Human Rights

Trump Budget Makes America Land of No Opportunity

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:41
Leo Gerard

A few hundred billion cut here, a few hundred billion slashed there, and the Trump budget proposal adds up to real crushed opportunity.

The spending plan slices a pound of flesh from everyone, well, everyone who isn’t a millionaire or billionaire. For the rich, it promises massive tax breaks.

Categories: Human Rights

Beating the War Drums... Again

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:33
Danny Sjursen

“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “you find Iran.”

I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories.

Categories: Human Rights

Government Austerity Demands That We Die Within Our Means

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:21
Victoria Cooper, David Whyte

As we move towards the general election, we are paralyzed by what is probably the biggest single issue affecting ordinary people in the country: austerity. We are unable to fully understand both the economic madness of austerity and the true scale of the human cost and death toll that ‘fiscal discipline’ has unleashed.

Categories: Human Rights

After Just Three Months, Trump's Communications Director Says: I'm Out

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:02
Jon Queally, staff writer

President Donald Trump's communications director Mike Dubke confirmed Tuesday morning that he is leaving the White House after barely three months working in the tumultuous and truth-starved administration.

Categories: Human Rights

Give the Portland Heroes the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 08:06
Betsy Karasik

As we honored and remembered over the Memorial Day weekend so many who have died for justice and freedom, I found myself inordinately haunted by the Portland, Ore., stabbing of three men who came to the defense of two young women being bullied and harassed, allegedly by a white supremacist hurling anti-Muslim slurs. Two of the men died in the attack. The third was hospitalized in serious condition.

Categories: Human Rights

Making America Meaner

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 08:01
Robert Reich

Last Wednesday, on the eve of his election to the House of Representatives, Montana Republican Greg Gianforte beat up Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the “Guardian" newspaper.

What prompted the violence? Jacobs had asked Gianforte for his reaction to the Congressional Budget Office’s report showing that the House Republican substitute for the Affordable Care Act would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance.

"Donald Trump is actively defining deviancy down in American politics. He’s also making America meaner."

Categories: Human Rights

Cut Corporate Taxes? This Is How the Biggest Companies Cheated on Taxes in 2016

Common Dreams - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 07:47
Paul Buchheit

Donald Trump wants to cut what some call the "highest corporate tax rate in the world." The tax cut will, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, "pay for itself with economic growth." 

Categories: Human Rights

ALEC and the Minimum Wage

DSA: Talking Unions - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:13

ALEC and the Minimum Wage
By Seth Sandronsky

The American Legislative Exchange Council is against raising the
minimum hourly wage. We turn to Missouri’s statehouse. Lawmakers there
passed bills barring every past and future law to hike the minimum
wage recently.

“By enacting legislation today to prohibit all past and future local
minimum wage laws in Missouri, the Missouri state legislature dealt a
blow to democracy and workers in the state,” said Christine Owens,
executive director at the National Employment Law Project.
“Legislators have stripped Missouri communities of their long-standing
rights and taken away all hope for cities like St. Louis of addressing
low wages that deny people the opportunity to support themselves
through work.”

Missouri’s anti-minimum wage legislation mirrors a bill that Iowa
state lawmakers passed. In Iowa, that bill reverses local minimum wage
hikes that counties approved, while prohibiting cities and counties
from changing the standards for wages and benefits.

What is going on, and why? According to the NELP, state legislatures
are responding to popular sentiments to increase minimum wage rates.
Over 40 cities and counties have enacted increased minimum wages.
However, 24 states have approved laws to roll back these minimum wage
increases.

The University of California at Berkeley Labor Center maintains an
inventory of US city and county minimum wage ordinances. There are
wage levels, scheduled increases and other law details, as well as
links to the ordinances:
http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/minimum-wage-living-wage-resources/inventory-of-us-city-and-county-minimum-wage-ordinances/

Back to ALEC. It argues that raising the minimum wage harms those who
earn low pay. This stance echoes businesses that oppose low-wage
workers earning higher hourly rates.

However, public support for raising the minimum wage is strong. The
same US public opposes misnamed “free-trade” pacts that help
capitalists pay workers abroad less than Americans earning the minimum
wage.

“The only wages ALEC seems to like are the $1 an hour wages paid in
countries like Vietnam,” said Mary Bottari, deputy director of the
Center for Media and Democracy. “ALEC was a huge backer of the Trans
Pacific Partnership and every trade agreement that has shipped US jobs
overseas.”

The CMD has been investigating the involvement of the Kochs,
billionaire GOP funders of ALEC. Let us not, though, focus solely on
Republicans and their wealthy donors such as the Kochs in pushing a
corporate agenda that runs roughshod over working families.

