Exactly Which Jobs is The Donald Going to ‘Bring Back From China and Mexico’???

by databob – Is anyone else just plain sick and tired of listening to our wanna-be Dear Leader prattle on about…. well, just about anything? Yeah, I thought so. High up on his list of ‘I’m gonna’s’ is that he — and he alone — is going to bring jobs back from Mexico and China. Now, I’m all in favor of jobs, and I’m sure you are too, and this looks pretty good on the surface. Like everything else from the tRump, this claim is totally free of detailed policy or process, and of course the media has been either uninterested in finding out how he’s going to do this, or unable to pin him down. So what the hell is he talking about, and is it even possible? First, let’s look at overall, manufacturing and IT average wages in 3 countries:* AVERAGE MONTHLY WAGE COUNTRY AVG WAGE AVG MFG WAGE AVG IT...

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Transcending the Clinton-Sanders Debate: On the Middle East and US Foreign Policy

by Ramzy Baroud – As US liberals and some leftists are pulling up their sleeves in anticipation of a prolonged battle for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination, the tussle becomes particularly ugly whenever the candidates’ foreign policy agendas are evoked. Of the two main contenders, Hilary Clinton is the obvious target. She is an interventionist, uncompromisingly, and her term as Secretary of State (2009-2013) is a testament to her role in sustaining the country’s foreign policy agenda under George W. Bush (as a Senator, she had voted for the Iraq war in 2002) and advocating regime change in her own right. Her aggressive foreign policy hit rock bottom in her infamous statement upon learning of the news that Libyan leader, Muammer Gaddafi, was captured and killed in a most savage way. “We came; we saw; he died,” Clinton rejoiced during a TV interview, once the news of Gaddafi’s grisly murder was announced on...

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Does Anybody Believe the FBI Isn’t Out to Defeat Encryption?

by Scott Shackford – The talking points insist this Apple case is an isolated incident. Evidence suggests otherwise FBI Director James Comey starts his defense of their effort to force Apple to help them break into the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist and killer Syed Farook with a sentence that is that is extremely hard to take seriously: “The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message.” That’s from a Sunday contribution on the Lawfare blog, focusing on the same talking points we’ve been hearing from the feds since a judge last week ordered Apple to take some actions that would make it easier for the FBI to brute force the passcode into Farook’s phone. Comey insists that what the FBI is asking for is very narrow and is not about breaking encryption or creating a “master key” to force back doors into...

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Donald Trump Repeatedly Refuses to Disavow Support From Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke

by Peter Suderman – Over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump has managed to attracted openly racist supporters, including, most recently, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) grand wizard who declared last week that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage.” So how does Trump feel about Duke’s endorsement? Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether he would disavow Duke’s endorsement and the KKK, the GOP repeatedly declined to do, saying, instead, that he just didn’t know much about David Duke. Here’s what Trump said: I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know — did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to...

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Texas Academics Told to Avoid ‘Sensitive Topics’ to Prevent Angering Armed Students

by Peter Van Buren – Here’s another swanky benefit of our out-of-control gun culture: university professors should be aware that their students might shoot them. The Texas state legislature voted last year to allow students to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dorms, just about anywhere on campus, a practice with roots to when Socrates taught Aristotle. If students packing seems like a bad idea to you, imagine how you’d feel if you were a professor. There’s nothing quite like the free exchange of ideas when everyone is armed in math class. How about armed Texans in classes that teach Arabic, or Islamic Studies, or Hebrew, or evolution? Some good times ahead. The academic chilling effect seems pretty obvious. One wonders how many brilliant teachers will move to campuses in less-armed states, and how many researchers will avoid Texas for creating an academic environment incompatible with academics. It is possible that overall...

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On This Day, Feb 29, 1940 – McDaniel Wins Oscar

On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African-American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar. Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1895, McDaniel demonstrated her talents as a singer and actress while growing up in Denver, Colorado. She left school while a teenager to become a performer in several traveling minstrel groups and in 1924 became one of the first African-American women to sing on U.S. radio....

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What’s Really at Stake in the Apple Encryption Debate

by Julia Angwin – The government has never been allowed to create a “backdoor” to encrypted devices. Now, it’s trying to force Apple to build one The FBI’s much-discussed request to Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most people believe Apple should comply. But the FBI is demanding a lot more than the data on a single phone. It has obtained a court order requiring Apple to build custom surveillance software for the FBI – which computer security expert Dan Guido cleverly dubs an FBiOS. Once that software exists, it is inevitable that other law enforcement agencies will approach Apple seeking to get it to use the FBiOS to unlock iPhones in other investigations. Already, Apple says it has received U.S. court orders,...

