Top Republican Admits House Benghazi Committee Designed To Attack Hillary Clinton’s Poll Numbers (VIDEO)

by OLIVER WILLIS – The House of Representatives Select Committee on the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi is all about attacking Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, admits a senior Republican. Current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News host Sean Hannity during an interview on Monday night that the Select Committee, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that Clinton’s dropping poll numbers are evidence of the effectiveness of the committee. McCarthy, who is reportedly running to take over for recently deposed House Speaker John Boehner, told Hannity: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee — a Select Committee — what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.” It is a tacit admission by the second most powerful Republican in the House that the Committee’s true goal is taking out Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Republicans have tried...

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What John Boehner’s Surprise Resignation Means For Immigration Reform

by ESTHER YU-HSI LEE – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the favorite to succeed John Boehner (R-OH) after his surprise resignation as the House Speaker last week. The appointment of McCarthy, who represents a heavily Latino district, to preside over a more radically conservative Republican caucus could have implications for immigration reform. McCarthy’s district encompasses the agriculture powerhouses of Kern and Tulare counties, which produced $3 billion annually in crops like “cotton, citrus, grapes, stone fruits, pistachios, wine grapes, almonds, olives, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, alfalfa, cattle and sheep,” according to his website. His district is also about 35 percent Latino, and employs a massive number of farmworkers. Grower and labor union statistics suggest it’s possible that upwards of 70 percent of all farmworkers in the country are undocumented. Yet McCarthy has so far maintained a strict opposition to immigration reform. As the highest-ranking House member, McCarthy’s immigration-restrictionist...

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): I Pulled These Numbers Directly Out Of My Ass

by LaFeminista – Ah the lie fest continues “I pulled those numbers directly out of my ass,” Chaffetz said. That would have been a truthful statement, he didn’t quite say that though. . “Excuse me,” Richards said. “My lawyers have informed me that the source of this is Americans United for Life which is an anti-abortion group so I would check your source.” After so many years of the House Republicans making a mockery of Congress  the Planned Parenthood debacle must be the pinnacle of their nefarious mismanagement. Using doctored video as evidence, using graphs from their imagination as if drawing on a piece of paper makes their lying somehow factual. At the hearing, Democratic supporters of Planned Parenthood accused their Republican colleagues of being misogynistic and more interested in political hits than an actual investigation. Richards argued the videos — produced by conservative activists at the Center for Medical Progress...

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France Launches First Airstrikes Against ISIL in Syria

Announcement comes after Hollande unveiled change of strategy due to growing concern over Syrian refugee crisis France has carried out its first air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. The announcement from President Francois Hollande’s office on Sunday came after a year of hesitation. Hollande had resisted the raids in Syria, saying he did not want to strengthen Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is the target of ISIL fighters. Hollande announced a change in strategy earlier this month because of growing concern about the Syrian refugee crisis that is putting pressure on Europe – the preferred destination for the asylum seekers. In Iraq, France has been carrying out the air raids since last year as part of the US-led coalition. Hollande, heading to the UN General Assembly on Sunday where Syrian crisis was expected to be the key subject of debate,...

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The Pope, The UN, And My Takeaway

by Maria Ramos, Guest Contributor, All-len-All – Pope Francis recently concluded a trip to the United States. The Bishop of Rome made remarks throughout his journey that were in line with his views as expressed in the encyclical “Laudato Si,” published earlier this year. In short, he argued for the reality of anthropogenic climate change and called upon Americans and people around the globe to take action. President Obama was among the well-wishers who lauded the Pope’s message on climate change after welcoming him to the White House on Wednesday. In his first speech on U.S. soil, Francis emphasized that this environmental problem cannot “be left to a future generation.” The next day, while addressing a joint session of Congress, His Holiness continued speaking on the same theme. He called upon leaders in business and government to promote sustainable practices and to put technology to good use in conserving...

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GOP Congressman Enraged By Tea Party Nut Jobs: ‘The Crazies Have Taken Over The Party’ (VIDEO)

by CHARLES TOPHER – When Speaker Boehner announced he was leaving, not only the third most powerful seat in the country, but Congress altogether, emotions were mixed on both sides of the aisle. Before his press conference, pundits across the country speculated about his reasoning, debated his replacement and discussed what happens next. Democrats couldn’t help but applaud the departure of the Speaker; it represents not only the end to an obstructionist conservative, but the implosion of his party. After some consideration, the idea that John Boehner may have been a more reasonable choice than whoever may replace him became apparent. Who would be next in line to bow to the Tea Party? Would Kevin McCarthy step up? How about Paul Ryan? What if they decide to give in to the extremists and put a Trey Gowdy or Louie Gohmert up there? Suddenly John Boehner didn’t look so horrible. On...

