Tag Archives: religion

Unlike US, Europe picks top judges with bipartisan approval to create ideologically balanced high courts

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21 called on the Republican-controlled Senate not to confirm a new justice until the next president is in office. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

David Orentlicher, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court immediately sparked a bitter partisan fight.

But choosing judges for the nation’s highest court doesn’t have to be so polarizing.

In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court’s ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions. Continue reading

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Labor Day celebrates earning a living, but remember what work really means

Doing a job to help other people can give greater meaning to work. Photo by Eddie Kopp for Unsplach, CC BY-ND

Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. employment is dire. Economists estimate that 1 in 5 workers have lost their jobs. As a result, many people are finding it difficult to keep a roof overhead and put food on the table. Yet there can be more to work, and Labor Day provides an opportunity to see how through the writings of a woman who thought especially deeply about it, Simone Weil.

Weil looked at work as more than an exchange of money for labor. She argued that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of labor itself. From her perspective, money does not solve the core problems of joblessness. Instead, work provides vital opportunities to live more fully by helping others. Continue reading

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Shadow armies: how the West wages war but keeps its soldiers at home

ISIS is enjoying a renaissance and the West is fighting back with a shadow war, free of public debate or political scrutiny.

By Paul Rogers  Published 9-3-2020 by openDemocracy

Others do the dirty work. Screenshot: CNN

In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.

Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading

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Dismissing Need for Abortion Access, Ted Cruz Claims Pregnancy Is Not ‘Life-Threatening’—Despite Alarming Maternal Mortality Rate in US

“Ted Cruz has never been pregnant and clearly knows nothing about maternal mortality rates in the U.S. or in Texas.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-3-2020

Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr

Reproductive rights advocates rebuked Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday after he claimed that pregnancy is “not a life-threatening” condition for women while arguing that medication abortions should not be available in the United States.

After joining 20 of his GOP colleagues in writing a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on the agency to ban mifepristone and misoprostol, which are used in early pregnancy to induce an abortion, the Texas Republican tweeted that the pills are “dangerous” and unnecessary for women’s health. Continue reading

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Amid Pandemic, Trump Petitions Supreme Court to Make Potential Covid-19 Exposure ‘the Price of Abortion Care’

“We’ve already blocked this policy in two federal courts—and we plan to do so again,” said the ACLU.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2020

President Donld Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate an FDA rule mandating a doctor’s office visit for patients to obtain mifepristone, which is used to terminate an early pregnancy. (Photo: Robin Marty/Flickr)

Potentially subjecting patients to Covid-19 risks in the interest of violating the constitutional right to seek an abortion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a rule requiring patients to see a doctor in person before obtaining a medication used to provide abortion care.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) restriction on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and other reproductive healthcare providers and rights groups. Continue reading

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How Trump is opening the way for the Taliban to take Afghanistan back

Trump’s eagerness to ‘bring our boys home’ is leaving the Afghan government with little power to resist the Taliban afterwards.

By Paul Rogers. Published 7-31-2020 by openDemocracy

Goodbye Afghanistan | US Air Force photo by Clay Lancaster. Public domain.

One of Donald Trump’s main election pledges back in 2016 was to ‘bring our boys home’. Alongside this came criticism of Germany and other NATO states for not paying their way on military spending. He has followed up on both themes this week, by starting to reduce the US presence in Germany, albeit shifting some to Poland and leaving all the mechanisms of a rapid return in place, so that the extent of the ‘back home’ is far from what it appears.

Extricating US forces from Middle East is another matter. Many army units are consolidating in fewer bases in Iraq or moving to nearby Kuwait. The US Navy is holding on, too, mainly because of the confrontation with Iran. It currently has two carrier battle groups within reach of the region. Continue reading

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‘Cruelty of the Occupation Knows No Bounds’: Israel Demolishes Covid-19 Clinic in Epicenter of West Bank Outbreak

“There is no humanity in destroying grassroots attempts to support an already deprived health system suffocated by occupation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2020

Israeli army demolished a COVID-19 quarantine center in Hebron on July 21, Photo: via Twitter

Palestinians living near the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the occupied West Bank are without a badly-needed testing and quarantine center following the Israeli government’s demolition of a building that was meant to give relief to overwhelmed hospitals.

The Israeli Civil Administration demolished the building, being constructed on land belonging to Palestinian Hebron resident Hazem Maswada, on Tuesday, claiming the structure was being erected illegally without a permit. The building was set to open to the public next week. Continue reading

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Federal Court Strikes Down Trump’s ACA Rule Amounting to ‘Intentional, Targeted Attack on Abortion Access’

“It would have created a logistical nightmare for health insurers and individual enrollees and pushed abortion even further out of reach in the midst of a global pandemic that has upended our economy.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2020

Photo: Charlotte Cooper/flickr/CC

A federal court late Friday struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to erect new barriers to abortion care, this time using the for-profit insurance industry.

US District Judge Catherine Blake in Maryland blocked the administration from implementing the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Exchange Program Integrity rule, after Planned Parenthood of Maryland joined several individual plaintiffs in suing the Department of Health and Human Services over the regulation. Continue reading

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‘Day of Rage’: Palestinians and Global Allies Rise Up Against Annexation Plan and Israeli Apartheid

“The Palestinian struggle today is not just about fighting annexation, which we must continue to do. It is about dismantling the entire system of apartheid.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-1-2020

Photo: Days of Palestine/Twitter

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip—backed by allies across the globe—organized protests on Wednesday against the Israeli government’s looming plan to further its apartheid policy by annexing up to a third of West Bank territory under U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “vision for peace” for the region, which was unveiled in January and championed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Gaza City, the Associated Press reports, thousands of protesters marched with Palestinian flags and signs decrying the annexation plan as a “declaration of war” on the Palestinian people. Following that demonstration, which reportedly ended peacefully in the early afternoon, other rallies were planned in the West Bank. Continue reading

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‘This Is Deadly’: Trump HHS Scraps Protections for Transgender Patients and Those Seeking Abortions

“The Trump administration has made a mission out of putting politicians and religious beliefs above a patient’s healthcare.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2020

LGBTQ Americans and allies rallied outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s effort to ban trans people from military service. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

In a move widely decried by LGBTQ, reproductive, and human rights advocates, the Trump administration late Friday finalized a healthcare rule that revokes Obama-era nondiscrimination protections for transgender and nonbinary people, patients seeking abortions, and those who do not speak English.

“This is deadly and all of us should be outraged,” declared ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling. “This is beyond heartless.” Continue reading

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