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10 key US Senate races

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In 10 key US Senate races, here’s how top candidates responded to Roe ruling

by Brett Wilkins — Common Dreams

With the fate of reproductive rights for tens of millions of Americans now dependent upon federal and state lawmakers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Common Dreams takes a look at how Democratic and Republican candidates in 10 key US Senate races responded to Friday’s ruling.

Calling Friday “a sad day for the court and for the country,” President Joe Biden urged Americans to elect congressional candidates who will vote to codify reproductive freedom and state lawmakers who will defend abortion rights.

“Voters need to make their voices heard,” the president asserted. “This fall Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality; they’re all on the ballot.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has faced criticism for backing anti-choice Democrats over progressive candidates and for downplaying the growing threat to reproductive rights, warned: “Be aware of this—the Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the Congress to do that, but that’s their goal.”

Reproductive rights advocates have stressed the need for the Senate to pass the House-approved Women’s Health Protection Act in order to codify the protections afforded by Roe into federal law. However, without a majority large enough to overcome or reform the filibuster, there remains no hope for the bill’s passage.

With an eye on November’s midterm elections, here’s how leading Democratic and Republican candidates in 10 key Senate races responded to Friday’s Supreme Court decision.

Pennsylvania

Democratic Senate nominee and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman called the ruling “unjust” and “wrong,” vowing to “fight it with everything I’ve got,” while Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee, welcomed the decision, which he said can be the “greatest gift of all” to mothers and children.

Nevada

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto tweeted that “today is a devastating day for women in America,” and that she is “standing with the majority of Nevadans and Americans more determined than ever to fight for a woman’s right to choose.”

Republican challenger Adam Laxalt—the former state attorney general who promotes the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump—called the ruling “a historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination.”

Georgia

Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock said he was “outraged” by the decision, pledging that “as a pro-choice pastor, I’ll never back down from this fight.”

Warnock’s GOP opponent, former NFL player Herschel Walker, said he “won’t apologize for erring on the side of life,” while praising the court for sending the issue of abortion “back to the states, which is where it belongs.”

Arizona

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) tweeted that “today’s decision is a giant step backward for our country,” and that “it’s just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did.”

Arizona voters won’t elect a Republican Senate candidate until August. Among the contenders, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the justices upheld their responsibility “to defend the most vulnerable among us,” while Trump-endorsed venture capitalist Blake Masters hailed what he called “a huge victory for children across this country.”

Wisconsin

Sen. Ron Johnson (R) cheered the ruling as “a victory for life and for those who have fought for decades to protect the unborn.”

Meanwhile, the crowded Democratic primary field condemned the decision. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes warned that “thousands of women will suffer and die” as a result, while state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski said she was “outraged and absolutely devastated.” Outgamie County Executive Tom Nelson stressed the need to “expand our majority to abolish the filibuster [and] codify Roe v. Wade,” and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry asserted that Republicans “are not going to stop at Roe.”

“We’ve got to get out and vote Ron Johnson and Republicans up and down the ballot out of office,” Lasry said. “There is too much at stake.”

New Hampshire

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) lamented that “the court just took away a woman’s most fundamental freedom,” and that “for the first time in our country’s history, our daughters will grow up with fewer rights than their mothers had.”

Republicans seeking to oust Hassan include former Londonderry Town Manager, who supports “returning this matter to the state legislatures;” retired army Gen. Don Bolduc, who said the justices “made the right decision;” and state Senate President Chuck Morse, who said the decision “has no impact on New Hampshire.”

North Carolina

Democratic nominee and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley argued the high court set “a dangerous precedent for our personal freedoms,” while her GOP opponent, Trump-backed US Rep. Ted Budd, called the ruling “a historic victory for the millions of Americans who believe that every life is precious and deserves protection.”

Ohio

Venture capitalist and “Big Lie” purveyor J.D. Vance called Friday “a great day,” while quoting from the Old Testament. In stark contrast, US Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic nominee, tweeted that “we should be about expanding rights, but this Supreme Court is taking them away.”

“In overturning Roe v. Wade, today’s decision gives the green light to extreme politicians back home in Ohio to go all in on denying women the freedom to access lifesaving care,” he added.

