California To Allow Government To Seize People’s Guns Starting Jan. 1 Under New Law

by ANTIPHON FREEMAN – A new California law (AB 1014) is set to take effect on January 1, 2016. Specifically, it will allow concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) in situations where an individual is deemed to either “be a threat” or have the “potential for threatening behavior.” After the petition is submitted, a judge will be empowered to make the call, i.e. if there are sufficient enough reasons to warrant a person’s gun and ammo to be taken away from them and the judge deems the person a threat, it will be. It’s a perfectly logical law, actually. It’s about time a legal mechanism was put in place to allow for the seizure of guns in cases where it makes sense to do so. The rest of the country needs to follow California’s lead – it could...

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The Most Undercovered Stories of 2015 (Part One)

by BILLMOYERS.COM STAFF – Around this time every year, BillMoyers.com asks reporters, editors and bloggers which key story they feel the mainstream media failed to cover adequately over the last 12 months. This is the first installment of a two-part series. The social safety net reduced poverty by nearly half Greg Kaufmann One of the greatest hoaxes pulled on the American people is the assertion that “we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” The conservative talking point was first uttered by President Reagan, and it has been pushed incessantly by the political class and the media ever since. But it’s not true. Census data released this year showed that in 2014 the safety net lifted 38 million people out of poverty. Without the safety net, our poverty rate would have been 27 percent instead of 15 percent. In 2012, the safety net literally cut poverty in half. That’s not...

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2015: The Year Police Killings in America Were Counted

by Sarah Lazare – Heightened visibility alone, however, has not effectively ended such slayings or brought justice to victims The Black Lives Matter movement that swept the country in 2015 has—among other accomplishments—forced global media outlets to afford victims of police killings the most basic acknowledgement: a public record of their names and deaths. Such a grim tally was maintained this year by both the Guardian and the Washington Post, following the consistent failure of the U.S. government to keep adequate records. According to the Guardian, 1,126 people were killed by police so far in 2015, averaging more than three a day, with 27 percent of those slain facing mental health issues. The numbers confirm the racial injustices highlighted by nationwide protests. Among black people in America, 6.9 per million were killed by police, compared to 2.86 white people per million. In other words, African-Americans were nearly 2.5 times as likely...

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Costa Rica Achieved 99% Renewable Energy In 2015

by Amanda Froelich – For 285 days this year, Costa Rica powered its grid on 100% renewable sources Buen Trabajo, Costa Rica! In April of this year, the bio-diverse nation announced that it had not used any fossil fuels for electricity. Now, at the end of 2015, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute has revealed in a statement that 285 days this year were fossil fuel-free. Witnessing a small country like Costa Rica source nearly all of its energy from renewable resources gives one hope that soon, all countries will be able to boast similar results. Phys reports that the bulk of the small nation’s power generation comes from hydropower, thanks to a large river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. Geothermal energy, wind, biomass, and solar power are also relied upon by the green nation. According to the institute, Costa Rica was ahead of its renewable energy targets and goal of becoming carbon neutral by...

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5 Crazy Things Ted Cruz Said He Will Do During His First Day As President

by MARCUS AURELIUS – Republican candidate Ted Cruz has laid out five things he will do for his first day in office and his plans border on insanity. Let’s take a look at his “plans.” 1) He wants to rip up the deal with Iran and put the country on path to yet another disastrous war in the Middle East. Cruz said: “We’ve seen six and a half years of President Obama leading from behind. Weakness is provocative, and this Iranian nuclear deal is nothing short of catastrophic. This deal, on its face, will send over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khomeini, making the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism…You’d better believe it. If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.” This fear mongering is typical of Republicans. The reality though is...

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What Everyone Should Know About The Police Killing Of Tamir Rice (2002-2014)

by JUDD LEGUM – Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced that he would not seek criminal charges against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. The decision came after a grand jury, which has been hearing evidence for three months, declined to issue an indictment. Rice’s family and others sharply criticized McGinty’s conduct throughout the grand jury process, arguing that he was manipulating the proceedings to the benefit of the officers. Here are seven facts that everyone should know about the case. 1. The officer fatally shot Tamir Rice less than 2 seconds after exiting his police car. This is according to the official report from the prosecutor: “Officer Loehman discharged his firearm within two seconds of exiting the car. Officer Loehmann fired two shots, one of which hit Tamir in the abdomen and caused him to fall in the area between the...

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Trump: Muslims Knew About San Bernardino Shooters But Didn’t Report Them

by AVIVA SHEN – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump elaborated Monday evening on his recent proposal that Muslim Americans monitor each other and report suspicious activity, claiming Muslims knew about but failed to report the radicalized couple that shot up a government center in San Bernardino, California. According to NPR reporter Asma Khalid, Trump told rally attendees in Nashua, New Hampshire that “there’s something going on” with Muslims and “their culture.” “These people in California, people knew he had bombs all over the floor, people knew it, why didn’t they turn him in?” he asked. Follow Asma Khalid Wanted to make sure I hadn’t misheard Donald Trump’s Muslim comments, so transcribing that section here. Trump has refocused his campaign from anti-Latino bigotry to anti-Muslim bigotry in recent months, proposing a database of Muslims in America and a ban on all Muslims entering the country. Monday’s comments were building off his...