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Corporate Feeding Frenzy Begins As Canada Prepares to Legalize Marijuana

by Th0rn – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were recently elected in part on the promise to legalize marijuana — not just medical marijuana but marijuana for recreational use. As the day when they plan to introduce the relevant legislation draws near, both corporations and governments are smelling not just smoke in the air, but the sweet, sweet scent of huge amounts of money to be made: Canada’s biggest drugstore chain is exploring the possibility of getting into medical-marijuana sales in a move that would dramatically alter the landscape of the new industry, bringing one of the country’s best-known retailers into the business if the strategy went ahead. Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has held multiple meetings and phone conversations with licensed medical-marijuana producers across Canada over the past year about carrying a variety of brands in their drugstores, according to people involved in those conversations. The chain, which has more...

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WOW! What a Powerful Speech by Hillary (VIDEO)

by Scandalous One – There was something different about Hillary’s speech tonight. It was powerful, it was riveting, it spoke to the nation’s conscience. I am hardly moved to tears by a politician, but Hillary had me tearing up at points throughout her speech — especially in the closing moments when she recalled the names of the mothers of the young black men who lost their lives due to racial injustice in America. This is the Hillary that critics don’t want to acknowledge. But this is the Hillary that core supporters always knew existed. A woman with strong conviction, who understands the pain of some of the most vulnerable in society. Hillary has found her voice and America is listening.   Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

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Snyder’s Advisers Knew Flint Water Was Toxic

by Nika Knight – New emails reveal that top advisers knew about problems with Flint water as far back as 2014, reinvigorating calls that ‘the Governor must resign’ Reigniting calls for Rick Snyder’s resignation, emails released Friday reveal that advisers to the Michigan governor knew that Flint’s water was toxic as far back as October 2014. “My Mom is a City resident. Nice to know she’s drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform,” the governor’s chief legal counsel said in an email sent just three weeks before the Republican governor’s re-election, according to the Detroit Free Press. After examining over 500 emails released by the governor’s office, the Detroit News reported that “wo top advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder urged switching Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2014, after General Motors Co. said the city’s heavily chlorinated river water was rusting engine parts.” “There’s no reasonable person who...

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder Comes Out In Favor Of Marijuana Rescheduling

by AARON RUPAR – In a newly published PBS “Frontline” interview, former Attorney General Eric Holder comes out in support of reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I substance — a classification reserved for dangerous drugs that have no medical use — into a less restrictive category. “I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled,” Holder says. “You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate.” That statement goes a bit further than Holder’s comments on marijuana when he was attorney general. In September 2014, he said rescheduling the drug is “something that I think we need to ask ourselves, and use science as the basis for making that determination.” But the current scheduling scheme as specified by the Controlled Substances Act is far from scientific. Marijuana falls under Schedule I, while highly addictive and potent drugs such as cocaine, opium poppy,...

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Donald Trump Says He “Can’t” Release His Tax Returns. But It Looks More Like He Just Won’t.

by Peter Suderman – Donald Trump says he “can’t” release his tax returns because he’s being audited. But there’s not actually any legal restriction on doing so. Trump has come under pressure recently to release his personal tax data after former GOP nominee Mitt Romney began suggesting that there might be a “bombshell” lurking in the information, and that Trump might have something to hide. That’s pretty ironic, given that questions about Romney’s tax returns dogged him throughout the 2012 presidential election, especially after Harry Reid said he’d heard from an unnamed source that Romney didn’t pay any taxes at all. This, of course, turned out not to be true. What Romney is doing to Trump, in other words, looks a lot like what Reid did to Romney. But Romney has forced Trump to respond. At last night’s GOP debate, Trump was asked about whether he’d release his returns. Trump said...

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On This Day, Feb. 28, 1993 – The Waco, Texas Siege Begins

1993 – U.S. Federal agents raided the compound of an armed religious cult in Waco, TX. David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, thought he was an angel and an agent of God. The government thought he was in possession of illegal firearms and explosives, as well as a criminal who physically and sexually abused several children he fathered with his followers. On February 28th, 1993, about 70 highly militarized agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) approached Mount Carmel, the compound of a controversial Branch Davidian religious group near Waco. When cult leader David Koresh came to the front door on the 28th of February, shots were fired — to this day, no one is sure who fired first. Koresh was hit in his side, and his father-in-law was mortally wounded. Overhead, helicopters began to spray the compound with return fire...

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Trump May Have To Take A Break From Campaigning To Handle Fraud Case Against Trump University

by CASEY QUINLAN – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump might have to take a break from the campaign trail to deal with a civil case alleging that Trump University committed fraud against its students. The case may require Donald Trump’s presence as a witness this spring, though a trial date has not yet been scheduled, Yahoo Politics first reported. If the trial happens in May, it could gum up Trump’s schedule, Yahoo explained — that’s the same month that primaries are held in Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and there are many important primary dates in early June. The “university,” which first began operating in 2005 and no longer exists, was not accredited and did not have a campus. It also did not give students degrees. Instead, students went to the website and bought expensive CDs and DVDs; some of them paid as much as $35,000 for their Trump University education. There...

