$40 Million Dollar Suit Filed Against Ferguson Police

by Randa Morris – Local Darren Wilson supporters, and those who blindly support the actions of Ferguson area militarized police, may not feel quite as supportive, once they get the bill. Surprisingly enough, US citizens seem to believe that they have rights. Rights like the right to protest, the right to free speech, the right to peaceful assemble, the right to record the police, even the right to order a sundae at McDonald’s without being harassed, beaten and arrested for no reason. In other news, they also believe that when those rights are violated, they have the right to have their complaints heard in a court of law. Who knew? Obviously not the St. Louis County police… Five citizens whose civil rights were violated by police during the Ferguson protests have come together to file a lawsuit against the St. Louis County police. The suit could cost the city upwards...

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Ferguson, Abusive Policing, and Racial Politics

by Cathy Young – The tragedy and turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri—the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, followed by sometimes violent protests and a heavy-handed police crackdown—have once again brought the national spotlight on race relations in America. It has also revealed unusual political alignments, with libertarian-leaning Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and some other libertarians and conservatives joining liberals and leftists to denounce abusive police behavior, particularly toward young African-American males.  Others on the right—not only Rush Limbaugh but black commentators such as Jason Riley—are taking a more traditional conservative view which sees the black community’s worst woes as due not to racism but to its own cultural problems, aggravated by the welfare state and liberal paternalism. Each of these narratives—”racial injustice” and “cultural dysfunction”—has its truths and its blinders. Each, by itself, is overly simplistic and (as it were) black and white, both with regard to the...

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When It Comes to War in Iraq and Syria, Senate Dems Prefer No Congressional Vote

By Sarah Lazare, CommonDreams – Numerous Senate Democrats oppose bringing military operations in Iraq and Syria to a vote before Congress because they think going on the record as for or against will be harmful to their bids for office during an election season, The Hill reported Wednesday. Critics slammed this reluctance to take a position as a sign that cowardice and self gain — not principle — rule the legislature. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has been vocally pushing for President Obama to put the expanding U.S. military attacks on ISIS in Iraq and Syria to a vote before Congress, as required by the War Powers Resolution. In a press statement released Monday, Kaine stated, “I do not believe that our expanded military operations against ISIL are covered under existing authorizations from Congress.  The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force does not apply, and the Administration has testified that the 2002 Iraq war authorization is...

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Federal Judge Rules that Texas Cannot Enforce Key Provision in ‘Draconian’ Anti-abortion Law

By Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune– A federal judge on Friday struck down new requirements for Texas abortion facilities — a decision that could have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state. The standards were set to go into effect Monday. The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of several abortion providers, asking U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of the District Court for the Western District of Texas to block the last provision of House Bill 2, which would have required abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Those include minimum sizes for rooms and doorways and having pipelines for anesthesia. The law, which was passed by the Republican-led Legislature last year, included several strict abortion regulations that are already in effect. In his ruling, Yeakel wrote that the law’s ambulatory surgical center requirements “burdens Texas women in a way...

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Secret Internal Document Urging Closure of California Nuclear Plant Revealed

Former plant inspector first raised concerns about seismic safety in 2010 by Deirdre Fulton – In a report written last year but not made public until Monday, a former federal inspector expresses uncertainty over whether California’s last operating nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, could withstand strong shaking from nearby earthquake faults. In a 42-page document (pdf) filed in July of 2013, Dr. Michael Peck, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s former senior resident inspector at Diablo Canyon, calls for the plant to be shut down “pending demonstration that…safety functions can be met at the higher seismic stress levels.” Observers criticized the NRC’s withholding of the report. Though Peck asked that his dissent—known as a Differing Professional Opinion, written in response to the NRC’s decision to let the plant’s twin reactors keep running despite the failure of both plant operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co and the NRC to conduct a rigorous safety analysis...

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Marco Rubio Turns Against Latino Kids

by kos – That cover was predicated on the idea that Republicans needed Latinos to win national elections, and since his last name was “Rubio,” ta-da! The Republicans were saved! And for a while, Rubio was okay on immigration reform, even helping move a reform package out of the Senate. But then someone reminded him that he wants to run for president, and conservatives hate brown people, so now he scolds DREAMers for political points. For an ambitious Republican looking to prove his conservative bona fides and rub out the stain of working with Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, the interruption was something of a gift. A plugged-in Republican operative turned to a reporter and observed dryly, “I couldn’t think of a better way to make Rubio look good in South Carolina.” There’s nothing that would make Rubio look better in front of rabid conservatives than bashing...

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Are We About to See What Obama Can Do When He Doesn’t Give a Damn?

by J.D. Tuccille – Ah, to be unencumbered by worries or responsibilities. It’s that feeling of open horizons known by twenty-somethings with an apartment and a first paycheck, by healthy retirees with topped-off 401Ks—and by second-term presidents who have stopped giving a shit about their own political party’s prospects. In an era of expanding executive power, President Obama looks like a guy contemplating a world of interesting possibilities. Even his fellow Democrats seem a bit jittery about just what the man in the Oval Office has in mind. Timothy Cama at The Hill writes, “President Obama’s election-year plan to win a new international climate change accord is making vulnerable Democrats nervous.” So why don’t they just tell the president that any such deal is DOA in the Senate? At least until after the election? Because Coral Davenport at the New York Times suggests that Obama plans to bypass Congress entirely....

