dump of Ethics Waivers Should End “Drain the Swamp Illusion”

Former lobbyists from some of the most contentious industries under Trump are given the freedom to influence policy making in those very same arenas

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2017

Candidate Donald Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” was apparently made with a slew of caveats, which were exposed late Wednesday when the White House posted details of ethics waivers granted to at least 16 senior staff members.

Among the notice (pdf), which detailed 14 different waived ethics rules, are provisions granting lobbyists from some of the most contentious industries the freedom to influence policy making in those very same arenas. Continue reading

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To Ram Through Unpopular Agenda, Trump Urges GOP to Kill Senate Filibuster

Though his proposals have found slim support among the American people, president wants GOP allies to push items through “fast and easy”

By Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2017

President Donald Trump indicated to Republicans on Tuesday that they should ignore widespread voter disapproval of his agenda as he urged them to once again jettison filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate in order to ram through a bill that would strip health coverage from an estimated 23 million people over the next decade and pass massive tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

“The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” the president tweeted Tuesday morning. Continue reading

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Trump Official Praises Autocratic Rule: ‘Not a Single Hint of a Protester’ in Saudi Arabia

No ‘bad placards’ in nation where such political dissent is punishable by death

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2017

Wilbur Ross. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Putting a fine point on the spin that President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East has been a glowing, peace-dealing success, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praised the fact that there were no protesters in Saudi Arabia—a nation where political dissonance is punishable by death.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Ross, who accompanied Trump on the weekend trip to Riyadh, said he found it “fascinating” that he did not see “a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.” Continue reading

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