Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Democracy Looks Like When You Have to Disagree With Your Neighbors

As much as I dislike and distrust our current national administration, I also deeply value community harmony.

By . Published 6-8-2017 by YES! Magazine

Protestors gather outside the hotel where Republican Rep. John Faso is scheduled to speak in Schoharie, New York. Congressman Faso has an 89.7% track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. Photo by Reggie Harris.

I’m leafing through a stack of protest signs in the corner of the mudroom, reading the markered letters, looking to see what can be recycled for tonight. The subjects we’ve collected thus far are about human rights and the environment. It looks like we’ll need to draft something fresh and new for tonight, because the topic is health care. Our Republican congressman, John Faso, has an 89.7 percent track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. He hasn’t been holding town meetings with constituents, he and his staff have stopped responding to letters, I’ve never had a phone call even answered, and his recent vote to repeal ObamaCare in the House has sparked this last minute protest down in the village of Schoharie, New York, where he’s the keynote speaker at a countywide Republican fundraiser. Continue reading

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Tom Price Bought Drug Stocks. Then He Pushed Pharma’s Agenda in Australia

by Robert Faturechi ProPublica, June 1, 2017, 8 a.m.

Tom Price. Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the spring before the 2016 presidential election, the Obama administration’s 12-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was still alive. Negotiators worked on details as Congress considered whether to ratify the pact.

The Australian government was getting in the way of one change demanded by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Makers of cutting-edge biological drugs wanted to have data from their clinical trials protected from competitors for 12 years, as they are under U.S. law 2014 not the roughly five years permitted under the TPP. Australian officials insisted that an extension would deprive consumers of cheaper alternatives for too long. Continue reading

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Trump Administration to Raid Public Ed to Fund School Choice Programs

With key K-12 and higher ed programs on the chopping block, education advocate Diane Ravitch declares: “Don’t agonize. Organize.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration is preparing to unveil a sweeping school choice plan that would be prioritized at the expense of student aid and debt relief as well as public education programs that help low-income children, according to news reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a wealthy philanthropist who lobbied for voucher programs and charter schools before being tapped to lead the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems, will reportedly announce the school choice proposal Monday at an Indianapolis summit hosted by the conservative group she formerly chaired, the American Federation for Children.  Continue reading

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Trump Administration Considering ‘Back-Door Way’ to Cut Social Security

‘If Trump proposes this Trojan horse, it would be the newest shot in the ongoing Republican war against Social Security’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-11-2017

Social Security Works president says latest proposal is “a Trojan horse: It appears to be a gift, in the form of middle class tax relief, but would, if enacted, lead to the destruction of working Americans’ fundamental economic security.” (Photo: Tama Leaver/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security, is reportedly considering a plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax that funds the critical safety net program.

According to the Associated Press on Monday, the proposal is being floated as the Trump administration goes “back to the drawing board in a search for Republican consensus behind legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax system.” Continue reading

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Where’s Tillerson? Secretary of State Ducking Press Amid Reports of Being Sidelined

‘Your decision to travel without reporters sends a dangerous signal to other countries about the U.S. commitment to freedom of the press’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2017

Photo: YouTube

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will embark on his first trip to Asia next week, visiting Japan, South Korea, and China. In what some journalists are calling an unprecedented move, he will not travel with members of the press.

“Not only does this situation leave the public narrative of the meetings up to the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Korea’s and Japan’s, but it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation’s leaders,” a dozen Washington bureau chiefs from major news organizations wrote in a letter to the State Department earlier this week.  Continue reading

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America is not the Promised Land

Wrapping Jesus in the Stars and Stripes so that we can wage wars, claim exceptionalism, and justify the expansion of US business interests is not Christianity.

By Rev. Carol Howard Merritt. Published 2-13-2017 by openDemocracy

I constantly battle a myth within me. It formed me—as ancient stories do—and its logic crops up unbidden as I go about my life. I notice it as I walk along the shore of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga and the land vibrates with history. Making my way over the bridge to the business district, the streets swarm with students and tourists visiting an aquarium, a museum, a theater, and restaurants. In the midst of business, I remember that my city is known for being a Bible-based city. It is one of the most Christian towns in the nation.