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Disease Specialist Debunks Anti-Immigration Claim On Air, Conservative Host Ends Interview

By STEPHEN D FOSTER JR, Addicting Info – A conservative host rushed to end an interview with an actual doctor as the health expert debunked a favorite anti-immigration claim of the right-wing. Ever since the issue of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the border between Mexico and the United States became big national news, Republicans have pushed the false claim that these kids are bringing disease to spread in this country. So far, conservatives have listed diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy, scabies, polio, influenza, and even the Ebola virus as afflictions that are being brought over the border from Central America. But during an interview on Newsmax, Dr. Peter Horetz caused former Arizona GOP Rep. J.D. Hayworth to end the discussion early in an effort to stop him from debunking that claim. Unfortunately for Hayworth and conservatives, the effort failed. Hayworth invited the medical professional to be his guest...

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Monsanto’s Worst Nightmare Coming True: The Rise of GMO Labeling

Activists against GMOs just might take down the biotech giants after all. GMO labeling could soon be a sweet reality by Christina Sarich – Last week, Colorado broke a new record by bringing 16,950 signatures to a GMO labeling campaign for fall’s election, more than double the qualifying signatures needed to make sure that GMO labeling is on the ballot. This huge message to Monsanto accompanies a similar campaign in Oregon, all while the biotech industry awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more Agent Orange chemicals (2,4-D) to be used where glyphosate has failed. Incredibly, the USDA is ignoring Americans as well as scientists who say that being carpet-bombed with 176 million pounds of toxic pesticides is not only unfathomable, but intolerable. No one wants these carcinogenic, birth-defect-causing toxins created by biotech companies and seed monopolizers anymore. Finally, Monsanto has to fight GMO labeling fronts simultaneously in two different states....

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Burger King ‘Inversion’ Allows It to Profit Off Public, Dodge Taxes, say Critics

Fast food giant to acquire Tim Hortons, reap benefits of tax loophole by Andrea Germanos – Critics are slamming Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s announcement it is buying Canadian food chain Tim Hortons Inc. and moving its headquarters to Canada as a tax-dodging move enabled by a tax code that “treats corporations better than people.”The tax loophole at issue is called a “corporate inversion.” As Dave Johnson explains at Campaign for America’s Future blog, it is when a US company buys or merges with a non-US company, and then pretends it is no longer a US company. Today it’s Burger King. Not long ago it was Walgreens. Even though an inverted company has renounced its US citizenship, the company keeps the same executives, the same stores or facilities, the same employees, and the same customers — right here in the US. The only things that changes is the company sheds certain...

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Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS Foundation: Less Than 27% Of Donations Fund Research & Cures

by Anthony Gucciardi – As a huge proponent of serious charitable organizations, it always is disturbing to see trends such as Kony 2012 and various Susan G. Komen for the Cure initiatives take the social media atmosphere by storm. From the ultimate backlash against the celebrity-driven Kony fraud to the embarrassment of the KFC ‘Buckets for the Cure’ campaign backed by Susan G. Komen, I was immediately hoping that the infamous new ‘ice bucket challenge’ would in fact be an exception to the series of misled social media fundraising campaigns. As soon as the ALS Association published its official numbers and my contacts within the investigative community confirmed the worst, however, it was apparent that once again we have been shoveling (or dumping in this case by the bucket-load) our hard earned funds into an organization that only uses about 27% of its financing to actually fuel research ‘for the cure’...

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Judge: Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional

By Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune – Nearly three years after more than 600 Texas school districts filed litigation challenging the state’s school finance system, a Travis County district judge has ruled in their favor. In an almost 400-page opinion released Thursday, District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin said that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional not only because of inadequate funding and flaws in the way it distributes money to districts, but also because it imposes a de facto state property tax. Certain to be appealed by the state, the lawsuit that arose after lawmakers cut roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011 will now continue to the Texas Supreme Court. Though Dietz made no public remarks on Thursday, his decision is a reprise of an earlier oral ruling in February 2013. From the bench at the time, Dietz discussed what he called the “civic, altruistic and economic” reasons for supporting public education. “We realize that...

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Mind-blowing Pictures of the Earth Taken by Reid Wiseman from the ISS

 By Mihai Andrei, ZMEScience – The people onboard the International Space Station have been spoiling us with a lot of amazing pictures – and this one is no exception. Here, we see Africa embracing its northern neighbor, the Mediterranean sea. Reid Wiseman (which you can also follow on Twitter) often posts mind blowing pictures, like the ones above and below. All pictures taken from his Twitter, with his captions. #EarthArt – a #volcano in #Africa is blown eastward over time. Another slow shutter to capture the #atmosphere at night. Breathtaking. The #Nile and the Red Sea meet the Mediterranean. Watching the #sunrise across planet #Earth – my favorite moments in space. Wicked #thunderstorms surround #Galveston Dams are everywhere and easy to spot from #space – this is along the #Nile We just hurled 2 @ISS_Research #cubesats out of the #ISS like cannonballs. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10...