Florida

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted that “today’s decision means that the laws regarding abortion in your state will now be decided by elected legislators in your state,” while Democratic challenger and US Rep. Val Demings said she is “mad as hell” but “not giving up.”

Missouri

Republican primary frontrunner and disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens applauded what he called “a huge victory for the life movement.”

Among the crowded Democratic primary field in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, nurse and brewery heiress Trudy Busch Valentine vowed to “work relentlessly for my constituents to be able to make their own healthcare decisions.” Meanwhile, Lucas Kunce, an attorney and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, tweeted that “a lot of the same politicians who demanded we keep up an endless war in Afghanistan so we could ‘protect women and girls’ are now criminalizing abortion across the country.”

“Missourians can’t just wait for another election,” he asserted. “Senate Democrats need to end the filibuster and codify Roe NOW.”

Addressing the midterm elections, Planned Parenthood Votes executive director Jenny Lawson said in a statement that “the shock waves from today’s devastating decision will ripple through to November, when our choices this election cycle could not be clearer.”

“One side worked for years to overturn Roe v. Wade and now wants a nationwide abortion ban. The other is fighting to leave personal health care decisions up to a patient and their doctor,” she continued. “Voters see this court ruling, they see states already banning abortion, they see their freedoms being handed over to politicians, and they are outraged.”

“This November, Planned Parenthood Votes will ensure that outrage translates to massive voter turnout and victories for candidates who unapologetically support abortion rights,” Lawson added.

 

 

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¿Wappin? Uprising on the distaff side / Levantamiento en el lado femenino

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us
Abortion rights rally at the Minnesota state capitol. Photo by Fibonacci Blue.

They picked a fight against a huge majority
Eligieron una pelea en contra de una gran mayoría

Joan Baez – Mary Hamilton
https://youtu.be/c-Gx7EwN3VY

Aitana – Ni Una Más
https://youtu.be/mzfTlTv-2Po

Aretha Franklin – Respect
https://youtu.be/rA5vq2-P5xQ

MILCK – Quiet
https://youtu.be/Tl_Qfj8780M

Miles Davis – Time After Time
https://youtu.be/FpZHjvFXprk

Vivir Quintana, Mon Laferte & El Palomar – Canción sin miedo
https://youtu.be/OyU6_q2rNTI

No Doubt – Just A Girl
https://youtu.be/QG6qFYRHUHo

Any Tovar – Corazón En Huelga
https://youtu.be/GFIKo4YEqFw

Musical Youth – Young Generation
https://youtu.be/wTT2mZrGx-4

Janelle Monáe & Erykah Badu – Q.U.E.E.N.
https://youtu.be/tEddixS-UoU

Las Tesis – Un violador en tu camino
https://youtu.be/uSHUS2lehOY

Leslie Gore – You Don’t Own Me
https://youtu.be/e166LIQ5nSg

Chambers Brothers – People Get Ready
https://youtu.be/L82_N3UPPDs

 

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To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.

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Editorials, RickyAnon?; and the US Supreme Court

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THEM

There goes Martinelli, spreading
gringo conspiracy theories…

Early polls suggest that in 2024, Ricardo Martinelli is the front runner to be president again. With his two sons serving US prison time for admittedly having laundered their father’s Odebrecht bribe money, the guy has the temerity to suggest that Panama’s foreign relations will be better with him back in charge.

The reality would be something like a return to the international pariah status of the late 1980s, when Panama was crushed under US and other nation’s economic sanctions.

But if the Republicans can find Americans dumb enough to believe QAnon conspiracy theories, Don Ricky is thinking that he can get Panamanians to fall for Breitbart lies, even as Steve Bannon fights contempt of Congress charges and has been kicked off of the major social media. Doesn’t translate. Old timers here will read the Breitbart stuff and get the whiff of the worst of unreconstructed Zonian thinking, of the colonial racism that mostly fled Panama after the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

What Martinelli promises is a medically unprepared Panama, even as in the last decade or so we have seen some old diseases reappear from their wild vectors but lucked out not to have encountered anything local that’s severely contagious. We need to be prepared for new epidemics. Joe is right about that and the conspiracy freaks are irresponsible to make an issue of it.

Martinelli glomming onto the worst and weirdest of Americana? Panamanians, for all of our faults and for all of our political system’s failures, should look to Panama for our better alternative to the former president’s bizarre politics.

