A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

“No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2019

No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 10 years behind bars for giving humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert. (Photo: Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International)

Human rights advocates and family members gathered outside a federal courthouse in Arizona on Tuesday as the retrial began for Scott Warren, who faces up to a decade behind bars for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

“We are here today standing together as rural border residents in the firm belief that every life is sacred, deserving of care and dignity,” Arivaca, Arizona resident Patty Miller said on behalf of the Rural Border Community Coalition. “For those of us living on the border, to deny care to those in need would be to deny our own humanity.” Continue reading

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Demands for Bold Climate Action Mount as ‘All But Rainless’ Australia Faces ‘Catastrophic’ Fire Danger

The extreme weather comes as a new report on G20 nations reveals that “Australia is behind [on] climate action in nearly every dimension.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2019

Photo: James ༀ Barrett/Twitter

Demands for bold government action to combat the climate emergency continued to mount in Australia Monday as the continent had hardly any rain for the first time on record while more than 100 fires burned across two eastern states.

The government’s Bureau of Meteorology on Monday “forecast Australia to be all but rainless for the day—aside from a tiny splotch off the Kimberley and western Tasmania,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. A bureau spokesperson said that “the team can’t comprehensively identify a day in our records where there hasn’t been rain somewhere on continental Australia.” Continue reading

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‘Simply Barbaric’: Trump Administration Proposes Charging Asylum Fee for Refugees Fleeing Violence and Poverty

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-10-2019

USCIS office in Atlanta. Photo: Gulbenk/CC

The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.

As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times. Continue reading

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How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Group

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

By Yeganeh Torbati Published 11-7-2019 by ProPublica

Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)

 

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading

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Pentagon Claims US Authority to Shoot Any Syrian Govt Official Who Tries to Take Control of Syrian Oil

“This is not a new mission.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2019

An M-ATV used by U.S. forces near [[Manbij]], [[Syria]], July 2018. Photo: Public domain

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields. Continue reading

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‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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As Bevin Refuses to Concede, Critics Warn Kentucky GOP ‘Totally Gearing Up to Steal’ Gubernatorial Election

“Pay attention. They’re going to try to steal the Kentucky election right out in the open, in front of everyone.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2019

President Donald Trump and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin greet supporters as they arrive at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 21, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Kentucky’s Senate President Robert Stivers suggested Tuesday night that the close race between Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear could ultimately be decided by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, sparking warnings that the GOP could attempt to “steal” the election.

“There’s less than one-half of 1 percent, as I understand, separating the governor and [Beshear],” Stivers, a Republican, told reporters after Beshear declared victory. “We will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine. Continue reading

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‘Historic’ Alaska Ruling Could Provide Roadmap to Defeating Citizens United

“This decision gives Alaskans and all Americans a chance to revisit those destructive decisions.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-5-2019

A case in Alaska could go to the U.S. Supreme Court and possibly overturn Citizens United. (Photo: Joe Ravi/cc)

A ruling in a court in Alaska Monday could open the door to imposing more restrictions on super PACs and possibly reversing the infamous 2012 Citizens United by the U.S. Supreme Court that in 2012 upended the nation’s campaign finance laws.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge William F. Morse ordered the state to impose limits on donations to political groups in Alaska, saying in the ruling (pdf) that the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), which handles election enforcement, “should reinstate enforcement of the contribution limits at issue.” The decision is expected to head to the Alaska Supreme Court. Continue reading

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Delivering ‘Catastrophic Message in a Moment of Great Urgency,’ Trump Formally Begins Ditching Paris Climate Deal

“President Trump’s decision to walk away from the Paris agreement is irresponsible and shortsighted.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-4-2019

Protesters gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in December 2015. (Photo: Carlos Felipe Pardo/flickr/cc)

As President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday took the first step to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement, climate campaigners reiterated concerns about the United States ditching the landmark 2015 deal that aims to bring countries together to tackle the climate emergency.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in a tweet Monday, the first day that world leaders could begin the one-year withdrawal process: Continue reading

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Australian PM Morrison Pledges to Outlaw Climate Boycotts

 “A new breed of radical activism is on the march. Apocalyptic in tone,” said Morrison, an evangelical Christian and a very vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump.

By Common Dreams. Published 11-2-2019

President Donald J. Trump poses for a photo with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison following their dinner at the Imperial Hotel Osaka Thursday, June 27, 2019, Osaka, Japan. Photo: White House

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked environmental activists in a speech Friday, warning of a “new breed of radical activism” that was “apocalyptic in tone” and pledging to outlaw boycott campaigns that he argued could hurt the country’s mining industry.

“We are working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians, especially in rural and regional areas,” Morrison said. “New threats to the future of the resources sector have emerged,” he said. “A new breed of radical activism is on the march. Apocalyptic in tone. It brooks no compromise. It’s all or nothing.” Continue reading

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