Category Archives: Health Care

‘Life-Changer for Millions’: FCC Approves Program to Help Poor Families Overcome Digital Divide During Pandemic

“As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, it’s only gotten harder for many people to afford essential internet connections to the remote learning, work, and healthcare services they need.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2021

Photo: Nenad Stojkovic/flickr/CC

Advocates for boosting access to high-speed internet on Friday welcomed a unanimous vote by the Federal Communications Commission establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help low-income households across the country get and stay online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the $3.2 billion program, for which Congress allocated funding in the December relief package, eligible households will get discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. On tribal lands, the discount is $75 a month. Families will also be given a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet. Continue reading

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‘The CDC Must Appeal Immediately’: Trump-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Pandemic Eviction Moratorium

The pause on evictions was put in place to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-26-2021

Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

A Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas on Thursday sided in favor of a group of landlords and ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional.

“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium. It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation’s history until last year,” wrote Judge John Barker of the  U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Continue reading

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‘No Safe Amount’: Environmentalists Sound Alarm Over Texas Refineries’ Release of Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Pollutants During Storm

337,000 pounds of benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide were flared, as well as an indeterminate amount of methane.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-22-2021

Flaring at Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park TX. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

Texas oil refineries released hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants including benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide into the air as they scrambled to shut down during last week’s deadly winter storm, Reuters reported Sunday.

Winter storm Uri, which killed dozens of people and cut off power to over four million Texans at its peak, also disrupted supplies needed to keep the state’s refineries and petrochemical plants operating. As they shut down, refineries flared—or burned off—gases in order to prevent damage to their processing units. Continue reading

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‘Dirty and Dangerous’: New Data Show Higher Rates of Contamination in Pork Plants Using New Slaughter System

Plants adopting the Trump-approved New Swine Inspection System had, on average, nearly double the rate of fecal and digestive matter contamination of other facilities.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-19-2021

Workers process parts from slaughtered pigs at a Triumph Foods plant in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 28, 2017. (Photo: USDA)

New data released Friday revealed pigs slaughtered at plants piloting a controversial new system—which speeds production while replacing many government inspectors with slaughterhouse employees—had much higher rates of fecal and digestive matter contamination than animals processed in other plants, information that the Trump administration hid from the public while expanding the system.

The consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch said in a statement that from 2014 to 2017, pork processing plants implementing the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) on a trial basis had, on average, “nearly double the violations than comparably sized plants outside the program” and “were almost twice as likely to be cited for contamination.” Continue reading

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New York AG Sues Amazon Over ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Worker Safety During Pandemic

“We won’t let corporate bullies put hardworking New Yorkers in harm’s way,” said the state attorney general, Letitia James.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2021

Screenshot: YouTube

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday sued Amazon, accusing the retail giant of disregarding worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic and retaliating against employees who raised concerns—a move that came just days after she declared that “we won’t be intimidated” in response to the company’s preemptive lawsuit.

The state’s suit (pdf), filed in the New York Supreme Court, follows an investigation launched last March and claims Amazon violated multiple labor laws as the virus struck. Continue reading

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This Is Yemen After Biden Declared an End To American Support for the War

The Biden administration sparked a sense of hope around the world that the war on Yemen could finally be over. For those on the ground though, the bombs keep falling, food is scarce and hope is in short supply.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem Published 2-12-2021 by MintPress News

A group of children play soccer against a backdrop of ruined houses in Sa’ada. Photo: Karrar-al Moayyad/ICRC/CC

SANA’A, YEMEN — Seated next to his 13-year-old daughter Hakimah’s bed in al-Thawra Hospital, S. al-Hanishi watches a breaking news report on a small TV screen announcing that the president of the United States has announced an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on his country.

But al-Hanishi took the news with skepticism. “[Biden] said he’ll end support to Mohammed Bin Salman but will help Saudi Arabia to defend her herself… Come on!” S. al-Hanishi, who asked that only his first initial and tribal surname be used for fear of reprisal, said in dismay. Continue reading

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In ‘Particularly Cruel’ Act, Maine Hospital Vaccinates Out-of-State Union-Busters as Vulnerable Residents Forced to Wait

“It’s concerning that MaineHealth would put their own anti-union agenda, and their own bottom line, ahead of the health and well-being of Maine people.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-11-2021

“MaineHealth is comfortable calling nurses heroes but draws the line at treating them like heroes or respecting their desire to form a union,” said Maine’s Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry (D-Brunswick). Photo: Medic454/wikimedia commons/CC

Maine’s largest health network is being condemned this week by organized labor leaders, a local editorial board, and elected officials after it vaccinated union-busters who traveled from Florida and New York to the Pine Tree state to undermine a unionization effort at a Portland hospital while the state’s frontline workers and eligible residents in high-risk groups were forced to wait.

“Every out-of-state consultant and lawyer that MaineHealth flew in as part of their intimidation campaign got the vaccine instead of someone’s grandparent or loved one,” Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, a Democrat from Allagash, said in a statement Tuesday. Continue reading

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America ‘Should Be Ashamed’: Texas Teen Forced to Use College Savings to Prevent Mom’s Eviction

“Americans owe $70 billion in back rent that they won’t be able to pay. If we don’t get them relief, there will be millions of stories like these.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-10-2021

“This is not a feel-good story,” said Public Citizen on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. “It’s a dystopian nightmare.” (Photo: Twitter screengrab from ABC7 News)

After Alondra Carmona, a high school senior in Houston, recently exhausted all of her college savings to prevent her unemployed mother from being evicted, one media outlet on Tuesday tried to portray it as an “act of kindness,” but progressives are emphasizing that the all-too-common story is an indictment of a deeply unequal society reliant on private charity as a result of policymakers’ failure to guarantee livable incomes, affordable housing and higher education, and more.

“In February of 2020, my mom broke her ankle and was not able to work,” Carmona explained in a GoFundMe ad she created to support her family. “Come March, the coronavirus started, which added to the financial problems we already had. Today, I found out that my mom has not had a job for 3 months and hid it from us. She owes two months of rent and will most likely get evicted in March.” Continue reading

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As DeJoy Readies New Assault on Postal Service, Pressure Grows for Biden to ‘Clean House’

“My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy’s wrecking of USPS,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

With Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week, President Joe Biden is facing growing calls from lawmakers, mail carriers, and others to take urgent steps to protect the U.S. Postal Service from further damage, pave the way for DeJoy’s removal, and shore up the agency’s finances for the near and distant future.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to former President Donald Trump—soon intends to “outline a new vision for the agency, one that includes more service cuts, higher and region-specific pricing, and lower delivery expectations.” Continue reading

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‘Enough Is Enough’: 8 Senate Dems Slammed for Going ‘Hand-in-Hand With GOP’ to Oppose Covid Relief for Undocumented Workers

“Let us be clear on this. Not only do undocumented community members pay taxes, they are also suffering as much as anyone else because of this pandemic.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-5-2021

John Hickenlooper speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 456,000 and U.S. senators participated in a 15-hour overnight voting session, eight Democrats elicited outrage and condemnation from rights advocates and progressives for backing a GOP amendment to explicitly exclude undocumented immigrants—including essential frontline workers—from receiving direct Covid-19 relief.”We expected this vote from Republicans, but seeing Democrats vote this way is a betrayal to the values they say they stand for.”

The “vote-a-rama” on a series of nonbinding Republican amendments culminated in the Senate approving along party lines a budget resolution that could eventually enable congressional Democrats to implement President Joe Biden’s $1.9 American Rescue Plan—which does not include relief checks for undocumented immigrants. Continue reading

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