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Russia Launches Airstrikes Against ISIS Inside Syria: Reports

by Jon Queally – After receiving authorization from Parliament, and just days after UN speech by Vladimir Putin, news outlets report that Russia’s air campaign inside Syria has begun Just hours after the Upper House of the Russian Parliament on Wednesday gave President Vladimir Putin the permission he sought to use the nation’s air force to conduct missions against the Islamic State targets inside Syria, news outlets are reporting that the first Russian airstrikes inside Syria may have now taken place. Both the New York Times and CNN, citing anonymous U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak with the press, report that strikes have been carried out. The Times reports Russian warplanes dropped bombs near the central city of Hom, though further details were not provided. Wednesday’s vote authorizing the strikes came just two days after Putin spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City where...

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Climate Catches ‘Huge Break’ as Shell Calls It Quits in the Arctic

by Jon Queally – At least for the “foreseeable future,” the oil giant will put a hold on its offshore drilling in Alaska after finding insufficient deposits In what environmental campaigners are calling “a huge break” for the Arctic region and by extension the world’s climate, the Royal Dutch Shell oil company announced on Monday it would end its exploratory drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea after disappointing results from its controversial operations in the Alaskan waters that took place this summer. In a corporate press statement released Monday, the company said that its drilling vessel—located approximately 150 miles offshore and in about 150 feet of water—had “successfully” drilled an exploratory well to the depth of 6800 feet. Though the company claimed it “found indications of oil and gas,” it said the amount was “insufficient to warrant further exploration” and said the prospected site will now be “sealed and abandoned.” Further,...

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Cameron Called Out for ‘Cynically’ Exploiting Refugee Plight to Escalate War

by Sarah Lazare – Celebrities and politicians release open letter blasting UK prime minister for pressing to extend military action—not aid Celebrities and members of Parliament released an open letter Saturday demanding that UK Prime Minister David Cameron stop exploiting the refugee crisis to drive the country into more disastrous war. “Already we have seen the killing of civilians and the exacerbation of a refugee crisis which is largely the product of wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan,” reads the missive, whose signatories include actor Mark Rylance and musicians Brian Eno, John Williams, and Charlotte Church. “Cameron is cynically using the refugee crisis to urge more war,” the letter continues. “He should not be allowed to.” Earlier this month, Cameron responded to the humanitarian crisis of mass displacement with a call for a “hard military force” to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad and combat ISIS in Syria. The prime...

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Will TTIP Get Terminated? Negotiations Falter as Europe Balks

by Deirdre Fulton – As EU-US trade talks flounder, France doesn’t rule out ‘an outright termination of negotiations’ While public opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the massive proposed “trade” deal between the European Union and the United States—has grown steadily since negotiations started two years ago, new signs suggest that official government backing is also faltering across Europe. In an interview with French regional newspaper Sud Ouest published Monday, Junior Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said TTIP negotiations were favoring American interests and “either weren’t advancing or were progressing in the wrong direction.” “If nothing changes, it will show that there isn’t the will to achieve mutually beneficial negotiations,” he said, before adding: “France is considering all options including an outright termination of negotiations.” Meanwhile, a group of more than 55 UK members of parliament (MPs) has signed onto a motion expressing major concerns about the mammoth trade pact,...

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Donald Trump Wants to Repeal Obamacare, Replace It With Obamacare

by Peter Suderman – Most of the time when Donald Trump talks about policy, the collection of words that he responds with have nothing whatsoever to do with the details of policy. Up until this weekend, for example, he usually answered questions about his preferred Obamacare replacement plan with “something terrific!” That is, of course, not a replacement plan, nor is it any kind of plan at all. It does not even qualify as an allusion to a possible plan, or something that vaguely resembles one. It is just an adjective, and it provides no more information about the actual policy content of his ideal replacement than if he had said, “something blue!” Occasionally, though, Trump emits noises that seem, at least on the surface, to provide at least a little more detail. In an interview this weekend with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, Trump was pressed to provide some details...

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Anti-Choicers Embarrassed By Planned Parenthood Hearing, Call It ‘GOP Freak Show’

by JUDD LEGUM – On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards appeared before the House Oversight Committee. The committee is investigating Planned Parenthood in connection with a series of sting videos that allege the group illegally sold fetal body parts. (That allegation is not supported by the videos or other factual evidence.) The hearing today started with a tearful speech by Chairman Jason Chaffetz, in which he appeared to blame his mother’s death on Planned Parenthood. Chaffetz argued that federal money granted to Planned Parenthood should be spent on cancer research instead. When Richards began to testify, she was repeatedly interrupted by Chaffetz and other Republican men on the committee. Here’s a short clip from the Chaffetz Q&A: Richards, as to be expected, dismissed the hearing as another “baseless attack on reproductive health care.” But, even among Planned Parenthood’s fiercest critics, the hearing was not received well. Pro-life conservatives blasted...

