Tag Archives: Capitalism

Relaxed environmental regulations heighten risk during natural disasters

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Environmental regulations generally improve communities’ preparedness and resilience during disasters. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Brian J. Gerber, Arizona State University and Melanie Gall, Arizona State University

Heavy rains following Hurricane Florence have raised concerns over the release of toxic materials. Ash from coal-fired power plants stored at a landfill has spilled out and the state of North Carolina has said dozens of sites have released hog waste or are at risk of doing so.

These types of events not only highlight the potential of harm to humans and the environment due to this type of uncontrolled pollution, but also the linkage between environmental regulations and the risks communities face when natural disasters occur. Continue reading

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Corporate Tech Giants Invited, But Consumer Advocacy Groups Shut Out of Senate Hearing on Data Privacy

“The absence of consumer representatives all but ensures a narrow discussion, focused on policy alternatives favored by business groups.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2018

More than two dozen consumer groups are urging the Senate Commerce Committee to reconsider its witness list—which only includes industry representatives—for an upcoming hearing on data privacy policy. (Photo: Blogtrepreneur/flickr/cc)

While representatives for Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are all slated to testify at a Sept. 26 Senate hearing about safeguarding consumer data privacy, the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups weren’t invited—and they’re not happy about it.

In a letter (pdf) to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on Wednesday, 28 groups expressed their “surprise and concern that not a single consumer representative was invited to testify” and called on committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to reconsider the witness list. Continue reading

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Ground-level ozone continues to damage health, even at low levels

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A study finds that higher ozone levels correlate with slower performance times for college endurance athletes. Pavel1964

Jamie T. Mullins, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ground-level ozone is one of six major pollutants regulated nationally under the Clean Air Act. It is not directly emitted, but instead forms in the atmosphere through reactions between other pollutants from cars, power plants and industrial sources. Breathing ozone irritates the airways and can worsen respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Regulation has reduced ozone levels across the United States over the past four decades, but exposure to ambient ozone still negatively impacts our health, well-being and productivity. In a recent article published in the journal Health Economics, I found that harm from ozone extends well beyond the high exposure levels and sensitive groups that have traditionally been studied. In fact, I identify negative effects of ozone exposure on the performances of intercollegiate track and field athletes under the relatively clean conditions common in the United States today. Continue reading

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After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

The bill, combined with even more aid given to Israeli missile defense, would give $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, roughly equivalent to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel over the next decade.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-14-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now hasa 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history. Continue reading

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‘Crushing Defeat’ for DeVos as Federal Judge Rules She Illegally Delayed Relief for Students Defrauded by For-Profit Colleges

“This is a major victory for student borrowers and for anyone who cares about having a government that operates under the rule of law, instead of as a pawn of the for-profit college industry.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-13-2018

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

A Washington, D.C. federal judge has delivered a “crushing defeat” of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, ruling that the Trump-appointee illegally delayed Obama-era regulations to provide loan relief to students defrauded by for-profit colleges.

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss, in a 57-page ruling (pdf) issued Wednesday, sided with consumer advocates and a coalition of 19 Democratic states attorneys general, determining that DeVos’s actions to delay the borrower defense rule were “unlawful,” “procedurally invalid,” and “arbitrary and capricious.” Continue reading

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With Most Benefits Going to Rich, ‘Reckless and Stupid’ GOP Tax Scam 2.0 Could Cost $3 Trillion Over Ten Years

“Think how many kids we could put through college, roads we could pave, families that could get child care, seniors that could get help with prescription drugs with that much money. Shame!”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-11-2018

Tax reform press briefing October 31, 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

In their latest “reckless and stupid” bid to deliver massive rewards to ultra-wealthy Americans, House Republicans on Monday introduced three pieces of legislation that make up the GOP’s so-called “Tax Reform 2.0” package.

But with less than two months to go before crucial midterm elections, early estimates indicate the GOP’s proposals would blow a nearly $3 trillion hole in the federal budget over ten years while sending the vast majority of the benefits to the top. Continue reading

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Facebook Will Fail to Solve #FakeNews

Zuckerberg needs to step back for his company to succeed

By Juan Ortiz Freuler. Published 8-28-2018 by Common Dreams

“It has amassed such power that experts and public opinion refer to it as the digital public square: the place where people protest, sign up for public events, get information about politics, and more.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

Every policy-tweak Facebook attempts to roll out is faced with public criticism. This signals a structural problem: Facebook developed quicker than its own systems of governance and now struggles to carry its own weight. In other words, Facebook seems to lack the legitimacy to exercise the huge power it has amassed over the years.

If the user base were smaller, Facebook would have a group of like-minded individuals that could be more easily catered to. But Facebook has become very big and diverse. With over 2 billion active monthly users, it’s bigger and more diverse than any community we’ve ever seen. Continue reading

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Worldwide #RiseForClimate Events Kick Off to Demand Action on Crisis of Warming Planet

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time,” say 350.org’s executive director. “It is a crisis of democracy, justice, and human rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2018

Activists gathered in Melbourne, Australia on Friday as part of the weekend’s global #RiseForClimate movement. (Photo: @350Australia/Twitter)

Building up to a mass mobilization planned for hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday, campaigners have already kicked off #RiseForClimate demonstrations that aim to raise awareness about the climate crisis, encourage urgent action from policymakers to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and call for a full transition to renewable energy.

More than 800 actions are planned throughout the world and in the United States, from smaller towns and cities like Portland, Maine, to the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice event in San Francisco—expected to draw thousands for the West Coast’s largest ever climate march. Those interested in participating can locate events using the movement’s map and searchable database. Continue reading

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House Democrats Praised for New War Powers Resolution to End US Support for ‘Catastrophic War in Yemen’

“The U.S. must stop aiding those that deliberately conduct illegal attacks on weddings, hospitals, and children in school buses.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2018

April’s Vigil for Yemen. Photo: Felton Davis/flickr

As the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition admitted for the second time this week that its bombing campaign in Yemen last month killed dozens of children and adult civilians, peace advocates praised a group of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday for announcing a new effort to revoke American support for the “catastrophic” conflict that has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Led by Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Michael Capuano (Mass.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.) revealed that they plan to invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from all involvement in the war. Continue reading

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China Offers African Nations $60 Billion in Development with ‘No Strings Attached’

In response to accusations of encouraging “debt trap” diplomacy in Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the announced aid package is not “a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others. Rather it is about greater openness, sharing and mutual benefit.”

By Emma Fiala. Published 9-4-2018 by MintPress News

Chinese President, Xi Jinping addressing African Leaders during the 2015 China-Africa summit held in South Africa. Photo: ICiR

Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered a $60 billion aid package to African countries over the next three years, in response to the continent’s increasing debt distress — with no strings attached.

China’s investment plans include $5 billion in African exports, $10 billion for development, and $15 billion grants and interest-free loans. A $20 billion credit line will also be included, as well as emergency food aid, scholarships and vocational training, and increased agricultural development. Continue reading

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