Human Rights

Georgia Special Election: Nobody Said It Was Easy. They Said It Was Important.

Common Dreams - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:05
Jay Bookman

There are two ways to look at it,  I guess.

From the point of view of the Republicans, they won Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, and that’s all that matters. Politics is binary: You’re either going to Washington or you’re not, and Jon Ossoff is not. Karen Handel is. Republicans can also accurately claim to have taken their opponent’s best shot and remained standing.

Categories: Human Rights

Murder Plain and Simple

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 18:00
Abby Zimet, staff writer

No wonder Minnesota police waited until Tuesday - several days after one of their own was acquitted - to release dashcam video of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile for being, in the words of his grieving, trenchant mother, "black in the wrong place." The harrowing video shows a panicked Jeronimo Yanez, seconds after stopping Castile, frantically screaming and firing in what is clearly an execution; he got away with murder, critics say, because "this is America 2017."

Categories: Human Rights

Songs of the Resistance

Jobs With Justice - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 17:05

During times of resistance, music provides motivation, meaning, and hope. Songs can be uplifting and inspiring, while others reflect our struggles, injustices, and the challenges we face. The current resistance began in January, and while the challenges we face are immense, we once again turn to music to guide us. We’ve compiled a playlist of a few songs that speak to us, call us to action, and remind us what we’re fighting for in our current moment. We encourage you to read on, and take a listen.

“What’s Going On?” – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s seminal album focused on a Vietnam veteran returning home to find his community ravaged by poverty and injustice. Forty-five years later, Gaye’s classic remains a poignant reminder of racial injustice.

“What It Means” – Drive-By Truckers

For two decades, southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers wrote songs about the politics and issues of the South. Their 2016 album American Band might be the group’s most political one yet. Songs discuss issues ranging from immigration to school shootings, and why Black lives matter. “What It Means” is a raw quest for singer/songwriter Patterson Hood to try and figure out why heinous crimes continue against innocent African-Americans.

“Weary” – Solange Knowles

Few albums released last year received as much praise as Solange Knowles’ “A Seat At The Table.” In Julianne Escobedo Shepherds review of the album for, she wrote, “It’s a document of the struggle of a black woman, and black women, in 2016, as Solange confronts painful indignities and situates them historically.” The entire album demands attention, but “Weary” reflects on the fight to end racial injustice, and reminds us to keep a watchful eye on what’s happening in the world.

We The People…”— A Tribe Called Quest

Hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest delivered a stunning album three days after the 2016 presidential election. We Got It From Here… Thank You 4Your Service was the group’s first album in 18 years, and it reflects the politics and issues of the moment. Their first single, “We The People…” is a politically-charged track, tackling momentous issues like gentrification, immigration, racism, and poverty.

“The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll— Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s storied career touched on almost every major topic, but his 1964 ballad, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” strikes a nerve. This song about racial injustice, institutional racism, and privilege, remains relevant today. It recounts the 1963 murder of a Black woman named Hattie, by wealthy and prominent tobacco farmer William Zantzinger. Hattie worked at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. She was tending bar one night, when William came in and ordered a drink. Hattie asked that he wait a moment – he refused and struck her on the head with a cane, killing her. William served only six months in jail for senselessly taking Hattie’s life.

This Land Is Your Land” – Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie penned the 1940s folk classic as a reaction to families migrating to California during the Dust Bowl. As he traveled across the country, he saw prejudice, poverty, and hatred. His song also was a sarcastic response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” and to this day it remains an alternative anthem.

“Power To The People” – John Lennon

During the late 1960s and 1970s, John Lennon used his voice to address a variety of political and social issues. His 1971 track “Power To The People” is a call to action, encouraging citizens to march, organize, and speak out. It’s an anthem for all of us joining together in hopes of building a better world.

“I Give You Power”Arcade Fire feat. Mavis Staples

Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire rarely shy away from the issues and it was no different once the current resistance began, following the election of President Trump. On January 19, Arcade Fire joined forces with legendary R&B singer Mavis Staples to release “I Give You Power.” As our democracy faces enormous tests, the line, “I give you power/I can take it away/watch me,” is haunting. The band promoted the song with a tweet reading, “It’s never been more important that we stick together and take care of each other.”

Our curation is by no means exhaustive. Share with us the songs, artists, and albums that fire you up, give you charge or reassurance these days. Add your favorite picks on Facebook, Twitter, or post in the comments section below.

Categories: Human Rights

Watch What Trump Tweets But Also What He Does

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 16:31
Todd Gitlin

I’m the last guy to turn my eyes away from the sub-Shakespearian maneuvers that may (or may not) be shuffling personnel behind closed doors in the White House. I confess myself tempted by the pastime so widespread in kingdoms and autocracies — rumor-mongering, or at a higher level, the conspiracy theorizing that enables us to pretend that the opaque has, momentarily, become transparent. In recent days, I couldn’t for one moment tear myself away from the recent on-screen dramas starring former FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Categories: Human Rights

ACLU Responds to Appeals Court Win for Government Transparency in Sarasota “Stingray” Cell Phone Trackers Case

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 15:26

A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that prevented the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida from obtaining records regarding the use of cell phone tracker technology by the Sarasota Police Department.