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Jeb Bush’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Even Mention Renewables

by SAMANTHA PAGE – Natural gas represents America’s “energy revolution,” and the way to economic growth is to deregulate, according to Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who unveiled his energy plan Tuesday during a speech in Pennsylvania. Bush’s four-point plan would lift restrictions on exports of oil and natural gas; reduce “overregulation,” such as on fracking or coal power plants; allow states and tribes more say over their energy mix; and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which he says has been “badly politicized.” That is to say, three of the four tenets lift federal regulation in some way or another, while the fourth simply approves a fossil fuel infrastructure project. Regulation “is repressing the ability for us to grow,” Bush said. And, truly, his plan is all in the name of economic growth. Increased fracking will result in more jobs and more growth, he said, citing...

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The Real Target of the Planned Parenthood Attacks

by Kathleen Turner – The leading GOP candidates have aligned themselves with a platform based on endangering women’s health care access In the first two Republican presidential debates, the candidates slugged it out over who hated Planned Parenthood the most. Virtually every hopeful promised to defund the organization. Some of them, including Senator Ted Cruz, are vowing to force the issue — even if it means shutting down the federal government. The impetus for these latest attacks was a series of heavily edited, misleading videos released by a front group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. Though the videos purported to show Planned Parenthood employees engaging in a range of inappropriate behaviors, every impartial investigation since then has cleared the group of any wrongdoing. Yet right-wing lawmakers across the country are using the doctored videos as a bludgeon against an organization that’s done so much for so many years to...

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Fearing Blow to Corporate Trade Deal, Auto Industry Buried Car Safety Report

by Deirdre Fulton – Observers have pointed out that ‘cars form a big part of the EU’s case for TTIP’ For fear of sabotaging the corporate-friendly TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union, the car industry buried a report showing major discrepancies between the safety records of U.S. and EU vehicles, according to exclusive reporting in The Independent on Wednesday. Citing a leaked version of the analysis (pdf), which has since been “quietly posted on the University of Michigan’s website,” reporter Paul Gallagher wrote: The major study was commissioned by the car industry to show that existing EU and U.S. safety standards were broadly similar. But the research actually established that American models are much less safe when it comes to  front-side collisions, a common cause of accidents that often result in serious injuries. The findings were never submitted – or publicly announced – by the...

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If An Energy Bill Drops In The Senate But Everyone Knows It Won’t Pass, Does It Make A Sound?

by RYAN KORONOWSKI – Last week, Senate Democrats unveiled an energy bill that would attempt to move America to a low-carbon future. But if the bill has zero chance of being passed in a chamber controlled by Republicans, does it matter? “Today’s announcement should send a clear signal that it is a top priority for Senate Democrats to invest in our nation’s energy future and address climate change before it’s too late,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at a Tuesday press conference. The legislation “is a technology driven pathway to a clean energy future,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) who sponsored the bill, dubbed the “American Energy Innovation Act of 2015.” Though it would not set a price on carbon emissions, like the failed cap-and-trade bill from five years ago, her bill does contain many provisions intended to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy, and sets a...

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Elizabeth Warren Just Gave The Speech Black Lives Matter Wanted To Hear (VIDEO)

by SARAH BURRIS – Finally, a politician gets it right on social justice and police reform, and of course it’s Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Sunday afternoon while the Senator spoke at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, she talked about real, meaningful types of reform in policy that we can do in government to help curb the insane and unreasonable attacks by police on people of color. Warren said: “It is a tragedy when any American cannot trust those who have sworn to protect and serve. This pervasive and persistent distrust isn’t based on myths. It is grounded in the reality of unjustified violence.” Warren’s strategy goes beyond body cameras but also includes “de-escalation” training where cops are taught how to not effing shoot people first and ask questions later, but rather take an approach that is more about calming and stabilizing the situation. Genius idea for police who...

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Ted Cruz Throws Tantrum On Senate Floor After Learning He Can’t Shut Down Government Again (VIDEO)

by JAMESON PARKER – Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R) may have had a pretty spotty track record during his time in office, but his last act – resigning in disgrace – may have been the very best thing he did. With Republican leadership suddenly in disarray, the government shutdown that Tea Party conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had been planning now seems to have gone completely off the rails. Cruz is VERY upset. Cruz had originally planned to introduce an amendment to a government funding bill that would have – follow me here – placed a one-year ban on giving federal funds to Planned Parenthood and block the Iran nuclear deal all in one fell swoop. If those goals seemed quixotic at best, that’s because their very impossibility was the entire point. Cruz, who already has one government shutdown under his belt, planned on getting a second one, just in time for...