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An Historic Attempt To Kill Roe v. Wade May Backfire Spectacularly On The Anti-Choice Right

by IAN MILLHISER – It was supposed to be an epic battle over the fate of Roe v. Wade. Next week, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a challenge to Texas’s ambitious anti-abortion law HB2. If this law is upheld — a very real possibility in a conservative Supreme Court — Roe v. Wade would have most likely remained alive in name only. States would gain sweeping new power to shut down abortion clinics, so long as they dressed up the laws they enacted to end access to abortion as health regulations. Except that opponents of abortion no longer have the fifth vote they need to gut Roe. Justice Antonin Scalia’s death means that Roe shall live at least another year. Whether it survives past next year, however, could very well be decided by whoever gets to fill Scalia’s seat. The Masterminds HB2 is...

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Telecom Company Gets The F*ck Out Of Georgia After Lawmakers Legalize Discrimination

by John Prager – Georgia lawmakers’ recent decision to “protect the First amendment” by legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination has cost numerous citizens their jobs as a telecom company responded to the news by getting the f*ck out of Dodge. The New Civil Rights Movement reports that 373K, Inc. announced “it’s time to relocate” after the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, HB 757. “We are very saddened by the Georgia Senate which passed #HB757 also known as #FADA,” the company announced via Twitter. The sweeping legislation would protect anyone who chooses to discriminate against the LGBT community, interracial couples, single mothers, divorced individuals, people having sex outside of marriage, and more. One Georgia lawmaker even proudly admitted the legislation would protect the Ku Klux Klan’s agenda. In a letter prior to the bill’s passage, Americans United for Separation of Church and state Legislative Director Maggie Garrett urged lawmakers to oppose the horrific...

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The Most Disappointing Thing About Chris Christie’s Endorsement Of Donald Trump

by AARON RUPAR – In a somewhat surprising development, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) endorsed Donald Trump for president on Friday. “There is no one who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world, than Donald Trump,” Christie said at a news conference. “He is, looking at the five people on that stage last night , the clear standout, and the person who will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again.” About five years ago, Christie made news for vehemently defending his decision to appoint a Muslim judge, Sohail Mohammed, to a state bench. Mohammed defended Muslims who were wrongly accused in the wake of the September 11 attacks, which some conservatives suggested made him an unqualified candidate. Christie made clear he was “disgusted” by the “ignorance...

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Republicans Rebuked for Utter ‘Perversion of Constitutional Duties’

by Andrea Germanos – Scores of organizations representing a wide range of interests have denounced Republican obstructionism on a Supreme Court nominee, writing to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican members on Friday that its “unprecedented and destructive” decision represents “a dereliction of constitutional duty.” The letter (pdf) to committee chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and the other GOP members follows the body’s letter earlier this week declaring, “This committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017,” and stating that doing so was executing their “constitutional authority.” But such a claim, the 82 groups, which include Common Cause, Defenders of Wildlife, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the NAACP, write, “is a clear perversion of your constitutional duties as understood by almost every scholarly authority on the topic and by most Americans.” Their...

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On This Day, Feb 27, 1973,Lakota activists sieze Wounded Knee

1801 – The city of Washington, DC, was placed under congressional jurisdiction.  1827 – New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras celebration.  1861 – In Warsaw, Russian troops fired on a crowd protesting Russian rule over Poland. Five protesting marchers were killed in the incident.  1896 – The Charlotte Observer published a picture of an X-ray photograph made by Dr. H.L. Smith. The photograph showed a perfect picture of all the bones of a hand and a bullet that Smith had placed between the third and fourth fingers in the palm.  1900 – In South Africa, the British received an unconditional surrender from Boer Gen. Piet Cronje at Paardeberg.  1922 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote.  1933 – The Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building in Berlin, was set afire. The Nazis accused Communist for the fire.  1939 – The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed sit-down strikes. ...

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A Several Source Roundup of the GOP Debate

by GEORGIA LOGOTHETIS – We begin the GOP’s 10th debate roundup with Philip Elliott and Zeke Miller’s analysis at TIME on last night’s Republican debate brawl: Donald Trump’s history in business and politics is pocked with bankruptcies and fraud allegations, illegal immigrants on his payroll and donations to Democrats from his checkbooks. All were used against him during Thursday night’s debate, but it’s entirely possible none of it mattered. Trump has comfortable leads in the polls heading toward Super Tuesday, just five days away, and his campaign so far has weathered all kinds of bad news. After months of leading the pack, Trump seems immune to those who would challenge him on positions and statements that, for anyone else, should have proved disqualifying. It made for a remarkable night of television, but might once again prove that the typical rules of politics do no matter in a year when a former...

