The Dissenter

File: The 2010 Democratic National Committee logo projected on a screen near a podium with the American flag behind it. (Flickr / Nostri-Imago)
31 Aug 2015

As With Civil Rights Movement, Democrats Seek to Co-Opt Black Lives Matter Ahead of Election

The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution at its summer meeting on August 28, which endorsed “Black lives matter.” The resolution was an effort by Democrats to co-opt the energy coming from the movement for black lives and steer it into the 2016 Election.

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Scientist and folk singer Tony Turner / YouTube
31 Aug 2015

Protest Song of the Week: ‘Harperman’

The Canadian government is investigating whether a scientist violated the public service’s “ethics code” when he wrote and performed a protest song against Prime Minister Stephen Harper. As reported last week by the Toronto Star, Tony Turner was put on leave with pay. Turner is a longtime employee, who has

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Palestinian refugee (Photo from UNRWA press release)
30 Aug 2015

Podcast: Under Siege, Palestinian Refugees Endure Typhoid, Famine & ISIS-Inspired Assassinations

The population of the Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, was once around 200,000 people. A brutal siege by the Syrian regime and an occupation by fighters from the al Qaida arm in Syria and the Islamic State dramatically reduced that number to 18,000 in March. Now, it is somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 people, according to journalist Patrick Strickland.

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File: A gavel rests atop a printed document. (Flickr / Brian Turner)
28 Aug 2015

Key Constitutional Issues Avoided as Lawsuit Against NSA Surveillance Heads Back to Lower Court

Today, a federal appeals court vacated a preliminary injunction against the National Security Agency’s phone records surveillance program, and the lawsuit was sent back to the lower court for further proceedings if appropriate. But the U.S. Court of Appeals did not rule on whether the program, exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was lawful or not.

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Prison Protest

People from from around the world participate in a rally against private prisons held at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. (Flickr / UMWomen)
01 Sep 2015

Corrections Corporation of America Acquires Re-Entry Facilities As Private Prison Industry Pursues New Business

On Monday, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) announced it acquired four residential re-entry facilities from another private contractor for $13.5 million. According to a company press release, the re-entry facilities each have about 600 beds and were leased by Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Philadelphia Prison System.

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File: Razor wire outside a prison in Maryland. (Flickr / Fred Dunn)
31 Aug 2015

Tennessee Department of Corrections Struggles To Keep The Lid On Prison Crisis

The Tennessee Department of Corrections is threatening and intimidating corrections officers speaking out against dangerous work conditions, according to a letter [PDF] published on August 27 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. The organization asked the DOC to clearly state it will not seek to silence or retaliate against employees for their speech.

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Juan Jose Antonio Deras, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, sits in a wheelchair inside the entrance to Casa De Paz. Deras spent three years in a Geo Group immigrant detention center, during which time his health deteriorated rapidly. (Shadowproof / Kevin J. Beaty)
31 Aug 2015

After Detention & Abuse, Immigrants Find Lifesaving Support In An Unexpected Place

Three years ago, Juan Jose Antonio Deras, 35, an undocumented immigrant man who arrived in the United States as an 11 year old, walked into the Denver Contract Detention Facility in Aurora, Colorado. But on July 24, 2015, he left in a wheelchair. He was all but broken, but his indomitable spirit kept him alive, along with support from an unexpected source: a volunteer volleyball league out to help more than just him.

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File: Four hospital beds in a row, each with curtains so they can be partitioned for privacy. (Flickr / StudioTempura)
28 Aug 2015

Lawsuit: Rikers Island Officer Unpunished After Raping Transgender Inmate In Corizon Health Clinic

A transgender inmate was raped by a corrections officer in a medical clinic on Rikers Island and the New York City Department of Correction has declined to punish him for the last three years, according a federal civil rights lawsuit filed this week. The inmate, known as “MT,” claims Corrections Officer L. Galan sexually harassed her “openly and repeatedly” for months before raping her in the clinic, where security cameras could not capture the encounter.

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The Bullpen

1 Wall Street, the Bank of New York Buidling By Jim in Times Square (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
01 Sep 2015

BNY Mellon Bank Settles Corruption Charges Over Hiring Foreign Officials’ Relatives

On August 18, the SEC announced that the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon) agreed to pay $14.8 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), when the bank gave out highly sought-after student internships to the relatives of foreign government officials in

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Activists carry signs demanding fair wages and "jobs with justice" outside a Chicago-area Walmart at a Black Friday protest on November 28, 2014. Although the protests successfully put pressure on the company, gains by Walmart workers were short-lived as the corporation increased wages but cut worker hours. (Flickr / UFCW International Union)
31 Aug 2015

Walmart Increased Wages Only To Later Cut Hours

Late last year, in response to a series of strikes by workers and protests by activists, Walmart agreed to raise wages so that many of the company’s workers received at least a meager $9 an hour in 2015. Unfortunately, Walmart’s entire business model is based on severely exploiting workers in the US, so the order has now come down from Walmart executives to cut workers’ hours to lower company costs.

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An activist with the Fight For 15 minimum wage movement poses under the entrance to a McDonald's  restaurant on May 14, 2014. A new study shows CEO compensation grew in 2014, while workers continued to suffer with stagnant wages. (Flickr / Peopls World)
28 Aug 2015

CEO Compensation Jumped In 2014 As Workers Treaded Water

The pay for CEOs of public companies continued its upward climb in 2014 according to a report by The Conference Board, a business research organization. The report, published in August, claims that total compensation for chief executive officers of US public companies in the Russell 3000 Index rose up 11.9 % from 2013 and as much as 34.7 % from 2010.

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At a May 17, 2014 flashmob-style protest in Germany against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership international trade deal, two activists hold signs objecting to the TTIP's potential effects on data privacy and the deal's lack of transparency. (Flickr / campact)
27 Aug 2015

Big Tobacco TTIP Discussion Documents Censored By EU

Documents related to discussions between US, British and European officials and multinational tobacco corporations concerning the regulation of tobacco under a new trade agreement were censored by the European Commission. Activists with Corporate Europe Observatory revealed the meetings through a Freedom of Information request, but the documents were heavily edited.

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