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So, How Did Trevor Noah Do On His First Night At ‘The Daily Show’?

by JESSICA GOLDSTEIN – Trevor Noah knows it’s strange for us to see him behind The Daily Show desk. During his debut on Monday night, he spent his opening monologue — a solidly written and gamely performed introduction — assuring us that this experience is even more surreal for him. “Growing up on the dusty streets of South Africa, I never dreamed that I would have, well, two things, really: An indoor toilet, and a job as the host of The Daily Show. And now, I have both. And I’m quite comfortable with one of them.” In a deft, charming start, Noah addressed the behind-the-scenes issues that had been oft-discussed since the announcement not only that Jon Stewart, “our political dad,” was stepping down, but that it would be Noah — not a woman, not an American — replacing him. He acknowledged what is probably an awkward fact for him: That...

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How Trump’s Tax Plan Would Help The Wealthy, Including Trump

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – At a press conference at Trump Towers on Monday unveiling his tax reform plan, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump admitted that he would personally benefit from some of the proposals. “When I do my returns it’ll be much simpler. When I do my returns, they go up to the ceiling and beyond, which is ridiculous,” he said. “You spend millions of dollars at a high level on lawyers and accountants and everything else.” In particular, Trump noted that he will reap benefits from his proposal to offer a tax repatriation holiday for corporations holding profits overseas. This plan — which the U.S. has done before — would allow corporations to pay a tax of just 10 percent instead of the currently required 35 percent. “I have millions of dollars overseas that I can’t get back into this country,” said Trump, whose holdings include at least 16...

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Not Even Republicans Support GOP Plan for Government Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

by CASSANDRA FAIRBANKS – A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University has found that nearly seven out of 10 Americans, 69%, do not support the petulant Republican threats to shutdown the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding. Just 23% of Americans support a shutdown, or less than a quarter of the population. While what the people in general want may not concern conservative politicians, what should have them rethinking their strategy is the fact that not even their own party supports the threats.  A majority of 56% to 36% Republican voters also oppose a shutdown. Even presidential candidate Jeb Bush has opposed the idea, asserting that holding the federal budget hostage is “wrongheaded” and “futile.” In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Bush asserted: “I am against the government shutdown. That’s not how democracy works.” Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina, who owes her surge in the polls to a passionate speech about...

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‘Pro-life’ Red States Working Together So They Won’t Miss Out On An Execution Opportunity

by CHARLES TOPHER – “All life is precious.” That is the theme of the good Christians of the Republican party. Their belief that holding onto that precept makes them morally superior is what allows them to also be the most hypocritical group of people in history. All life is precious, unless you’ve been convicted of a crime we deem horrendous enough to kill you. All life is precious unless you refused to comply with a police officer and were shot dead for it. All life is precious unless you walk onto my property looking for assistance and I decide to “castle doctrine” your ass. All life is precious unless I can convince a jury of white people I was “standing my ground” when I chased that guy and killed him after I was told to stand still. All life is precious if the Republican party decides it is, which seems...

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The “People’s Pope” and the Church’s Emerging Contradictions

by Armando Carmona, Truthout | News Analysis – Pope Francis has radically changed the image of the Catholic Church. He has been called a progressive, the “people’s pope” and even a radical pope who is attempting to shift the global image of Catholic conservatism. It is impossible to deny the importance of the pope’s current discourse as he pushes global political leaders to address climate change and economic inequality, inviting them to refocus their energy toward a “revolution of tenderness.” How should we situate the current pope in the context of a historically conservative institution and an evolving narrative about social change? While some attempt to categorize him as a progressive or even a feminist due to his discourse on women and the poor, others understand him to be a political actor who represents a highly hierarchical and patriarchal organization that affects nearly 1.2 billion people. Regardless of our personal...

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Feel the Bern: Sanders and the Power of Grassroots Fundraising

by Robert Borosage – The Washington Post on Saturday reported that Hillary Clinton has launched “an intense press to stockpile campaign dollars in the final days of the quarter, aiming to build a war chest big enough to eclipse what is expected to be a healthy fundraising haul by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.” Say what? The Clinton campaign is pressing to match Bernie’s grassroots fund-raising totals? Sanders has surged to a stunning lead in the early polls in New Hampshire and is continuing to gain in Iowa. Clinton has suffered a terrible summer, with polls registering growing disapproval. Now Sanders may demonstrate that, in the new age of social media, it is possible to raise enough money from small donations largely over the Web to be competitive in a presidential race. Hillary raised a record $46 million in the last quarter (the first reporting period since her announcement), with 16.8...

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Before He Died, Freddie Gray Begged for Help and Officers Refused Him

by Josie Duffy – New evidence made available in the death of Freddie Gray reveals he was begging for help and told police he needed to go to the hospital before he fell into a coma in the police van.The Baltimore Sun has obtained previously unreleased details on the death of Freddie Gray, including information from investigators who reviewed statements from five out of six of the officers accused of criminal wrongdoing. These investigators detail how Gray asked an officer for help shortly before he fell into a coma which was caused by a severe spinal cord injury. The Sun reports: Officer William Porter told police investigators that after being summoned to check on Gray on the morning of April 12, he told the van’s driver that the city booking facility would not process Gray because he was in medical distress.”Help me. Help me up,” Gray said. Porter helped Gray up...

