10 Good Things About the Year 2014

by Medea Benjamin – It’s been a year of fervent activism on police accountability, living wages, climate change, personal freedoms, immigrant rights, an open internet and diplomacy over war. The electoral beating the Democrats received has prompted both the Administration and some spineless congresspeople to realize that support for progressive issues could reinvigorate their base —a realization that has already led to Obama’s executive action on immigration and the opening to Cuba. So here are some of the 2014 highlights. 1. Uprising for police accountability. The movement for police accountability has swept the nation, spawning brilliant new leaders from communities most affected, giving a voice to the families who have lost loved ones and opening people’s eyes to the militarization of our police forces. It is an organic, grassroots movement destined to have a transformative impact on the struggle for racial equality. Keep an eye out in 2015 for CODEPINK’s campaign...

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Limbaugh’s Greatest Hits 2014

by hrhprissy – Here is a small sample of the racism, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, misinformation and lies which Rush Limbaugh spewed through the golden microphone this year.  Limbaugh is also a first rate climate denier so your desert menu includes a few tasty dishes that are heating up as we speak.  The hits just keep on coming and knowing Rush, next year will be just as bountiful.  As we like to say around the old StopRush hashtag, this isn’t really work, El Rushbo writes our tweets for us.“It wasn’t that long ago that I was the titular head of the Republican Party.” December 17, 2014 “It is very simple what that mandate is. It is to stop Barack Obama. It is to stop the Democrat Party. There is no other reason why Republicans were elected yesterday.” November 5, 2014 “The Pope is demanding that the United Nations somehow use it’s influence...

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The Rich Get Richer: World’s 400 Richest Get $92 Billion Richer in 2014 (VIDEO)

by FRANK MINERO – The most grotesquely wealthy 400 individuals on the planet have hoarded another $92 billion dollars in 2014. They now sit on assets worth $4.1 trillion dollars. That’s $4,100,000,000,000 dollars. Earlier this year, Oxfam released a report revealing the 85 richest people in the world held as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Oxfam’s results were released in January of 2014. It appears these figures are in need of an update. According to RT.com, those who plundered most effectively this past year include: Jack Ma, co-founder of China’s largest e-commerce company, the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Ma stuffed $25.1 billion into his coffers. Warren Buffett gained $13.7 billion as dozens of businesses he purchased over the last 50 years scored record profits. Chinese media and retail mogul Wang Jianlin profited $12.8 billion. The fourth largest wealth builder, Mark Zuckerberg, tossed another $10.6 billion...

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Keystone XL Pipeline at Top of GOP Agenda in 2015

With hearing set for next week, Republicans eye possibility of bypassing need for presidential approval by Nadia Prupis – The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is set to hold a hearing next week to discuss the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing will take place on January 7, once Republicans retake control of the Senate. The committee will consider legislation that, if approved, would push the controversial $7 billion project forward after years of resistance from environmental organizations and some Democrats in Congress. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) vowed to make Keystone a top issue, saying before the end of this year’s session that it would be the first item brought to the floor by the GOP in 2015. In November, the Senate—then still majority Democrat—rejected a bill to approve the Canada-to-Texas pipeline by a single vote. Republicans promised to move the bill forward once they took control of the Senate...

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Climate Change 2014: What Do We Do Now?

by Bruce Melton, Truthout | News Analysis – As we move into 2015, the latest climate science continues to diverge from policy. New science tells us that, because of short-lived climate pollutants, current policies dealing with carbon dioxide pollution alone will likely produce more warming than doing nothing at all. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now also said that we must begin to effect a large removal of the accumulated climate pollution already in our atmosphere – that emissions reductions alone are no longer sufficient. But all is not discouraging, when it comes to new climate discoveries. Atmospheric removal of carbon dioxide now appears to be no more expensive than many things our civilization does every day. This is a paradigm change from current policy. All policy to date basically relies only on reducing carbon dioxide emissions that we put in the sky every year. Nowhere...

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10 Ways Human Rights and Democracy Won in 2014 (Yeah, You Heard That Right)

Let’s be honest: It was a brutal year for human rights. But we still have victories worth celebrating by Sarah van Gelder – In 2014, we saw a lot of brutality. Unarmed black men and women were killed by police, women were raped on college campuses and in military barracks, foreign nationals were tortured, and young and mentally ill Americans were confined for extended periods in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. It was a violent year, but no worse than other years. What was different was the emergence of new movements of resistance—and with them new possibilities for change. 1. Black Lives Matter It was no secret to black Americans that they were disproportionately targeted for police violence, arrests, and incarceration. Black men are 21 times as likely to be shot by police as white men, according to a report by ProPublica. And the Pew Center reports that black men are...

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Greed Kings of 2014: How They Stole from Us

by Paul Buchheit – The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘steal’ is to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice. Much of our country’s new wealth has been regularly taken by individuals or corporations in a wrongful manner, either through nonpayment of taxes or failure to compensate other contributors to their successes. 1. The Corporations  As schools and local governments are going broke around the country, companies who built their businesses with American research and education and technology and infrastructure are paying less in taxes than ever before. Incredibly, over half of U.S. corporate foreign profits are now being held in tax havens, double the share of just twenty years ago. Corporations are stealing from the nation that made them rich. There are many examples of greed among individual firms. Based largely on 2014 SEC documents submitted by the companies themselves: Exxon has almost 80% of its productive oil and gas wells in the U.S. but declared only...

