Category Archives: Technology

Trump’s FCC Chair Accused of Betraying Public Interest Mandate by Backing T-Mobile/Sprint Mega-Merger

He “seems to take smug pleasure in being a blatant telecom shill.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-20-2019

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Consumer advocates rebuked FCC chairman Ajit Pai on Monday after the Trump appointee backed the proposed mega-merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

“Ajit Pai doesn’t even try to pretend that he works for the public,” said Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer. “He seems to take smug pleasure in being a blatant telecom shill.”

Pai’s approval followed what Engadget put as “a fresh round of promises [from the companies] to win regulators’ hearts.” Continue reading

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Despite Christchurch Massacre and Others, Trump Refuses to Join ‘Unprecedented’ Global Effort to Tackle Racist Extremism Online

“To be honest, I do not understand the United States,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-15-2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron this week launched the Christchurch Call, a global initiative to combat online extremism. (Photo: @JaneCoombsNZ/Twitter)

The White House announced Wednesday it will not join a global initiative, launched in the wake of a massacre in New Zealand two months ago, to tackle racist and extremist online content.

“By not standing alongside other world leaders to fight hate,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center in response, “President Trump has shown once again that he doesn’t understand the importance of white supremacy in fueling terrorism.” Continue reading

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Facebook’s Hire of Patriot Act Co-Author Raises Questions on Company’s Commitment to Privacy

“What could go wrong?”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2019

Sometimes I feel like, somebody’s watching me. (Image:Flickr)

Social media giant Facebook made a major hire Monday, bringing on lawyer Jennifer Newstead as the company’s general counsel—a move that generated criticism due to Newstead’s work two decades ago drafting the Patriot Act.

The company announced the hire by citing Newstead’s extensive work in government. Most recently, Newstead acted as the legal adviser for the State Department. Continue reading

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On Earth Day, Remembering the US Military’s Toxic Legacy

The DoD produces more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined.

By Whitney Webb. Published 4-22-2019 by MintPress News

Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Hernandez, right, practices attaching and removing a second stage regulator on his mask during practical application exercises as part of a hazardous waste operations and emergency response course at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Photo: Stephen D. Himes/USMC

Media outlets gave minimal attention to recent news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact – that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation’s and the world’s, largest polluter.

Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others. Continue reading

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Trump to Add ‘Tasteless Insult to Injury’ by Promoting Fossil Fuel Deregulation in Shadow of Fatal Chemical Fire

“It’s no surprise that Trump is once again taking an action championed by climate deniers and fossil fuel companies.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-8-2019

A chemical plant fire at 16503 Ramsey Road in Crosby, Texas on Tuesday, April 2. (Photo: Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office)

Just a week after a chemical plant explosion killed one worker and spewed thousands of pounds of dangerous pollutants into the air in Crosby, Texas, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to visit that city Wednesday to sign executive orders to speed up approval of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.

“In coming to the location of a deadly fossil fuel-related explosion to sign an order that would gut states’ power to protect residents from the hazards of oil and gas pipelines, Trump is adding tasteless insult to the injury he is inflicting on our planet,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. Continue reading

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US Government’s Refusal to Confirm or Deny It Put American Journalist on Drone Kill List Called ‘Chilling’

“The government seeks to shield itself from all inquiry into the process by which it acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2019

A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa. Photo: DJANDYW.COM/flickr

Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government’s infamous “kill list” warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country’s drone assassination program is allowed to continue.

The organization’s comments came as part of a response to the U.S. government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit regarding its use of the list. Reprieve is representing Bilal Abdul Kareem, a journalist and U.S. citizen who claims he was repeatedly targeted —and nearly killed on five separate occasions—by drone and missile attacks in 2016 when he was reporting on the ongoing conflict in Syria. Continue reading

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Trump Admin Complementing Israeli Effort to Give Nuclear Weapons to Saudi Arabia

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.

By Alan Macleod. Published 3-29-2019 by MintPress News

Photo: White House/flickr

U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters revealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.

While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading

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Over 300,000 Internet Users Tune In as Net Neutrality Bill Clears Major Hurdle ‘Unscathed’

Digital rights group Fight for the Future said so many people were watching the hearing online that they “broke the counter”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2019

“The eruption of grassroots support had an impact, and the bill passed the subcommittee vote without issue,” Fight for the Future said in a statement. (Image: Sen. Patty Murray/Twitter)

The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Tuesday passed the Save the Internet Act and overcame the telecom industry’s last-minute efforts to gut the bill—all as more than 300,000 internet users watched the proceedings throughout the day.

“So many people were watching an obscure subcommittee hearing on the Save the Net Act today that it broke the counter,” tweeted the digital rights group Fight for the Future. Continue reading

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‘Simple Laws of Economics’ Doom Remaining US Coal Plants as Solar and Wind Are Now Cheaper for American Households

“America has officially entered the ‘coal cost crossover.'”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-25-2019

A new study based on data from the Energy Information Agency found that coal plants are now far more expensive to run than wind and solar power projects. (Photo: reynermedia/flickr/cc)

In propping up the coal industry, the Trump administration is not only contributing to dangerous pollution, fossil fuel emissions, and the climate crisis, it is also now clinging to a far more expensive energy production model than renewable energy offers.

That’s according to a new report from renewable energy analysis firm Energy Innovation, showing that about three-quarters of power produced by the nation’s remaining coal plants is more expensive for American households than renewables including wind, solar, and hydro power. Continue reading

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Cries of ‘Shame!’ Heard at Arlington County, Va. Hearing As Officials Approve $23M in Incentives for Amazon

“You claim Arlington is a place for all, for immigrants, for equality, [and] clamor for the attention of a company that does the opposite.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-17-2019

Anti-Amazon demonstrators attended an Arlington County Board hearing Saturday to demand the board vote against $23 million in financial incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build a headquarters in Crystal City. (Photo: @hqpoo/Twitter)

Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.

The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services. Continue reading

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