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Guns are Awesome, Until you Shoot Your Johnson

by xxdr zombiexx – Yeah, that happened again Always blame a black person if you do. Convicted felon Donald Anthony Watson, 43, was admitted to a local emergency room late at night on Sept. 6  for a gunshot wound to his penis, and told local law enforcement that he had been shot during a botched robbery.According to the arrest report, Watson said he was shot by “a black guy (who) tried to rob” him while he was taking out the trash at his apartment. I think a lot of people – all colors and creeds – are sick and tired of white people screwing something up and blaming black people for it.  Beyond the sheer, nauseating stupidity of it, the rabid racism is angering. Black people aren’t allowed to walk, or ride, or drive, or think or drink, or even have a funeral, but in these incidents they weren’t even around...

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The Case for the ‘Right To Die’

by Steve Chapman – Despite fears, Oregon has seen no signs of abuse Life is a gift that can also become an intolerable burden. For those afflicted with terminal diseases, the grim approach of death is accompanied by what, for some, is the unbearable prospect of pain, confusion and helplessness. If death can’t be avoided, they would like to decide how and when it comes. With them in mind, the California legislature recently approved a bill to permit what supporters refer to as “right to die” and opponents call “assisted suicide.” It awaits action from Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign it. The legislation came less than a year after the death of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old Bay Area resident who moved to Oregon after being diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. Oregon is one of five states that allow physicians to provide such patients with drugs to end...

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George Zimmerman Disgustingly Retweets Picture Of Trayvon Martin’s Dead Body

by ANTIPHON FREEMAN – George Zimmerman just did the unthinkable. In what is probably the most inhumane, despicable act you can think of after killing someone, Zimmerman retweeted a picture of Trayvon Martin’s lifeless body on Twitter Friday. Remember that exclusive interview he had done on Sean Hannity before his trial began where he told the Martin family how sorry he was? He looked unflinchingly into the camera, in an appeal to the nation: “I do wish that there was something, anything that I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And, I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America, that I’m sorry that this happened. I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, it’s polarized and divided America and...

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Everything You Need To Know About The Big Supreme Court Cases The Justices Will Hear This Term

by IAN MILLHISER – Next Monday, the Supreme Court will gavel in its newest term and the justices will take the bench for the first time since last June, when the conservative Roberts Court handed down a string of uncharacteristically liberal decisions. This term, however, liberals will need to swim upstream, with the justices poised to consider a number of issues — unions, voting rights, race, and abortion — where the members of the Court’s conservative bloc have not often show a penchant of heterodoxy. Defunding Unions One of the most contentious political issues faced by state lawmakers are misleadingly named “right to work” laws, which starve unions of funding by preventing them from collecting dues from many of the workers that benefit from the union’s services. At the end of this term, however, five members of the Supreme Court may effectively impose a “right to work” law on every...

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NASA: Water Found on Mars

Scientists suggest liquid water is forming on contemporary Mars, search for signs of life will follow NASA announced on Monday that liquid saltwater exists on the surface of Mars – a discovery that scientists say indicates the “potential” for life on the planet. The historic findings by scientists from NASA and several US universities are based on research on dark, narrow and elongated streaks that appear on the surface of the Red Planet and which are known as “recurring slope lineae” (RSL). Research shows the streaks “appear and grow incrementally in the downslope direction during warm seasons”. NASA scientists suggest the streaks were formed as a result of salty “flows” or “seeps” because they bear a striking resemblance to the shapes and curves that water on Earth makes as it flows along the surface of the ground. The theory that water exists on Mars was first proposed by scientist Lujendra...

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Constitution-Loving Right-Wingers Plan Armed Standoff Over Unconstitutional Jesus Sign (VIDEO)

by JOHN PRAGER – The Oath Keepers, the controversial group of right-wing ammosexuals who orchestrated an armed standoff with federal officials in their effort to protect Welfare Cowboy Cliven Bundy from having to pay up for illegally grazing his cattle on federally-controlled land, have a new mission: protecting a “Jesus” sign that greets visitors to a Texas town. The conservative “militia,” which consists primarily of scared white people who raised eyebrows when they grabbed their trusty weapons and “protected” businesses in Ferguson, Missouri (until police asked them to leave) and who “guarded” military recruitment offices against Muslims (until they were asked to leave), and who attempted to “guard” bigoted, homophobic Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis after she unconstitutionally denied gay couples the right to marry (but were too crazy even for her), love the Constitution –You know, in the same way a rapist “loves” his victim, or Davis “loves” gay people....