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President Obama’s Number Of Vacation Days Proves That Republicans Are The Real Lazy Ones

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – President Obama has taken less vacation days in SEVEN YEARS than Republicans have given themselves EACH YEAR since taking over Congress in 2010. Once again, President Obama and his family took their annual holiday trip to his home state of Hawaii to celebrate Christmas with relatives, and of course, that means conservatives went berserk about how lazy Obama is and how he isn’t doing his job even though the job travels with the President no matter where he goes. But all it takes is simple math to discover that President Obama’s work ethic is far greater than Republicans and makes them look like the real lazy ones. Republicans may not understand math, but when we run the numbers, it becomes clear that they commit hypocrisy every time they complain about President Obama taking time off from the daily grind of the presidency. Last December,...

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Hillary Clinton is Going to be President, Thank God

by LiberalCanuck – I am not a religious person.  In fact, like many, I am an atheist.  Unlike many, I even reject the concept of “spirituality”; which I feel is just a nonsensical way to dress up atheism in a cloak of religious superstition. However, I find real value in the expression “Thank God”.  It is a way to acknowledge that strange and wonderful confluence of need and coincidence.  The seemingly magical arrival of the right person at the right time, such as Roosevelt in the 1930’s or Churchill in the 1940’s; earns the phrase “Thank God.” It is in view of the challenges, risks, dangers and outright threats to continued human existence that I say Thank God Hillary Clinton is going to be President in 2017. Thank God a person with unprecedented experience in foreign policy is going to be the one directing the response to ISIS, Syria, Putin,...

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3 Things Pennsylvania Prosecutors Have Known About Bill Cosby For Over A Decade

by JUDD LEGUM – After years of allegations, Bill Cosby was finally charged with sexually assault in Pennsylvania on Wednesday. But newly released documents suggest that, at least in this case, the delay was unnecessary. The essential information that underlies the charges against Cosby has been known to prosecutors for more than a decade. Sexual assault allegations are frequently very difficult to prove. Absent physical evidence, it is typically the word of the alleged victim versus the accused. Often, the victim alleges sexual assault and the accused claims the sexual activity was consensual. It makes it very difficult for victims to overcome the presumption of innocence in a criminal trial. Indeed, this was what prosecutor Bruce Castor suggested when he declined to prosecute Cosby for the sexual assault of Amanda Comstand in 2005. From Castor’s release: he District Attorney finds insufficient, credible, and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge...

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Pentagon: Paris Attacks Suspects Killed in Airstrikes

Two ISIL fighters with ties to Paris assault among 10 “leaders” killed in recent air attacks Two suspects in the deadly Paris attacks claimed by ISIL were killed this month by coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq, the US military said on Tuesday. French national Charaffe al-Mouadan, 27, a native of the St Denis suburb of Paris, was among 10 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant leaders killed in air raids targeting its leadership, Colonel Steve Warren said. “Over the past month, we’ve killed 10 ISIL leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks,” Warren said. Mouadan is believed to have fled to Syria in November 2015. It was unclear if he travelled there before or after the November 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others.  How should France deal with...

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Five New Year’s Resolutions for Cognitively-Deprived Conservatives

by Paul Buchheit – Many conservatives shy away from the facts, but a willingness to consider them would be a good way to start 2016. 1. Accept that Poverty Causes Marital Problems, Not the Other Way Around In his condescending way, libertarian Charles Murray wrote: “There remains a core of civic virtue and involvement in working-class America…Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms.” Senator Marco Rubio agrees, calling marriage the “greatest tool” for lifting families out of poverty. Marriage, to such people, spreads magic anti-poverty dust over newly-wedded couples. Here are the facts: Upper-class and lower-class divorce rates rose and fell in similar fashion until the late 1980s, around the time inequality began to rip apart the fabric of American society, and to break down low-income family life. Evidence keeps piling up. Studies show that...

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2015 Year Ender

by Gwynne Dyer – If historical ingratitude were a crime, most of the people writing year-end pieces this month would be in jail. This year was not like 1919, when 3 percent of the world’s population died of influenza, or 1943, when the Second World War was killing a million people each month, or 1983, when we came very close to World War Three (though the public didn’t realise it at the time). For most people, in most places, 2015 has been a pretty good year. Yes, of course, the war in Syria, and millions of refugees, and the downturn in China dragging the world economy down with it, and terrorism here, there and everywhere. And of course, climate change waiting around the corner to drag us all down. But if you are waiting for a year with nothing to worry about, you’ll be waiting a long time. The war in...

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Everything You Need To Know About How Republicans Are Running The Senate, In One Number

by IAN MILLHISER – Eleven. If you want to understand how the Senate has functioned since Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took over as Senate Majority Leader last January, the number 11 offers a clear window into McConnell’s entire philosophy of governance — or perhaps, non-governance. According to the Federal Judicial Center, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed just 11 judges this year. That compares to 40 during President George W. Bush’s seventh year in office, 34 during President Bill Clinton’s seventh year, and 44 at this point in Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Notably, all three of these presidents also spent their seventh year during a period of divided government when the opposite party controlled the Senate, and yet judicial confirmations only slowed to their current crawl under Majority Leader McConnell. One of the judges confirmed in 2015, moreover, Judge Kara Farnandez Stoll, was elevated to a federal appeals court — the remaining ten...

