Tag Archives: Equality

Will Facebook respect international rights or the whims of angry rulers?

A muddle of decisions indicates that Facebook and its ‘Supreme Court’ are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights

By Linda Bonyo   Published 10-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Louis Jadwong/Twitter

Facebook’s ‘Trump ban’ received breathless coverage earlier this year, when the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) – the supposedly independent entity established by the tech giant to adjudicate its content decisions – ‘ruled’ that the former president’s ban from the social media site should be upheld.

Experts from WIRED’s Gilad Edelman to scholar Kate Klonick have used the Trump decision to argue that the FOB is working.

But buried amidst that coverage – and that surrounding Facebook’s botched handling of COVID disinformation – are a muddle of decisions indicating that Facebook and its Oversight Board are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights. In fact, they may be headed towards a showdown. Continue reading

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Exposed: How Pfizer Exploits Secretive Vaccine Contracts to Strong-Arm Governments

“Pfizer has used its monopoly on a lifesaving vaccine to extract concessions from desperate governments,” said the report’s author, urging action from the Biden administration.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10=19-2021

Pfizer is under fire for secretive contracts with countries buying its Covid-19 vaccines. Screenshot: ABC News

Pfizer has used its position as a producer of one of the leading Covid-19 vaccines to “silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk, and maximize profits” through secret contracts with countries around the world, according to a Public Citizen report published Tuesday.

“Behind closed doors, Pfizer wields its power to extract a series of concerning concessions from governments,” report author Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher at Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, said in a statement. “The global community cannot allow pharmaceutical corporations to keep calling the shots.” Continue reading

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220+ Groups Blast Biden Plan to Expand ‘Harmful, Abusive, and Unjust’ ICE Prisons

“It’s not too late for the administration to take the moral high ground here and put a stop to ICE’s cruel, costly, and unnecessary detention expansion.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2021

Abolish ICE Protest and Rally Downtown Chicago Illinois 8-16-2018. Photo: Charles Edward Miller/flickr/CC

More than 220 human rights groups on Friday sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing their outrage over the administration’s plans to reopen and expand immigration detention centers in violation of the president’s campaign promises.

The groups—which include Detention Watch Network, the Shut Down Berks Coalition, JUNTOS, National Immigrant Justice Center, the ACLU, and CASA—are demanding that the administration halt the planned expansion of the privately run Berks County Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Pennsylvania and the reopening of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, a former Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility also in Pennsylvania, as an ICE lockup. Continue reading

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As CBO Shows How to Cut $1 Trillion From Pentagon, Progressives Urge Spending on ‘True Security’

“Saving a trillion dollars that could be devoted to preventing pandemics, addressing climate change, or reducing racial and economic injustice is no small matter.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2021

Progressive foreign policy experts say a new Congressional Budget Office report offering three options for slashing Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next decade underscores the imperative to invest in programs of social uplift and climate action. Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/CC

Progressive foreign policy experts on Thursday pointed to a new Congressional Budget Office report that concludes it is possible to slash a trillion dollars in military spending over the coming decade without reducing force effectiveness as further proof that the United States can and should prioritize investments in tackling pandemics, inequality, and the climate crisis.

“The U.S. military budget is now higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or the Cold War,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). “This report shows that there are viable options for immediate, substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget.” Continue reading

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Leaving Post, Top Official Blasts Biden Over Use of ‘Inhumane’ Trump-Era Deportation Policy

The current administration is using Title 42 “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-5-2021

Photo: Robert Brown/Twitter

A senior official departing the Biden State Department has issued a blistering critique of the administration’s ongoing use of a Trump-era policy “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture” and urged his remaining colleagues “to do everything in your power to revise this policy.”

The rebuke, Politico first reported, came in an Oct. 2 internal memo—which centers on the government’s use of Title 42—from resigning senior adviser Harold Koh. Continue reading

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As heat waves intensify, tens of thousands of US classrooms will be too hot for students to learn in

Climate change means more schools will need to install or upgrade cooling systems.
Bill Uhrich/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Paul Chinowsky, University of Colorado Boulder

Rising temperatures due to climate change are causing more than just uncomfortably hot days across the United States. These high temperatures are placing serious stress on critical infrastructure such as water supplies, airports, roads and bridges.

One category of critical infrastructure being severely affected is the nation’s K-12 schools.

Ideally, the nation’s more than 90,000 public K-12 schools, which serve over 50 million students, should protect children from the sometimes dangerous elements of the outdoors such as severe storms or extreme temperatures. Continue reading

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#UprootTheSystem: Climate Movement Readies Another Global Strike

Youth activists are demanding not only climate action but also equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-21-

Climate activists are set to hold events worldwide on Friday, September 24, 2021, as part of the latest global climate strike. (Image: fridaysforfuture.org)

Young climate activists including Greta Thunberg are gearing up for another global strike on Friday when they’ll demand that world leaders “uproot the system” to create a just future for all.

“Time and time again the leaders today show that they do not care about the future, at least their actions don’t reflect it,” Thunberg said at a press conference Monday. Continue reading

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How social media – aided by bots – amplifies Islamophobia online

Islamophobia has changed in the 20 years since Sept. 11. Now, much of it plays out on social media.
Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Saif Shahin, American University

In August 2021, a Facebook ad campaign criticizing Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the United States’ first Muslim congresswomen, came under intense scrutiny. Critics charged that the ads linked the congresswomen with terrorism, and some faith leaders condemned the campaign as “Islamophobic” – that is, spreading fear of Islam and hatred against Muslims.

This was hardly the first time the pair faced Islamophobic or racist abuse, especially on the internet. As a communications professor who studies the politics of race and identity online, I have seen that Omar is often a target of white nationalist attacks on Twitter. Continue reading

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‘Appalled’ by Vaccine Booster Plans, WHO Chief Rebukes Big Pharma, Rich Nations

“I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-9-2021

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr

With the Biden administration expected to begin offering third doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. public in less than two weeks despite vocal pushback from many experts, the head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday demanded a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of the year in order to free up supply for low-income nations.

During his weekly press briefing, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is “appalled” that rich nations are moving ahead with booster campaigns as billions of people across the globe lack access to a single dose. Less than 2% of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Our World in Data. Continue reading

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Warnings of Trump-Like Insurrection Ahead of Bolsonaro Rallies in Brazil

“The people of Brazil have struggled for decades to secure democracy from military rule, Bolsonaro must not be permitted to rob them of it now.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2021

Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil speaking during the Session: “Special Address by Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil“ at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr/CC

As supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro prepare to take to the streets for orchestrated demonstrations Tuesday, warnings within the country and across the world are growing that the embattled right-wing leader is seeking to foment an insurrection or possibly a military coup with similar undertones to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol incited by former President Donald Trump.

“Right now, President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies—including white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials at every level of government—are preparing a nation-wide march against the Supreme Court and Congress on 7 September, stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third largest democracy,” said over 150 lawmakers, academics, and former government officials in a joint statement issued Monday. Continue reading

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