Tag Archives: Jeff Sessions

‘The Guy Who Defended Company That Caused Worst Oil Spill in US History’ Just Confirmed to Head DOJ’s Environmental Division

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-11-2018

U.S. Coast Guard crews work to put out a fire during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined with Senate Republicans on Thursday to confirm Jeffrey Bossert Clark—a climate-denying former attorney for the fossil fuel industry—to lead the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us,” warned Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook. “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.” Continue reading

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Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2018

Press freedom advocates have obtained and released federal government documents detailing an invasive process officials can use to spy on journalists. (Photo: ACLU)

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents—obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November—confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders. Continue reading

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The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger

Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

Photo: Pixabay

Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated.

In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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With 700+ Events Planned for Saturday, Nationwide Rallies Will Demand End to Trump’s ‘Zero-Humanity’ Policy

“All people deserve the right to raise their children in a healthy and safe environment without being targeted by aggressive immigration tactics and being forced to live in constant fear.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-29-2018

More than 700 direct actions are planned in cities and towns across the country on Saturday, as Americans rally against President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, the forcible separation of families, and the imprisonment of children.

A list and map of events with start times and details is available at MoveOn.org.

“Donald Trump and his administration have cruelly separated thousands of children from their families. Now they’re jailing families—and they haven’t yet reunified the families already brutally torn apart,” wrote the Families Belong Together coalition. “But we won’t allow it to continue. On June 30, we’re rallying in Washington, D.C., and around the country to tell Donald Trump and his administration to permanently end the separation of kids from their parents. End family internment camps. End the ‘zero-humanity’ policy that created this crisis. And reunify the children with their parents.”

A main event in Washington, D.C. is expected to draw tens of thousands of marchers, two days after thousands of women marched to Capitol Hill and nearly 600—including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)—were arrested for demonstrating in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Organizers are asking attendees to wear white as a symbol of unity and solidarity.

Smaller protests are planned in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in front of the U.S. embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Trump administration’s practice of separating families began last month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented a “zero tolerance” policy under which all adults who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without passing through an official port of entry are prosecuted. Following Trump’s signing of an executive order Plannlast week—only after the policy sparked international outrage—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will no longer separate families.

More than 2,000 children remain in detention centers without their parents, and the Trump administration is planning to detain families together indefinitely while adults await immigration trials.

Dozens of social justice groups were mobilizing their ranks to participate in the Families Belong Together protests this week, including Planned Parenthood, Win Without War, and National Nurses United.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have both spoken out against the Trump administration’s practice of separating families, citing the grave psychological damage being done to both children and parents who have been forcibly separated—many after fleeing violence in their home countries.

The United Nations has also denounced the practice as well as the indefinite detention of families, which is a violation of international humanitarian law.

On Twitter, the Families Belong Together coalition applauded the tens of thousands of Americans planning to march on Saturday, and urged the public to continue fighting the Trump administration’s anti-immigration agenda in the weeks and months ahead.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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UN Calls on US to ‘Immediately Halt’ Policy of Tearing Children Away From Parents

The human rights office says the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2018

Photo: ACLU

The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”

Under the administration’s so-called zero tolerance policy, unveiled last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, border agents separate children from their parents at the border and prosecute the adults. The approach, which is being framed as a deterrent to stop migrants from attempting to enter the country, has been widely denounced as “evil” and spurred protests from immigrant rights advocates. Continue reading

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Uproar After Congress Sneaks Attack on Digital Privacy Rights Into Omnibus Spending Bill

Attaching it to massive spending deal, lawmakers rush through controversial bill that allows law enforcement to hand over personal data without a warrant

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-22-2018

Critics of the CLOUD Act ” are rightfully pointing out that it jettisons current human rights protections in favor of vague standards that could gut individual rights.” (Photo: Electoric Frontier Foundation)

Buried in the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that the U.S. House passed Thursday is a piece of legislation that digital privacy advocates warn “expands American and foreign law enforcement’s ability to target and access people’s data across international borders.”

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data or CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) would add an official provision for U.S. law enforcement to access “the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information” for people all across the globe, regardless of where they live and what that nation’s privacy laws dictate. It would also create a “backdoor” into Americans’ data, enabling the U.S. government to bypass its citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights to access and even use their data. Continue reading

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Donald Trump doesn’t understand Haiti, immigration or American history

File 20180112 101483 169uyt2.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

After Haiti signed its Declaration of Independence from France, in 1804, the U.S. started a 60-year political and economic embargo that hobbled the young nation’s growth. Wikimedia

Chantalle F. Verna, Florida International University

Donald Trump’s denigrating comments about Haiti during a recent congressional meeting shocked people around the globe, but given his track record of disrespecting immigrants, they were not actually that surprising.

Despite campaign promises that Trump would be Haiti’s “biggest champion,” his administration had already demonstrated its disregard for people from this Caribbean island. In November 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would end the Temporary Protected Status that had allowed 59,000 Haitians to stay in the U.S. after a calamitous Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

Their TPS was extended after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti again in 2016. Without protected status, these Haitian migrants have until July 2019 to get a green card, leave voluntarily or be deported. Continue reading

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‘Horrifying Step Backwards’ as Sessions Retracts Guidance Designed to End Abuse of Poor by Courts

Attorney General abandons directive to protect the poor from needless fines

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-22-2017

Civil rights advocates accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “turning back the clock” on criminal justice reforms after the Department of Justice rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected low-income defendants from being forced to pay gratuitous fees to local courts.

“Profit-minded court policies targeting the most economically vulnerable Americans have resulted in a resurgence of unconstitutional but widespread practices penalizing the poor and people of color,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. “Attorney General Jeff Session’s decision to retract guidance from the Justice Department rooting out practices resulting in a perpetual cycle of fines, debt and jail of America’s poor is a horrifying step backwards in ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system.” Continue reading

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As Final Tax Scam Vote Looms, Demands for McConnell to Seat Doug Jones ‘Immediately’

“Alabama voters deserve to have their voices heard in this fight.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 12-13-2017

After “bigotry and hatred were defeated at the polls” in Alabama on Tuesday, progressives turned their sights toward defeating the GOP’s attempt to deliver a trillion-dollar tax cut to the wealthy, demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “immediately” seat newly elected Sen. Doug Jones before a final vote on the Republican tax bill.

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), said in a statement late Tuesday that Jones’s victory represents a repudiation of “the Trump-GOP agenda” and implored Republicans to “re-evaluate their support for the monstrous tax bill that will rip healthcare away from millions while raising taxes on middle class families.” Continue reading

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