  

The religious fanatics won the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” too…

In a 1925 case, The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, a high school teacher was convicted of a crime for teaching evolution. Two silver-tongued stars of the US legal profession — William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense — went at it in a small-town trial that drew national and international attention.

That legal battle in Dayton, Tennessee was and is often depicted as a religious battle over the interpretation of the Bible — Bryan arguing Old Testament fundamentalism, Darrow arguing a more modernist understanding. When you look at their trajectories through those times, it was in many ways Darrow arguing for Jesus Christ’s examples of upholding the law but with mercy and discretion, and Bryan arguing for inflexible “letter of the law” jurisprudence right out of the book of Leviticus. It was the legends of ancient scripture against the discoveries of modern science.

Scopes lost and was fined $100, but on appeal the conviction was thrown out on procedural grounds.

However, in US society fundamentalism was widely discredited and became a cultural, political and religious backwater until some decades later televangelists salvaged some of that loss. There always were backwoods jurisdictions where somebody could be elected by flaunting fundamentalist thinking but for most Americans it became the butt of jokes.

Now, with a contrived Republican majority on the Supreme Court, huge majorities in favor of the rights to privacy and the legality of women choosing abortion to terminate pregnancies if they must, the high court has thrown out the cornerstone of abortion rights, the Roe v. Wade decision of 50 years ago.

Bad religion. The Bible does not mention abortion.

Bad law. The high court makes mockeries of both US history and the principle of stare decisis in a string of its recent decisions.

Bad politics. With certain religious minorities cheering, the great majority of Americans disapprove of this ruling and of this court.

It’s now up to the voters, to throw out the Republicans who gave the United States this warped court and to reform the court itself — perhaps by impeaching some egregiously unethical justices, more certainly by expanding the number of justices on the court, which the Congress has the right to do.

If you are a US citizen living in Panama, be sure to exercise your right to vote in this year’s US elections. Register to vote and order your ballot at https://www.votefromabroad.org/.

 

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Statue at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center near Cambridge, Maryland.
Photo by Craig James.

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

Harriet Tubman

  

Bear in mind…

  

The artist is a receptacle for emotions derived from anywhere: from the sky, from the earth, from a piece of paper, from a passing figure, from a spider’s web. This is a spider’s web. This is why one must not make a distinction between things. For them there are no aristocratic quarterings. One must take things where one finds them.

Pablo Picasso

  

I too shall lie in the dust when I am dead, but now let me win noble renown.

Homer

  

My father never was and isn’t a mean man. You know, he never was ruthless. And he succeeded in life without sticking it to anybody. And that’s a great example for a man, a strong man, a man’s man, to give to his children. You can succeed, you can be successful, without walking over somebody.

Maria Shriver

 

 

 

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Castro-Rodríguez, Latinos who believe Trump’s Big Lie

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him
Miami Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio.
Wikimedia photo by Anthony Crider.

Why many Hispanic Americans believe the Big Lie

by Manuel Castro-Rodríguez

Miami’s GOP Members of Congress and several hundred Hispanic Americans know that I suffer the censorship of the communist dictatorship. Have your proven complaints against officials ever been censored? When it happens on a large scale, it can be a threat to society.

There are seven Democrats and two Republicans on the House of Representatives’ January 6 committee. “President Trump invested millions of dollars of campaign funds purposely spreading false information, running ads he knew were false, and convincing millions of Americans that the election was corrupt and he was the true president,” said Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who is the elder daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and is the January 6 committee’s vice chair.

In the hearing room on U.S. Capitol last week, a parade of the then President Donald Trump advisors testified to committee, that they tried to tell the Trump that he had lost the 2020 election. It is possible that Trump knew he had lost but decided to pursue another, more cynical route to power by persisting in what is come to be known as the ‘Big Lie‘.

“It’s cognitive dissonance,” said Jennifer Stromer-Galley, a Syracuse University professor who has studied how Trump used social media and advertising to mobilize his base. “If you believe what Trump says, and now Bill Barr and Trump’s own daughter are saying these other things, it creates a crack, and people have to fill it.

In the hearing room on U.S. Capitol, the January 6 committee has shown clips from the violent assault on the Capitol and also from closed-door interviews with Trump aides and associates who were trying to dissuade him from spreading falsehoods about an election he lost. The lawmakers leading the hearings into the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol said one of their goals is to show how Trump repeatedly lied to his supporters in an effort to hold onto power and subvert American democracy.

