Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Dozens of House Dems and Progressive Groups Push Biden to Curb Militarization of Police

“It is absurd that the Pentagon has so much funding they can send their ‘excess’ weaponry to police departments around the country. We need to demilitarize our police and defund the Pentagon now.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2021

A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest

Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.

In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading

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On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations

“Americans owe a debt to the people of Iraq that can never be repaid in full. However, it is incumbent and imperative that we try.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2021

On route 27 near An Nu’ maniyah, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Photo: Public Domain

Human rights and anti-war activists marked the 18th anniversary of the second of three American-led invasions of Iraq by renewing calls for the U.S.—this time the Biden administration—to pay reparations for 30 years of nonstop aggression against the Iraqi people.

“Eighteen years after the United States invaded Iraq on a patently false basis, we uplift the work of Iraqi activists, civil society, and their partners building local and transnational social justice movements under extremely precarious conditions,” the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said in a statement. Continue reading

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Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program

Experts: “The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally.”

By Common Dreams  Published 3-20-2021

After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.”

On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.” Continue reading

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US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years, New CODEPINK Research Reveals

The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence as an independent nation, fighting in 227 years of its 244-year history.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-5-2021 by MintPress News

Saddam Hussein’s former castle in Mosul, 2019. Photo: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK.

Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. Continue reading

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‘End… This Human Rights Atrocity,’ Says Amnesty After Biden Admin Signals Goal to Close Gitmo

Asked whether the president will shutter the prison, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2021

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Friday welcomed reporting, confirmed by the White House, that President Joe Biden intends to close the Guantánamo Bay offshore military prison, which has long drawn global condemnation for torture and detention conditions.

“We are pleased to hear that the Biden administration wants to review the U.S. policy of almost 20 years of indefinite detention without charge of Muslim men at an offshore prison,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, in a statement. Continue reading

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‘Downright Scary’: In 2021 Alone, GOP Introduces 100+ Voter Suppression Bills in 28 States

“Democrats have a clear choice. They can get rid of the filibuster to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act to stop GOP voter suppression, or they can allow the GOP to undermine democracy for the next decade.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-5-2021

Photo: Mark Buckawicki/Public Domain

Since former President Donald Trump failed to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Republicans in more than two dozen states have introduced over 100 bills to restrict voting access, an alarming development that voting rights advocates have pointed to as yet another reason for Democrats to abolish the filibuster, an anti-democratic tool currently allowing the GOP minority to block the enactment of a suite of popular pro-democracy reforms.

Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman on Thursday reported on the GOP’s ongoing nationwide push to make voting more difficult—particularly for communities of color and other Democratic-leaning constituencies—and in some cases to empower state legislatures to overturn election results. He called state-level Republicans’ efforts “a huge scandal that should be getting as much attention as Trump’s plot to overturn the election.” Continue reading

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Progressives Applaud Rob Malley, Key Nuclear Deal Negotiator, as Biden’s Special Envoy for Iran

“Malley should be celebrated for his ability to understand how adversaries see problems and find common ground, for this is the art of diplomacy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2021

Image: CODEPINK

Progressives on Friday welcomed the addition of Robert Malley, a Middle East expert and Iran nuclear deal negotiator, to the Biden administration as a positive step away from the previous U.S. administration’s hostile rhetoric and policies toward Tehran, which often generated fears of a hot war.

Following reporting on Thursday from multiple media outlets, both the White House and the State Department confirmed on Friday that Malley will serve as President Joe Biden’s special U.S. envoy for Iran—in spite of opposition from hawkish critics. Continue reading

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Amid Broader Concerns Over Biden USDA Nominee, Watchdog Flags ‘Disturbing Suppression’ of Science by Vilsack

“Unless he pledges to implement significant safeguards for scientists, Tom Vilsack should not be confirmed. The days in which federal agencies function as scientific gulags should be behind us.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2021

Tom Vilsack during the 2008 transition. Photo: Obama Biden Transition Project/CC

On top of concerns about his close industry ties, corporate-friendly policy record, and alarming civil rights history, President Joe Biden’s Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack is also facing scrutiny over what one watchdog organization on Friday characterized as “disturbing” evidence that he improperly meddled in and suppressed scientific research during his previous tenure as head of USDA.

Throughout his nearly eight years as former President Barack Obama’s USDA chief, Vilsack “routinely interfered with scientific work that big agriculture found bothersome,” the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) alleged in a statement Friday, pointing to the direct testimony and survey responses of department scientists. Continue reading

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‘Major Win for the Planet’: Federal Court Strikes Down Trump Coal Power Plant Rule

“This decision frees up the new Biden administration to begin working immediately on the science-based greenhouse pollution rules we desperately need to make up for lost time.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-19-2021

The Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy and located in Becker, Minnesota, shown in 2016. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Climate campaigners welcomed a federal court’s decision Tuesday to strike down the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule—dubbed by its critics the “Dirty Power” rule—which loosened restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants.

“A failure by Trump is a major win for the planet,” said Clare Lakewood, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “The court has wisely struck down another effort by this administration to shred environmental protections in service of polluters.” Continue reading

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Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

This unassuming spy may look and sound like your favorite college professor, but that facade masks a ruthless wolf in sheep’s clothing who enabled murder by remote control and wielded a thick black pen to cover-up CIA torture.

By Medea Benjamin and Marcy Winograd. Published 12-29-2020 by MintPress News

Avril Haines speaks during a session on “The Rise of Techno Nationalism” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2019. Ciaran McCrickard | WEC | CC

Even before President-elect Joe Biden sets foot in the White House, the Senate Intelligence Committee may start hearings on his nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.

Barack Obama’s top lawyer on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2013 followed by CIA Deputy Director from 2013 to 2015, Haines is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. She is the affable assassin who, according to Newsweek, would be summoned in the middle of the night to decide if a citizen of any country, including our own, should be incinerated in a U.S. drone strike in a distant land in the greater Middle East. Haines also played a key role in covering up the U.S. torture program, known euphemistically as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included repeated waterboarding, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, dousing naked prisoners with ice-cold water, and rectal rehydration. Continue reading

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