Category Archives: Social Justice

At Rallies Nationwide, Low-Wage Workers Tell Political Leaders: ‘Our Votes Are Demands’

“Our government’s refusal to fully address poverty and low wages even after the worst days of Covid is not only killing our brothers and sisters,” said Rev. Dr. William Barber. “It’s killing our public conscience.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 3-2-2024 by Common Dreams

Rev. Dr. William Barber speaks during a demonstration in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 2, 2024. (Photo: NC Poor People’s Campaign/Facebook)

Low-wage workers, faith leaders, and allies rallied in state capitals across the United States on Saturday as part of a mass mobilization of poor voters ahead of the pivotal 2024 election.

The nationwide demonstrations were organized by the Poor People’s Campaign, a multiracial movement calling on state legislators and members of the U.S. Congress to act immediately to end the “crisis of death by poverty” in the richest country in the world. Research published last year found that poverty is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States.

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Florida House Republicans Advance Bill to ‘Deny the Legal Existence’ of Trans People

“Rest assured that the passage of this discriminatory bill would have a detrimental and real-life impact on the trans community,” said one Florida ACLU leader.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-1-2024 by Common Dreams

Capital Pride Parade in, Washington, DC 2018. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

The ACLU of Florida on Friday led condemnation of a bill passed by the Republican-controlled lower chamber of the state Legislature that “seeks to deny the legal existence of transgender individuals by requiring individuals to identify as their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender on their driver’s licenses and ID cards.”

Dubbed the Trans Erasure Bill by opponents, H.B. 1639 passed by a vote of 75-33. The ACLU notes that the legislation “also requires health plans to cover the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy and creates additional obstacles for health plans to cover gender-affirming care.”

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60 Days Into 2024 and Millionaires Are Already Done Paying Into Social Security

“Ninety-four percent of Americans contribute to Social Security all year long, but the wealthy stop paying after their first $168,600 in wage income.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 2-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Public domain

Most Americans contribute to Social Security year-round, but U.S. millionaires will stop paying into the critical program on March 2—just over two months into 2024.

That’s because Social Security’s payroll tax doesn’t apply to earned income above a certain level. For 2024, the cut-off is $168,600, and capital gains—such as stock appreciation—are not subject to the payroll levy at all. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world’s richest man, pays nothing into Social Security because he doesn’t take a salary.

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Senate GOP Blocks Effort to Federally Protect IVF Access

“Remember this the next time they claim to care about freedom and family,” said one Democratic lawmaker.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-28-2024 by Common Dreams

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. (Official U.S. Senate photo by Karsyn Meyerson)

Democratic U.S. lawmakers and reproductive rights defenders on Wednesday blasted congressional Republicans and former U.S. President Donald Trump after a GOP senator blocked a bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization a week after Alabama’s right-wing Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) objected to a request to pass by unanimous consent a bill introduced by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to federally protect IVF access, claiming that the bill is “a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far.”

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FTC and State AGs Sue to Block Kroger-Albertsons ‘Mega Merger’

“By suing to block the Kroger-Albertsons merger, the FTC is keeping grocery bills down and workers in their jobs,” said one anti-monopoly campaigner.

By Jake Johnson. Published 2-26-2024 by Common Dreams

The Federal Trade Commission Building, Washington, DC. Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

The Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general joined forces Monday on a lawsuit aimed at blocking the supermarket giant Kroger from buying up the Albertsons grocery chain, warning the merger would hamper competition, further drive up food prices, and harm workers.

If completed, the $24.6 billion deal would mark the largest supermarket merger in U.S. history at a time when grocery chains are facing growing scrutiny for driving up prices to pad their bottom lines. A Kroger-Albertsons grocery behemoth would control more than 5,000 stores and 4,000 retail pharmacies across the country, according to the FTC.

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Childcare Crisis Grips US as IRS Chief Says Wealthy Tax Dodgers Cost $150 Billion a Year

“If we can afford to spend over $1 trillion on tax breaks for the top 1% and large corporations making record-breaking profits, we can afford to provide working class families with the childcare they desperately need.”

By Jon Queally. Published 2-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Learning Policy Institute: Laura E. Hernández/CC BY-NC 4.0

A survey of early childhood educators and caregivers released Sunday shows the post-pandemic collapse of federal funding is fueling a national crisis for young children and their families as centers suffer and out-of-pocket costs soar.

The findings of the survey—titled “We Are NOT OK” and put out by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—resulted from questions posed to over 10,000 professionals in the early childhood education sector.

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Trump is no Navalny, and prosecution in a democracy is a lot different than persecution in Putin’s Russia

By James D. Long. Published 2-22-2024 by The Conversation

Alexei Navalny in 2020 on a march in memory of politician Boris Nemtsov, who was killed in Russia. Photo: Michał Siergiejevicz/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, announced on Feb. 16, 2024, lays bare to the world the costs of political persecutions. Although his cause of death remains unknown, the 47-year-old died while serving a 19-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony.

“Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” said Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, in a Feb. 19 video.

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In ‘Massive Escalation’, Texas Sues to Shut Down Faith-Based Shelter for Helping Migrants

“If the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal—so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools, and food banks,” said the nonprofit organization.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Annunciation House volunteers calling upon local and national leaders to welcome asylum-seekers with dignity. Photo: Annunciation House/Facebook

A faith-based migrant aid organization that’s operated in El Paso, Texas for nearly five decades said Wednesday that Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered it to turn over documents about its work earlier this month—but that a lawsuit filed by Paxton has now made clear that his true goal is to shut down the group’s network of shelters.

Annunciation House, which provides food and housing for refugees and undocumented immigrants, received an order from the Consumer Protection Division of Paxton’s office on February 7, demanding that it turn over documents including legal service referrals, identifying information about asylum-seekers and migrants the group helped, and applications for federal funding. The organization was given one day to turn over the documents, and Paxton provided no explanation for the demand.

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Ending Reign of GOP Gerrymandering, Evers Approves Fair Maps in Wisconsin

“Wisconsin, for the first time in over a decade, we will not have some of the most gerrymandered maps in America,” Evers said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. Photo: Wisconsin National Guard/flickr/CC

For the first time since 2011, Wisconsin has state Assembly and Senate maps that do not unconstitutionally favor Republican candidates.

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed new legislative maps into law on Monday that were crafted by his office and approved by the state Supreme Court.

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Mexico is suing US gun-makers for arming its gangs − and a US court could award billions in damages

By Timothy D. Lytton. Published 2-16-2024 by The Conversation

Photo: Mexperience

The government of Mexico is suing U.S. gun-makers for their role in facilitating cross-border gun trafficking that has supercharged violent crime in Mexico.

The lawsuit seeks US$10 billion in damages and a court order to force the companies named in the lawsuit – including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Beretta and Ruger – to change the way they do business. In January, a federal appeals court in Boston decided that the industry’s immunity shield, which so far has protected gun-makers from civil liability, does not apply to Mexico’s lawsuit.

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