Bill Barr served as the 77th and 85th United States attorney general in the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Donald Trump. According to his testimony before the House select committee, Barr is disagrees with Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. “Before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the president and, while you sometimes had to engage in a big wrestling match with him, it was possible to keep things on track. “I felt that after the election he didn’t seem to be listening,” Barr said.

To be clear, Bill Barr is still a hardline conservative. Just a few weeks ago, he made several false claims in a Fox News interview about the Trump-Russia investigation.

For those who accept Trump’s baseless claims, Barr’s testimony was especially jarring. In his interview with investigators, Bill Barr detailed Trump’s many absurd allegations about the election 2020, calling them “bogus” and “idiotic.”

Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, recalls father’s final January 6 call with Mike Pence: “You are a wimp.” “It was a different tone than I’d heard him take with the vice president before,” Ivanka says of Trump.

Greg Jacob, who served as chief counsel to Mike Pence when he was vice president, said 1, 2 and 3 to the United States House Select Committee on June 16.

“This may be the most important thing I ever sign,” then Vice President Mike Pence reportedly said shortly before declaring in his letter dated Jan. 6, 2021, that no one person has the power to determine who will hold the office of president of the United States. Within a few hours, rioters hoping to overturn President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss would come within roughly 40 feet of confronting and, as they claimed, attempting to kill Pence for what they considered his betrayal.

“I could hear the din of the rioters,” Greg Jacob testified before the House Jan. 6 committee. “I was not aware they were as close as that.” Jacob was with Pence and his family as they were being shepherded by the Secret Service to a secure location.

J. Michael Luttig, who served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for 15 years, and prior to that worked as a lawyer for Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Luttig said to the United States House Select Committee on the January 6, 2021, Attack on the United States Capitol on June 16, 2022:

Almost two years after that fateful day … Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.

That’s not because of what happened on January 6. It is because to this very day the former president and his allies and supporters pledge that in the presidential election of 2024, if the former president or his anointed successor as the Republican party presidential candidate were to lose that election, they would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election, but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020.

Journalists working for Univision and Telemundo know that one by one, several of President Donald Trump’s former top advisers have told a special House committee investigating his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection that they didn’t believe his lies about the 2020 election, and that the former president knew he lost to Joe Biden. Nevertheless, self-censorship at Univision and Telemundo on hearings Jan. 6 insurrection continues. Why?

In spite of that the boards of directors of Univision and Telemundo know the power of an informed public, no Radio and Television in Spanish in South Florida has published testimonials of Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, Greg Jacob or J. Michael Luttig to the United States House select committee on the January 6, 2021. Why have not at Univision and Telemundo have shown these clips yet? Why have not journalists working for Univision and Telemundo talked on these clips yet?

The Jan. 6 hearings are really an inquest into the ‘Big Lie: “So far, the hearings are less about the specific acts committed on that day, and more about the disinformation campaign Trump waged before and after the 2020 election.”

Journalists working for Univision and Telemundo know that disinformation, which is “false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth,” has spread to Latino communities in South Florida: Radio Mambí and Actualidad Radio are doing a disservice to our democracy by spreading false information and embraced conspiracy theories.

Radio Mambí, whose owner is UNIVISION, is a leader in disinformation targeted at Latinos in South Florida: “For instance, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar and her affirmation that in Pennsylvania in the 2020 election there were ‘200,000 more votes’ cast than there were registered voters is typical of communists and fascists.”

Journalists working for Univision and Telemundo know that one by one, several of President Donald Trump’s former top advisers have told a special House committee investigating his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection that they didn’t believe his lies about the 2020 election, and that the former president knew he lost to Joe Biden. Why have not journalists at Univision and Telemundo talked on this yet?

Journalists working for Univision and Telemundo know that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, including a noose and makeshift gallows on the lawn when Capitol rioters intended to “capture and assassinate” elected officials, make clear a growing unity between the Trump’s GOP and white supremacists. Why have not journalists at Univision and Telemundo talked of this yet?

Journalists working for Univision and Telemundo know that Donald Trump and his allies “are a clear and present danger to American democracy.” Why have not journalists at Univision and Telemundo talked on this yet?

