Category Archives: Human Rights

Experts Warn Trump Executive Action on Unemployment Insurance Deliberately Leaves Out Poorest Americans

“Literally every new detail about these executive orders confirms that in addition to being wildly unconstitutional, they will do absolutely nothing to help anyone who’s suffering.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-10-2020

On top of serious questions about the directive’s legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump’s executive action to extend the federal unemployment insurance boost at $400 per week—using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief—leaves out the poorest Americans by design.

The language of Trump’s unemployment memorandum issued over the weekend defines “eligible claimants” as those receiving “at least $100 per week” in state unemployment benefits—meaning that laid-off workers currently receiving less than $100 per week in aid will not see a dollar in federal relief unless states agree to increase their benefits. Continue reading

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Disbelief as Trump Appoints Disgraced Iran-Contra Criminal Elliott Abrams as Iran Envoy

Activists, the UN, and even mainstream news outlets expressed dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to appoint regime-change champion Elliot Abrahams to the role of Special Representative for Iran.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 8-7-2020 by MintPress News

Elliott Abrams speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. Photo:Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

The Trump administration has appointed disgraced neoconservative hawk Elliott Abrams to the new position of chief advisor on Iran after former insider Brian Hook handed in his resignation earlier this week. “Special Representative Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday, “Following a transition period with Brian Hook, Elliott Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran, in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.” Continue reading

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The other epidemic: white supremacists in law enforcement

Law enforcement agencies have been breeding grounds for far-right ideology for decades, and it’s not just an American problem.

By Simon Purdue,  Published 8-6-2020 by openDemocracy

George Floyd protests on their ninth day in Miami. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia Commons/CC

 

As protests continue to bring cities across the United States to a standstill, the problem of racist policing is more evident than ever before. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis PD was just the latest in a long line of violent assaults on people of color by law enforcement, and his name joins an ever-growing list of people who have been killed by those who are sworn to protect and serve. The United States is grappling with the issue of police racism in front of the world, and the scale of the conversation currently happening is unprecedented, and sadly still not enough.

While the unconscious bias of some officers of the law has been laid bare for all to see, the conscious and hateful bias of others has remained largely in the shadows. The systemic issue of racial profiling is evident, but the hidden epidemic of far-right activism in police forces around the country is an insidious and even more dangerous threat. The links between the police and organized racism are as old as the institutions themselves. Continue reading

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Prohibited From Holding Police Officer to Account, Federal Judge Calls on Supreme Court to Overturn ‘Qualified Immunity’

“Those who violate the constitutional rights of our citizens must be held accountable. When that day comes we will be one step closer to that more perfect Union.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2020

Image: change.org

Handing down a ruling to dismiss a civil lawsuit which alleged a police officer violated a Black man’s Fourth Amendment rights during a traffic stop in 2013, a federal judge in Mississippi made clear that he sided with the plaintiff—and demanded the U.S. Supreme Court overturn legal precedent that makes it nearly impossible for the judicial system to hold officers accountable for rights violations. 

Calling for an end to qualified immunity, which dates back to a 1982 ruling and shields police from civil liability in most cases, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves turned his ruling into a plea for justice for plaintiff Clarence Jamison as well as countless other Black Americans who have faced violent abuse and deadly use of force by officers. Continue reading

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As Prisons Across US Report Surge in Covid-19 Cases, Supreme Court Rules Jail Does Not Have to Provide Basic Protections to Inmates

“There is no legal principle justifying this stay. The only ‘principle’ animating it is the belief of the Republican appointees to the Court that prisoners are subhuman.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2020

Orange County Central Jail Complex. Photo by D Ramey Logan / CC BY-SA

As prisons and jails across the country continue to report Covid-19 outbreaks among inmates and staff, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that a county jail in California does not have to provide its population with basic sanitary and protective equipment or test symptomatic inmates.

Responding to an emergency application by officials at Orange County Jail, the court handed down a 5-4 ruling along partisan lines and issued a temporary stay on an earlier ruling by federal Judge Jesus Bernal. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘Unconstitutional’ Assault on Social Security as Trump Threatens Unilateral Suspension of Payroll Tax

“Donald Trump is so desperate to defund Social Security, he may rip the Constitution to shreds to make it happen.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-5-2020

Photo: White House/flickr

President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he is considering circumventing Congress to unilaterally suspend collection of the payroll tax, a move advocacy groups and lawmakers said would be an “unconstitutional” abuse of power and a destructive attack on Social Security funding.

Trump said during a Covid-19 press briefing that his administration is examining a variety of potential executive orders should Congress fail to reach an agreement on the next stimulus package by the end of the week, a deadline Democratic leaders and the White House set on Tuesday. Continue reading

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‘This Is Terrorism’: With No Face Masks and No Warrant, Border Patrol Agents Raid Humanitarian Aid Station in Arizona and Detain 30 Migrants

“As always when humanitarian aid in the borderlands is targeted, those who seek care are the ones that face the brunt of these violent escalations.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2020

Border Patrol agents raiding a humanitarian aid camp in Airzona Friday. (Photo: No More Deaths/Twitter)

Border Patrol agents on Friday night raided a humanitarian aid station run by immigrant rights advocacy group No More Deaths, detaining 30 people in what activists described as a “massive show of force” aimed at intimidating the group.

“Once again, Border Patrol is concentrating their resources on interfering with humanitarian aid during the most deadly time of year for people crossing the border,” No More Deaths volunteer Paige Corich-Kleim told the Tuscon Sentinel. Continue reading

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Watchdog Groups Demand Probe Into ‘Voter Suppression Tactics’ by Postal Service Chief—and Major Trump Donor—Louis DeJoy

“In his first month on the job, the postmaster general has already taken steps that could undermine efficient voting by mail in November.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2020

Screenshot: YouTube

Government watchdog groups are demanding that the Senate launch an investigation into “potential voter suppression tactics” by recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor whose operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service have slowed mail delivery across the nation and sparked concerns about mail-in ballots in upcoming elections.

“In his first month on the job, the postmaster general has already taken steps that could undermine efficient voting by mail in November,” wrote Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Common Cause Wisconsin in a letter (pdf) to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which has jurisdiction over USPS. Continue reading

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Landmark Measure to Repeal ‘Racist,’ Anti-Choice Helms Amendment Hailed as Step to a ‘More Equitable World’

“Abortion care is healthcare and healthcare is a fundamental human right.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-29-2020

Reproductive rights advocates on Wednesday cheered the introduction of the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment, which has prevented millions of women across the globe from accessing safe abortion care.

Introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the “Abortion Is Health Care Everywhere Act” would rescind the 1973 amendment that blocks U.S. foreign aid funding for abortion and would help support comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women worldwide. Continue reading

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“F-35s Don’t Help Families Pay Their Bills”: GOP Under Fire for Slipping $30 Billion Pentagon Gift Into Coronavirus Plan

“Just how twisted is the Senate GOP coronavirus bill you ask? It includes $686 million for new F-35 fighter jets.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-28-2020

F-25. Photo: Forsvarsdepartementet/flickr/cc

In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.

But a look at the legislative text (pdf) released by Senate Republicans shows the HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors that would do nothing to aid the unemployed, provide nutrition assistance to hungry children, prevent an avalanche of evictions, or stop the spread of coronavirus. Continue reading

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