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Utah Is One Step Closer To Ending Death Penalty

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Nearly one year after Utah reauthorized the use of firing squads to execute death row inmates, Republicans lawmakers there are now trying to end the death penalty altogether. On Tuesday night, a Republican-led Senate committee passed a bill to take capital punishment off the table for people convicted for homicide. The Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee passed S.B. 189, which was sponsored by Sen. Stephen Urquhart (R), by a vote of 5-2. Three Republicans and two Democrats supported the bill. According to Urquhart, who previously voted in favor of reinstating the firing squad, death penalty cases are riddled with errors, and wrongful convictions happen all of the time. The appeals process also comes with a high price tag for the state. “Government shouldn’t be in the business of killing. It’s not our place. It’s wrong for us to assume that because we...

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Noooo, Joe Biden Didn’t Say That The Senate Should Block Supreme Court Nominees During An Election Year

by IGOR VOLSKY – On Monday, C-SPAN posted a two-minute clip of then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) urging President George H.W. Bush not to nominate a Supreme Court Justice during the 1992 election, should a seat on the court become vacant. Biden, then the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged Bush “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” noting that if he did, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.” Conservatives quickly pounced on the clip and used it as evidence to argue that Congressional Republicans are following long-standing precedent in refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia until a new president takes the oath in January of 2017. But Biden’s full speech undermines their claim. Rather than urging his colleagues to deny Bush’s...

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Jewish Rabbi Battles Islamophobia in the US

by Ryan Rifai – Jonah Pesner, one of the most influential rabbis in US, talks about “religious duty” to combat anti-Muslim hate crimes The West has seen an increase in Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims following attacks in Europe and the US that have been blamed on supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But, in response, some non-Muslim political and religious leaders have stepped up efforts to tackle discriminatory treatment and violence. In a recent example, Bernie Sanders, a popular US presidential candidate who is Jewish, launched a campaign known as #AmericaTogether, in which he posted a tweet in Arabic saying: “America becomes a greater nation when we stand together and say no to racism, hatred and bigotry.”    ✔‎@BernieSanders أمريكا يصبح أحسن وطن عندما نحن نقف معاً ونقول لا الى العنصرية والكراهية والتعصب الأعمى #AmericaTogether 2:28 PM – 19 Feb 2016 Jonah Dov Pesner, the director...

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No Comfort In Trump Foreign Policy

by Sheldon Richman – Trump’s shameful wimping out under firm questioning about Iraq may reflect troubles in the polls Alas, Donald Trump has backed off from his charge that the Bush administration lied the country into war against Iraq, telling a CNN town-hall broadcast Thursday night that he doesn’t know why Bush invaded. “I’m not talking about lying. I’m not talking about not lying,” he said. “No one knows why we went into Iraq.” But Trump restated the obvious: that Saddam Hussein and Iraq did not fly planes into the World Trade Center. And he again, to his credit, said the war “may have been the worst decision any president has made in the history of this country…. Whether lied or not, it was a horrible decision.” (See video.) Trump’s shameful wimping out under firm questioning from a voter may reflect troubles in the polls—he was campaigning in South...

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Meet The Conservatives Who Would Leave Trump’s Party

by Bill Scher – A Donald Trump nomination means several elements of the Republican Party will sit out the election, vote third-party or even vote Democrat. The seams of the GOP coalition are tearing apart in front of our eyes. After Donald Trump’s South Carolina victory, conservative movement leader Erick Erickson declared he would never vote for Trump even in November. “I have become convinced that Donald Trump’s pro-life conversion is a conversion of convenience. Life is the foremost cause in how I vote. Therefore I will not be voting for Donald Trump at all. Ever.” The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney goes deep on the abortion question, concluding, “Conscience forbids us to cross some lines … If Trump is the nominee, pro-lifers will have no candidate.” The following day, top Republican political consultant Rick Wilson made a similar declaration: “I will never vote for Donald Trump because he’s a pro-gun control,...

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After Court Ruling Louisiana Left With Just One Abortion Clinic

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – Women living in Louisiana will now have just one abortion clinic available to them in the entire state, thanks to a U.S. appeals court decision handed down on Wednesday evening. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is allowing Louisiana to implement a harsh law that was first approved in 2014 and that has been tied up in court proceedings since then. Under that law, clinics are required to enter into business relationships — called “admitting privileges” — with hospitals within a 30 mile radius. Four of the state’s five abortion clinics say they will not be able to meet that standard and will therefore be forced to close. Reproductive rights proponents say these requirements fit into what’s known as the “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,” or TRAP, which refers to a nationwide strategy to limit access to reproductive health care by imposing burdensome...