Many Hispanic Americans believe the ‘Big Lie’ and they don’t know that the then President Trump expressed support for “hang Mike Pence” chants and did little to stop the violence, according to three people familiar with the matter. Why have not journalists working for Univision and Telemundo in South Florida talked on this yet?

Where are journalists working for Univision and Telemundo in South Florida that are not reporting these serious attacks on our democracy? They should follow the example of the independent journalism in Cuba.

 

 

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Social Security (etc.): the Texas Republicans’ platform

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der gop SS

The Texas Republican Platform

Click here to see the final report of their June 2022 convention in PDF format

 

 

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¿Wappin? Una mezcla de encrucijada marítima / A maritime crossroads mix

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Churupaca leader
Churupaca’s Juana Aguirre in Santiago, Chile. Photo by Nelson.

Sounds in transit / Sonidos en tránsito

Of Monsters and Men – Lonely Weather
https://youtu.be/IHxRqJ-9D4M

Erika Ender – Abrázame
https://youtu.be/chzrpOa4VDc

Mon Laferte – Supermercado
https://youtu.be/skyk3T7Hu1g

Camilo & Alejandro Sanz – NASA
https://youtu.be/wDdYBpZWR_U

Julieta Venegas – Caminar Sola
https://youtu.be/ItcfN5lKQos

Cantar con el Alma – La Sortija Que Me Dio
https://youtu.be/dZqbaxb1Kxw

Ensalada De Pulpo – Intense
https://youtu.be/uabSft8qabs

Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa
https://youtu.be/o0CeFX6E2yI

Black Stalin – Burn Dem
https://youtu.be/6N4wrrxgaWU

Milagros Blades & Mecanik Informal – Solo de percusion folklorica panameña
https://youtu.be/PhW1fpjU2Cg

Rubén Blades – Sicarios
https://youtu.be/sF2InmynRjE

Churupaca – Tu Culpa
https://youtu.be/ytrqkYsM0gs

Billie Eilish acoustic show in Bonn
https://youtu.be/bwbaZ9qCSAE

 

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To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.

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International outcry against Assange extradition decision

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original sin
Julian Assange’s original sin: publishing a US military video of a war crime that the Pentagon denied ever happened. Members of this Reuters news team working in Iraq and some nearby children were killed, 12 fatalities in all.

WikiLeaks statement on the latest UK move to send Assange to the USA

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Editor’s note: Eric Jackson concurs. Hope he isn’t the only journalist in Panama to speak up.

 

 

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Warren leads on keeping health and location data private

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LW
Senator Warren leads the fight for data privacy. “Health and location data are incredibly sensitive and can be used for a range of harms, from profiling and exploiting consumers to spying on citizens without warrants to carrying out stalking and violence,” said one expert. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Warren leads charge to ban sale of people’s health and location data

by Julia Conley — Common Dreams

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday called on the US Senate to protect Americans’ “most private information” by banning data brokers from selling people’s health and location data, which is constantly collected and stored by tech companies.

Introducing the Health and Location Data Protection Act as the US Supreme Court is expected to soon overturn Roe v. Wade and take away the right to abortion care for millions of Americans, the Massachusetts Democrat said “it is more crucial than ever for Congress to protect consumers’ sensitive data.”

“Data brokers profit from the location data of millions of people, posing serious risks to Americans everywhere,” said Warren. “The Health and Location Data Protection Act will ban brokers from selling Americans’ location and health data, rein in giant data brokers, and set some long overdue rules of the road forth is $200 billion industry.”

The bill defines data brokers as any person or entity “that collects, buys, licenses, or infers data about individuals and then sells, licenses, or trades that data.”

The bill—which is co-sponsored by senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—was introduced several weeks after a data firm called SafeGraph announced under pressure that it would no longer sell information about cellphone users who visit abortion clinics.

The company had been obtaining users’ location data through apps on their phones, with many people unaware that the apps were sending information about their whereabouts to a third party.

As Common Dreams reported, over a one-week period in April, just before a leaked draft opinion revealed that the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe, SafeGraph sold data showing more than 600 visits to Planned Parenthood clinics for $160 to Vice.

Rights advocates expressed relief when SafeGraph announced it would end such sales, but Frederike Kaltheuner, director for technology and human rights at Human Rights Watch, said the business’s actions show “what lack of data regulation means in practice.”

