Author Archives: Brett Wilkins

A joyful day’ as Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act

"The antidote to hate is love," the president said during a White House signing ceremony. "This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms."

Human rights advocates cheered Tuesday’s signing by U.S. President Joe Biden of the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation to codify limited protections for same-sex and interracial marriages passed in response to right-wing attacks on civil rights. Continue reading

‘Tragedy unfolding’ as cleanup of largest-ever Keystone Pipeline oil spill continues

Around 600,000 gallons of crude tar sands oil spewed Wednesday from the pipeline into a northern Kansas creek that's part of a watershed providing drinking water for 800,000 people.

Cleanup and assessment efforts continued Monday after a Canadian fossil fuel company’s pipeline spilled nearly an Olympic-sized swimming pool’s worth of crude tar sands oil into a northern Kansas creek that feeds a watershed providing drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. Continue reading

Journalism defenders press for passage of ‘game-changing’ PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Free press advocates this week urged people to contact Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office and ask the New York Democrat to pass legislation protecting journalists from government abuses during the closing days of the current Congress. Continue reading

‘About damn time’: NY jury finds Trump Organization guilty on all counts of tax fraud

"Today's guilty verdict against the Trump Organization shows that we will hold individuals and organizations accountable when they violate our laws to line their pockets," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

A New York jury on Tuesday found two subsidiaries of Trump Organization, former President Donald Trump’s company, guilty on all counts of criminal tax fraud. Continue reading

‘Carpetbagger’ charges fly as Georgia GOP Senate candidate Walker’s Texas tax break exposed

Democratic opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock asked, "How can Herschel Walker represent Georgians when he doesn't even claim our great state as his primary residence?"

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker is the beneficiary of a tax break meant for permanent Texas residents—a possible violation of both Texas law and residency rules for voting and political candidacy in Georgia, CNN reported last Wednesday. Continue reading

US Supreme Court denies Trump’s bid to keep tax returns from House committee

"At long last the Supreme Court has moved to end this farce," said Rep. Bill Pascrell. "Now let our committee get these documents. Let the sunlight in."

In a blow to Donald Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an attempt by the former president to prevent a congressional committee from obtaining his federal income tax returns. Continue reading

Critics decry ‘disappointing’ billion-dollar Biden bailout of California’s last nuclear plant

"Instead of putting Diablo Canyon back on life support, dependent on a drip of taxpayer subsidies, California should turn a new leaf and lean into building the electric system of the future," said one campaigner.

Environmental and climate campaigners decried Monday’s announcement that the Biden administration—which promotes nuclear energy as part of its solution to the climate emergency—will give more than a billion dollars to California’s largest utility to keep the state’s last nuclear power plant operating. Continue reading

‘Extremely traumatizing’: Louisiana woman forced to travel 2,500 miles for abortion speaks out

Nancy Davis was forced to carry a fetus with a deadly skull deformity for six weeks due to her state's post-Roe trigger law banning most abortions.

A Louisiana woman denied an abortion despite carrying a fetus with a fatally flawed skull revealed Wednesday that she traveled nearly 2,500 miles round trip to New York City in order to undergo the procedure. Continue reading

Georgia GOP Senate hopeful Herschel Walker says he’s all in on federal abortion ban

"The difference between me and my opponent couldn't be clearer," said Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for a national abortion ban, saying that he would vote for the policy if elected in November and if Republicans regain control of the upper chamber. Continue reading

Trump calls Biden ‘enemy of the state’ in ‘fully unhinged’ speech

"This is, quite simply, a speech intended to incite domestic terrorists to kill FBI agents and members of the Biden administration," said one attorney.

Former President Donald Trump was accused of inciting domestic terrorism following a Saturday rally speech in which he called President Joe Biden an “enemy of the state” while threatening a “backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen” in response to the federal investigation into his possession of classified documents. Continue reading

Advocates welcome temporary block on South Carolina’s 6-week abortion ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Reproductive freedom advocates welcomed a Wednesday decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court temporarily blocking the state’s six-week abortion ban while justices consider a legal challenge to the contested law. Continue reading

Trump spews ‘tirade of same old lies’ but pleads the Fifth in New York AG probe

Noting the ex-president once said that "only guilty people and mobsters plead the Fifth," a Democratic congressman said that "today he proved the point."

Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to answer questions from New York Attorney General Letitia James about his business dealings, explaining he was invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Continue reading

‘Beyond unacceptable’: Progressives rip Senate Republicans for blocking birth control bill

"Today, Republicans showed the American people where they stand: No abortions, and no birth control to prevent the need for one," said Sen. Ed Markey.

Democratic U.S. lawmakers and reproductive freedom advocates on Wednesday denounced Senate Republicans for blocking proposed legislation that would safeguard access to contraception as GOP-led states enact total abortion bans in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal. Continue reading

Texas abortion ban turned one woman’s pregnancy into a ‘dystopian nightmare’

"Anti-abortion zealots should be forced to read this..." asserted one journalist. "They are responsible for her suffering."

Reproductive healthcare advocates on Tuesday recoiled at a harrowing report describing how one Texas woman’s wanted pregnancy became a “dystopian nightmare” after she suffered potentially deadly complications but was still initially denied lifesaving care under the state’s extreme abortion ban. Continue reading

DOJ sues to prevent Arizona’s ‘onerous’ proof of citizenship voting law

Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke said the law "constitutes a textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act."

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday sued Arizona in a bid to block a recently enacted law forcing residents to show proof of citizenship in order to vote in federal elections. Continue reading

Police respond with violence against abortion rights protesters across the country

Abortion rights activists, journalists, and legal observers in recent days have been attacked and detained by police at demonstrations against the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. Continue reading

‘Witnessing a judicial coup in process’

"It is our duty to check the court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Progressive powerhouse Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned Thursday that the United States is “witnessing a judicial coup in progress,” a reaction by the Democratic congresswoman to a raft of highly consequential Supreme Court rulings and the justices’ scheduled hearing of a critical voting rights case. Continue reading

LGBTQ+ advocates praise new Biden rules barring discrimination against trans students

"Title IX protects all students," asserted one advocacy group. "We expect that the next rule specific to school athletics will be equally affirming and inclusive of trans and nonbinary students, as would be expected under the law."

LGBTQ+ advocates on Thursday praised the Biden administration for proposing new rules prohibiting educational institutions from discriminating against transgender students while restoring Title IX protections gutted during the tenure of former President Donald Trump. Continue reading

‘Sick and dangerous’ ad by shotgun-wielding MAGA Senate candidate condemned

"Trump and the alt-right already showed us that 'trolling' can incite violence," wrote one critic. "So what the hell is up with this ad?"

A Republican candidate for the United States Senate was roundly rebuked Monday after releasing a violent campaign ad showing him “hunting” so-called “Republicans in name only” and inviting supporters to purchase their own “RINO-hunting permits.” Continue reading

‘Sad day for Western democracy’: Chomsky, Ellsberg, others denounce Assange extradition

"The U.K.'s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him—the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest—is an abomination."

As supporters of Julian Assange held a news conference Friday at the United Kingdom’s consulate in New York to demand freedom for the jailed WikiLeaks founder, a trio of leading leftist figures decried the British government’s approval of the ailing Australian’s extradition to the United States. Continue reading

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