Tag Archives: Capitalism

With 14 ‘Billion-Dollar Disasters’ and Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska and Across South, 2019 Was a Year of Climate Extremes for US

“Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2020

A fire burns near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Screenshot: ABC News

Underscoring the need for urgent climate action, a new report on the climate of the United States in 2019 sheds light on numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska was among the states which recorded unusually high temperatures in 2019, according to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report, which is scheduled to be released next week. Continue reading

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New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2020

A detail of the cover image for Toxic Hangover, a new report by Center for Biological Diversity. (Image: Center for Biologicial Diversity)

A new review into the pesticide products the U.S. approved in 2017 and 2018 reveals the Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out an industry-friendly, “broken” regulatory process that included green-lighting over 100 products with ingredients widely deemed extremely dangerous.

Entitled Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, the 11-page analysis was released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

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Fresh Calls to #RaiseTheWage After Study Shows $1 Increase Could Prevent Thousands of Suicides

The House-approved Raise the Wage Act is among hundreds of bills sitting on the desk of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the self-declared “grim reaper” of progressive legislation.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-9-2020

A study published this week found that raising the minimum wage just $1 could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States. Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now/flickr/CC

A new study that suggests raising the minimum wage could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States sparked fresh calls for relief from federal lawmakers and cast a spotlight on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

“Low-wage employees are in desperate need of a raise, and the Senate’s refusal to pass the #RaiseTheWage Act is keeping vulnerable Americans in harm’s way,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires tweeted on Thursday, linking to NPR‘s report on the study. Continue reading

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Trump, Granting Lobbyist Demands, Quietly Handed Billions More in Tax Breaks to Huge Corporations: Report

“Trump is the most corrupt president in history, and here’s the latest example of how that corruption helps giant corporations.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-30-2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump at a Tax reform press briefing October 31, 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

A “disturbing” New York Times story published Monday detailed how President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department, led by former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin, has quietly weakened elements of the 2017 tax law in recent months to make it even friendlier to wealthy

individuals and massive corporations.

Lobbyists representing some of the largest corporations in the world, the Times reported, targeted two provisions in the original 2017 law designed to bring in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from companies that had been dodging U.S. taxes by stashing profits overseas. Continue reading

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‘Victory for Our Oceans’: US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by Obama

“This decision upholds protections for one of the most fragile and scientifically important areas in the North Atlantic from destructive activities like oil drilling and industrial fishing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2019

“Like one of America’s very first national monuments, the Grand Canyon, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a natural treasure,” said NRDC’s KateDesormaeu. “It provides habitat for a wide range of species, from endangered whales to Atlantic puffins to centuries-old deep-sea corals.” Photo: Wikipedia (Public domain)

Defenders of ocean habitats celebrated Friday after a federal court upheld a lower court ruling defending the right of the U.S. executive branch to set aside marine areas as national monuments.

Citing the authority found under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish marine national monuments, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia sided against a lawsuit brought by large fishing industry interests that challenged President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which encompases 4,913 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the nation’s northeast coast, as a protected area. Continue reading

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Top Syrian Official Says US Has ‘Absolutely No Right’ to Occupy or Plunder Nation’s Oil Fields

“He’s talking about stealing it,” Bouthaina Shaaban said of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has kept troops in Syria to guard that country’s oil fields.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-26-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

Citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s openly stated plan to maintain a troop presence in Syria with the sole purpose of plundering the country’s oil reserves, a top Syrian government official said America has “absolutely no right” to the nation’s natural resources and warned of “popular opposition and operations” against foreign occupiers.

“It is our oil,” Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told NBC News in an interview Tuesday. Continue reading

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What does ‘A Christmas Carol’ tell us about the meaning of charity?

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business.”

By John Picton. Published 12-17-2019 by openDemocracy

Ebenezer Scrooge as illustrated by Ronald Searle in Life Magazine, 1960. | Flickr/Elizabeth. CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

New adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella appear on our screens each time the holidays come around. From this year’s brand-new mini-series that’s due to be aired in the UK and the USA to the ever-popular Muppet Christmas Carol, this story is a staple of the season. In it, and after a series of visits from ghostly apparitions, Ebenezer Scrooge changes from a cold miser to a kind and gentle person, but some aspects of the role of charity in this change of heart are lost from modern adaptations.

In the 176-year-old text the call to charity is more demanding than just donating cash. Dickens focuses on personal charity as the assumption of social obligations. After his transformation, Scrooge faces up to his moral responsibilities. Famously, he buys an enormous Christmas turkey for the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. But his new-found concern for the Cratchit family goes much further than a single festive meal. He also gives Cratchit a pay-rise. And having been frightened by a premonition of the death of Tiny Tim – Cratchit’s son – Scrooge is said to become like “a second father” to the sickly child. Continue reading

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How undoing ‘Obamacare’ would harm more than the health of Americans

Open enrollment for health care in the ACA marketplaces ended at 3 a.m., Dec. 18, 2019, the same day a panel ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services/AP Photo

Simon F. Haeder, Pennsylvania State University

The Affordable Care Act remains on life support after a panel of federal judges ruled on Dec. 18, 2019 that the law’s individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

The decision hobbles the law in ways that are hard to predict politically, particularly in the upcoming election year. It also raises questions for the 20 million people who gained coverage in the marketplaces and all Americans who gained protections through the ACA. Continue reading

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This Story on Cellphone Tracking ‘Is the Most Important Article You Should Read Today. Period.’

The New York Times published the first piece in its “One Nation, Tracked” investigation based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-20-2019

The New York Times on Thursday published its first article in a new series about smartphone tracking. (Image: The New York Times/screenshot)

The New York Times‘ on Thursday sparked calls for congressional action by publishing the first article in its “One Nation, Tracked” series, an investigation into smartphone tracking based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings from the devices of more than 12 million people in the United States.

The data, from 2016 and 2017, “was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so,” explained reporters Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel. “The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.” Continue reading

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In Final Hours, COP 25 Denounced as ‘Utter Failure’ as Deal Is Stripped of Ambition and US Refuses to Accept Liability for Climate Crisis

“The only thing more disastrous than the state of UN climate negotiations at COP 25 is the state of the global climate.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2019

Youth activists occupying the COP 25 space in protest against the inaction and slow response of governments failing to address the #ClimateEmergency. Photo: Climate Action Network International/Twitter

After the COP 25 climate talks on the Paris climate agreement went into overtime Friday night amid a stalled agreement on wealthy countries’ contributions to greatly reducing their climate-warming carbon emissions, civil society groups and climate scientists were shocked by the weak language that emerged from the late-night talks on Saturday.

The latest text includes an “invitation” for countries to communicate their mid-term and long-term climate plans, and the majority of delegations, which attempted to push countries including the U.S. towards ambitious climate targets, were unable Saturday to sway the U.S. away from language regarding carbon markets. Continue reading

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