Under Warren’s proposal, the FTC, state attorneys general, and people whose data has been sold would be empowered to sue to enforce the provisions of the law and Congress would provide $1 billion to the FTC over the next decade to ensure it can enforce the ban.

Wyden said passage of the ban is crucial as the nation awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“When abortion is illegal, researching reproductive healthcare online, updating a period-tracking app, or bringing a phone to the doctor’s office all could be used to track and prosecute women across the US,” said Wyden. “It amounts to uterus surveillance. Congress must protect Americans’ privacy from abuse by far-right politicians who want to control women’s bodies.”

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, privacy advocates say the collection and storage of people’s location data could make tech companies “complicit in the criminalization of people seeking abortions in a post-Roe world.”

Warren noted that location data has already been used by federal agencies to circumvent the Fourth Amendment by purchasing private data instead of obtaining it via a subpoena or warrant and to out LGBTQ+ people.

“Health and location data are incredibly sensitive and can be used for a range of harms, from profiling and exploiting consumers to spying on citizens without warrants to carrying out stalking and violence,” said Justin Sherman of Duke University’s Data Brokerage Project, who endorsed the bill. “Companies should not be allowed to freely buy and sell Americans’ health and location data, on the open market, with virtually no restrictions.”

“Imposing strong legal and regulatory controls on this dangerous practice is vital to protecting the privacy of every American—particularly women, the LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, the poor, and other vulnerable communities,” Sherman added.

 

 

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Campbell, About the Woodward and Bernstein legend…

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Woodward and Bernstein didn’t bring down a president
in Watergate – but the myth that they did lives on

by W. Joseph Campbell, American University School of Communication

In their dogged reporting of the Watergate scandal, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered the crimes that forced Richard Nixon to resign the presidency in August 1974.

That version of Watergate has long dominated popular understanding of the scandal, which unfolded over 26 months beginning in June 1972.

It is, however, a simplistic trope that not even Watergate-era principals at the Post embraced.

For example, the newspaper’s publisher during Watergate, Katharine Graham, pointedly rejected that interpretation during a program 25 years ago at the now-defunct Newseum in suburban Virginia.

“Sometimes, people accuse us of ‘bringing down a president,’ which of course we didn’t do, and shouldn’t have done,”Graham said. “The processes that caused [Nixon’s] resignation were constitutional.”

Graham’s words, however accurate and incisive, scarcely altered the dominant popular interpretation of Watergate. If anything, the intervening 25 years have solidified the “heroic-journalist” myth of Watergate, which I address and dismantle in my book “Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism.”

Two men, one in a topcoat and one in a raincoat, walk away from a building. One is carrying a file folder.Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, left, and Carl Bernstein on March 1, 1974, Washington, DC. Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Impact exaggerated

However popular, the heroic-journalist myth is a vast exaggeration of the effect of their work.

Woodward and Bernstein did disclose financial links between Nixon’s reelection campaign and the burglars arrested June 17, 1972, at headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, in what was the signal crime of Watergate.

They publicly tied prominent Washington figures, such as Nixon’s former attorney general, John Mitchell, to the scandal.

They won a Pulitzer Prize for the Post.

But they missed decisive elements of Watergate, notably the payment of hush money to the burglars and the existence of Nixon’s White House tapes.

Nonetheless, the heroic-journalist myth became so entrenched that it could withstand disclaimers by Watergate-era principals at the Post such as Graham. Even Woodward has disavowed the heroic-journalist interpretation, once telling an interviewer that “the mythologizing of our role in Watergate has gone to the point of absurdity, where journalists write … that I, single-handedly, brought down Richard Nixon.

“Totally absurd.”

So why not take Woodward at his word? Why has the heroic-journalist interpretation of Watergate persisted through the 50 years since burglars linked to Nixon’s campaign were arrested at the Watergate complex in Washington?

The movie ‘All the President’s Men’ placed Woodward and Bernstein at the decisive center of Watergate’s unraveling.

Glosses over intricacies

Like most media myths, the heroic-journalist interpretation of Watergate rests on a foundation of simplicity. It glosses over the scandal’s intricacies and discounts the far more crucial investigative work of special prosecutors, federal judges, the FBI, panels of both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court.

