Category Archives: Technology

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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In Era of Aging Reactors, Nuclear Industry’s Push for Deregulation Sparks Warning of ‘Collision Course’ With Disaster

Critics raise alarm about ongoing efforts to shift to “self-assessments” for safety and limit information shared with the public

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2019

Three Mile Island, 2013. Photo: Ted Van Pelt/flickr

Independent watchdogs are raising alarm about the nuclear power industry’s ongoing efforts to convince federal regulators to scale back safety inspections and limit what “lower-level” issues are reported to the public.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—an agency dominated by President Donald Trump’s appointees—is currently reviewing its enforcement policies and is set to put forth recommendations for updating the nationwide rules in June. As part of that process, it sought input from plant operators and industry groups. Continue reading

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GOING BACKWARDS: Trump To Slash Renewables Funding in New Budget

Trump Escalates War On Renewable Energy, Slashes DOE Budget By 70%

By Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2019

Trump Escalates War On Renewables, Slashes DOE Budget By 70% (Photo: Energy Watch Group/Lappeenranta University of Technology)

A senior Trump administration official has told Bloomberg News that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by about 70 percent, to $700 million, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which will be released on Monday.

Trump, who rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the climate crisis, has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development (R&D). Trump proposed similarly dramatic cuts to EERE’s budget in both his fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 proposals. Continue reading

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‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop

“We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-25-2019

A new study warns that if the Earth’s atmospheric carbon hits a certain level, stratocumulus clouds could completely vanish, causing the planet’s temperatures to skyrocket even higher. (Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/cc)

As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.

Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. Continue reading

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‘We Refuse to Create Technology for Warfare and Oppression’: Microsoft Workers Demand Company End Army Contract

“As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-23-2019

The Hololens is demonstrated at the Penn Museum. (Photo: Penn Libraries-TRL/flickr/cc)

Declaring to chief executives that they refuse “to become war profiteers,” a group of Microsoft workers on Friday demanded the company cancel a contract with the U.S. Army that they say would “help people kill” and turn warfare into a “video game.”

Their open letter is addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, and, according to the “Microsoft Workers 4 Good” Twitter handle, which posted the document, it got over employee 100 signatures in its first day. Continue reading

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Despite ‘War Crimes’ Concerns in Yemen, Raytheon Nabs $1.6 Billion Arms Deal With UAE

Announcement comes as resolution to end U.S. complicity in Yemen war edges toward Senate vote

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-18-2019

Destroyed house in Sanaa. Photo: brahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) just inked billions in deals to secure new weapons from top Pentagon contractor Raytheon a week after an Amnesty International investigation further implicated the Gulf nation in war crimes for transferring Western weapons to unaccountable militia groups, thereby deepening the humanitarian crisis and fueling carnage in war-ravaged Yemen.

“The ongoing carnage against civilians in Yemen—including at the hands of the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition and the militias it backs—should give serious pause to all states supplying arms,” said Patrick Wilcken, arms control and human rights researcher at Amnesty International. “Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to siphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes.” Continue reading

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Demanding Lawmakers Forge ‘Path Away From Climate Suicide,’ Groups Kick Off Green New Deal Push

“We have no time to lose in the fight to avoid irrevocable climate chaos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A coalition of progressive groups has launched a week of action to demand a progressive Green New Deal from federal lawmakers. (Photo: Friends of the Earth/Twitter)

Building on the grassroots momentum that has thrust the Green New Deal onto a national stage, a coalition of progressive groups on Monday launched a week of action to demand climate leadership from federal lawmakers, calling for a plan to fully phase out fossil fuels and rapidly reform industries that produce massive amounts of planet-warming emissions while also promoting economic justice.

“To take action on climate change at the scale of the crisis, we need a Green New Deal,” declared May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s time for all progressive lawmakers to take real climate action and support a massive federal investment to bring health, safety, and justice to people and the planet.” Continue reading

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With ‘Nothing Less Than Fate of the Internet’ at Stake, Federal Court Told Why FCC’s Attack on Net Neutrality So Dangerous

“Without protecting net neutrality,” broadband providers “will control the internet experiences of everyone. And that cannot be what happens.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-2-2019

Net neutrality advocates rallied outside the Lincoln, Nebraska office of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on July 13, 2018 to urge him to support a measure that would restore net neutrality protections nationwide. (Photo: @IndivisibleLNK/Twitter)

Advocates of net neutrality had their eyes on a federal court on Friday, where the showdown over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the Obama-era open internet protections continued.

At the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, oral arguments in Mozilla v. FCC were heard. In that suit, which The Verge frames as “one of the most important cases in internet law history,” technology and advocacy groups joined by over 20 state attorneys general challenge the FCC’s 2017 gutting of net neutrality.  Continue reading

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‘Extremely Concerned’ World Leaders and Experts Implore Trump and Putin to Preserve Nuclear Treaty

Alongside warnings withdrawal from INF would be “stupid and reckless,” one signatory to open letter said conflict “should be resolved through the treaty, not by abandoning it.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-30-2019

Photo: kremlin.ru

Elected officials and experts from more than 40 countries have sent an open letter to U.S. President Donald, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and various other world leaders imploring them to preserve the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the Trump administration has said it plans to withdraw, despite warnings that doing so “would be stupid and reckless.

While welcoming progress on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, the letter (pdf) emphasizes alarm over the “erosion” of the INF Treaty; war games and nuclear weapons development the United States ditching the Iran nuclear deal; and “unresolved conflicts between Russia and the West including over Crimea and Syria and between nuclear armed states in other regions including South Asia and the South China Sea.” Continue reading

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‘A Reckless Advocate of Military Force’: Demands for John Bolton’s Dismissal After Reports He Asked Pentagon for Options to Strike Iran

“Make no mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-13-2019

President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly asked the Pentagon last year to draw up options to strike Iran. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, “a reckless advocate of military force,” the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton “asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department.”

“It definitely rattled people,” a former U.S. official said of the request, which Bolton supposedly made after militants aligned with Iran fired mortars into the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, Iraq that contains the U.S. Embassy in early September. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.” Continue reading

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