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Oops – Mitch McConnell Caught On Tape (AUDIO)

by DeWyn – Remember when during the 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney was caught on tape reminding people that Republicans only care about rich people? Many believe that lost the election for him. Well, it looks like history is repeating itself but this time, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was the one caught saying what he actually thinks about corporate America and the rest of us. At a Father’s Day retreat with his owners contributors, Charles and David Koch, and several other millionaires and billionaires, McConnell spoke a bit too candidly. He talked about how the Senate obstructs progress: “So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No...

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Despite Calls for Humanity, Detroit Resumes Water Shutoffs

Citizen advocates warn that the “whole world is watching” By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams – Despite widespread public outcry and international condemnation, the city of Detroit on Tuesday resumed shutting off the water supply to thousands of city residents. Ending the month-long moratorium on shutoffs, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) public affairs specialist Gregory Eno confirmed to Common Dreams that the city turned off the water to roughly 400 households that are delinquent on their water bills and have not yet set up a payment plan. More shutoffs are expected. According to the citizens group Detroit Water Brigade, the only thing that changed since shutoffs began in March is that the city has lowered the required down payment water bills from 30% to 10%. “The water is still too expensive for Detroit,” they said. Detroit is one of the poorest cities in the United States with over 38% of the population living below the poverty...

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Christie Funnels Public Pension Money to Wall Street While Pushing Cuts on Workers

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos– New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t plan to make the state’s promised payment — under a law he personally pushed for — to public worker pensions. But while the 2016 Republican hopeful is shorting money intended for workers, he’s made sure the state pays out plenty of money to Wall Street: In 2009, the year before Christie took office, New Jersey spent $125.1 million on financial management fees. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, the state reported spending $398.7 million on such fees. In all, New Jersey’s pension system has spent $939.8 million on financial fees between fiscal year 2010 and 2013. That’s only a little less than the amount Christie cut from state education funding in 2010 — a cut that played a major role in shrinking the state’s teaching force by 4,500 teachers. That money might also have reduced the amount the state needs to pay into the...

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Ukraine Accuses Russia of Launching Invasion

President Poroshenko cancels trip to Turkey amid news and convenes security council   Two columns of Russian tanks and military vehicles fired Grad missiles at a border post in southeastern Ukraine, then rolled into the country Thursday as Ukraine’s overmatched border guards fled, a top Ukrainian official said. The comments, by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, and statements from NATO, pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the United States left little doubt that the Russian military entered southeastern Ukraine. A top NATO official said at least 1,000 Russian troops have poured into Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have engaged Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties. He called that a conservative estimate and said an additional 20,000 Russian troops were right over the border. “Russian forces have entered Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday, canceling a trip to Turkey for the inauguration of newly elected President Recep...

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Docs, Drug Companies, Insurers Drive Up Medicare Costs

Obamacare forced cuts at hospitals, but not for other segments of industry By Wendell Potter, Center for Public Integrity – As one of an estimated 78 million baby boomers in this country, I was delighted to hear that Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund won’t run out of money until 2030 — 13 years later than projected in 2009, the year before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. While it’s uncertain how much of that good news can be attributed to the health care law, some of the provisions aimed at slowing Medicare spending, such as requiring Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals with high readmission rates, are likely helping. But the Hospital Trust Fund accounts for only about half of total Medicare spending. Most of the rest goes to cover physician fees, prescription drugs and to provide incentives for health insurance companies to participate in the Medicare Advantage program and administer the Medicare...

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Gazans in the United States Suffer the Horrors of War From Abroad

By Pam Bailey, Truthout | Report – As the media headlines swing from the growing death count in the Gaza Strip to fitful truce negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, a growing number of Americans are becoming aware of the eight-year-old blockade that has prevented the 1.8 million people of Gaza from living a normal life. However, it still seems like a distant battle; most Americans don’t realize that the conflict is fueled by billions of dollars of US military “aid,” or that there are Palestinians from Gaza living among them, fearing for their loved ones’ lives from afar. Separated from their parents, siblings, children and spouses after leaving the Strip to study or work, they have watched news of the Israeli assault with horror. Some have lost homes, relatives or both. “I’d rather be with my family than be abroad,” says Minna Albarqi, who, like most of the...

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Siding with GMO Giants, Federal Judge Rejects Kauai Anti-GMO Law

County ordinance meant to protect people and land from ‘one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture’ by Lauren McCauley – Siding with a coalition of GMO giants, a federal judge in Hawaii rejected a local effort to protect the health and environment of the island by blocking heavy pesticide use near homes and schools. The Kauai County ordinance known as Bill 2491, which was passed in October, aimed to shield residents from the intensive pesticide spraying that had transformed parts of the island “into one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture,” as Grist writer Paul Koberstein recently reported. Despite strong public support behind the measure, Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled that Bill 2491 is “pre-empted” by a state law which Kurren said is meant to broadly regulate all state pesticide matters. The suit was brought against the county by four multinational...

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