It was, after all, the court’s unanimous ruling in July 1974, ordering Nixon to surrender tapes subpoenaed by the Watergate special prosecutor, that sealed the president’s fate. The recordings captured Nixon, six days after the burglary, agreeing to a plan to deter the FBI from pursuing its Watergate investigation.

The tapes were crucial to determining that Nixon had obstructed justice. Without them, he likely would have served out his presidential term. That, at least, was the interpretation of the late Stanley Kutler, one of Watergate’s leading historians, who noted: “You had to have that kind of corroborative evidence to nail the president of the United States.”

The heroic-journalist myth, which began taking hold even before Nixon resigned, has been sustained by three related influences.

One was Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men,” the well-timed memoir about their reporting. “All the President’s Men” was published in June 1974 and quickly reached the top of The New York Times bestseller list, remaining there 15 weeks, through Nixon’s resignation and beyond. The book inescapably promoted the impression Woodward and Bernstein were vital to Watergate’s outcome.

More so than the book, the cinematic adaptation of “All the President’s Men” placed Woodward and Bernstein at the decisive center of Watergate’s unraveling. The movie, which was released in April 1976 and starred Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, was relentlessly media-centric, ignoring the work of prosecutors and the FBI.

The book and movie introduced Woodward’s super-secret source, “Deep Throat.” For 31 years after Nixon’s resignation, Washington periodically engaged publicly in guessing games about the source’s identity. Such speculation sometimes pointed to W. Mark Felt, a former senior FBI official.

Felt brazenly denied having been Woodward’s source. Had he been “Deep Throat,” he once told a Connecticut newspaper, “I would have done better. I would have been more effective.”

The “who-was-Deep-Throat” conjecture kept Woodward, Bernstein and the heroic-journalist myth at the center of Watergate conversations. Felt was 91 when, in 2005, he acknowledged through his family’s lawyer that he had been Woodward’s source after all.

It’s small wonder that the heroic-journalist myth still defines popular understanding of Watergate. Other than Woodward and Bernstein, no personalities prominent in Watergate were the subjects of a bestselling memoir, the inspiration for a star-studded motion picture, and the protectors of a mythical source who eluded conclusive identification for decades.The Conversation

W. Joseph Campbell, Professor of Communication Studies, American University School of Communication

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

 

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Corales adentro de manglares

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corals in mangroves
Las especies de corales tropicales pueden haber encontrado un hábitat alternativo donde prosperar frente al cambio climático. Foto de STRI por Jorge Alemán.

Intimando con el manglar

por STRI

En un día cualquiera entre 2016 y 2019, se le podía encontrar a Heather Stewart buceando entre los manglares del archipiélago de Bocas del Toro, en la costa caribeña de Panamá. Durante años visitó estos bosques costeros que marcan el límite entre la tierra y el mar, tratando de comprender por qué algunos corales habían empezado a crecer dentro de ellos. Los corales y los manglares crecen cerca los unos de otros en los ecosistemas costeros tropicales, pero encontrarlos compartiendo el mismo hábitat parecía tratarse de un rasgo evolutivo que ameritaba una explicación.

La ex becaria de doctorado del Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) y ahora asociada postdoctoral en restauración de manglares de la Universidad de las Islas Vírgenes, exploró 29 lugares donde coexisten los manglares y corales en Bocas. Descubrió que a los corales les iba mejor en grandes bosques de manglares inundados, con abundante flujo de agua de mar. En cambio, las zonas con gran afluencia de agua dulce o con mayores niveles de impacto humano —desarrollo de la tierra y contaminación— eran inadecuadas para los corales.

Las asociaciones manglar-coral no son exclusivas de Bocas del Toro o del Caribe. Aunque no se han estudiado ampliamente, los corales viven dentro de los manglares en océanos tropicales de otras partes del mundo, como el Mar Rojo, el Océano Índico y el Pacífico Sur. Teniendo esto en cuenta, un grupo de investigadores entre los que se encontraba Stewart y otros científicos de STRI, la Universidad de Miami, Santa Fe College y la Universidad de Florida se propusieron crear un sistema para clasificar los hábitats en que los manglares y corales coexisten (CMC). Revisaron la literatura científica e identificaron las principales características y condiciones que se dan en estos ecosistemas.

