Tag Archives: Civil Rights

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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As Trump Vows “A Lot of Cutting” After Midterms, Americans Urged to Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid at the Voting Booth

With Trump’s support, the GOP “has spent the last two years doing everything they can to reach onto our pockets, steal our money, and give it to their pay masters on Wall Street.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2018

Photo: Social Security Works/Facebook

Following the news this week that under President Donald Trump, the federal deficit exploded to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, the president said Wednesday that he would demand a five percent budget cut from each of his cabinet secretaries.

Stressing that the administration would “continue with the tax cuts, because we have other tax cuts planned,” Trump suggested the deficit was the result of spending on various programs at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and other government agencies. Continue reading

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Accusing Trump of Crossing Constitutional Line, PEN America Sues Over Threats and Reprisals Against Free Press

“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for  Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2018

The lawsuit filed by PEN America and its partners seeks “to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes.” (Image: PEN America)

Arguing that President Donald Trump has crossed the line from “verbal attacks on the press” that are protected under the his First Amendment rights into using his authority to punish journalists and media outlets he dislikes with threats of intimidation or reprisal, the literary rights group PEN America has announced a lawsuit against the president in order to bring an end to such attacks.

The lawsuit (pdf) brought in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday—with PEN joined by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic—states that while Trump has constitutionally-protected rights and “is free to criticize the press vehemently,” the president “is not free to use the  power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.”   Continue reading

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Nation Warned That Trump’s “Horrifying” Medicaid Pick Hired With “Express Purpose to Dismember” Program

Mary Mayhew “destroyed Medicaid in Maine now she will destroy it in the whole country.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2018

Maine’s former Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has been tapped to run Medicaid on a national level. Photo: WFVX

Provoking immediate warnings about what is now in store for the most vulnerable people in the United States, President Donald Trump on Monday reportedly tapped Maine’s former health commissioner Mary Mayhew—who was instrumental in Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to block Medicaid expansion in the state—to run the program at the federal level.

Critics such as Zak Ringelstein, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Maine, rapidly denounced her appointment as “horrifying.” Continue reading

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Men, We Can Do Better

Survivors of sexual assault like Christine Blasey Ford deserve our support, not our opposition.

By . Published 9-28-2018 by YES! Magazine

Rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the Supreme Court, Washington DC. Photo: Avery Jensen {CC-BY-SA-4.0} via Wikimedia Commons

Like millions of Americans, I sat riveted before the television on Thursday watching the quiet, calm, and dignified testimony of a woman, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who was scarred for life by sexual assault. She sat in a room full of powerful men and described her ordeal at the hands of another powerful man.

Then I watched that accused man, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, yell and scream about how it was all just unfair and a political hit job and a conspiracy by Democrats to get revenge for the 2016 election. His unbridled rage was shared by several other powerful men in the room, especially Senator Lindsay Graham, whose rant seemed to be an audition for a senior appointment in the Trump administration. Continue reading

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In Latest Yemen Offensive, Saudi Arabia Destroys Hospital and Maternity Ward

The latest Saudi coalition attacks came in the face of demands issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the coalition to stop its deadly airstrikes against civilian targets in Yemen.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem Published 10-12-2018 by MintPress News

A victim of Saudi Arabia’s attack on the al-Dreihimi Hospital. Photo: Ansar Allah Media Center

Saudi Arabia and its allied coalition launched a second major military campaign against the heavily-populated cities of Tuheita and Dreihimi in Yemen’s Hodeida province on Thursday, leaving scores of civilians dead and a major hospital in ruins.

The coalition’s latest attacks come amid a worsening famine in Yemen, a famine that has hit Hodeida especially hard and has left thousands of families across Yemen without food, forcing some to eat the leaves off of trees and even their family pets in an attempt to stave off starvation. Continue reading

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Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

The massive shutdown affected many progressive sites devoted to covering war, police brutality, and other issues neglected by the corporate media

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12-2018

“Those who demanded Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants censor political content—something they didn’t actually want to do—are finding that content that they themselves support and like end up being repressed,” noted The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald in response to Facebook’s announcement. “That’s what has happened to every censorship advocate in history.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

After Facebook announced on Thursday that it shut down and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that it vaguely accused of spreading “spam” and engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” some of the individuals and organizations caught up in the social media behemoth’s dragnet disputed accusations that they were violating the platform’s rules and raised alarm that Facebook is using its enormous power to silence independent political perspectives that run counter to the corporate media’s dominant narratives.

While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics. Continue reading

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Israel’s Education Minister Wants “Shoot to Kill” Policy Against Palestinian Children

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

By Middle East Monitor. Published 10-9-2018

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday that he would impose a “shoot to kill” policy in Gaza, including against Palestinian children.

Bennett made the comment on Israel’s Army Radio after he was asked what he would do differently if he were the defence minister. Bennett replied:

“Everything. I would not allow terrorists to cross the border from Gaza every day… and if they do, we should shoot to kill. Terrorists from Gaza should not enter Israel… Just as in Lebanon, Syria or anywhere else we should shoot to kill.”

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“Stunning”: State Court Silences Climate Experts Set to Testify in Valve Turners’ Necessity Defense Trial

“Four days before trial, for no apparent reason, the court eviscerated our defense, and essentially overruled itself.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2018

The trial for valve turners Annette Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston, along with their support person, Benjamin Joldersma, began in Minnesota court on Monday. (Photo: Climate Direct Action Facebook)

In an eleventh hour decision, a Minnesota court “eviscerated” the defense of three activists—whose landmark trial began Monday for their 2016 multi-state #ShutItDown action that temporarily disabled tar sands pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border—by barring experts from testifying that their civil disobedience was necessary because fossil fuels are driving the global climate crisis.

“The court barred testimony from defense experts on the barriers to effective political action for addressing climate change, the efficacy of civil disobedience historically, and the imminence of climate change,” according to the group Climate Direct Action. Continue reading

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Could Killing of Washington Post Writer by Saudi ‘Murder Team’ Finally Put Crack in US Support of ‘Criminal Regime’?

“If this is true – that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him – it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” declared Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in response.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2018

Saudi Consulate officials claimed Khashoggi left the Consulate building shortly after his arrival, but his fiancee waiting outside states he never came out after going inside. While many initially believed he was being held by the Saudis inside against his will, Turkish officials have now said they believe the writer was tortured and then murdered by a Saudi hit team. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. Photo: Media Menagerie/Twitter

Spurring fresh outrage among those who criticize the cozy relationship between the U.S. government and the Saudi monarchy—with emphasis on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS)—political dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabia national living in self-imposed exile abroad, was tortured and killed last week by a Saudi  government ‘murder team,’ according to Turkish sources, while inside the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul, Turkey. Continue reading

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