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Obama’s Best Rebuttals Of Republican Bulls**t During His Presidency (VIDEO)

by MARCUS AURELIUS – President Barack Obama has been known for his oratory skills and his “no drama Obama” coolness under pressure. He’s also known for his quick wit and rebuttals when Republicans attack him, and there have been plenty of attacks in the seven years he’s been president. The Democratic president has always handled himself with charisma and a humor that will be missed once he leaves office in a year. Take for example this question posed by Barbara Walters about Sarah Palin. Obama is actually trying to be nice until he’s pushed a little: Walters: “You may have heard that Sarah Palin told me just last week that she could beat you if she ran. Could she?” Obama: “You know I don’t speculate on what’s gonna happen two years from now.” Walters: “Mr. President, you will not tell me that you think you could beat Sarah Palin?” Obama:...

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Congressman Calls For 24/7 Surveillance Of Mosques

by BEENISH AHMED – In an interview with Fox News Rep. Peter King (R-NY) defended a previous call he made for the sort of “24/7 surveillance” of mosques that has already proved ineffective in his home state, because he said, “that’s where the threat is coming from.” When asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace about the outcry such a policy might receive from “civil libertarians and constitutionalists,” King said he was not concerned. “They can cry all they want,” he said. Despite his call to infiltrate mosques, King said that most Muslims in America are “good people.” “e can say that 98 99 percent of Muslims in this country are good people — I’m actually swearing in the first elected Muslim on Long Island to office, she’s a good friend of mine — so this is nothing against Muslims,” he said. “But the fact is that where...

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8 Major Battles Obama And The Left Won In 2015

by OLIVER WILLIS – If you listened to the mainstream media and the conservative right, you could be forgiven for coming away with the impression that President Obama and the left were “losers” in the language of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. But in reality, the President and the left won several major battles over the last year. While they didn’t win every clash, and the big fights are far from over on several key topics – there were several advances that were made. Here are the 8 biggest battles Obama and the left won in 2015: Same-Sex Marriage Legal. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, same-sex marriage is now legal. The fight over same-sex rights has been the biggest civil rights cause of the last thirty years, and the most significant hurdle has now been cleared, just three years after President Obama became the first major...

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Palestinians Defy Israel’s Jerusalem Ban

by Patrick Strickland – Banning Palestinians from East Jerusalem is part of Israeli crackdown on human rights activists, rights groups say Two Palestinians have taken refuge in an International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Jerusalem in defiance of an Israeli order banning them from entering their home town for several months. Samer Abu Eisheh, a 28-year-old freelance journalist from occupied East Jerusalem, recently received orders from the Israeli military informing him that he was banned from Jerusalem for five months. Another Jerusalemite, 32-year-old Saleh Abu Sbeih, was handed a six-month ban.  Al Jazeera World – Jerusalem: Dividing al-Aqsa “I don’t know why they are giving me a military order,” Abu Eisheh said, speaking to Al Jazeera by telephone from inside the ICRC office. “I am a media man.” Abu Eisheh said he expected Israeli forces to arrest him nonetheless. Asked why he and Abu Sbeih chose the ICRC...

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Edward Clarkin Is The Most Important Man In Journalism Today — And He’s Probably Not A Real Person

by JUDD LEGUM – A week ago, no one had ever heard of Edward Clarkin. Today he has inspired multiple parody Twitter accounts, prompted one journalist to quit his job after 22 years and has been the subject of intense speculation in elite media circles. This is how Edward Clarkin went from an unknown to the center of the world of journalism. Who Is Edward Clarkin? Edward Clarkin holds himself out to be a reporter for the New Britain Herald, a small paper in Connecticut with a circulation of about 7500. Prior to this month, Clarkin’s only articles for the New Britain Herald were four effusive restaurant reviews published in 2011. “If A Taste of Poland is anything like Warsaw or Krakow, I’m buying an airplane ticket tomorrow,” Clarkin wrote. Then, on December 1, Clarkin published a nearly 2,000 word article on the performance of business courts, which specialize in...

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Former KKK Leader Says Donald Trump’s Rhetoric Might Be A Little Too Radical

by KATIE VALENTINE – Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke spoke candidly about Donald Trump recently, saying the Republican presidential candidate speaks “a lot more radically” than he does. Duke, who is also a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, made the comments in an interview on December 17. As Buzzfeed reports, the interview is labeled “Fox Interview,” but it’s not clear by watching it who the interviewer is, or whether she works for Fox. “As far as what I see, according to the candidates that are out there now, Republicans and Democrats, I think he’s head and shoulders right now above the rest,” Duke said of Trump in the interview. “I don’t agree with everything he says, he speaks a little more, actually he speaks a little more, a lot more radically than I talk. And I think that’s a positive and negative.” Trump has...

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