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On This Day, Feb. 26, 1993 – 1,000 Injured as Bomb Rocks World Trade Center

1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. The World Trade Center bombing plot began in the months before September 1, 1992, when two of the main conspirators, Ahmad Ajaj and Ramzi Yousef, arrived in the United States from Pakistan. Upon detecting his poorly falsified Swedish passport, customs agents detained Ajaj and confiscated his suitcase, which contained bombing manuals and anti-American propaganda. Yousef, traveling on an Iraqi passport bearing the name Abdel Basit Mahmoud, requested political asylum. He was arrested for entering the United States without a visa but was released on his own recognizance and allowed into the country. While Ajaj waited in jail, Yousef allegedly began to implement a plan that aimed at toppling the twin towers of the World Trade Center. On October 1 he...

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Maybe It IS a Single-Issue Election

by Michael Winship – Maybe it’s that 50,000-year-old, Neanderthal DNA scientists say a lot of us possess, but this feels like the most brutal, vicious and mendacious political year since the days when politicians traded jugs of corn whiskey for votes, fought duels, and flagellated opponents to near death with canes. In last Saturday night’s Republican debate, the words “lie,” “lying” and “liar” were fired off by the candidates against each other like volleys in a paintball tournament. “Until the door is slammed shut on money in politics and until the banks are pummeled into line, most of our other problems aren’t going away any time soon.” On the other hand, statements that were, in fact, true were greeted with booing. Booing. In one of his rare, stopped-watch-is-right-twice-a-day moments, Donald Trump said, “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right? George Bush made a mistake, we can...

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‘Christian’ Website Offers Tips On ‘How To Help Women Learn Their Place’

by John Prager – Our society has a problem. No, we’re not talking about poverty, inequality, racism, a possible Trump presidency, or anything like that. According to Christian website Biblical Gender Roles, women just don’t know their place anymore. This website regularly gives Christians helpful information, like that marital rape doesn’t exist because it’s impossible to rape a woman, and a helpful guide on how to punish a woman if she refuses to submit sexually to her husband whenever he wishes. Now, the anonymous author of the popular Christian marital blog wants you to know “how to help women learn their place.” In his latest example of patriarchial Christofascist ramblings, the author complains that “Women do not know or accept their place in God’s creation anymore.” While most would view a society approaching gender equality as a positive thing, “BGR” — like Arizona pastor Stephen Anderson — yearns for a time...

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The War Against Planned Parenthood Is Advancing

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – Despite a complete lack of evidence that Planned Parenthood is breaking any laws, Republican lawmakers are pressing ahead with their relentless crusade against the national women’s health organization. A series of heavily edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of selling aborted baby parts continues to influence the national debate, even though it’s become clear those claims aren’t based in fact. Last month, a Houston grand jury concluded that Planned Parenthood hasn’t done anything wrong. Every state-level investigation into the group has come up empty. But that’s made no difference to the GOP politicians who are insistent on using this discredited information to attack Planned Parenthood. It’s working. In several states this week, Republican leaders successfully advanced their efforts to undermine the organization’s work. Ohio Earlier this month, the Ohio legislature approved a bill to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and Gov. John Kasich (R) announced that he’s...

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How Bernie Sanders Lost Me … and Hillary Clinton Won Me Over

by Laura Clawson – The first presidential election I voted in was in 1996. I voted for a third-party candidate—I don’t remember more than that it was the one with “socialist” in the party name—because after welfare reform, I was not voting for Bill Clinton. The first time I voted for a Democrat in a presidential election was John Kerry in 2004—I had voted against him in the 2002 Massachusetts Senate election, voting for write-in candidate Randall Forsberg in protest over Iraq. I’m not a natural Hillary Clinton supporter, is what I’m saying. When she looked like the only meaningful Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, I was fine with that, committed to a Democratic win but also committed to the work of pushing from her left whenever and wherever possible. When Bernie Sanders got into the race, I was pleased to be able to support a candidate on Clinton’s left....

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Hurdles Ahead as Obama Bids to Shut Guantanamo Prison

by Jenifer Fenton – The US president acknowledges tough task but says he is committed to closing detention facility despite opposition US President Barack Obama is once again promising to fulfill his years-late pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, saying he is “very clear-eyed about the hurdles” involved. The politics are tough, Obama acknowledged on Tuesday as he presented his proposal. “If it were easy, it would have happened years ago,” he added. The plan to “close Guantanamo” – which the Department of Defence calls a “national security imperative” – has four main points.  Witness – Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr First, men who are eligible to be released – 35 to date – are expected to be transferred out in the coming months. Second, the parole style hearings will continue for prisoners who have not been cleared but who have also not been charged with a crime. Third, the...

