Category Archives: Health Care

‘Quiet Revolt’ Brewing at USPS as Postal Workers Defy Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s Mail Sabotage

“A good reminder to thank your letter carrier for the important work they do.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2020

A postal worker gives a thumbs-up to demonstrators protesting the Trump administration’s sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service on August 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for MoveOn)

On top of mounting court injunctions and ongoing investigations by members of Congress, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is running up against another key source of resistance as he attempts to implement sweeping changes to the U.S. mail service just ahead of the November election: letter carriers and other rank-and-file Postal Service employees.

Angered by DeJoy’s efforts to overhaul longstanding USPS policies designed to ensure mail is delivered on time, postal workers across the nation have been slow-walking and outright defying instructions from leadership to leave mail behind, dismantle sorting machines, and cut back on overtime in an effort to limit the damage to a service that millions rely on to vote, receive life-saving medications, and run small businesses. Continue reading

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Unlike US, Europe picks top judges with bipartisan approval to create ideologically balanced high courts

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21 called on the Republican-controlled Senate not to confirm a new justice until the next president is in office. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

David Orentlicher, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court immediately sparked a bitter partisan fight.

But choosing judges for the nation’s highest court doesn’t have to be so polarizing.

In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court’s ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions. Continue reading

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Kushner-Linked Firm and Gig Economy Set to Reap Huge Profits as Mass Evictions Begin

With threats of homelessness and bankruptcy in the air as the eviction moratoriums subside, both renters and small landlords are getting pinched by predatory tech capitalism as the gig-economy hits the real estate market.

By Raul Diego. Published 9-23-2020 by MintPress News

Photo: DLPNG

In 2014, former Blackstone and Goldman Sachs investment banker Ryan Williams got together with his “college buddy,” Joshua Kushner – Jared’s brother – to form a real estate investment platform they called Cadre. Cadre sought to disrupt the real estate industry in the wake of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis by tinderizing property deals through a tech platform that brought investors and sellers together. According to Williams, whose other investors include George Soros and Peter Theil, Cadre’s mission is “to level the playing field in an industry that is often tilted toward the biggest players” by taking an “offline” industry online and making it “transparent.”

A pre-Covid initiative to capitalize on its platform came in the form of the so-called “opportunity zones,” that Jared Kushner directly lobbied for inclusion in Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, billed as a funding mechanism to help poor and distressed communities, which turned into a multi-billion-dollar land heist by the wealthiest Americans, like the Kushner family. The pandemic lockdown protocols forced Cadre to downsize, laying off 25 percent of its workforce in March. Continue reading

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Trump EPA Denounced for ‘Disgusting’ Decision on Atrazine, Herbicide Tied to Birth Defects

One critic warned that “this decision imperils the health of our children and the safety of drinking water supplies across much of the nation.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2020

Atrazine is mostly used on corn, according to Civil Eats, “but also on sorghum, sugarcane, and a few other crops, as well as on golf courses, Christmas tree farms, and in residential landscaping.” (Photo: TumblingRun/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration alarmed environmental and public health advocates on Friday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reauthorize the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as birth defects and cancer.

“Use of this extremely dangerous pesticide should be banned, not expanded,” declared Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). “This disgusting decision directly endangers the health of millions of Americans.” Continue reading

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Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wages for People With Disabilities

“Paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage is discrimination—plain and simple—and it’s way past time we repeal this outdated policy.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2020

NYC DOT joined the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in the first ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Photo: NYC DOT/flickr/CC

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ recommendation that Congress repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act—which allows employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage—was praised Thursday by numerous Democratic lawmakers.

According to the USCCR’s report—titled “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities” (pdf)—there are over 1,500 “sheltered workshops,” separate work centers where employees with disabilities are “not integrated into a broader community or work setting,” in the U.S. that employ over 100,000 people. Continue reading

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‘Everyone in America Should Be Outraged’: McConnell Quietly Rams Through More Lifetime Trump Judges While Blocking Covid Relief

“It’s outrageous that McConnell continues to prioritize the Trump court takeover amid the pandemic. Enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-16-2020

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

As Covid-19 relief for jobless and hungry Americans, collapsing small businesses, and state and local governments languishes in the Senate GOP’s legislative graveyard, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday further advanced his years-long project of dragging U.S. federal courts to the right by ramming through three more of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees and teed up votes on several others.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, noted on Twitter that the latest confirmations came four months to the day after the Democrat-controlled House passed the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that McConnell dismissed as an “unserious liberal wish list” and blocked from receiving a vote in the Senate. Continue reading

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USDA and Meatpacking Industry Collaborated to Undermine Covid-19 Response, Documents Show

Hundreds of emails obtained by Public Citizen and American Oversight offer a rare inside look at the meat industry’s power and access to the highest levels of government.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2020

Some critics have called keeping meat processing plants open during the Covid-19 pandemic a “death sentence” for workers.. Screenshot: CBS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.

The documents (pdf), which the groups obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reveal that a week before President Donald Trump issued his controversial executive order in April to keep meatpacking plants open—overriding closure orders from local health officials—a leading meat industry lobby group drafted a proposed executive order that was strikingly similar to Trump’s directive. Continue reading

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Bye Bye, Big Oil? BP Admits Demand May Have Already Peaked, Predicts Growth of Renewable Energy

Welcoming news that oil demand may never recover to pre-pandemic levels, Greenpeace noted that “a #GreenRecovery will hasten its demise.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2020

BP’s annual report on the future of energy, released Monday, says demand for oil may have peaked last year and projects significant growth in renewables over the next three decades. (Photo: tolkien1914/flickr/cc)

As communities worldwide face off against and file suit over the devastating impacts of a climate crisis notably driven by fossil fuel giants, BP on Monday gave just the latest signal that the dirty energy industry is dying—admitting that global demand for oil may have already peaked while projecting significant growth in renewables over the next few decades.

The new edition of BP’s annual Energy Outlook features three potential transition scenarios to 2050, the year by which the British firm says it intends to deliver its net-zero ambition. The forecast, Reuters reported, “underpins chief executive Bernard Looney’s new strategy to ‘reinvent’ the 111-year old oil and gas company by shifting renewables and power.” Continue reading

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Oregon Can’t Fight Wildfires Because Its Helicopters Were Sent To Afghanistan

Many of Oregon’s largest firefighting aircraft are not available because the Department of Defense has sent them to Afghanistan to fight in the 20-year-old war.

By Alan Macleod. Published 9-11-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: KGW8

More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.

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Emails Show How Trump Official at HHS Tried to Get Fauci to Downplay Covid-19 Threat to School Children

“This sort of story will be recalled years from now as an example of the government interfering with science, with predictably disastrous results.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

Reporting from Politico Wednesday revealed that a Trump-allied official within the Department of Health and Human Services tried to censor Dr. Anthony Fauci from communicating to the press dangers the coronavirus may pose to school children.

According to Politico, the messaging directives came from Paul Alexander, a Trump administration appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services. Alexander is a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, a Trump ally and assistant HHS secretary for public affairs. Continue reading

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