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

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 exterior of the Tulsa County Jail in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Google Streetview)
27 Aug 2015

Two Lawsuits Show The Human Cost Of For-Profit Jailhouse Healthcare

Two ongoing federal lawsuits against for-profit jailhouse medical contractor Armor Correctional Health Services (ACHS) describe lengthy delays and negligent care that put inmate health in jeopardy. Companies like ACHS sign lucrative agreements that promise to deliver medical care to inmates at a lower cost than governments can provide themselves. In court filings, however, the company is alleged to have financial disincentives in its contracts which encourage staff not to give inmates access to emergent and off-site treatments.

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File: A rainbow Pride flag blows in the wind. (Flickr / torbakhopper)
25 Aug 2015

Chicago LGBTQ Inmates Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement, Homophobia

LGBTQ prison abolition group Black & Pink began publishing letters from inmates in solitary confinement last month in an effort to shed light on the abuse and harassment they suffer. Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences.

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The Bullpen

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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File: An American flag hangs in front of the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street district of New York City. (Morguefile)
26 Aug 2015

Wall Street Laundering Derivatives Trades Through Europe To Avoid Dodd-Frank

As compromised as Congress is when it comes to dealing with their Wall Street donors, they have nothing on financial regulators who often end up later working for the people and companies they are supposed to be regulating. Now regulators are allowing Wall Street to hide derivatives trades overseas to circumvent Dodd-Frank.

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File: A keychain with several keys and metal charms attached. Heavy key chains could cause a defect in some General Motors' vehicles to shut off the engine, causing over 100 deaths according to the latest figures. (Morguefile)
25 Aug 2015

More Deaths Linked To General Motors’ Ignition Switches

A study by a consultant hired by GM has led to a nearly ten fold increase in the number of deaths linked to the faulty switches. The new estimate, released on August 21 by a consulting group led by famed attorney Kenneth Feinberg, puts the number of deaths from the defected ignition switches at 124. Previously, GM said it only knew of 13 deaths.

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File: A paper cup branded with the Coca-Cola logo sits on a ledge. (Flickr / Leo Hidalgo)
24 Aug 2015

Coca-Cola To Stop Funding Fake Health Studies, No Word On Union Killings

On August 19th, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent wherein Kent admitted that Coca-Cola funded scientific studies that attempted to shift blame for the growing obesity crisis off diet and onto exercise. Kent said the scheme to fund questionable studies was meant to take attention away from the beverage company he runs but was “not working” and that this behavior by Coca-Cola “does not reflect our intent or our values.”

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