An In-Depth Look at the Caribbean Post Hurricane Irma

Written by stephanie case on . Posted in Front News

Several Caribbean Islands have been devastated by Hurricane Irma. Irma hit the region with its strongest power as a Category 5 storm. The storm battered Cuba for 72 hours, lessening its impact on Florida. Ten people were killed in Cuba as of today's count. The island of Barbuda was almost entirely destroyed, with 90 percent of its structures damaged or ruined. Meanwhile, Florida is still assessing its damage, with water surge being an issue in areas as far north as Georgia. The U.S., France, the Netherlands and the U.K. are under fire for their initially timid response to the hurricane in their Caribbean territories.

How is the Caribbean region mobilizing itself? What role is Venezuela playing in the effort?

Our guests are Dorbrene O'Marde, an author based in Antigua; Francisco Perez Santana, Charge d'Affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy in Barbados; Chamberlain Emmanuel, a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States commission; and Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, a professor based in Gainesville, Florida.

Listen to past shows here.

Photo: New York Magazine.

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Another City Jumps Aboard Growing Movement to Impeach Trump

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by Lauren McCauley, staff writer, May 29, 2017

Another City Jumps Aboard Growing Movement to Impeach Trump

Officials in Brookline, Mass. passed a citizen-proposed resolution that raises concern over President Trump's conflicts of interest


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.

The citizen-proposed resolution argues that "Trump's many business interests around the world violate the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, and calls upon the U.S. House of Representatives to support a resolution directing the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether there are sufficient grounds for impeachment," Boston Magazine reported.

"Honestly, I don't understand why more people aren't outraged by this," said petitioner Lisa Kolarik.

Of the 173 elected officials that took part in the late Thursday vote, 158 voted in favor of the resolution while 13 abstained and two voted against, making the Boston suburb the latest local government to back Trump's removal.

As Politico observed on Monday,

The Massachusetts towns of Cambridge, Amherst, Pelham and Leverett have already made the call, and Newton has a proposal up for consideration. 

California is another hotbed of impeachment. The Los Angeles city council in early May overwhelmingly passed a measure asking for impeachment proceedings to begin. Richmond, Alameda and Berkeley did the same.

A poll conducted in the wake of Trump's firing of former FBI director James Comey earlier this month found that, for the first time, more Americans support impeaching Trump than oppose the idea.

As Common Dreams reported at the time of the survey, 48 percent of respondents said they were in favor of impeachment, versus 41 who were against. What's more, only 43 percent said they think Trump will serve out his full term as president.

Trump's alleged obstruction of justice was also said to be the tipping point for Chicago alderman and gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar, who introduced a resolution to the city council mid-May that swiftly garnered 31 co-sponsors (though, according to Pawar, the resolution is currently "stuck" in the Rules Committee).

"Donald Trump is a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist, and he is attempting to enact policies around his beliefs. But that's not why I introduced the resolution calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings," said Pawar, according to Politico. "I introduced this resolution because President Trump continues to obstruct the investigation into Russian influence over his administration, in his business dealings, and the alleged collusion during the 2016 election. It is time for a full and thorough investigation led by the United States Congress."

Over 1.1 million people have also signed onto a petition calling for Trump's impeachment. While these local efforts have "no authority in the matter," Politico notes that the goal "is to convince Congress to take the first step toward impeachment—launching the investigation necessary to determine if impeachment charges are warranted."

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Another US Appeals Court Just Smacked Down Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0

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by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Another US Appeals Court Just Smacked Down Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0

"It's always been crystal clear that this policy is discriminatory and cruel at its core," says Amnesty International USA's executive director, Margaret Huang

This post will be updated.

The Trump administration's revised Muslim ban was dealt another blow on Monday after a second federal court of appeals blocked it.

The new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit largely upholds a lower court's injunction against the travel and immigration ban aimed at people from six Muslim majority countries, and follows a similar Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in May. 

"The Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") gives the President broad powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public," the three judges wrote in their opinion. "But immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show. The President's authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints."

"We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress," the ruling states.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

According to Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA's executive director, "It's always been crystal clear that this policy is discriminatory and cruel at its core."

"Rather than keeping anyone safe, this ban demonizes millions of innocent people and creates anxiety and instability for people who want to visit a relative, work, study, return to the country they call home, or just travel without fear. The Trump Administration must drop all defenses of this bigoted ban. If they won't drop their appeals, Congress must step in and nullify this order once and for all," Huang added.

Oxfam America also welcomed the development, with the organization's president, Abby Maxman, saying the new ruling, along with the Fourth Circuit's ruling, mark "a resounding victory for tolerance and freedom. The courts have once again struck down the Trump administration’s attempts to slam the door on refugees and discriminate against Muslims by executive order."

Earlier this month, the Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the lower court's rulings, an effort the American Civil Liberties Union decried as an attempt to revive "a discriminatory affront to the Constitution and the fundamental principle that our country does not discriminate on the basis of religion."