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Million-Liter Cyanide Spill in Argentina Highlights Canadian Mining Crimes

by Deirdre Fulton – Highlighting how corporate extractivism and lack of accountability is driving the destruction of Latin American communities, a Canadian mining company has now confirmed that more than one million liters of cyanide solution spilled from the Barrick Gold Veladero mine in San Juan, Argentina this month—making the spill more than four times larger than originally estimated. The Toronto-headquartered mining company initially said it had spilled just 224,000 liters of the toxic liquid, used to leach gold from processed rocks, into the Potrerillos River. On Wednesday, the corporation amended its statement (pdf) and said that in fact 1.072 million liters of a cyanide and water solution were spilled due to a failure in one of the valves in the mine’s pipes. The spill occurred on September 12, “and news quickly spread among local residents through social media, causing them to stockpile bottled water in fear,” the Argentina Independent reported.  Last week, thousands...

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America’s Elders Flex Their Political Muscles On Climate Change

by JEREMY DEATON – Few things strike fear into the hearts of politicians like a disgruntled grandparent entering a voting booth. Seniors wield immense political power in the United States, a fact made plain by their voting record. In the 2014 midterm elections, a year of historically low voter turnout, nearly 59 percent of adults aged 65 and older pulled the lever on Election Day. Just 23 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds bothered to do the same. It’s numbers like these that have made Social Security and Medicare the third rail of American politics. So, what happens when America’s seniors find out what climate change means for their grandkids? Recently, dozens of retirees descended on Capitol Hill to advocate for climate action. Organized by the Conscious Elders Network, the Grandparents Climate Action Day brought together seniors from around the country. Following a day of training, during which renowned NASA...

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The Fight Against Mass Incarceration Goes Global

by Jennifer Turner – This week, the U.N. Human Rights Council will formally adopt the first-ever U.N. report on mass incarceration. In this groundbreaking report, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights brings global attention to the root causes of over incarceration and overcrowding in prisons.  A draft resolution that is expected to be adopted by the council will express concern about the “negative impact of over-incarceration and over-crowding on the enjoyment of human rights.” The ACLU worked with other groups  to bring this issue to the attention of the Human Rights Council. With considerable movement for criminal justice reform right now, it is the perfect time for the U.N. to issue recommendations on how to reduce the prison and jail population worldwide taking into account human rights obligations and commitments. In the report, the high commissioner outlines a human rights-based approach for criminal justice reform that puts the human dignity of the...

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Donald Trump’s Fake ‘Religious Convictions’ Won’t Get Him Votes From Christian Right

by SHANNON BARBER – The last thing most people think of when they think of Donald Trump is that he is overly religious. However, now that he is running for the GOP presidential nomination for the 2016 election, that’s what he wants people to think, nevermind whether it is true or not. However, his obviously fake “deeply held” Christian faith isn’t doing him any favors with the people he is putting the show on for in the first place: the Christian right. It is essential to get votes from the far-right religious zealots in the Republican base to have a shot at winning the primary. Despite being the frontrunner to win the nomination at the moment, though, it seems that Trump just isn’t doing well with those people. This was painfully clear at the recent Values Voter Summit– you know that gathering of bigots from the right that happens every...

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John Boehner May Have Been The Only Thing Standing Between America And Madness

by IAN MILLHISER – Speaker of the House is a terrible job, and John Boehner’s tenure as speaker was particularly terrible. To perform his job — and prevent catastrophic economic consequences for the whole nation — Boehner had to navigate 1) increasingly emboldened hardliners within his own caucus and his party’s electorate, 2) a flawed constitutional system that justifiably left Republicans frustrated, 3) a legislative cartel that forced Boehner to personally shame himself every time he tried to rein in the hardliners. On Friday, Boehner decided that he’d had enough of this tight rope walk; come November, he will no longer be speaker. And there is no guarantee that Boehner’s successor will be able to walk this tightrope without falling to their doom — and potentially bringing the nation’s economy down with them. The Hardliners For four years, Boehner’s been caught between hardline conservatives who insist on pressing the Republican...

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‘Operation Endless War’: US Could Leave 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan After 2016

by Andrea Germanos – Wall Street Journal reports on option put forth by top U.S. commander in Afghanistan The U.S. is reportedly considering a plan to leave as many as 10,000 troops in Afghanistan “beyond the end of 2016,” the Wall Street Journal has reported. The paper reports that the option was one of five that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, offered the Pentagon and NATO officials in Brussels. From the WSJ: The recommendations reflect growing concerns among military officers that current force reduction plans could raise the risk of mission failure in Afghanistan to what one senior military official said would be an “unacceptable level.” The reporting comes just months after President Obama announced that, “based on President Ghani’s request for flexibility,” there would be no troop draw-down in 2015. As Common Dreams reported at the time: Under the guise of a transfer of power,...