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Obama Pens Letter Explaining Exactly Why He’s Doing His Job When The GOP Isn’t

by Sarah – After the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, many have been left wondering who will fill his staunchly conservative shoes. Republicans have made it their mission to prevent any person President Obama appoints from getting anywhere near the Supreme Court, even going so far as to say they won’t remotely consider anyone until a new president is in office. However, President Obama knows that it’s his constitutional responsibility to appoint someone into the role, and it’s a responsibility he takes very seriously. In a post to the prominent SCOTUSblog, President Obama lays down why he’s still going forward and appointing someone, why he’ll be appointing them, the qualities he’s looking for in a Justice, and expects Republicans to follow through with their constitutional duty as well. He writes: “The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. It’s a duty that...

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On This Day, Feb. 25, 1836 – Samuel Colt Patents the Revolver

1836 – Connecticut-born gun manufacturer Samuel Colt (1814-62) received a U.S. patent for a revolver mechanism that enabled a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading. Colt’s revolver mechanism is considered by some to be more innovation than invention because it improved upon a revolving flintlock (a firing mechanism used in muskets and rifles) already patented by Boston inventor Elisha Collier (1788-1856). The British patent for Colt’s mechanism was acquired in October 1835, and on February 25, 1836, the American inventor received U.S. Patent No. 138 (later 9430X) for his revolving-cylinder pistol. The enhancements listed in this patent include greater “facility in loading,” changes in “the weight and location of the cylinder, which give steadiness to the hand,” and “the great rapidity in the succession of discharges.” Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company began making the Paterson pistol in 1836 at its Paterson, New Jersey, factory using funds advanced...

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Donald Trump ‘Loves The Poorly Educated’ For Handing Him Victory In Nevada (VIDEO)

by Kerry-Anne – Donald Trump moved ever closer to securing the Republican nomination for President of the United States this week with victory in the Nevada caucus. There’s no way around it – Trump thrashed his opponents in Nevada. He won a massive 45.9% of the vote, knocking Marco Rubio into 2nd place with just 23.9%, and Cruz in 3rd on 21.4%. It appears that the Trump campaign is unassailable at this point, although a week is a long time in U.S. politics. Perhaps the darkest moment of the night was when Trump actually said these words in his victory speech: “We won with poorly educated! I love the poorly educated!” There were whopping cheers and applause for this comment. Which seemingly bore zero irony. He continued: “We’re the smartest people. We’re the most loyal people.” First things first: Donald Trump is not poorly educated. He attended the Kew Forest School...

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Post Nevada The Rubio Surge Continues

by UncommonSense – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) flew to Michigan with the wind at his back Tuesday night, continuing his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination following a commanding second-place victory in the Nevada Republican Party Caucuses. Donald Trump claimed a third straight commanding victory in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. A tight race for second between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz offered little evidence that Republicans were ready to coalesce around one strong alternative to the businessman billionaire. Rubio’s win in Nevada continued a streak that began with a third-place triumph in the Iowa Caucuses, a fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire Primary and a second-place win in the South Carolina Primary. The results in Nevada confirm Rubio’s status as the prohibitive favorite for the GOP nomination. Rubio, who has emerged as the Republican establishment’s favorite to derail Trump’s progress, can take some solace in finishing second. But that also has to be...

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Elijah Cummings Made Sure The GOP Is Well Aware They’re Hypocritical A**holes Regarding Flint

by Sarah – There seems to be a definite double standard when it comes to how Republicans in Congress want to go about investigating terrible governors. When it came to investigating former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D), Republicans like Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) were fast and furious with their requests to obtain the information they wanted in regards to a scandal surrounding Oregon’s health insurance exchange. However, when it comes to going after Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan over the horrendous Flint water crisis, those same Republicans so adamant at going after a Democratic governor, failed to send requests to investigate Flint. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is not about to let them get away with this hypocrisy whatsoever. In a letter sent by Cummings to Chaffetz, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Cummings points out the clear double-standard of the committee going after Kitzhaber,...

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Republican Senator Breaks With His Party On Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

by IAN MILLHISER – Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a first-term senator facing a tough reelection fight in the blue state of Illinois, broke with his party leadership’s hardline opposition to any nominee President Obama chooses to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In a brief op-ed published by the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday, Kirk writes that he recognizes “the right of the president, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), by contrast, said almost immediately after news of Scalia’s death broke that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” McConnell’s statement has been echoed, at times word for word, by other Republican leaders. The real question regarding Kirk, however,...

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I Am Kalief Browder

by Branden Miles – Every young black kid gets “the talk” about racial profiling The day before I started high school, my father took me up to the park around the corner from our house to have “the talk.” It’s the talk black families had when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida. It’s the talk we had when Michael Brown was shot and killed in Missouri. It’s the talk we had when Tamir Rice was shot and killed in Ohio. And it’s the talk we had when Sandra Bland was found dead in a jail cell following a traffic stop in Texas. If you’re a black teen, it’s a talk about how to survive. My dad made sure I understood that I was going to be profiled — even put in danger of harm or arrest — simply because of the color of my skin. I didn’t have to wait long...

