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Author: Common Dreams

New data shows decline of poverty in 2020 as a result of COVID stimulus funds

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing spike in unemployment, poverty in the U.S. declined by roughly 2.6% from 2019 to 2020 as a result of the federal government’s expansion of the social safety net, new data released on September 14 showed. For the first time since 2011, median household income decreased last year, and the official poverty rate rose, from 10.5% in 2019 to 11.4% in 2020. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure (SPM), which takes into account additional expenses plus the value of government aid, the poverty rate fell to 9.1% last year, compared...

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Deadly Profit: Big Tech companies continually put revenue over the safety of their users

Are social-media companies killing people? President Biden recently said they were. But then he clarified his remarks, explaining that misinformation was the real threat. It is actually the combination of the two that is costing lives. Biden’s comments followed a U.S. surgeon general advisory, which found that the user-engagement model driving businesses like Facebook and YouTube makes it easy for deadly misinformation to spread at a speed and scale never before possible. These online platforms have designed their products in a way that encourages users to share false content—causing people to reject public-health initiatives against COVID-19, attack public-health workers,...

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The profit of pointless wars: Why America is not safer after fighting existential struggles in far-off lands

The United States emerged from its victory in World War II as the world’s preeminent superpower. Its annual military budget, about three-quarters of a trillion dollars a year, exceeds the aggregate of the next ten countries in the world. Yet despite America’s apparent global military supremacy, of the approximately dozen wars the U.S. has fought since 1945 it has lost every real war it has fought. The only “victories” have been minor military incursions to overthrow unfriendly governments in Grenada, population approximately 120,000, and Panama, population approximately 4.2 million. After millions of deaths of Americans and foreigners and trillions...

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Why the United States occupied Afghanistan for two decades even after the Taliban surrendered in 2001

At a U.S. Special Forces camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on December 5, 2001, the Taliban offered an unconditional surrender. Furthermore, they would disband and disarm: a military force would no longer exist. George W. Bush ignored the offer and continued attacking the Taliban until the end of his term. If only in self-defense the Taliban fought back, eventually regaining the battlefield initiative. Barack Obama fought the Taliban for eight years more. Donald Trump did so for the next four. Twenty years later, after the squandering of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, President Biden withdrew American troops from...

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What America really values: $21 Trillion has been spent on militarism at home and abroad since 9/11

“We invaded Afghanistan to fight a terrorist group, Al Qaeda, that attacked us. As we leave, we’re attacked by another terrorist group, ISIS, worse than Al Qaeda, a which didn’t exist when we invaded. I’ve said it before: all the War on Terror gave us was more war and more terror.” – Mehdi Hasan, 26 August 2021 In the 20 years since the September 11 attacks, the United States government has spent more than $21 trillion at home and overseas on militaristic policies that led to the creation of a vast surveillance apparatus, worsened mass incarceration, intensified the war...

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September 18: Fears mount over a second insurrection by rightwing extremists at upcoming Capitol rally

Amid rising fears of the threat posed by the GOP’s mobilization of out-and-out fascists and its intensifying assault on democracy, lawmakers and intelligence officials are voicing concerns about a September 18 U.S. Capitol rally that far-right extremists organized to demand “justice” for those facing charges over their role in the violent insurrection on January 6 of this year. Citing unnamed people familiar with federal intelligence, it was reported that “extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are planning to attend” the rally, which “comes as a jittery Washington has seen a series of troubling one-off incidents —...

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