Human Rights

Democracy Fails the Turing Test

Brennan Center - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 17:51
Democracy Fails the Turing TestCiara Torres-SpelliscyApril 28, 2017

The spread of fake news in the 2016 election shows that Americans need to be more sophisticated about what they read.

Categories: Human Rights

'Partial Fix': NSA Scraps Part of Warrantless Surveillance

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 16:45
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been forced to scrap one of its controversial surveillance practices, the New York Times reports Friday, a development the ACLU deemed "a partial fix."

Times reporter Charlie Savage writes that it regards "one of the most disputed practices of its warrantless wiretapping program: collecting Americans' emails and texts to and from people overseas that mention foreigners targeted for surveillance."

Categories: Human Rights

RESIST DAY #99: What You Can Do Today

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 16:45
Common Dreams staff

Resistance in your community, across the country, and around the globe

Categories: Human Rights

Communities of Color Must Lead at People’s Climate March

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 16:30
Magali Sanchez-Hall

On April 29th, thousands will participate in the People’s Climate March--in Washington, D.C. and all over the country--to stand up for our communities and our climate. I’ll be marching with my daughter and mother alongside other families in Wilmington, CA. Why? Because climate change starts in our neighborhoods.

Categories: Human Rights

Women, Be Warned: Trump Just Nominated Radical Anti-Choice Activist for Key HHS Post

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 15:56
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Staying true to his "pledge to erode the constitutional right to abortion," President Donald Trump on Friday nominated leading anti-choice crusader Charmaine Yoest to a top post at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Categories: Human Rights

President Trump Reprises Racist 'Pocahontas' Insult Against Sen. Warren in Speech to NRA

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 15:50
Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

The racist remark to the National Rifle Association's annual meeting reportedly drew 'big laughs'

Categories: Human Rights

With Support Surging, Progressives Push Pelosi on Single-Payer

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 15:25
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Seizing upon the now record high support for a Medicare-for-all bill, advocates for such a system are pushing House Minority Leader Nancy Peolosi (D-Calif.) to throw her weight behind the legislation.

Categories: Human Rights

Foe of Endangered Species, Public Lands Nominated for Deputy Interior Secretary

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:55
Center for Biological Diversity

Industry lobbyist David Bernhardt has been nominated for deputy secretary at the Department of the Interior, where he would directly oversee management of more than 1,600 endangered species and millions of acres of public lands.

Over the past 20 years, Bernhardt has taken full advantage of the revolving door between industry and government — including a stint as Interior’s top lawyer under the George W. Bush administration — and the law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, where he represented big agriculture, oil and gas, and mining companies.

Categories: Human Rights

Working People vs. Trump: The First 100 Days

Jobs With Justice - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:48

Ever since FDR passed 15 major pieces of New Deal legislation during his first 100 days in office, presidents have been measured by their effectiveness within the same time frame. President Trump thought the benchmark so important that he signed a “contract” saying what he would accomplish during those hundred days.

Trump promised to get many things done, especially for the benefit of profitable corporate elites at the expense of the rest of us. Even before he pushed out his contract, working men and women, and their allies across the country have banded together to stand up to Trump’s extreme proposals.

The first fight started when Trump selected CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder to be his Secretary of Labor in December 2016. The now-former head of the Hardee’s and Carl Jr.’s chains spent most of his career undermining the people who work for him, humiliating women, and fighting against fair wages, family sustaining jobs. Working people, fast-food and restaurant workers, women’s rights organizations, civil rights advocates, labor rights groups campaigned to oppose, and ultimately defeat, Puzder.

Our campaign demonstrated the power of our movements in pushing back against this administration’s dangerous agenda. Even Andrew Puzder, the only Trump cabinet secretary nominee to withdraw, credited “the Left” for his loss.

This defeat had ripple effects. It took Trump until his 98th day in office to appoint a Secretary of Labor. As newly-confirmed Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta heads to that cabinet seat, workers’ rights activists who opposed his confirmation have put him on notice. We will be watching him to make it clear that when he has to choose between protecting working people and implementing the Trump agenda, it is his duty to protect working people.

Trump hasn’t turned his attention to appointing a Deputy Secretary of Labor, new members of the National Labor Relations Board, or other key officials who could make workplaces worse once in office. Trump has only made one nomination to the lower courts despite more than 100 vacancies. By not filling out these posts, Despite Trump’s pre-election promise to overturn Obama-era regulations that hold corporations accountable for creating safe, sustainable, and family-supporting workplaces, many still remain on the books.

We also won another big victory against the Trump administration by forcing congressional Republicans to withdraw the corporate American Health Care Act. The GOP’s boardroom bailout plan would have decimated Medicare, repealed much of the Affordable Care Act, and stripped insurance coverage from nearly 30 million Americans.

A deluge of protests erupted in response. And even when legislators hid in the shadows instead of listening to their constituents, community groups organized town hall meetings in their place, providing a platform so working people could make their voices loud and clear in opposition to this destructive bill. As a result, Trump broke one of his major promises for his first 100 days: that he would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

That is not to say that there haven’t been setbacks. Most strikingly, Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court despite Gorsuch’s clear pro-corporate agenda. Working people fought hard against Gorsuch, and Trump and his Senate allies had to break constitutional norms and Senate rules to get his nominee on the Court.