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Incumbent Lessons: What Obama’s Presidency Can Teach Sander’s Revolution

by Peter Bloom – Bernie Sander’s call for political revolution is taking much of the country by storm. Once a fringe candidate, he has surged in the polls to legitimately challenging frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination with a resounding win in New Hampshire. More than just taking on Republicans or Centrist Democrats, Sanders is trying to build a popular movement to transform the US political and economic system. This campaign is reminiscent of Barack Obama’s insurgent challenge to the establishment pick of Hillary Clinton in 2008. Despite proclaiming the “audacity of hope,” he has governed as President more from the political center. Not surprisingly, Clinton has sought to build a “firewall” against Sanders by embracing the President. However, an important part of his historical legacy may be in how his failures helped to fuel and guide “Sander’s revolution.” While not officially endorsing a candidate, Obama’s recent remarks are revealing...

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Bolstering Apple Argument, DOJ Wants Data from Dozen Other Phones

by Deirdre Fulton – Suggesting slipper slope already exists, news reports show outcome of Apple-FBI battle could have wide implications for privacy and encryption Contradicting FBI claims that the U.S. government is focused only on a single phone in the landmark privacy case pitting Apple against federal law enforcement, news outlets are reporting Tuesday that the Justice Department is pursuing court orders to force the tech company to help investigators extract data from iPhones in about a dozen undisclosed cases around the country. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news Tuesday morning, citing “people familiar with the matter.” According to the paper: The other phones are at issue in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, these...

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‘No Hearing, No Vote’: GOP Vows Obstruction on Supreme Court Pick

by Deirdre Fulton – Critics call move ‘a shameful new low for a majority that has time and time again put party before country’ Drawing outrage from many sides, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee decided in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday afternoon to deny hearings or a vote on a Supreme Court nominee in 2016. “This committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017,” committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and the other 10 Republican members said in a letter (pdf) Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “That’s the consensus view…No hearing, no vote,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters as he left the meeting that took place in McConnell’s office. Graham told CNN separately “he would not even meet with any nominee, should he or she make courtesy calls” on Capitol Hill. The death of Justice...

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On This Day, Feb. 24, 1868 – House Impeaches President Andrew Johnson

1868 – The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson due to his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The final blow came after the passage of the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. This law made it impossible for the president to dismiss important government officials without the permission of the Senate. In a move than infuriated Congressmen, Johnson defied the act. The president had long wanted to dismiss the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton was the only member of Johnson’s cabinet who supported the Radical Republicans’ program for reconstruction. On August 12, Johnson suspended Stanton. In his place, Johnson appointed the popular General Ulysses S. Grant Secretary of War. By doing so, Johnson hoped to challenge the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act. When Congress reconvened, they overruled Stanton’s suspension, and Grant resigned his position. The event heightened Grant’s popularity and depressed...

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Trump Explodes At Smiling Protester: ‘I’d Like To Punch Him In The Face’ (VIDEO)

by Shannon Argueta – A few weeks ago, Rachel Maddow did a comparison of Donald Trump and notorious racist George Wallace on her show. One of the points she made about the 2016 candidate and the 1968 candidate is how violent they both are. Like George Wallace, Trump is able to get his crowds riled up into such a frenzy that they start attacking protesters. At the beginning of his campaign, The Donald would do it by screeching “GET HIM OUTTA HERE,” but during a recent event, he actually said he’d like to punch a protester in the face. During a campaign event in Nevada on Monday night, Trump flipped out after he was interrupted by some hecklers and said: “You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches — we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. In the old days, you know what they used to do...

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What A Trump Supreme Court Would Look Like

by IAN MILLHISER – When Republicans say, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did shortly after news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death broke, that the vacancy on the Supreme Court “should not be filled until we have a new President,” they are effectively saying that we are better off having Donald Trump select the next justice than Barack Obama. It’s unlikely, to say the least, that McConnell’s real concern is that he would rather that Democrats Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders fill the seat, and Donald Trump is the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination. So let’s say that Trump wins, and that Republicans carry out McConnell’s threat to confirm no one, no matter who that person may be. As it turns out, Trump has painted a very vivid picture of what sort of justices he would appoint if given then chance to do so — and it looks...

