Author Archives: Julia Conley

‘If you want to save the USPS,’ says watchdog, ‘fire Louis DeJoy’

"The entire board and then Mr. DeJoy should be handed their walking papers," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). "Their unquestioning support for this postmaster general is unacceptable."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Thursday reiterated its call for the ouster of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the Republican megadonor accused of attempting to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service last year as millions of Americans relied on the agency to participate in the presidential election. Continue reading

‘A dangerous attack on our democracy’: McConnell backs Trump’s refusal to concede to Biden

‘There is no decisive pool of 'illegal' ballots, and Republican Party messaging on this score is at best a cynical attempt to delegitimize a decisive presidential defeat.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday made his first public remarks since President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, but he made no mention of the Democratic former vice president—instead claiming the election results have not been decided and that President Donald Trump is “100% within his rights” to refuse to concede. Continue reading

Amid US sanctions, Venezuelan oil tanker at risk of spilling 1.3 million barrels and devastating Caribbean ecosystems

"The Caribbean Sea would never be the same" should the oil spill, climate scientist Eric Holthaus tweeted.

The companies that own a Venezuelan oil vessel that’s been positioned off the country’s coast for nearly two years called on the U.S. to give a “green light” to unload 1.3 million barrels of oil after local environmental advocates on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago expressed alarm over the recent appearance of the boat, which is tilting to one side and looks to be on the verge of sinking. Continue reading

‘We Need Medicare for All’: Tens of millions more expected to lose employer-based insurance by 2021

The strain on employers ‘just shows how ridiculous it is to have a system where a person's health insurance is tied to their job.’

While for-profit health insurers have reported record-high earnings this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, small companies across the U.S. are reporting difficulty paying premiums for their employees—and tens of millions of workers are expected to lose their employer-based health insurance by the end of the year, even if they keep their jobs. Continue reading

As big box stores thrive, 1 in 5 small businesses expect to close in next 6 months without urgent federal aid

‘Many of them still need more financial assistance just to keep their doors open and staff on payroll,’ the National Federation of Independent Businesses said.

One in five small businesses reported in a survey Monday that they will have to shut their doors permanently if economic conditions—and the federal government’s efforts to improve them—don’t change in the next six months. Continue reading

Privacy advocates herald bill to curb corporate use of ‘enormously invasive’ facial recognition technology

‘Do we really want to live under constant surveillance by unaccountable corporations?" said Sen. Bernie Sanders. ‘I don't.’

New legislation put forward by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders on Tuesday would curb the use of facial recognition software by corporations and help to slow the spread of “abusive” surveillance, according to leading privacy advocates. Continue reading

Despite surging need amid pandemic, GOP moves to roll back SNAP when food assistance ‘matters now more than ever’

‘SNAP delivered. Like it always does.’

Pointing to the success of the SNAP food assistance program during the coronavirus pandemic, economists on Monday said Republicans’ plan to end the expansion of the aid would be “unconscionable.” Continue reading

Federal court strikes down Trump’s ACA rule amounting to ‘intentional, targeted attack on abortion access’

‘It would have created a logistical nightmare for health insurers and individual enrollees and pushed abortion even further out of reach in the midst of a global pandemic that has upended our economy.’

A federal court late Friday struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to erect new barriers to abortion care, this time using the for-profit insurance industry. Continue reading

Again finding US permit invalid, federal court upholds block on ‘climate-busting’ Keystone XL construction

‘Our courts have shown time and time again that the law matters.’

A federal judge on Monday denied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ request to amend his earlier ruling regarding TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline, reaffirming that a permit issued by the Army Corps was invalid. Continue reading

About as evil as it gets’: As state reopens, Ohio urges employers to snitch on workers who stay home due to COVID-19 concerns

Less than a week after some industries reopened, about 1,200 workers across the state have been reported to the government.