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GOP Leaders Back Lawmaker Who Spoke At White Supremacist Event

by IAN MILLHISER – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), the #3 Republican in the U.S. House, has Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) “full confidence as our Whip,” according to a statement put out by Boehner’s office. That’s despite the fact that Scalisespoke at a white supremacist event in 2002. This sentiment is echoed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who claims that he’s known Scalise “as a friend for many years and I know that he does not share the beliefs” of the organization that hosted the event. The event in question was hosted by an organization called the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO, which was founded by David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Although Scalise spoke at the event more than a decade ago, his appearance at the event did not become widely known until a local blogger uncovered several posts...

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High School Basketball Team Banned From Tournament Over ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts

by TRAVIS WALDRON – School officials in California briefly banned two high school basketball teams from participating in a holiday tournament this weekend amid fears that players on both teams planned to wear “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during warm-ups, the Associated Press reported. The boys and girls teams from Mendocino (CA) High School had worn the shirts, which bear a slogan that has become a rallying cry in nationwide protests against police killings of unarmed black men, before previous games. But the principal and athletic director at Fort Bragg High School, the tournament host, decided that the teams could not play in the tournament unless they agreed not to wear the shirts during it. “To protect the safety and well-being of all tournament participants it is necessary to ensure that all political statements and or protests are kept away from this tournament,” Rebecca Walker, the Fort Bragg principal, wrote in...

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U.S. Senate Gives Black Eye to House Fundamentalist Christians

By Mikey Weinstein, Daily Kos – The U.S. Senate has courageously just stood up to the Christian-supremacist bullies in the House of Representatives. Oh yes, the Senate has just completely ripped away from their religiously bigoted, House counterparts a would-be treasured bible-thumping bonanza of immeasurable, unconstitutional proselytization.  This erstwhile prize of legislative plunder had been specifically designed by these Congressmen and Congresswomen from the House, in nefarious collaboration with their legions of fundamentalist Christian parachurch allies, to be embedded deep within the confines of the 2015 Pentagon authorization/funding act. Fortunately, the plan by these Christian crusader Members of the House failed. Please let me briefly explain, my friends. For nearly a decade we at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) have fought night and day against the noxious trespasses of the Religious Right upon the rights of the brave men and women in our United States armed services. It’s been a bruising...

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Iraq’s Sunnis May Seek Iran’s Help Against ISIL

Desperate for arms and military training to fight ISIL, Sunni tribes were considering Iranian assistance as an option Baghdad – Iraqi Sunni tribal sheikhs threatened to resort to the United States’ rival in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to get the needed military support in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), if the US did not respond to their demands, warned Iraqi lawmakers and tribal sheikhs. The warning came during a meeting with US Senator, John McCain, who embarked on a short visit to Baghdad on Friday. McCain met with several Iraqi lawmakers and tribal sheikhs representing the Sunni-dominated provinces of Anbar, Saladin, Diyala as well as the towns constituting the belt of Baghdad, to discuss proposed plans to confront ISIL. Three Iraqi Sunni figures who attended the meeting told Al Jazeera that a list of demands was submitted to McCain asking for...

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One Of America’s Most Conservative Courts Just Might Rule For Marriage Equality

by IAN MILLHISER – The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is home to some of the most conservative federal appeals judges in the country. Five of the court’s judges once wrote that a man could be executed despite the fact that his lawyer slept through much of his trial. In 2011, a Fifth Circuit panel strongly suggested that undocumented immigrants have no Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful searches or seizures. The court’s former chief judge once cut off one of her few liberal colleagues during an oral argument, telling him “I want you to shut up.” Last summer, ThinkProgress predicted that marriage equality was less likely to prevail in the Fifth Circuit than in any other federal appeals court where a marriage case was pending. On Monday, however, the Fifth Circuit revealed the panel of three judges who will hear challenges to marriage...

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Vermonters Ready Celebration as Nuclear Plant Shuts Down for Good

Owners of Vermont Yankee lost their battle with local residents to keep accident-prone plant running for decades By Jon Queally, Common Dreams – Residents throughout New England have reason to celebrate on Monday as Vermont Yankee, the sole nuclear power plant in the state of Vermont, powers down for the final time after years of grassroots organizing and political opposition. The owners of Vermont Yankee, the Entergy corporation, had fought hard to extend the license of the plant, but a series of accidents in recent years and a pronounced campaign against the extension took place in the streets and within the state legislature ultimately overwhelmed those efforts. Earlier this year, citing economic reasons, Entergy announced it would shutter the plant by the end of the year. As an editorial published by the local SentinelSource, in neighboring Keene, New Hampshire, explained on Sunday: Sometime Monday, workers at Vermont Yankee will begin the...