When I descend the steps to the river’s edge, another story emerges. Native symbols line the stairs, and murals mark our essential elements of wind, fire, earth, and sun. The walls call to the four corners of the earth, lending me a compass that grounds me as I honor the Cherokee Nation that once thrived on this land, before their forced removal created a Trail of Tears along which thousands of people died from disease, starvation, and exposure. Continue reading

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China Just Issued a Nuclear Warning to Donald Trump and the United States

By James Holbrooks. Published 1-24-2017 by The Anti-Media

Dongfeng-41 ICBM. Photo: Global Security

Beijing — Following comments made by White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday in which he said the United States would absolutely protect its interests in the South China Sea, the Asian superpower has fired back through its state-run media — going so far as to suggest China should beef up its nuclear arsenal in the face of Donald Trump’s presidency.

As reported by the newswire service Agence-France Presse (AFP) on Tuesday, “In recent days, Chinese social media has carried pictures purporting to show an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile system deployed in the Northeast.” Continue reading

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Women’s March Against Trump Turns Into Global Day of Action

Over 600 marches will take place in 57 countries around the world

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-19-2017

Shepard Fairey’s “Defend Dignity” protest art, designed for the Women’s March and other inaugural weekend actions. (Image: Shepard Fairey/Obey Giant)

The Women’s March on Washington on January 21 has gone global, with over 600 “sister marches” planned in 57 countries that same day, as an international display of opposition to the far-right populism embodied by President-elect Donald Trump.

A map on the Women’s March Global site shows the hundreds of events worldwide:

A map of the "sister marches" around the world

With protests planned in Berlin, Oslo, Toronto, Nairobi, and other cities around the world, many organizers cite the threat to human and civil rights posed by Trump’s election.

“The recent elections in the United States have shown how real the threat is to our collective rights and liberties. We march together for the protection of our rights, our safety, our families, our health and the health of our planet—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our society,” write organizers of the march in Nairobi, Kenya, on Facebook.

“We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”
—Women’s March in Berlin
“Nationalist, racist and misogynistic trends are growing worldwide and threaten the most marginalized groups in our societies including women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQIA community, and people with disabilities,” states the Facebook page for the march in Copenhagen, Denmark. “The violence of the global capitalist system only upholds and strengthens these dangerous trends.”

In Berlin, Germany, organizers declared: “This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”

And in Sydney, Australia, organizers write that they are marching “to raise our voices in defense of women’s rights and against hatred and bigotry.”

Artist Shepard Fairey, famous for the 2008 “HOPE” poster of Barack Obama, has also designed along with other artists a new series of downloadable protest art for the march called “We The People.” The posters, featuring only images of women, call on observers to “defend dignity,” “protect each other,” and be “greater than fear.”

Huffington Post reported last week that organizers are hoping the global day of action will result in new coalitions and a worldwide movement to fight the rise of hate, xenophobia, and the far-right around the world.

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EPA Finally Concludes Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water

“We urge the EPA to take into account its own findings and address the urgent need to protect clean water from fracking’s harms,” says Environment America

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-13-2016

An unlined fracking wastewater pit in the "Petroleum Highway" of Central California. (Photo: Faces of Fracking/flickr/cc)

An unlined fracking wastewater pit in the “Petroleum Highway” of Central California. (Photo: Faces of Fracking/flickr/cc)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed on Tuesday that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminates drinking water—but claimed a lack of information makes it impossible to determine how widespread the risks are.

In a final report issued Tuesday, Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources, the EPA removed a finding included in a 2015 draft which indicated that fracking did not cause “widespread, systemic” harm. Fossil fuel industry lobbyists had praised that version of the draft—which also received misleading media coverage—claiming it vindicated the controversial drilling method that involves shooting chemical-laden water into shale rock at high pressure to release the gas trapped underneath. Continue reading

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Trump’s Advisers Want to Privatize Native Lands for Big Energy: Reuters

Co-chairs of Native American Affairs Coalition say they want to ‘take tribal land away from public treatment’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2016

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump's incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump’s incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers are aiming to privatize Native American reservations that contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, Reuters reports.

Two chairmen of Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition told the outlet that they want to put those lands into private ownership, a proposal that would upend historic policies put into place to preserve Indigenous sovereignty. The plan would deregulate drilling, which the coalition says would benefit the tribes who currently have the rights to use the land, but do not own it. In addition to holding about 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas, the lands also include vast coal reserves—all worth an estimated $1.5 trillion. Continue reading

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