Furthermore, the delays caused by stopping Puzder and resisting the rest of the Trump agenda have been a double-edged sword. The administration passively unravels rules on the books by not enforcing them. For instance, the Trump administration has not withdrawn the overtime rule, which, if implemented, would give a raise to millions of Americans. But the administration hasn’t decided whether to continue to defend the overtime rule, which a federal judge put on hold after corporations sought to tie up the rule in the courts.

Similarly, Trump has yet to withdraw a rule requiring Wall Street investment professionals to put the welfare of retirement savers ahead of their sales commissions. But the Labor Department just delayed its implementation, while industry lobbyists seek to eliminate it altogether. The Trump administration also delayed the date in which companies have to comply with limiting the exposure of working people to cancer-causing silica dust The AFL-CIO estimates that 160 people could die as a result of the delay.

Overall, working people withstood the period when a president is at his or her most powerful. There is still a long way to go in the president’s term, and Trump will get his share of wins. However, even with politicians beholden to corporate CEOs controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, working families have stood together and stopped critical parts of the Trump agenda.

Categories: Human Rights

Why Mitch McConnell Will Keep the Legislative Filibuster

Brennan Center - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:29
Why Mitch McConnell Will Keep the Legislative FilibusterVictoria Bassetti April 28, 2017

The filibuster has already been so diminished that McConnell can advance the GOP agenda without having to worry about it.

Categories: Human Rights

The World's Wealthy Nations Are Failing Yemen

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:24
César Chelala

Antonio Guterres, U.N.’s Secretary General, has informed that international donors have pledged $1.1 billion in aid for Yemen. Rather than a humanitarian action, this pledge only underscores the responsibility that big powers have had in the crisis that has all but devastated that country. Paradoxically, among the countries that have now pledged support are some that have actively contributed to the ravage of Yemen.

Categories: Human Rights

Impacted Communities Draw 'Red Line' for Mother Earth Across US Capitol

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:23
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Representing the communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, activists are forming a "red line" in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Friday, vowing to stand firm "against the corporations and politicians driving the extractive economy" and their increasing assaults on people and planet.

Categories: Human Rights

Fair Courts E-lert: NC Gov. Fills Vacancy After Judge Resigns; WI High Court Rejects Recusal Rule Change

Brennan Center - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:12
Fair Courts E-lert: NC Gov. Fills Vacancy After Judge Resigns; WI High Court Rejects Recusal Rule ChangeApril 28, 2017

Our latest Fair Courts E-lert highlights a NC Court of Appeals Judges' resignation, proposed recusal rule changes in WI, and more.

Categories: Human Rights

Forget Andrew Jackson. The Right Thinks Trump Is Calvin Coolidge!

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:09
Bill Moyers, Michael Winship

Republican Calvin Coolidge, who in 1923 ascended to the presidency following the death of the corrupt and dunderheaded Warren Harding, was a man of few words. But some of the most famous of the few were, “The chief business of the American people is business.”

Categories: Human Rights

Watchdogs: Trump's Disastrous 100 Days Fueling "Golden Era of Activism"

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 14:03
Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Categories: Human Rights

State and Local Governments Can Take the Lead on Climate Policy

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:59
Basav Sen

In March, the World Meteorological Organization released data on the state of the earth’s atmosphere in 2016. Last year, it found, was the hottest year since humanity started recording temperatures, continuing a trend of steadily rising mercury.

Categories: Human Rights

How This Earth Activist Risked All and Won Everything

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:54
Nick Meynen

Two men coming all the way from the Indian jungle admired the most sacred site of London: St. Paul's Cathedral. They checked the rock quality, deemed it perfect and asked for the London mining authorities. That day, an newspaper-ad showed a demolition crane smashing the St Paul's Cathedral.

Categories: Human Rights

CREW Releases 100 Day Trump Ethics Report, Timeline

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:50
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

The first 100 days of the Trump administration brought conflicts of interest and ethical and legal problems on a massive scale not seen since at least President Nixon—and perhaps ever, according to a new report just released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Categories: Human Rights

'State of the Swamp' Spotlights Trump Team's Ethical Blindness

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:45
Dale Eisman

President Trump marks his 100th day in office on Saturday, a milestone he insists is meaningless even as he directs the White House staff in a frenzied effort to convince Americans he’s been the most successful president ever.

The approach of Day 100 has sparked news organizations, watchdog groups, lobbyists, political partisans, and heaven-only-knows-who-else to publish their own assessments of Trump’s performance. A thorough review of the reviews probably would take the careful reader another 100 days.

Categories: Human Rights

I'll Be at the Peoples Climate March Because a Threat to the Environment Is a Threat to Public Health

Common Dreams - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:38
Rhea Suh

This Saturday, April 29th, tens of thousands of people will gather for the Peoples Climate Movement march in Washington, D.C., to express unwavering support for continued action to combat climate change—and to call for putting the interests of the American people ahead of polluters. In different political circumstances, with a different person occupying the White House, you could see it as a call to arms with our planet's best interests in mind.

Categories: Human Rights

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