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Pharma Company Forced To Backtrack After Suddenly Raising Drug’s Price 20-Fold

by SAM P.K. COLLINS – Amid outrage about sudden price hikes of specialty drugs, a company has reneged on its recent acquisition of a tuberculosis medication, a deal that would have increased the cost of the treatment more than 20-fold. Just three weeks after purchasing the rights to the drug, Rodelis Therapeutics has agreed to return the medication to the nonprofit that previously owned it. The medicine, named Cycloserine, treats a form of tuberculosis that’s resistant to multiple drugs usually used to treat it — in other words, a serious form of the ailment. There are nearly 90 cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis annually in the United States. Last week, Rodelis Therapeutics, the company at the center of the controversy, defended its decision to increase the price of the tuberculosis drug, saying it needed to invest and ensure the drug maintained its effectiveness. But the Purdue Research Foundation, the Indiana nonprofit...

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Why America Must Not Go the Way of Hewlett-Packard: The Case Against Fiorina

by DerekJack30 – People like Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and their antecedents such as Slick Willard “Mitt” Romney and Herman Cain believe that their business records in the private sector were (and are) good qualifications for being leader of the United States, along with its phenomenal cosmic powers, such as the nuclear codes, the negotiating chair, the bully pulpit, judicial appointments, and the host of things aside from the most visible human on the face of the earth. So here’s something radical: the business records need to be examined. Even for what private equity is, at least Romney was competent at Bain as well as belonging there in terms of educational background and intelligence. Donald Trump, even for all his casino bankruptcies, does have casinos, golf courses, merch, aparts, and hotels around the world that people pay top coin for. He’s more of a marketer than a businessman, but he’s one...

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War Hawk Petraeus Comes Out Of Retirement to Recommend Pouring Fuel on Syria’s Fire

by Sarah Lazare – Observers say former general’s prescription would require tens of thousands of troops and lead to full-scale war As the Obama administration’s policies of regime change and armed intervention in Syria flounder, the retired general who oversaw the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added his voice to the hawkish chorus calling for even more aggressive bombing and military action as he testified before lawmakers on Tuesday. Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, David Petraeus called for the U.S. and allies to use their air forces to create a “safe haven” in Syria for “moderate” rebels. Going further, he urged the U.S. to use military force to stop the air-launching of barrel bombs by the Assad regime, while simultaneously increasing attacks on ISIS. “It is frequently said that there is no military solution to Syria or the other conflicts roiling the Middle East,” said Petraeus. “This may...

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Democrats Must Go On Offense

by bobburnett – This summer Republicans have garnered a huge amount of media attention.  That was true at the September 16th Republican presidential debate where they spewed lie after lie.  Now, Democrats must go on offense and counter the deluge of GOP falsehoods and misstatements. Unfortunately, in modern politics, it’s an accepted tactic to repeat a lie over and over until it is accepted as the truth.  By now, the notion that Barack Obama is a Muslim should have been discredited; nonetheless, a recent poll found that 43 percent of Republicans believe this untruth.  On September 17th, Donald Trump had an opportunity to set the record straight when he took questions from his audience and a participant began, “We know our current president is .”  Trump didn’t respond.  Two days later he tweeted, “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about...

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Bill Cosby Loses 2 Honorary Degrees

by JESSICA GOLDSTEIN –   On Thursday, Fordham and Marquette Universities announced they would be stripping Bill Cosby of the honorary degrees they had given to him in 2001 and 2013, respectively. This is the first time either Jesuit institution has revoked an honor of this nature. They join the ever-growing ranks of entities and individuals distancing themselves from the comedian who has been publicly accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women. At Fordham, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind Cosby’s degree, which he had been granted for “the significant role he played in breaking the color barrier in American television and popular culture, and his position as an inspirational figure for millions of African Americans.”The statement from Fordham, sent to all students, goes on to say that “at the time, there was no public awareness of the allegations of rape against him.” (Andrea Constand, the...

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We Must End For-Profit Prisons

by Bernie Sanders – The United States is experiencing a major human tragedy. We have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including Communist China, an authoritarian country four times our size.  The U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet we incarcerate about a quarter of its prisoners — some 2.2 million people. There are many ways that we must go forward to address this tragedy.  One of them is to end the existence of the private for-profit prison industry which now makes millions from the incarceration of Americans.  These private prisons interfere with the administration of justice. And they’re driving inmate populations skyward by corrupting the political process. No one, in my view, should be allowed to profit from putting more people behind bars — whether they’re inmates in jail or immigrants held in detention centers. In fact, I believe that private prisons shouldn’t be allowed to exist at all, which is why...

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New Report ‘Draws the Line’ Between Religious Rights and Equality

by Nadia Prupis – Religious freedom must be protected—but rights groups say it can’t be used as a tool to discriminate Where does religious freedom end and discrimination begin? In its new report, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) analyzes the intersections and divisions of both issues—a new frontier in civil liberties. With input from a coalition of its member organizations, including the ACLU, the report concludes with a series of recommendations to address those dynamics worldwide and find a common ground between individual rights and those in the courtroom. Drawing the Line: Tackling Tensions Between Religious Freedom and Equality (pdf) evaluates legal cases across five continents where faith-based arguments came up against the rights of minority groups. Among the case studies are the impact of religious law on women and LGBTQ people, along with racial profiling of Muslims in the name of national security. Elsewhere, the report discusses...

