Category Archives: Government

Ohio Court Filings Detail Dozens of Patients Put Under ‘Extreme Duress’ by Abortion Ban

“In the days after S.B. 23 took effect, we had to cancel over 600 appointments,” said the director of one healthcare clinic. “Many patients broke down in tears in our office… some threatened to hurt themselves because they were so distraught.”

By Julia Conley  Published 9-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Three doctors at an abortion rights protest at the Ohio Statehouse on May 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Konik

Sworn affidavits filed in an Ohio court illustrate the emotional and physical turmoil caused by the state’s abortion ban, which garnered national attention in July when it forced a 10-year-old pregnant survivor of rape to leave the state in order to get abortion care.

As the Ohio Capital Journal reported Thursday, abortion providers in the state have seen the effects of Senate Bill 23—which banned nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and is now temporarily blocked until mid-October—on dozens on patients facing fetal abnormalities, cancer diagnoses, and pregnancies resulting from rape. Continue reading

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Majority of Republican Voters Say US Should Be Declared a ‘Christian Nation’

More than 60% of GOP voters supported codifying Christian nationalism even as they said the U.S. Constitution does not support such a declaration.

By Julia Conley  Published 9-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Far-right Republican lawmakers who have recently invoked Christian nationalist messages appear to be representing a growing portion of their voter base, according to a new poll released Wednesday showing that a sizable majority of Republicans believe the U.S. should be declared a “Christian nation.”

As Professors Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland wrote at Politico, the school’s critical issues poll found that while a majority of Republican voters agree that such a declaration would be unconstitutional, most also believe that the U.S. should be officially known as Christian. Continue reading

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‘Heed This Warning’: 2,500+ Book Bans Threaten US Schools and Democracy

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” says author PEN America.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-19-2022 by Common Dreams

As Banned Books Week began Monday in the United States, a leading advocacy group published an updated report warning of a surge in right-wing efforts to censor and ban titles—many of them related to the struggles of marginalized peoples—in American schools.

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” begins the update to PEN America’s Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights, which was published in April and covered the first nine months of the 2021-22 scholastic year. Continue reading

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First Hit by Privatization, Puerto Rico in ‘Total Blackout’ as Fiona Makes Landfall

First Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Then the power grid was privatized in 2020. Now this.

By Jon Queally  Published 9-18-2022 by Common Dreams

NOAA satellite imagery as Hurricane Fiona, a Category 1 storm with sustained windspeeds of 85 mph, made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, September 18, 2022. (Image: Satellite/NOAA)

A “total blackout” was reported on the island of Puerto Rico on Sunday as heavy rainfall and powerful winds pounded the island before Hurricane Fiona made landfall just before 4:00 pm local time.

Weather forecasters said the rainfall is likely to produce devastating landslides and severe flooding, with up to 25 inches (64 cm) expected in some areas. A Category 1 storm, with sustained winds of 85 mph, Fiona is nowhere near as powerful as Hurricane Maria which slammed the island in 2017, nearly five years to the day, as a Category 4 monster. Continue reading

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US is becoming a ‘developing country’ on global rankings that measure democracy, inequality

People wait in line for a free morning meal in Los Angeles in April 2020. High and rising inequality is one reason the U.S. ranks badly on some international measures of development.
Frederic J. Brown/ AFP via Getty Images

 

Kathleen Frydl, Johns Hopkins University

The United States may regard itself as a “leader of the free world,” but an index of development released in July 2022 places the country much farther down the list.

In its global rankings, the United Nations Office of Sustainable Development dropped the U.S. to 41st worldwide, down from its previous ranking of 32nd. Under this methodology – an expansive model of 17 categories, or “goals,” many of them focused on the environment and equity – the U.S. ranks between Cuba and Bulgaria. Both are widely regarded as developing countries. Continue reading

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Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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House Passes Bill That Would Thwart Trump Plot to Purge Federal Workers

“The former president’s attempt to remove qualified experts and replace them with political loyalists threatened our national security and our government’s ability to function the way the American people expect it to,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, the bill’s sponsor.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. House Democrats and a handful of Republicans on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s plot to oust civil servants by passing the Preventing a Patronage System Act.

“The civil servants who make up our federal workforce are the engine that keeps our federal government running,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the bill’s sponsor. “We rely on their experience and expertise to provide every basic government service—from delivering the mail to helping families in the wake of natural disasters.” Continue reading

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Intense heat and flooding are wreaking havoc on power and water systems as climate change batters America’s aging infrastructure

Volunteers distributed bottled water after Jackson, Mississippi’s water treatment plant failed during flooding in August 2022.
Brad Vest/Getty Images

 

Paul Chinowsky, University of Colorado Boulder

The 1960s and 1970s were a golden age of infrastructure development in the U.S., with the expansion of the interstate system and widespread construction of new water treatment, wastewater and flood control systems reflecting national priorities in public health and national defense. But infrastructure requires maintenance, and, eventually, it has to be replaced.

That hasn’t been happening in many parts of the country. Increasingly, extreme heat and storms are putting roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure under stress. Continue reading

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Scientists Develop Malaria Vaccine With ‘World-Changing’ Potential

“We really could be looking at a very substantial reduction in that horrendous burden of malaria,” said one of the researchers involved.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 9-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: GHTC/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a malaria vaccine with “world-changing” potential, BBC News reported Wednesday, though getting shots into arms will require a renewed commitment to global health funding that advocates warn is in danger of being slashed.

Adrian Hill, director of the university’s Jenner Institute and co-inventor of the R21 jab, described it as “the best vaccine yet” against malaria. Continue reading

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‘Monstrous’: Federal Judge Rules HIV Drug Coverage Mandate Violates Religious Freedom

The right-wing judge found that requiring insurers and employers to cover the HIV prevention drug violates the religious liberty of a company whose owner advocated executing LGBTQ+ people.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-7-2022 by Common Dreams

A person pours two PrEP pills from a bottle. (Photo: NAM aidsmap/cc)

Legal, healthcare, and LGBTQ+ advocates on Wednesday denounced a ruling by a right-wing federal judge in Texas who found that the federal law requiring insurance coverage of an HIV prevention drug violates a Christian-owned company’s religious freedom.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in Braidwood Management Inc. vs. Xavier Becerra that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurers and employers cover pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, infringes upon the liberty of a company under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Continue reading

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