Ohio officials are encouraging employers to report what they’ve designated “COVID-19 fraud” as the state begins reopening some industries. Workers who refuse to report to work in light of the pandemic, which has killed more than 1,300 Ohio residents so far, can be reported via a government website and have their unemployment benefits taken away. Continue reading

‘This is a massive scandal’: Trump FDA grants drug company exclusive claim on promising coronavirus drug

‘It is insane and unacceptable,’ said Bernie Sanders. ‘We will not tolerate profiteering. Any treatment or vaccine must be made free for all.’

As healthcare providers across the U.S. desperately attempt to treat a rapidly growing number of patients with the coronavirus, a pharmaceutical company with ties to the Trump administration has been granted exclusive status for a drug it is developing to treat the illness—a potential windfall for the company that could put the medication out of reach for many Americans. Continue reading

Looming Coronavirus threat in US bolsters case for Medicare for All and universal paid sick leave

‘Doubters may claim that our nation can't afford Medicare for All, but it's increasingly likely that we are about to discover just how costly our current system really is.’

The global coronavirus outbreak which also threatens the United States—and the widely criticized effort by the Trump administration to address it—is offering advocates of both paid sick leave and Medicare for All an opportunity to make the case that such universal social programs are not only morally right but would also serve a key public health function. Continue reading

Fears of ‘collateral damage to democracy’ as Trump weighs withdrawing from global postal pact

Election officials fear thousands of votes could go uncounted if the president leaves the Universal Postal Union

Thousands of absentee ballots could be uncounted in upcoming elections thanks to President Donald Trump’s objection to a treaty which governs the international mail exchange for nearly 200 countries. Continue reading

‘A dystopian surveillance state being built in plain sight’: Pentagon tests radar-equipped balloons to spy on vehicles across Midwest

‘These programs are not about stopping violence, they're about social control.’

Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons. Continue reading

New BLM appointee brings conflicts of interest and plans to sell off public lands to agency charged with protecting them

‘It's hard to imagine anyone in this position more dangerous than William Perry Pendley.’

Control over nearly 250 million acres of public lands was placed Monday in the hands of a former Reagan administration official who has argued that all federal lands should be sold to fossil fuel and other corporate interests in accordance with the goals of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Continue reading

US government’s refusal to confirm or deny it put American journalist on drone kill list called ‘chilling’

‘The government seeks to shield itself from all inquiry into the process by which it acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.’

Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government’s infamous “kill list” warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country’s drone assassination program is allowed to continue. Continue reading

Plan for wheelchair-accessible cells at Gitmo Paint ‘chilling picture’ of detainees held without trial for rest of their lives

Newly-revealed plans for expanding the Guantanamo Bay prison confirm that the future of the facility focuses on keeping detainees there well into old age—and likely for the rest of their lives. Continue reading

Call for global ban as poll shows overwhelming public opposition to ‘horrifying’ killer robots

Weapons that require no input from humans in selecting and killing targets undermine "the right to life and other human rights," critics say

World leaders have shown little leadership in moving to ban autonomous weapons that would require no human involvement when selecting and killing targets, but a new survey shows that the global population overwhelmingly opposes the development of such “killer robots.” Continue reading

New analysis shows why Democrats are wrong to fear bold embrace of Medicare for All

‘November's election results show that universal, higher-quality, lower-cost health care through Medicare for All is all moral upside—without political downside.’

On the same day a new poll showed an overwhelming majority of Americans think the nation’s healthcare system is “in state of crisis,” a new analysis shows that Democrats should listen to those Americans—and end their reluctance to run on the promise of a bold solution like Medicare for All while propping up the for-profit system. Continue reading

‘Dirty, dying, and dangerous’ fossil fuel industry only winner as Trump’s coal bailout architect confirmed to FERC

‘The Senate's reckless decision to place Bernard 'Coal Bailout' McNamee on FERC is a major threat to the Commission's independence and integrity.’

