Tag Archives: technology

‘The Whole Internet Is Watching’: As Deadline Nears, Day of Action Takes Aim at House Members Still Standing Against Net Neutrality

“Will you vote to restore net neutrality and help save the free and open internet? Or will you go down in history as one of the politicians who helped hasten its death?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2018

“We have an opportunity to show the entire world which elected officials are willing to fight for net neutrality, and which ones decide to sit on their hands and let big telecom companies take control,” Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer declared in a statement. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

With the Dec. 10 deadline for the House of Representatives to reverse the FCC’s deeply unpopular repeal of net neutrality rapidly approaching, a coalition of websites, prominent celebrity activists, and advocacy groups representing millions of Americans are participating in an internet-wide day of action on Thursday to pressure members of Congress to back the legislative effort to restore net neutrality protections before it’s too late.

During the day of action and in the week leading up to the final deadline, advocacy groups are urging supporters of the free internet to flood the phone lines of their representatives and sign on to their open letter to Congress demanding that they act to save net neutrality. Continue reading

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‘Yemen Can’t Wait’: Ahead of War Powers Vote, Urgent Push for Senate to End US Complicity in Saudi Atrocities

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2018

“It’s long past time to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen,” Peace Action wrote on Twitter. (Photo: CodePink/Twitter)

With a vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) resolution to end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen expected as early as Wednesday, grassroots anti-war organizations are ramping up pressure on Democratic senators who sided with the Republican majority in voting down the same measure earlier this year and demanding that Senate Minority Leader MChuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) act on his words by co-sponsoring the resolution.

“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has killed thousands of civilians. Over 85,000 children have died of starvation. Enough is enough,” Sanders, who introduced the bill alongside Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), declared on Tuesday. “The Senate must vote to end U.S. support for this war.” Continue reading

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New Study Details ‘Staggering’ $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War

“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-15-2018Wa

Total U.S. spending on war and all of its related costs will hit nearly $6 trillion by the end of 2019, according to the Watson Institute (Photo: Carpetblogger/flickr/cc)

While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans’ care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments. Continue reading

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US Uses Banned White Phosphorus Bombs in Syrian City for the Fourth Time in Two Months

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-6-2018 by MintPress News

White phosphorus attack. Photo: Human Rights Watch

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has been accused of using white phosphorus incendiary munitions for the fourth time since mid-September.  White phosphorus is banned internationally when used in areas with civilian populations.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported on a bombing conducted by the U.S.-led coalition that had targeted the small city of Hajin in Syria’s Eastern Deir Ez-Zor province over the weekend. The bombing, allegedly intended to target Daesh (ISIS) terrorists who control the city, killed fifteen civilians – among them women and children – and injured scores more. Civil sources cited by SANA reported that white phosphorus bombs had been used, which – in addition to resulting in several civilian deaths and injuries — caused massive property damage due to the fires resulting from the use of the banned substance. Continue reading

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With Broken Machines and Hours-Long Waits Stopping Voters From Casting Ballots, Majority Says, “Make Election Day a Federal Holiday”

“Is voting meant to be an obstacle course?”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2018

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

A poll released as Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday shows that more than half of the country believes Election Day should be made a national holiday—a likely partial solution to a number of problems that plague the voting system.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to the survey, taken by Hill.TV and HarrisX, say workers should be given the day off on Election Day, allowing them far more time to vote, saving them from having to leave their polling places without voting due to long lines and issues with voting machines, and potentially changing the United States’ generally low election turnout for the better. Continue reading

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‘Real Teeth’: Senator’s Bill Would Punish CEOs With Up to 20 Years in Jail for Violating Consumer Privacy Rules

“There need to be consequences when corporations don’t protect your data. My bill will put reckless CEOs in jail if they lie about protecting your personal information.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-2-201

Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill . Screenshot: C-SPAN

At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like FacebookGoogle, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared,”  Wyden said in a statement. Continue reading

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World hunger has risen for three straight years, and climate change is a cause

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A man walks through a greenhouse in northeastern Uganda where sustainable agriculture techniques such as drought-resistant crops and tree planting are taught, Oct. 19, 2017. AP Photo/Adelle Kalakouti

Jessica Eise, Purdue University and Kenneth Foster, Purdue University

World hunger has risen for a third consecutive year, according to the United Nations’ annual food security report. The total number of people who face chronic food deprivation has increased by 15 million since 2016. Some 821 million people now face food insecurity, raising numbers to the same level as almost a decade ago.

The situation is worsening in South America, Central Asia and most regions of Africa, the report shows. It also spotlights a troubling rise in anemia among women of reproductive age. One in 3 women worldwide are affected, with health and developmental consequences for them and their children. Continue reading

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‘Bolton Gonna Bolton’: Trump’s National Security Adviser Pushing to Ditch Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia

Critics warn that “withdrawal would be stupid and reckless.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-19-2018

President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is reportedly seeking to ditch a Cold War-era treaty with Russia focusing on nuclear arms control. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump’s notorious warmonger of a national security adviser, John Bolton, reportedly “is pushing for the U.S. to withdraw from a Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia,” a move that critics denounced as a “stupid and reckless” mistake that would fuel nuclear weapons production, alienate allies, and increase the threat of conflict.

Despite resistance within the administration and from key allies abroad, Bolton wants the United States to bail on the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) on the grounds that Russia is violating the agreement, sources briefed on the effort told the Guardian. Continue reading

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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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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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