“Creemos que es importante contar con un sistema de clasificación global de los hábitats en que manglares y corales coexisten, porque durante casi un siglo se ha sabido que estos sistemas existen, pero la comunidad científica los ha ignorado en gran medida”, dijo Stewart. “Ahora, con todas las amenazas a las que se enfrentan los corales, desde el calentamiento y la acidificación de los océanos hasta la contaminación y la sedimentación, los corales son cada vez más susceptibles a las enfermedades. Por ello hay un mayor interés en estos posibles refugios que puedan ayudar a la supervivencia de los corales en el futuro”.

Sus análisis, publicados recientemente en la revista PLOS One, describen cuatro tipos de hábitats en que los corales coexisten con los manglares: en lagunas, a lo largo de arroyos, en el borde de los manglares o completamente bajo la sombra del dosel de los manglares. Estos hábitats son también bastante diversos, con unas 130 especies de corales viviendo en ellos.

“Revisitar la literatura histórica en busca de descripciones de CMC nos ayudó a comprender la visión holística que necesitábamos para clasificar los sistemas”, dijo Rafael Araújo, coautor del estudio e investigador asociado senior en el Departamento de Biología Marina y Ecología de la Escuela Rosenstiel de Ciencias Marinas y Atmosféricas de la Universidad de Miami. “Nos inspiramos en los primeros sistemas de clasificación de bosques de manglar y corales, y tratamos de adaptar su simplicidad en nuestra propia clasificación. Queríamos que los tipos fueran lo suficientemente específicos para establecer una distinción entre ellos, pero también lo suficientemente sencillos como para que pudieran aplicarse con facilidad en el campo”.

Aunque los cuatro tipos de CMC presentan variaciones en sus condiciones ambientales, comparten ciertas similitudes: una conexión con el océano abierto o con canales abiertos dentro del conjunto de manglares, un flujo limitado de agua dulce, aguas claras y las condiciones para que los corales permanecieran sumergidos durante todas las etapas del ciclo de las mareas.

Garantizar la supervivencia de los corales es crucial para la salud de los océanos, ya que albergan aproximadamente un tercio de todas las especies marinas. Los manglares son hábitats igualmente importantes que sirven de viveros para miles de especies, mantienen la calidad del agua y protegen los entornos costeros de la erosión y las tormentas. También son algunos de los ecosistemas más susceptibles al cambio climático y al impacto humano, por lo que entender estos hábitats alternativos en los que ambos coexisten puede tener implicaciones a largo plazo para su conservación y manejo.

“Los hábitats CMC son únicos y ofrecen posibilidades para la conservación de especies y ecosistemas clave”, dijo Jennifer Wright, coautora del estudio, quien realizó su investigación de maestría en STRI, y es editora asistente del Bulletin of Marine Science. “Comprender mejor dónde ocurren estos hábitats y cómo interactúan los corales y los manglares es esencial para determinar el papel que los hábitats CMC tendrán para la supervivencia de los corales y la protección de la salud de nuestros océanos”.

Los autores fueron más allá y crearon un modelo para predecir dónde podrían existir otros hábitats CMC a nivel mundial. Su simulación sugiere que estas comunidades podrían ser comunes en todos los trópicos, con una mayoría en el Océano Pacífico. Investigaciones futuras deberían centrarse en estos sitios para obtener más información sobre la dinámica de los diferentes tipos de hábitats CMC y las condiciones ambientales que impulsan su establecimiento.

“Hay mayores diferencias en las condiciones ambientales entre los distintos tipos de CMC que entre algunos CMC y los hábitats de arrecifes poco profundos”, dijo Stewart. “Si identificamos el tipo de CMC y recopilamos información sobre estas variables ambientales, podremos determinar cómo los manglares podrían actuar de salvavidas para algunas especies de corales”.

“Este estudio también es un llamado a otros científicos para que busquen y documenten lo mejor que puedan las asociaciones entre manglares y corales coexistentes”, dijo Araújo. “A medida que haya más información disponible, comprenderemos mejor las condiciones ambientales que hacen que estos sistemas prosperen. Como tal, esperamos ver muchas más descripciones de los hábitats CMC en la literatura y cómo estas ocurrencias encajan en nuestra clasificación”.

Dra. Heather Stewart, en su trabajo. Foto de STRI por Jorge Alemán.
 

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