Think Dishonest Politics and Dark Money Elections Bad Now? Court Ruling Opens Floodgates for ‘Scam PACs’

The ruling, said one expert, “will embolden scam PACs to trade on the names of candidates to raise money for their own ends from unknowing citizens.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-22-2019

“This is unfortunate. It will lead to confusion in the political marketplace. It provides a wide opening for scam PACs to exploit,” FEC chair Ellen Weintraub said of the ruling.. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr

A federal judge on Thursday struck down FEC regulations barring unauthorized political action committees from using a candidate’s name to mislead voters and attract donations, a ruling critics warned could lead to the proliferation of “scam PACs.”

Paul S. Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation with Common Cause, said the ruling “will embolden scam PACs to trade on the names of candidates to raise money for their own ends from unknowing citizens.” Continue reading

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‘Like Nominating Dr. Phil to Run CDC’: Alarm Bells as Trump Nominates Right-Wing Sycophant Stephen Moore to Federal Reserve

Concerned economic and political commentators decried Moore as “a famous idiot” who “has proved deeply impervious to facts.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-22-2019

President Donald Trump said Friday he will nominate right-wing commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve board. (Photo: CBN)

Economists and progressive experts responded with exasperation and unease on Friday after President Donald Trump said he will nominate right-wing commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve, the gatekeeper of the nation’s economy.

“I will be nominating Mr. Moore for the Fed. You know who I’m talking about,” Trump told reporters while arriving in Florida for the weekend. “He’s going to be great on the Fed.” Continue reading

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No, Critics Declare in Response to Trump, Now Is Time to Give Occupied Golan Heights Back to Syria

“I still remember some people telling me during the last election that Trump would be tougher on Israel than Clinton. Lol.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-21-2019

An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)

Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.

“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading

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Black Sites for Kids: Rights Advocates Outraged Over Child Immigrants Being Held at ‘Off-the-Books’ Detention Facilities

“Good lord.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2019

Immigrant rights advocates were horrified Tuesday by a new report which confirmed that the Trump administration is sending some immigrant children to clandestine facilities that are not known to their families and lawyers and are not equipped to provide care to vulnerable minors.

An investigation by Reveal on Monday showed that at least 16 young immigrants—as young as nine years old and in need of mental or behavioral health treatment—have been sent by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to “off-the-books” facilities outside the network of federally-funded detention centers. The administration is housing immigrant children with an even greater degree of secrecy than was previously known, in violation of U.S. law. Continue reading

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Attorneys and Reporters Interrogated at Border About Political Beliefs In ‘Outrageous’ Violation of Rights

“This is intimidation and violates the Constitution.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2019

U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint, Tucson, Arizona, Screenshot: YouTube

Rights advocates are issuing fresh warnings of intimidation and repressive tactics in the wake of new reporting about U.S. border patrol agents detaining and interrogating journalists and immigration lawyers, including questions about their political beliefs.

NBC News reported Monday that at least one journalist and four immigration lawyers were stopped at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stations near the border in Texas and Arizona in an apparent attempt to identify individuals in the area who oppose the Trump administration. Continue reading

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‘One of the World’s Most Respected Intelligence Services’: Bolsonaro’s Bring-Your-Son-to-the-CIA Day

“This is the perfect symbol for Latin America’s far right, which has for decades drowned the left in blood thanks to the help of its CIA benefactor.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-18-2019

Jair Bolsonaro took office as president of Brazil in January. This week, he is in Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil (CC BY 3.0 BR)

Nearly 55 years after the CIA backed a coup d’état that overthrew Brazil’s democratically-elected government, the nation’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro raised eyebrows on Monday with an unusual and unannounced trip to the spy agency’s U.S. headquarters.

Bolsonaro is officially in town to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, the Brazilian’s first bilateral meeting with a head of state since taking office in January. His visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia was revealed by his son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, in a tweet on Monday morning. Continue reading

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Cries of ‘Shame!’ Heard at Arlington County, Va. Hearing As Officials Approve $23M in Incentives for Amazon

“You claim Arlington is a place for all, for immigrants, for equality, [and] clamor for the attention of a company that does the opposite.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-17-2019

Anti-Amazon demonstrators attended an Arlington County Board hearing Saturday to demand the board vote against $23 million in financial incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build a headquarters in Crystal City. (Photo: @hqpoo/Twitter)

Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.

The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services. Continue reading

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Demands That Trump End Economic War and Attempts at Regime Change at #HandsOffVenezuela March on Capitol Hill

“There is nobody in that White House or in this administration that cares at all for the Venezuelan people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-16-2019

Americans warned against economic sanctions and a potential military intervention in Venezuela in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. (Photo: @ChuckModi1/Twitter)

Denouncing the “strangling” of the Venezuelan economy via sanctions and demanding the Trump administration allow the South American country to determine its own fate, pro-democracy protesters marched through Washington, D.C. on Saturday to demand, “Hands Off Venezuela!”

The demonstration came seven weeks after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, rebuking President Nicolas Maduro, who won re-election last May. Continue reading

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In Era of Aging Reactors, Nuclear Industry’s Push for Deregulation Sparks Warning of ‘Collision Course’ With Disaster

Critics raise alarm about ongoing efforts to shift to “self-assessments” for safety and limit information shared with the public

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2019

Three Mile Island, 2013. Photo: Ted Van Pelt/flickr

Independent watchdogs are raising alarm about the nuclear power industry’s ongoing efforts to convince federal regulators to scale back safety inspections and limit what “lower-level” issues are reported to the public.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—an agency dominated by President Donald Trump’s appointees—is currently reviewing its enforcement policies and is set to put forth recommendations for updating the nationwide rules in June. As part of that process, it sought input from plant operators and industry groups. Continue reading

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Saudi Women’s Rights Activists Receive ‘Freedom to Write’ Award as They Stand Trial in Riyadh

“These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2019

Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul—along with Nouf Abdulaziz, not shown for privacy and safety reasons—are recipients of the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. (Photo: PEN America)

Three women’s rights activists on trial in Saudi Arabia this week because of their efforts to expand human rights in the infamously oppressive kingdom are this year’s recipients of an award “designed to honor a writer imprisoned for his or her work.”

PEN America, which works to defend free expression globally through the advancement of literature and human rights, announced Thursday that imprisoned writers Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan will be honored with the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award at the PEN America Literary Gala in May. Continue reading

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