The new ruling vacated part of the lower court's ruling allowing the government to conduct internal reviews.

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Anti-GOP Uprising Grows as 'Indivisible Guide' to Resisting Trump Goes Viral

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by Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Anti-GOP Uprising Grows as 'Indivisible Guide' to Resisting Trump Goes Viral

Former staffers who witnessed Tea Party wave during President Barack Obama's term create guide to grassroots action for people and organizations


Former congressional staffers are publicizing their newly released "Indivisible Guide," a manual for people, groups, and organizations who want to resist the incoming rightwing administration through grassroots action.

President-elect Donald Trump rose to power while losing the popular vote by a historic margin, and his lack of a mandate means a vocal and organized resistance can weaken Republican resolve and "[stiffen] Democratic spines," the guide states.

"We know this because we've seen it before," write the authors, former staffers who witnessed the Tea Party surge in President Barack Obama's first term. "We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress."

"We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda—but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness," they write. "If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump."

The guide, which began as a Google doc last month and whose full title is Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, outlines a step-by-step process of grassroots organizing and advocacy targeting Members of Congress (MoCs), from coordinated calls to sit-ins and photo op disruption.

It also encourages people to form localized activist groups to pressure their congressional representatives to resist Trump's agenda.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow covered the guide on her show Wednesday:

The guide is amother form of organized opposition to the incoming administration, which has named cabinet nominees who would seemingly undermine the departments they were picked to lead. On Wednesday, a coalition of thousands of activists, civic leaders, scientists, and journalists took out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for people to coordinate long-term protests to resist Trump's "fascist regime," and the Women's March on Washington is poised to be the largest inauguration day protest in history.

Meanwhile, action is stirring around the country. Climate campaigners on Tuesday announced the launch of the "official pushback" against Trump's environmental plans, and leaders of the NAACP were arrested earlier this week after organizing a sit-in at Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions' office. Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, was once deemed too racist to serve as a federal judge.

Some Democrats and allied forces are also gearing up to resist the coming Republican agenda, and progressive nonprofits last month reported an unprecedented wave of donations since the November election.

The congressional guide acknowledges these multi-faceted developments—indeed, that is part of the plan. "This is not a panacea, nor is it intended to stand alone," the authors write. "We strongly urge you to marry the strategy in this guide with a broader commitment to creating a more just society, building local power, and addressing systemic injustice and racism."

"We wrote this guide because we believe that the coming years will see an unprecedented movement of Americans rising up across the country to protect our values, our neighbors, and ourselves," they write. "Our goal is to provide practical understanding of how your [MoCs] think, and how you can demonstrate to them the depth and power of the opposition to Donald Trump and Republican congressional overreach."

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Appeals Court Rules Against Trump, Keeping Ban on Hold For Now

Written by Super User on . Posted in Front News

by Common Dreams staff Thursday, February 09, 2017

Appeals Court Rules Against Trump, Keeping Ban on Hold For Now

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sides with lower court ruling by saying that re-instituting ban would do more harm than keeping injunction in place


In the latest legal blow to President Donald Trump's attempt to institute a controversial immigration and travel ban targeting seven predominantly Muslim nations, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday unanimously sided with a lower court which earlier this week imposed an injunction against Trump's executive order.

Reuters reports:

    The ruling from the 9th Circuit, which followed a hearing on the case on Tuesday, does not resolve the lawsuit, but relates instead to whether Trump's order should be suspended while litigation proceeds.

    Two members of the three-judge panel were appointed by former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, and one was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush.

    The government could ask the entire 9th Circuit court to review the decision "en banc" or appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The three judges said the states had shown that even temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm.

Read the full Ninth Circuit decision here (pdf).

Omar Jadwa, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the ACLU, which has also challenged the policy, welcomed the decision.

"The appeals court's refusal to reinstate the Muslim ban is correct," Jadwa said in a statement. "We will keep fighting this un-American executive order until it is permanently dismantled."

Meanwhile, Sahil Kapur, national political reporter for Bloomberg, points out some key takeaways from the ruling:

    Fascinating: 9th Circuit opinion uses President Trump's own words about a Muslims ban against him.

    — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 9, 2017

    9th Circuit devotes five pages to disputing Trump DOJ's contention about the courts' authority to review his actions, and concludes w/ this.

    — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 9, 2017

And whereas President Trump himself responded to the ruling by tweeting, "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"" -- it was ACLU attorneys who said they look forward to the opportunity:

    True. Our nation's security, liberty, and constitutional form of govt are at stake. That's why we'll keep seeing YOU in court, Mr. Pres.

    — Cecillia Wang (@WangCecillia) February 9, 2017 

    You bet! But the writing is on the wall: tear down your unconstitutional Executive Order!

    — Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) February 9, 2017

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