The Senate’s narrow approval of fossil fuel-defender Bernard McNamee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday provoked anger and dismay from climate action groups, which have demanded the Trump administration listen to scientists and the American people and end its efforts to prop up “dirty, dying, and dangerous” energy industries. Continue reading

Advocacy groups vow to ‘Protect the Protest’ as government and corporations challenge First Amendment rights

With wealthy corporations, state legislatures, and the federal government finding new ways to challenge Americans’ right to protest, several nonprofit groups have banded together to fight back on behalf of those facing legal jeopardy for peacefully blocking pipelines or using civil disobedience to resist other fossil projects and destructive policies. Continue reading

Evidence of Kavanaugh perjury mounts after Durbin releases more “confidential” documents

By releasing new documents (pdf) previously marked “committee confidential” late on Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) doubled down on accusations that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury in his 2006 confirmation hearing for his seat on a federal appeals court. Continue reading

As 1.5 million flee Hurricane Florence, worries grow over half dozen nuclear power plants in storm’s path

With 1.5 million residents now under orders to evacuate their homes in preparation for Hurricane Florence’s landfall in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the region faces the possibility of catastrophe should the storm damage one or more of the nuclear power plants which lie in its potential path. Continue reading

Chided for working against it as president, Obama’s backing of Medicare for All called ‘thrilling’ shift

While progressives pointed out that it would have been worthy of more applause if the offer of support had come back when he had the actual power to do something about it, Medicare for All proponents applauded the huge paradigm shift denoted by the newest high-profile endorsement of the popular proposal: former President Barack Obama. Continue reading

Healthy babies at risk, warn experts, as Trump fearmongering drives immigrant families off nutrition assistance program

Three months after President Donald Trump proposed penalizing immigrants for using public assistance programs, families appear to have received his message loud and clear—likely risking the health of young immigrant children across the country. Continue reading

Climate crisis to cause hundreds of millions of dangerous nutrient deficiencies—in countries least responsible for emissions

Higher concentrations of carbon could make crops far less substantive, leading to iron and protein deficiencies

A new study highlights a lesser-known but serious consequence of the climate crisis for hundreds of millions of people around the world—major nutritional deficiencies that are likely to hit impoverished populations the hardest, as carbon dioxide emissions seriously affect the quality of food crops. Continue reading

Taking ‘wrecking ball’ to Endangered Species Act, Trump administration opens door for corporate attack on vulnerable wildlife

If Interior Department's proposals are approved, "Zinke will go down in history as the extinction secretary"

Gutting the law that has protected the bald eagle, the American crocodile, the gray wolf, and countless other animals from extinction over the past four decades, the Trump administration gave its latest handout to corporate interests on Thursday when it unveiled sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Continue reading

‘Mind-blowing’: Military contractors making tens of millions helping Trump tear families apart

While outraged Americans across the country are calling their elected representatives and taking to the streets to protest the Trump administration’s forcible separation of parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, intelligence and defense contractors are raking in millions thanks to the cruel practice. Continue reading

News organizations challenge Facebook over ‘dangerous’ effort to categorize political journalism as propaganda

Facebook’s new advertising disclosure rules for news organizations provoked outcry this week as seven media groups protested against the tech giant’s attempt to blur the lines between news and propaganda and to regulate the sharing and spread of political and election-related news on their platform. Continue reading

Aging paperless voting machines in hotly-contested districts stoke fears ahead of midterms

More than 140 of November’s congressional elections will be decided using electronic voting machines with no verifiable paper trail, leading to concerns among election officials that any hacking or tampering will be undetectable—and accurate recounts or audits in the event of extremely close races, difficult to verify. Continue reading

Species threatened as climate crisis pushes mother nature ‘out of synch’

In a new study showing that the timing of species' natural events is failing to synchronize, ‘everything is consistent with the fact it's getting warmer’

The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature’s food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading

Tillerson out and Pompeo in: ‘From Exxon’s CEO to the Koch Brothers’ most loyal lapdog’

The former congressman and current CIA director's climate denialism and praise of the United States' use of torture has raised alarm among green groups and human rights defenders

While applauding the end of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s tenure as secretary of state, green groups and government watchdogs on Tuesday denounced President Donald Trump’s pick to replace him—current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Continue reading