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The New York Times Skewers Childish NYPD For Turning Backs On Mayor Bill de Blasio

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – In an article written by the New York Times’ Editorial Board, the paper blasted the NYPD for being disrespectful of Mayor Bill de Blasio and for embarrassing themselves through childish acts that trash the department’s reputation. In an opinion piece published on Monday, The New York Times roundly criticized the childish actions of NYPD officers who shamefully turned their backs on the mayor during the funeral of one of their fallen colleagues, Rafael Ramos. The disrespect continued only days later when de Blasio was booed and heckled as he spoke at a police graduation ceremony. The Times declared that these acts only make things worse and cause people to lose even more respect for the boys in blue. Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by...

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President Obama To GOP: ‘Responsibly Govern Or Be Prepared For Me To Use My Veto Pen’ (VIDEO)

by DEBI JOHNSON-CHAMP – With two years remaining in his presidency, President Obama has already staked out his position in dealing with the incoming Republican controlled Congress. During an interview with NPR, the President acknowledged his “frustration” with the results of the mid-term elections which resulted in the loss of control of the Senate. After more than six years of obstruction, President Obama said: “On the other hand, now you’ve got Republicans in a position where it’s not enough for them simply to grind the wheels of Congress to a halt and then blame me. They are going to be in a position in which they have to show that they can responsibly govern, given that they have significant majorities in both chambers.” While the President reaffirmed his willingness to work with Republican leaders, he made it no secret that he was fully prepared to exercise his veto power over...

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Fight for Our Progressive Vision

by Bernie Sanders – As I look ahead to this coming year, a number of thoughts come to mind. First and foremost, against an enormous amount of corporate media noise and distraction, it is imperative that we not lose sight of what is most important and the vision that we stand for. We have got to stay focused on those issues that impact the lives of tens of millions of Americans who struggle every day to keep their heads above water economically, and who worry deeply about the kind of future their kids will have. Yes. We make no apologies in stating that the great moral, economic and political issue of our time is the growing level of income and wealth inequality in our nation.It is a disgrace to everything this country is supposed to stand for when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the...

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Why “The Interview” Is Not Worth Your Time

by Jimmy Johnson, Truthout | Film Review – The Interview dir. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen 112 min | 2014 Columbia Pictures, L Star Capital, Point Grey Pictures Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s latest filmThe Interview was bound to get some attention even before its distributor, Sony, was hacked and the debacle with alleged threats from North Korea (DPRK) ensued. A film this racist would get attention regardless. Unfortunately, due to the publicity around the Sony hack, many more people will likely be subjected to The Interview and the attention won’t be as negative as it deserves. What follows includes spoilers if you believe something already rotten can be spoiled. The Interview opens with an othering scene of a young North Korean girl singing about destroying the United States before an audience of dignitaries prior to a missile launch. The othering completes with a series of short news clips about...

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Darren Wilson Wasn’t the First: A Short History of Killer Cops Let Off the Hook

by Flint Taylor – The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown is heartless but unsurprising. But it is important to place the case in context with the history of police violence investigations and prosecutions in high profile cases—and the systemic and racist police brutality that continues to plague the nation. In doing so, there are lessons for the movement for justice in the Michael Brown case, as well as for those who are engaged in the broader struggle against law enforcement violence. What follows, then, is a brief history of similar high profile cases where public outrage compelled the justice system to confront acts of racially motivated police violence—with, to say the least, less than satisfactory results. Chicago Over the past 45 years, Chicago has been a prime example of official indifference and cover-up when it...

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The One Big Problem With Police In St. Louis — And America — In A Single Image (VIDEO)

by ELISABETH PARKER – St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson angered civil rights activists once again by turning up at this year’s Veiled Prophet Ball. The secretive 135-year-old Veiled Prophet’s members hail from the city’s business, societal, and political elites, and they claim to be a civic and philanthropic organization. And of course, they didn’t allow Jews or blacks to be members or attend events (though — despite all the white people shown in photo albums of the event — that is technically no longer true). Needless to say, invitations to Veiled Prophet’s yearly ball are hard to come by. Veiled Prophet also hosts a Mardi-Gras-like parade each year for the public, yet the group has darker origins and many link it to the Ku Klux Klan. It’s hard not to link the Veiled Prophets to the Ku Klux Klan, given the design of their original symbol from 1878 (shown below). The illustration depicts a masked man in a...

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Pulling Back The Curtain On Bill Cosby’s Dirty PR Game

by EMILY ATKIN – Bill Cosby has reportedly hired a battalion of private detectives to dig up negative information about the 23 women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault, according to a New York Post story published Sunday. Citing various unnamed sources, The Post reported that the legendary comedian is “paying six-figure fees to private investigators for information that might discredit his alleged victims,” deploying a “scorched-earth strategy in which anything negative in his accusers’ pasts is fair game.” It’s a strategy that has been successful thus far, one source who “has worked with Cosby for at least a decade” said, noting they had already found negative information about two accusers, including supermodel Beverly Johnson. “We found out that Beverly never told her live-in lover of several years what she’s now telling the media and we found that to be strange,” the source is quoted as saying. The...

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