Category Archives: Religion

Saudi Arabia, Belarus Among Countries Joining US-Led Coalition Claiming Women Have ‘No International Right to Abortion’

“This administration doesn’t seem content to stop until it has fully trampled on the rights, autonomy, and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-22-2020

Protest against changes in abortion law in Poland,. Photo: Zorro2212/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Further distancing itself from longtime U.S. allies regarding reproductive rights, the Trump administration on Thursday joined 32 countries in signing a declaration claiming that pregnant people have “no international right to abortion.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the virtual signing ceremony for the so-called “Geneva Consensus Declaration” after the administration formed an international coalition comprised of countries where abortion care is banned or severely restricted, to counter the United Nations’ support for reproductive rights. Continue reading

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Critics Call Upcoming Pentagon Visit by Indonesian Defense Minister—Accused of Horrific Atrocities—a ‘Human Rights Catastrophe’

Prabowo Subianto—who led a notorious commando unit implicated in genocidal violence—was invited to Washington by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2020

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Prabowo Subianto / CC BY-SA

Human rights advocates this week sounded the alarm on a meeting scheduled for Friday between American Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, a former U.S.-trained general in an elite army unit implicated in genocidal violence and other atrocities in East Timor, West Papua, Jakarta, and elsewhere in the archipelago nation in the late decades of the last century.

Since 2000, Prabowo has been banned from entering the United States by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. However, Esper last week invited the 68-year-old to Washington as the Trump administration seeks closer relations with the nation of 268 million people in a bid to counter China’s growing clout. Continue reading

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Native Americans Protesting Trump Border Wall Tear Gassed, Arrested by US Agents on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

“It’s obscene and offensive to us that local and state governments move to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day while the federal government blows up our sacred sites, steals our kids, militarily occupies our communities, and shoots at Native Americans.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams Published 10-13-2020

A dozen land and water protectors were arrested after Border Patrol and Arizona State Troopers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a Native American ceremony on Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 12, 2020. (Photo: Rafael Samanez/O’odham Anti Border Collective)

Twelve people, including at least eight Native Americans, were arrested near an immigration checkpoint in Southern Arizona on Indigenous Peoples’ Day after United States Border Patrol agents and Arizona law enforcement officials violently repressed a peaceful action held Monday morning by roughly 30 land and water protectors.

The O’odham Anti Border Collective—a group of Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, and Hia Ced O’odham tribal members that seeks to promote the cultural practices and protect the homelands of all O’odham nations “through the dismantling of colonial borders”—organized an Indigenous prayer ceremony to voice opposition to the cultural and ecological destruction caused by the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall. Continue reading

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‘Deep Sense of Despair’: UNRWA Chief Says Palestinians Suffering Dual Pandemics of Covid-19 and Poverty

“In Gaza, people are going through the garbage,” said Philippe Lazzarini. “More people are fighting to provide one or two meals a day to their families.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12=2020

Health staff from the Shaboura Health Centre in Rafah, Gaza, run by UN relief agency UNRWA, deliver medications directly to elderly Palestine refugees in the wake of COVID-19, so as to reduce their chances of exposure.. Photo: UNRWA/Khalil Adwan

Gaza residents are sifting through trash to find food amid soaring poverty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a crippling 13-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Monday.

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), told The Guardian that “there is despair and hopelessness” not only in Gaza but throughout Palestine and the Palestinian refugee diaspora in neighboring and nearby nations. 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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Labor Day celebrates earning a living, but remember what work really means

Doing a job to help other people can give greater meaning to work. Photo by Eddie Kopp for Unsplach, CC BY-ND

Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. employment is dire. Economists estimate that 1 in 5 workers have lost their jobs. As a result, many people are finding it difficult to keep a roof overhead and put food on the table. Yet there can be more to work, and Labor Day provides an opportunity to see how through the writings of a woman who thought especially deeply about it, Simone Weil.

Weil looked at work as more than an exchange of money for labor. She argued that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of labor itself. From her perspective, money does not solve the core problems of joblessness. Instead, work provides vital opportunities to live more fully by helping others. Continue reading

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Shadow armies: how the West wages war but keeps its soldiers at home

ISIS is enjoying a renaissance and the West is fighting back with a shadow war, free of public debate or political scrutiny.

By Paul Rogers  Published 9-3-2020 by openDemocracy

Others do the dirty work. Screenshot: CNN

In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.

Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading

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Dismissing Need for Abortion Access, Ted Cruz Claims Pregnancy Is Not ‘Life-Threatening’—Despite Alarming Maternal Mortality Rate in US

“Ted Cruz has never been pregnant and clearly knows nothing about maternal mortality rates in the U.S. or in Texas.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-3-2020

Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr

Reproductive rights advocates rebuked Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday after he claimed that pregnancy is “not a life-threatening” condition for women while arguing that medication abortions should not be available in the United States.

After joining 20 of his GOP colleagues in writing a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on the agency to ban mifepristone and misoprostol, which are used in early pregnancy to induce an abortion, the Texas Republican tweeted that the pills are “dangerous” and unnecessary for women’s health. Continue reading

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Amid Pandemic, Trump Petitions Supreme Court to Make Potential Covid-19 Exposure ‘the Price of Abortion Care’

“We’ve already blocked this policy in two federal courts—and we plan to do so again,” said the ACLU.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2020

President Donld Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate an FDA rule mandating a doctor’s office visit for patients to obtain mifepristone, which is used to terminate an early pregnancy. (Photo: Robin Marty/Flickr)

Potentially subjecting patients to Covid-19 risks in the interest of violating the constitutional right to seek an abortion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a rule requiring patients to see a doctor in person before obtaining a medication used to provide abortion care.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) restriction on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and other reproductive healthcare providers and rights groups. Continue reading

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Israel Launches Week-Long Bombing Campaign in Gaza Amid Ongoing War Crimes Investigation

Israeli leaders have characterized the latest bombardment as retaliatory, citing “incendiary balloons” and “riots” as justification.

By Kathryn Shihadah   Published 8-18-2020 by MintPress News

Israeli bombing of Gaza on 8-12-2020. Photo: Sucheta/Twitter

Last Monday night Israeli fighter jets executed airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip for the ninth night in a row in an act that may be another on Israel’s long list of possible war crimes.

Israeli leaders characterized the actions as retaliatory, naming Gazan “incendiary balloons” and “riots” as justification. Continue reading

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