The Dissenter

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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Tinariwen perform on March 19, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. This band, composed of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali, appears on Kevin Gosztola's list of the best protest music of the decade so far. (Flickr / ScannerFM)
27 Aug 2015

Top 25 Protest Albums of the 2010s (So Far)

The following list is aimed at putting to rest the notion that there is an absence of protest music or a lack of protest bands or singers. Many of the bands and singers are largely unknown and mostly do independent work. It is our hope that we might be introducing you to these bands and singers for the first time.

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Prison Protest

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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A glimpse through the entryway of the Santa Rita Jail, photographed on February 15, 2013. (Flickr / Daniel Arauz)
24 Aug 2015

Inmate Claims Epilepsy Went Untreated At Santa Rita Jail

An inmate suffered a Grand Mal seizure after deputies at the Santa Rita jail in Alameda County, California denied his repeated requests for epilepsy medication, according to a federal lawsuit [PDF] filed against the county and various sheriff’s deputies at the end of July.

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File: A stylized image of Bradley Ballard against the backdrop of a prison yard. (Prison Protest / Brian Sonenstein)
21 Aug 2015

New York City Distancing Itself From Corizon Health Services

New York City left private jail medical contractor Corizon Health Services to defend itself against a federal lawsuit brought by the mother of a deceased inmate named Bradley Ballard. Ballard’s death was one of the motivating cases behind the wave of reforms currently aimed at the city’s jail system.

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File: Close-up of a hand hovering above a smartphone in a dark room. (Flickr / Japanexperterna.se)
20 Aug 2015

High-Tech Youth Surveillance, Rikers Island And The Pitfalls Of Jail ‘Reform’

New York City will begin a surveillance pilot program aimed at keeping juvenile defendants accused of committing certain felonies off of Rikers Island. As The New York Times reported on August 14, eligible youth between the ages of sixteen and eighteen will be outfitted with lightweight bracelets tethered electronically to smartphones that are to be carried with them at all times and cannot be turned off.

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The Bullpen

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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The entrance to a Merrill Lynch office in Dallas, photographed on April 26, 2010. (Flickr / Neff Conner)
21 Aug 2015

Banker Sentenced To Prison For TARP Fraud

Former Park Avenue Bank President Charles Antonucci has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Antonucci will also pay $54.6 million in restitution and forfeit $11.2 million.

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File: A collection of packaged seafood, including prawn, shrimp and shellfish, in a grocery store. (Flickr / Adam Kahtava)
20 Aug 2015

Lawsuit Filed After Walmart & Costco Sold Slave Labor Seafood

On August 19, Monica Sud, a woman from California, filed a class action lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corporation claiming that the retailer knowingly sold prawns produced by slave labor and never disclosed these practices to customers like herself who bought the products without knowing they were produced by illegal labor.

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