Recall the role of Democratic presidents, for instance, in promoting
corporate investment in low-wage foreign labor. Former President Obama
also backed the TPP. On that note, Hillary Clinton’s failed White
House run in part claimed to continue Obama’s legacy on investment and
trade.

GOP President Donald J. Trump made opposition to the North American
Free Trade Agreement, enacted under Democratic President Bill Clinton
in 1994 [with Republican support], central to his successful 2016
campaign for the White House. During that recent campaign, Secretary
Clinton had little in the way of a solid response to candidate Trump’s
NAFTA critique, which resonated in Rust Belt states where NAFTA has
wrecked communities, devastating working families.

To be clear, ALEC has its eyes on the ball, and is moving it down the
court. The daily drama in the nation’s capital can distract us from
ALEC’s politics.

“Taking away local control over wages (and a range of other
pro-worker, pro-environment, and pro-civil rights policies) has become
a major priority of ALEC, a corporate-backed group with extensive
lobbying resources and influence in our state legislatures,” according
to an NELP statement. “ALEC drafts “model” minimum wage preemption
bills for conservative legislatures to simply copy and paste.”

This is not rocket science. Rather, ALEC’s agenda, less sexy than the
Kardashians on social media, is class warfare of the 1% against the
99%.

Seth Sandronsky is a journalist and member of the Pacific Media
Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com.

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2017. http://www.populist.com/23.11.sandronsky.html


Categories: Human Rights

The Way Forward

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 13:08
Abby Zimet, staff writer

Declaring, "We choose love," thousands gathered at vigils in Portland, Oregon this weekend to honor three victims of a bloody hate crime sparked by the toxic times. In remembrances for the two men killed and one injured when they faced down an assault on two young women of color, many echoed the grieving, grace-filled family of Taliesin Myrddin, who wrote that he "did the right thing...In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward."

Categories: Human Rights

Witnesses Say US Military Killed Fleeing Yemeni Child in Latest Botched Raid

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:42
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The Pentagon said last week that there were "no credible indications of civilian casualties" from the latest U.S. Navy SEALs raid on a village in Yemen.

Categories: Human Rights

Another City Jumps Aboard Growing Movement to Impeach Trump

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:36
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Ten American municipalities are now calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, after elected officials in Brookline, Massachusetts passed a resolution last week asking Congress to begin an investigation that might lead to his removal from office.

Categories: Human Rights

Nina Turner: While Congress Obsesses Over Russia, Americans Being 'Left Behind'

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 10:36
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner is worried that Americans are being "left behind" because Congress and the media are seemingly consumed by "Russia, Russia, Russia."

Categories: Human Rights

Want to Get “Back to the Land?” You’re Not Alone

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 09:31
Nancy Matsumoto

Over the past century, generations of young people have turned their backs on city life to embrace small-scale farming and back-to-the-land ideals. The exact circumstances for each generation's return have varied: the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Vietnam War in the ’60s and ’70s, and, more recently, the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity to industrial agriculture and climate change.

Categories: Human Rights

President Trump's War On Children

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 09:13
Marian Wright Edelman

Our nation’s budget should reflect our nation’s professed values, but President Trump’s 2018 Federal Budget, “A New Foundation for America’s Greatness,” radically does the opposite. This immoral budget declares war on America’s children, our most vulnerable group, and the foundation of our nation’s current and future economic, military and leadership security.

Categories: Human Rights

Trump’s Budget Is What Class Warfare Looks Like

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 08:59
Greg Kaufmann

Earlier this week, the Trump administration launched a massive salvo against the working and middle class with a budget that was every bit as absurd as its title: “A New Foundation for American Greatness.”

Categories: Human Rights

Celebrating Barry Commoner, Father of the Modern Environmental Movement

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 08:58
Peter Dreier

Described in 1970 by Time magazine as the “Paul Revere of ecology,” Commoner followed Rachel Carson as America’s most prominent modern environmentalist. But unlike Carson, Commoner viewed the environmental crisis as a symptom of a fundamentally flawed economic and social system.

Categories: Human Rights

Comedians to the Rescue

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 08:47
Daniel C. Maguire

Let’s hear it for the comedians.  We never needed them more than now in the age of Trump.  Historically, societies have learned with a stunning unanimity that power untamed by humor turns quickly despotic.  In what has been called a “universal phenomenon,” the jester found a place in the court of the king who was the prime target of his cleansing barbs and chastening foolery.  Our comedians are part of that history.       

Categories: Human Rights

Republicans Are Only Opposed to Redistribution that Goes Downward

Common Dreams - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 08:44
Dean Baker

Matt O'Brien's Wonkblog piece might have misled readers on Republicans views on the role of government. O'Brien argued that the reason that the Republicans have such a hard time designing a workable health care plan is:

"Republicans are philosophically opposed to redistribution, but health care is all about redistribution."

Categories: Human Rights

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