Tag Archives: Corruption

Hundreds of Thousands Rally Against Poland’s Authoritarian Right-Wing Government

“We are now at a crossroads between being an authoritarian and a democratic country,” said one activist.

By Jake Johnson. Published 6-5-2023 by Common Dreams

People take part in a march against Poland’s right-wing government in Warsaw on June 4, 2023. Photo: Germany Today/Twitter

An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets of the capital Warsaw and other Polish cities on Sunday to protest the nation’s far-right government, which has assailed reproductive freedoms, attacked the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and cracked down on critical civil society groups and media outlets.

Sunday’s march against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party—which has held power since 2015—was called by former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, who is leading the Civic Platform opposition party into an expected October general election.

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Millions of US Women at Risk After ‘Regressive’ Attack on Abortion Rights by Supreme Court: UN Experts

Abortion bans in 14 U.S. states since the 2022 Dobbs decision “have made abortion services largely inaccessible and denied women and girls their fundamental human rights to comprehensive healthcare including sexual and reproductive health.”

By Jon Queally. Published 6-4-2023 by Common Dreams

Abortion Rights Rally in response to Supreme Court Roe vs Wade Reversal Decision at Washington Square Park in NYC on Friday evening, 24 June 2022. Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr/CC

High-level experts with the United Nations have issued a joint statement condemning the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that reversed decades of legal precedent protecting abortion rights for women.

“The regressive position taken by the US Supreme Court in June 2022, by essentially dismantling 50 years of precedent protecting the right to abortion in the country, puts millions of women and girls at serious risk,” said the 13 experts, all appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, on Friday.

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‘Utterly Absurd’: Rich Nations Spending Climate Dollars on Coal Projects and Chocolate Shops

“Essentially, whatever they call climate finance is climate finance,” said one developing nation’s lead climate negotiator.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 6-2-2023 by Common Dreams

Activists including members of frontline communities protest Japanese financing of international fossil fuel projects including coal plants in Matarbari, Bangladesh and Indramayu, Indonesia on October 4, 2021 in Tokyo. (Photo: @market_forces/Twitter)

Wealthy nations are spending money under the guise of “climate finance” to fund projects that have little or nothing to do with tackling the climate crisis and—as in the case of three Japanese-backed coal plants—are sometimes fueling the planetary emergency, according to a Reuters investigation published Thursday.

While media outlets including Reuters have recently reported that rich countries are on track—albeit long overdue—to finally meet their 2009 pledge to invest $100 billion annually in climate financing by 2020, the new Reuters investigation shows that governments are funding climate-harming projects and counting the expenditures toward their giving total.

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Like Tobacco and Big Oil, Secret Docs Show Chemical Companies Knew PFAS Dangers

“These documents reveal clear evidence that the chemical industry knew about the dangers of PFAS and failed to let the public, regulators, and even their own employees know the risks.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 6-1-2023 by Common Dreams

Activists protest PFAS outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston on June 16, 2022. (Photo: Seaside Sustainability Inc./Twitter)

An analysis of previously secret documents published Wednesday sheds new light on how chemical corporations aped Big Tobacco by conspiring to conceal the extreme toxicity of a class of synthetic compounds contaminating the Earth’s air, water, soil, plants, and animals—including most of the world’s people.

Commonly called “forever chemicals” because they do not biodegrade and accumulate in the human body, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—which include PFOS, PFOA, and GenX—have myriad uses, from nonstick cookware to waterproof clothing to firefighting foamAccording to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PFAS is linked to cancers of the kidneys and testicles, low infant weight, suppressed immune function, and other adverse health effects. It is found in the blood of 99% of Americans and a similar percentage of people around the world.

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Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Two GOP Abortion Bans Are Unconstitutional

The court found that two bans passed in 2022 conflicted with the Oklahoma Constitution’s guarantee of a pregnant person’s “inherent right” to life.

By Julia Conley. Published 5-31-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr/cc

The Oklahoma state Supreme Court on Wednesday became the latest state-level court to rebuke Republican legislation passed in recent months to bar residents from accessing abortion care, ruling that two laws signed by GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt are unconstitutional.

The court found that S.B. 1603 and H.B. 4327 both conflict with an earlier ruling in March, when five of the nine justices ruled that the Oklahoma Constitution guarantees the “inherent right of a pregnant woman to terminate a pregnancy when necessary to preserve her life.”

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Experts Urge Action to Mitigate ‘Risk of Extinction From AI’

It “should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” says a new statement signed by dozens of artificial intelligence critics and boosters.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 5-30-2023 by Common Dreams

A growing number of experts are calling for a pause on advanced AI development and deployment. Graphic: deepak pal/fickr/CC

On Tuesday, 80 artificial intelligence scientists and more than 200 “other notable figures” signed a statement that says “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The one-sentence warning from the diverse group of scientists, engineers, corporate executives, academics, and other concerned individuals doesn’t go into detail about the existential threats posed by AI. Instead, it seeks to “open up discussion” and “create common knowledge of the growing number of experts and public figures who also take some of advanced AI’s most severe risks seriously,” according to the Center for AI Safety, a U.S.-based nonprofit whose website hosts the statement.

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Could Iran’s new nuclear bunker increase the risk of an Israeli attack?

If Israel keeps its far-right government and Trump returns, chances of an attack on Iran will increase

By Paul Rogers. Published 5-26-2023 by openDemocracy

Former President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Reports that Iran is constructing a very large, deep bunker as part of its nuclear programme mean there is a renewed risk of an upsurge in tension, and the potential for conflict, most likely involving Israel but always with risk of it spreading much wider.

Context here is important.

During Barack Obama’s second term in the White House, countries including the UK, France and Germany, worked hard with the US to forge an agreement with the Iranian regime to avoid Iran developing nuclear weapons. A powerful motivation was the risk of Israel otherwise taking unilateral action.

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‘Enormous Policy Failure’: States Throw Hundreds of Thousands—Including Many Children—Off Medicaid

“We knew this was coming,” wrote one policy expert. “But we still treat these burdens like they’re unavoidable natural disasters.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 5-27-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

With a green light from the federal government, states across the U.S. have thrown hundreds of thousands of low-income people off Medicaid in recent weeks—and many have lost coverage because they failed to navigate bureaucratic mazes, not because they were no longer eligible.

More than a dozen states, including Florida and other Republican-led states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, have begun removing people from Medicaid as part of the “unwinding” of a pandemic-era federal policy that temporarily barred governments from kicking people off the program.

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‘This Is the First Step’: Minnesota Passes Most Comprehensive PFAS Ban in the Nation

“This law shows that states are a key part of ensuring that communities are safe from PFAS,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-26-2023 by Common Dreams

Amara Strande, the late frontline anti-PFAS advocate who gave her name to Minnesota’s sweeping ban on forever chemicals, speaks in support of the bill. (Photo: Clean Water Action)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed into law the broadest ban on dangerous “forever chemicals” in the nation.

The ban forms part of H.F. 2310—an omnibus environment bill—and is one of the many new policies to come out of what progressives say is a “transformational” legislative session for the state. Minnesota is now the first of any U.S. state to prohibit per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in menstrual products, dental floss, cleaning supplies, and cooking equipment.

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Right-Wing US Supreme Court Delivers ‘Catastrophic Loss for Water Protections’

The court “ripped the heart out of the law we depend on to protect American waters and wetlands,” said one critic, warning that the ruling “will cause incalculable harm.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge, MD. USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image

The U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority on Thursday severely curtailed protections for “waters of the United States.”

The decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “unanimous in result but very split in reasoning,” explained Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern. “The upshot of Sackett is that, by a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court dramatically narrows” which wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA).

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