Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

‘Existential’ Risk of Climate Crisis Could Lead to Civilizational Collapse by 2050, Warns Report

“The world is currently completely unprepared to envisage, and even less deal with, the consequences of catastrophic climate change.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-4-2019

The Holy Fire, Lake Elsinore, California. Photo: slworking2/flickr

Even by the standards of the dire predictions given in climate studies, this one’s extreme: civilization itself could be past the point of no return by 2050.

That’s the conclusion from Australian climate think tank Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, which released a report (pdf) May 30 claiming that unless humanity takes drastic and immediate action to stop the climate crisis, a combination of food production instability, water shortages, and extreme weather could result in a complete societal breakdown worldwide. Continue reading

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‘Beyond Barbaric’: Internal Govt Report Reveals Migrants Forced to Stand on Toilets for Breathing Space at Overcrowded US Detention Center

“This is insane. Not only can they not move, they can’t breathe, they can’t eat, they can’t do anything like this. Children have died and will continue to die if this is not stopped now.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2019

A not-yet released report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, reported CNN on Friday, has found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions at an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection. (Photo: Department of Homeland Security/IG Office/via CNN)

A federal immigrant detention facility in El Paso, Texas is so unsanitary and overcrowded that migrants held by the Trump administration were forced to wear “soiled clothing for days or weeks” at a time and stand on toilets to find breathing space in their cells.

That’s according to a not-yet-released report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, which was obtained exclusively by CNN on Friday. Continue reading

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‘Explosive’ New Evidence Shows GOP ‘Weaponizing’ the 2020 Census With Citizenship Question to Rig Elections

A Republican redistricting strategist who died last year left behind documents that critics call a “smoking gun” in the right-wing effort to exploit the census for electoral advantage

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in June about the legality of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

Just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, previously undisclosed documents found on the hard drives of a deceased Republican operative offer “explosive” new evidence that the GOP fought for the question to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Federal district judges in New York and California ruled earlier this year that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the next census violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The Supreme Court heard arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling in June. Continue reading

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Senators Call for Disclosure of Perks and Fees Paid to Health Benefits Brokers

By Marshall Allen  Published 5-24-2019 by ProPublica

Health benefits brokers would have to reveal the fees and other enticements they’ve received from the insurance industry under bipartisan legislation proposed Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

The brokers are supposed to independently help employers select benefits for their workers. But a ProPublica investigation in February found that the insurance industry often uses undisclosed money and gifts to influence which plans the brokers favor. The payments and perks include healthy commissions, six-figure bonuses and exotic island vacations. Critics call the compensation a “classic conflict of interest” that drives up costs. Continue reading

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Europe’s far-right bid to take back ‘Christian Europe’

Focus on Russian ‘interference’ risks ignoring the growing role of American religious conservatives in fuelling the far-right surge.

By Mary Fitzgerald. Published 5-24-2019 by openDemocracy

Handmaids outside a church in Verona, Italy 2019. | | Photo: Federica Delogu

“The Bible, borders and Brexit” will “make Europe great again”, declared Ed Martin to roaring applause. The Republican pundit who co-wrote ‘The Conservative Case for Trump’ was speaking at a global gathering of religious conservatives in Verona this March. Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, was a headline speaker.

Verona, Italy’s ancient ‘city of love’, is emblematic of how Europe is changing. It is now a stronghold for Salvini’s Lega party which, together with right-wing populists across the continent, is challenging the laws and social norms that have defined European life for decades. Continue reading

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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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‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt

Billionaire’s gift to nearly 400 graduating seniors of Morehouse College earned him praise—but also sparked criticism of the cost of education

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2019

Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)

Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.

“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading

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Objections by Nielsen and Others to Trump Plan for Mass Arrests Were ‘Logistical and Technical,’ Report Shows, Not Moral or Ethical

“To be clear, the heads of DHS/ICE had no issue with the depravity of the plan, they just wanted it to be better organized.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-14-2019

Then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visiting the south Texas border on November 14, 2018. (Photo: Customs and Border Protection, Flickr)

In the weeks before they were fired, top officials in the Trump administration reportedly raised concerns about a White House plan to deport whole families in a proposed show of force against migrants in the country—not for ethical reasons, but because such a plan could raise logistical and technical difficulties.

Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Ronald Vitiello both found the administration’s plan unworkable and stopped the plan due to what reporting from The Washington Post described as a “lack of preparation” and “the risk of public outrage and worries that it would divert resources from the border.” Continue reading

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Fears for Roe V. Wade After Supreme Court Issues Decision Overruling a 40-Year Precedent

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” wrote Justice Bryer in dissent

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2019

“Hard not to read this as a veiled warning about Roe v. Wade,” tweeted law professor Nicholas Bagley of the new ruling. (Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s liberal justices sounded alarm on Monday after the court issued a ruling overturning a four decades-old precedent.

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” Justice Bryer wrote in his dissent (pdf), in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

Some observers expressed fear one of the those cases could be Roe v. Wade. Continue reading

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Lawsuit by 44 States Accuses Pharma Giants of ‘Multi-Year Conspiracy’ to Hike Drug Prices by Over 1,000%

“We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-12-2019

Pfizer World Headquarters – New York City. Photo: Norbert Nagel/CC

A far-reaching lawsuit filed Friday by the attorneys general of more than 40 states accused some of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to inflate prices, in some cases by over 1,000 percent.

“We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, whose state led the probe into the companies’ practices, said in a statement. Continue reading

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