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‘It Can Be Done’: New Report Details Path to 100% Renewables by 2050

by Jon Queally – Greenpeace says world leaders must not let the fossil fuel industry stand in the way of the necessary—and attainable—transition to a clean and safe energy future With scientists and experts from around the world telling world leaders with increasing urgency ahead of upcoming climate talks in Paris that “It must be done,” a new report says “It can be done.” As the planetary impacts of global warming become more apparent with every passing day, the goal of building and maintaining an energy system run on 100 % renewable power has become one of the driving demands of the world’s environmental and climate justice movements, new research presented by Greenpeace on Monday shows that if the political will can be mustered, there are neither technological nor economic barriers preventing humanity from building a fossil fuel- and nuclear-free world by 2050. “The phase out of fossil fuels and transition...

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Somebody Tell Jeb Bush That The Pope Actually IS A Scientist

by SAMANTHA PAGE – The day Pope Francis addressed Congress in Washington, D.C., Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a Catholic, told reporters in Virginia that the pope’s opinion should not be taken too seriously. The pope accepts the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change, and he has used his U.S. tour to advance the argument that environmentalism is a social justice issue, and that curbing climate change is necessary in order to lift up the poorest of the world’s population. Bush took the directly opposing view. “I oppose the president’s policy as it relates to climate change because it will destroy the ability to re-industrialize the country, to allow for people to get higher wage jobs, for people to rise up,” Bush said, according to the Huffington Post. This is not the first time Bush has rejected the pope’s teachings on climate,...

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With Putin and Obama Set To Meet, Can Dent Be Made in Syrian Suffering?

by Jon Queally – The geopolitics remain fraught, but face-to-face talks between U.S. and Russian leader could spell beginning of progress Could détente between Russia and the United States spell an end to the civil war in Syria? Despite a series of miscommunications over what the actual focus of their discussion may be, both the Kremlin and the White House have now confirmed that a face-to-face meeting between President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin has been tentatively scheduled for Monday, when both leaders will attend the annual gathering of the U.N. general assembly meeting in New York. The possible meeting on Monday recognizes the key role both the U.S. and Russia are playing in regions that have seen deep upheaval in recent years, with ongoing tensions in Ukraine as well as the deepening humanitarian concerns related to the civil war in Syria and the more protracted fight against the Islamic...

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The 168 Year-Old, One-Eyed Racist That Explains The Rise Of Donald Trump

by IAN MILLHISER – If you want to understand Donald Trump, you have to understand the politics of the Jim Crow South. Though Trump’s brand of racist populism breaks from the views expressed by elites in both political parties today, it has deep roots in the United States — and those roots are anchored firmly in one of the most reviled eras in our nation’s history. For a century following the Civil War, the American South was largely a collection of one-party states, as white supremacists rallied behind the political party that wasn’t the party Abraham Lincoln. Yet, while white Democratic politics were almost universally racist during the Jim Crow era, this unity on the issue of race obscured very deep divides on fiscal policy. While down-the-line conservatives like Virginia Sen. Harry Byrd were a force in Southern politics, they stood in contrast to a more bipolar kind of politician...

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One Of These Four People Will Probably Be The Next Speaker Of The House

by JOSH ISRAEL – With Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) set to resign from Congress at the end of next month, his 434 colleagues will have to elect his successor. With Republicans set to hold a 246 to 188 majority, a mostly unified GOP could pick its candidate without any Democratic votes. With 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ruling out a bid for the job, a ThinkProgress review of the most likely members to become the next speaker finds that all of them are likely to be as conservative as Boehner or more so: Kevin McCarthy As the House Republican Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may be the most likely choice. In 2010, McCarthy was chief architect of his party’s “Pledge to America” to cut spending and preserve the Bush-era tax cuts. In 2013, he vowed that step-by-step immigration reform would happen and supported...

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Catholic Rubio Explains Why He Won’t Listen To Pope Francis

by EMILY ATKIN & JUDD LEGUM – On the same day that Pope Francis spoke to thousands of people in Washington, D.C. about the need to fight poverty and climate change, Catholic presidential candidate Marco Rubio went on Fox News to explain why he disagrees with the Holy Father on the specifics of those issues. Appearing on “Special Report,” Sen. Rubio (R-FL) told host Bret Baier that Pope Francis is “infallible” — but only on questions of morality. “On moral issues, he speaks with incredible authority,” Rubio said. “He’s done so consistently on the value of life, on the sanctity of life, on the importance of marriage and on the family. On economic issues, the pope is a person.” Watch it: Rubio then went on to argue that Pope Francis could authoritatively advocate against poverty and climate change, but that he did not have authority on the specific political solutions...

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