Author Archives: Brett Wilkins

Execution halted, Melissa Lucio’s legal team vows to ‘continue fighting’

"It would have shocked the public's conscience for Melissa to be put to death based on false and incomplete medical evidence for a crime that never even happened," said one of Lucio's lawyers.

Lawyers representing Melissa Lucio vowed to “continue fighting” to prove her innocence after a Texas appeals court on Monday granted the mother of 14—who advocates say was wrongfully convicted of murdering her two-year-old daughter in 2007—a stay of execution, two days before she was scheduled to be killed by lethal injection. Continue reading

‘Worse than Texas’: Extreme anti-choice bills advance in multiple states

"These attacks on our rights are coordinated and connected," noted Planned Parenthood Action.

As anti-choice policymakers across the country seek to severely restrict reproductive freedom—and as the fate of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance pending a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision—Republican lawmakers in at least four states this week advanced bills banning or limiting abortion access. Continue reading

‘They are firing the entire committee!’ Memphis workers say Starbucks targeting union organizers

"The arc of Starbucks' union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing," said Starbucks Workers United.

Workers at a Memphis Starbucks who were fired Tuesday after launching a unionization effort vowed to carry on their fight, with one employee invoking the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—who was assassinated in the Tennessee city while campaigning for workers’ rights. Continue reading

Manchin joins Sinema in destroying Democratic hopes to pass voting rights

"We're old enough to remember a whole month ago when both Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin voted to make an exception to the filibuster for the debt ceiling," Public Citizen sardonically noted.

As conservative U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday joined his right-wing Democratic colleague Kyrsten Sinema in announcing his opposition to abolishing the Senate filibuster, progressive observers excoriated the pair—who recently supported a filibuster carve-out to raise the debt ceiling—for obstructing their party’s landmark voting rights legislation. Continue reading

‘Good news for seniors’: Becerra orders Medicare to reassess premium hike

"It is unconscionable," said one advocate welcoming the announcement, "for Medicare premiums to increase this dramatically because of one corporation's greed."

As the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that he was ordering a review of a planned 15% hike in the Medicare Part B premium for 2022, healthcare reform advocates stressed the need for Congress to pass a Build Back Better bill with a provision allowing the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Continue reading

Further blow to press freedoms as US wins appeal in effort to extradite Julian Assange

"This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges."

As Britain’s High Court on Wednesday handed the United States a win in its bid to extradite Julian Assange, press freedom and other human rights defenders renewed calls for the Biden administration to drop all charges against the WikiLeaks founder. Continue reading

Biden hailed for ‘historic’ exclusion of anti-choice Hyde Amendment from proposed budget

"At a time when reproductive freedom is under unprecedented attack, and the legal right to abortion is hanging on by a tenuous thread, this critical step from the Biden administration is more important than ever."

Reproductive rights advocates on Friday hailed President Joe Biden’s omission of funding for the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits most federal abortion spending—in his $6 trillion 2022 budget proposal. Continue reading

Advocates hail ruling striking down ‘unconstitutional’ Georgia Anti-BDS law

"This ruling comes at a crucial moment... and makes clear that the Constitution protects participation in the BDS movement."

Free speech and Palestinian rights advocates on Monday hailed a ruling by a federal judge declaring the unconstitutionality of a Georgia law prohibiting the state from doing business with anyone advocating a boycott of Israel. Continue reading

Peace activist interrupts General Dynamics shareholder meeting to blast the business of war

CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin took CEO Phebe Novakovic to task for "personally making $21 million a year through a business model that thrives on conflict, death, and destruction."

Anti-war activism met corporate gaslighting Wednesday as General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic refused to acknowledge the deadly consequences of her firm’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other nations after CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin interrupted a company shareholder meeting. Continue reading

House impeachment managers argue Trump aimed violent mob at Capitol ‘like a loaded cannon’

Pre-trial brief says the former U.S. president bears "singular responsibility" for inciting January 6 insurrection.

House impeachment managers on Tuesday filed a trial memorandum laying out their case for convicting Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection against the republic he swore to protect” ahead of the former president’s historic second impeachment trial slated to begin next week. Continue reading

New report from Rep. Katie Porter reveals how Big Pharma pursues ‘killer profits’ at the expense of Americans’ health

"It's time we reevaluate the standards for approving these mergers. It's time we pass legislation to lower drug prices. And it's time we rethink the structure of leadership at big pharmaceutical companies."

Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact “comprehensive, urgent reform” of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that “in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10.” Continue reading