Categories: Human Rights

"Would You Like a Drink of Water?" Please Ask a Yemeni Child

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 15:21
Kathy Kelly

This week, in New York City, representatives from more than100 countries will begin collaborating on an international treaty, first proposed in 2016, to ban nuclear weapons forever.

It makes sense for every country in the world to seek a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. It would make even more sense to immediately deactivate all nuclear weapons. But, by boycotting and disparaging the process now underway, the U.S. and other nuclear armed nations have sent a chilling signal. They have no intention of giving up the power to explode, burn and annihilate planetary life.

Categories: Human Rights

Climate Groups: Don't Be Fooled, Industry-Backed Carbon Tax Just Latest Scam

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 15:04
Jon Queally, staff writer

Actually, no, major fossil fuel companies and "left-wing enviros" have not found common cause in an industry-backed carbon tax proposal.

Categories: Human Rights

In Major Tax Speech, Paul Ryan Lays Out Plan to Lavish Rich With Tax Cuts

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:59
Jake Johnson, staff writer

Categories: Human Rights

Paul Ryan Still Missing the Point: "Lowering tax rates does not create jobs. Period."

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:43
Patriotic Millionaires

Today, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gave his first major speech on tax reform while at the NAM 2017 Summit. One thing was clear from this address: Ryan will continue to go to any lengths to pass off tax cuts for the wealthy as pro-growth legislation that would help Americans. Chair Morris Pearl sounded off this afternoon, saying:

Categories: Human Rights

Cuomo’s Nuke Bailout: Right Out of the Trump Playbook

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:05
Wenonah Hauter

It's a deal Donald Trump would love—let's call it "The Great New York Ratepayer Swindle of 2016-17" —and New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is responsible for it. And if giant energy corporations get their way, it could be coming to your state next.

Categories: Human Rights

Small Donor Tax Credits Would Boost Parties

Brennan Center - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:41
Small Donor Tax Credits Would Boost PartiesDouglas KeithJune 20, 2017

This week, the Brennan Center proposed a new tool to strengthen both parties — an easy-to-claim tax credit for small political contributions.

Categories: Human Rights

Don Winslow: President Trump's War on Drugs Is Catastrophic

Brennan Center - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:35
Don Winslow: President Trump's War on Drugs Is CatastrophicTuesday, June 20, 2017 - 12:30pmMedia Source: Time Don Winslow: President Trump's War on Drugs Is Catastrophic
Categories: Human Rights

Carbon Taxes Won’t Reduce Fossil Fuel Consumption or Fix Climate Change – That’s Why Exxon Mobil and the Industry Support Them

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:23
Food & Water Watch

Today the Climate Leadership Council, a conservative-leaning policy group that supports a carbon tax proposal as a solution to climate change, announced its list of founding members. The list includes multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations and notable political and industry figures. In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

Categories: Human Rights on ExxonMobil Supporting Carbon Tax: “More of the Same Delay and Deceit”

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:21

Today, multiple sources revealed that ExxonMobil, the world’s wealthiest oil company, will support a plan that calls for a carbon tax. The plan also calls for scrapping decades of hard-won climate and community protections, and shielding fossil fuel companies from lawsuits that would uphold accountability for perpetuating climate change.

In light of this, Jamie Henn, Strategic Communications Director, issued the following statement:

Categories: Human Rights

The World Society Needs to Express Greater Solidarity for Refugees Worldwide

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:18
Hanif Hassan Al Qassim

The world is heading into troubled waters as we are witnessing an unprecedented movement of people – refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) alike – fleeing from misery, poverty and conflicts. The refugee crisis that has swept across Europe and the Middle East is becoming the 21st century’s most protracted crisis with no immediate solution in sight. The world has not witnessed a more complex movement of people since the end of the Second World War; thousands of human beings undertake perilous and treacherous journeys in hope for a better and a safer future.

Categories: Human Rights

Trump's Love Affair With the Saudis

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:10
William Hartung

At this point, it’s no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. It could in the end destabilize the Middle East in ways not seen in our lifetimes (which, given the growing chaos in the region, is no small thing to say).

Categories: Human Rights

Statement on Paul Ryan's Speech Today on Tax Reform

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:56
Americans for Tax Fairness

Paul Ryan is delivering a "major speech" on taxes today at the National Association of Manufacturers conference.

Categories: Human Rights

Conservative Senate Democrats Targeted with Anti-Trumpcare Billboards in West Virginia, Indiana and North Dakota

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:38
Credo Action

CREDO announced today that it had placed #ResistTrumpcare billboards in strategic locations in West Virginia, Indiana and North Dakota pressuring Sens. Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp not to work with Republicans on legislation that would take health care away from millions of Americans. The three Senate Democrats reportedly joined closed-door meetings with Senate Republicans about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Categories: Human Rights

Since Trump's Election, 20 States Have Moved to Criminalize Dissent

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:32
Jake Johnson, staff writer

In what is being called the "biggest protest crackdown since the Civil Rights Era," Republicans in at least 20 states have put forward or passed laws with the intention of making protest more difficult and the punishment for expressing dissent more draconian since President Donald Trump's inauguration in January.

Categories: Human Rights

Lawsuit Seeks Documents on Trump Administration's Ties to Coal Industry

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:22
Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for public records of closed-door meetings between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and industry executives over the reversal of the Obama administration’s “pause” on coal extraction on federal public lands.

Categories: Human Rights