Tag Archives: Arizona

The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr/CC

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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Armed ‘Poll Watchers’ in Arizona Heighten Alarm Over Right-Wing Voter Intimidation

“This is obviously totally incompatible with liberal democracy and an open society,” said one commentator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Two masked individuals dressed in tactical gear sit near a ballot dropbox location in Mesa, Arizona on October 21, 2022. (Photo: Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona/Twitter Screengrab)

Video footage released Friday night showing armed individuals sitting near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona is heightening alarm over right-wing intimidation efforts as early voting kicks off across the United States.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC affiliate that it is investigating several individuals who were watching a Mesa voting location on Friday. The department confirmed that two individuals at the site were armed. Continue reading

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Marches on US Main Streets Center Poor Voters’ Demands Ahead of Midterms

“The priorities of poor and low-income people are on the ballot this election—from healthcare to living wages to social programs that lift the load of poverty and much more,” said Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Poor People’s Campaign organized get-out-the-vote marches across the United States, including in Westminster, Maryland, on October 15, 2022. (Photo: Maryland Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Less than a month before Election Day, low-income people and allies came together across the United States on Saturday as part of a get-out-the-vote push by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The campaign aims to reach at least five million people by the midterm elections next month, spreading the word that “if we ever needed to vote for democracy and justice, we sure do need to vote now!” However, the effort also has a message for politicians. Continue reading

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White nationalism is a political ideology that mainstreams racist conspiracy theories

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a prime-time speech on Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

Sara Kamali, University of California San Diego

In September 2022, President Joe Biden convened a summit called United We Stand to denounce the “venom and violence” of white nationalism ahead of the midterm elections.

His remarks repeated the theme of his prime-time speech in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, 2022, during which he warned that America’s democratic values are at stake.

“We must be honest with each other and with ourselves,” Biden said. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” Continue reading

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Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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‘Five-Alarm Crisis’: US Has Shortage of 300K Teachers, School Staff

To stay in their profession, said a union leader, educators need “professional respect” including fair pay and the right “to make teaching and learning decisions for their students.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate—and in some cases, questionable—measures to staff classrooms.

Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. Continue reading

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‘Perverse’ Supreme Court Ruling ‘Effectively Ensures That Innocent People Will Remain Imprisoned’

“This is radical. This is horrifying. This is extremely scary,” said one public defender.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-23-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, announced May 23, 2022. Screenshot: ABC News

Legal experts responded with alarm Monday to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority that could lead to the indefinite imprisonment and even execution of people who argue their lawyers didn’t provide adequate representation after convictions in state court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor—joined by the other two liberals on the court—also blasted the majority opinion in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, writing in her scathing dissent that the decision is both “perverse” and “illogical.” Continue reading

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Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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New GOP Laws ‘Will Devastate Abortion Access Across Large Parts of the Nation’

“Florida has been a critical haven for abortion access in the South, and this ban will decimate abortion access for Floridians and the entire region,” one group said after the governor’s signature.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

After Florida’s GOP governor on Thursday signed a 15-week abortion ban inspired by a contested Mississippi law that could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates warned of impacts across the region, given that the Sunshine State has long been “an oasis of reproductive care in the South.”

With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support, Florida’s law is set to take effect this summer. His signature came after Republican state legislators in Kentucky on Wednesday overrode their Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill and GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a near-total abortion ban. Continue reading

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‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Linked to 11% Spike in US Gun Homicides: Study

Researchers say the state-level laws “should be reconsidered to prevent unnecessary violent deaths.”

By Kenny Stancil, Published 2-21-2022 by Common Dreams

About 1000 people filled the Minnesota capitol rotunda in 2018 to demand stricter gun control laws. They protested against “stand your ground” and “permit-less carry” laws and demanded stricter laws on guns such as a ban on assault rifles. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

So-called “stand your ground” laws are associated with hundreds of additional homicides each year in the United States, according to new research conducted by public health scholars, who say that these laws “should be reconsidered to prevent unnecessary violent deaths.”

Published Monday in JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed medical journal, the study compares homicide trends in roughly two dozen states that enacted stand-your-ground (SYG) laws between 2000 and 2016 with patterns from 18 states that didn’t have such laws during the study period. Continue reading

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