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Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and the Money

by DEAN BAKER – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made the corrupting role of money in politics a centerpiece of his campaign. He has argued that because campaign contributions by the rich pay for political campaigns, they are able to control the political process. This gives us a political system that is very effective at serving Wall Street and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. It is much less effective at serving the needs of ordinary people. This has created an interesting dynamic in the race for the Democratic nomination. Secretary Hillary Clinton has flipped Sanders’ claim around and challenged him to show where she has reversed a position to serve the moneyed interests. This might be a useful campaign tactic, but it misrepresents the way in which money affects campaigns. Undoubtedly there are cases where an individual or industry group promises a large campaign contribution in exchange for a politician’s support...

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Political Coverage 2016: Contempt on the Campaign Trail

by NEAL GABLER – The media’s “horse race” approach to the presidential election not only ignores the issues, it’s also dangerous for democracy You would have to be living in a cave not to know that a huge dissatisfaction is sweeping the country. It is said to account for Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’ surprising appeal, and it is generally attributed to the dysfunction of our politics. But you can’t blame politicians alone. Political journalists also play an enormous role in creating a sense of malaise, distrust and division, and it stems not only from what they do but also from what they don’t do. First, what they do. Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking: They go on the hustings with the candidates, they attend the rallies, they talk to voters and take the country’s temperature, occasionally they even talk to the candidates themselves, they issue verdicts on the state...

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Democrats Go On The Attack Against Voter ID Laws

by Justin Rosario – Virginia’s Voter ID law is being challenged in court and with the loss of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, this might just be the first domino to fall, signaling the end of wide-spread voter suppression by Republicans: (Reuters) – A Virginia law requiring voters to show photo identification goes on trial in federal court on Monday, with Democratic officials claiming it is discriminatory and aimed at keeping party voters from casting ballots. Defenders of the 2013 Virginia law say that it is aimed at preventing voter fraud. The trial, in U.S. district court in Richmond, Virginia, is one of several voting rights legal battles in process as Democrats and Republicans square off ahead of November’s presidential election. The Democratic Party of Virginia and two party activists are suing the Virginia State Board of Elections and want Judge Henry Hudson to strike down the law. The...

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It Took Jeb $150 Million, 250 Days And 3 States To Figure Out Republicans Don’t Want More Bush

by JUDD LEGUM – Jeb Bush, once the odds-on favorite to capture the Republican nomination, dropped out of the race last Saturday. His campaign and his Super PAC, Right To Rise, spent at least $150 million trying to woo voters. The massive expenditure of funds earned him 2.8 percent of the vote in Iowa, 11 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and, at the time he announced his withdrawal from the race, about 8 percent of the vote in South Carolina. Bush touted his record as governor of Florida, but the most prominent moments of his campaign involved praising his brother, former president George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and the broader response to the September 11 attacks. Despite virtually unlimited funds and massive institutional support, this did not prove to be popular, even among the Republican primary electorate. Jeb Bush Started The Campaign Saying He Would Authorize The...

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How Scalia’s Absence Will Affect Pending Supreme Court Cases

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia raises a number of questions: What will be Scalia’s legacy? What will happen to the cases pending in the Supreme Court? Will President Obama successfully fill Scalia’s seat on the high court? And how will Scalia’s death affect the 2016 presidential election? Scalia’s Record on the Court Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was a radical right-wing ideologue who called himself an “originalist,” purporting to interpret the US Constitution the way its framers did. He eschewed the idea that the Constitution is a living document that keeps pace with the times. And when voting to allow capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles, he rejected the Supreme Court’s precedent that the Eighth Amendment’s banning of cruel and unusual punishments should be interpreted in light...

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Chicago Police Now Have To Release Damning Recordings Within Three Months

by CARIMAH TOWNES – As part of his new plan to restore the credibility of Chicago’s law enforcement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the public will have a chance to see and hear all audio and video recordings of officer-involved shootings and alleged misconduct. In response to backlash about the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) refusal to release such recordings, the city must now do so within 60 days of when an incident occurs. Emanuel’s decision comes more than two months after the video of Laquan Mcdonald’s shooting set off a firestorm. The footage showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the 17-year-old 16 times in 30 seconds, and leaders fought to keep it hidden from the public. The city begrudgingly released the footage 400 days after the shooting occurred, and after the a federal judge ordered officials to do so. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez filed charges against Van Dyke...

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New Lawsuit Looks To Stop Fracking-Induced Earthquakes In Oklahoma Before It’s Too Late

by NATASHA GEILING – Last Saturday, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake rattled northwest Oklahoma, the third strongest earthquake on record for a state that has seen a remarkable uptick in seismic activity since 2008. In addition to an uptick in the number of earthquakes, Oklahoma has seen an increase in the severity of earthquakes in recent years, and experts warn that it’s only a matter of time until an earthquake of potentially historic magnitude strikes. Scientists, environmental groups, and Oklahoma residents have all pointed to the state’s oil and gas industry as the culprit behind the sudden increase in earthquakes. Specifically, they point to the disposal of salty wastewater that comes up as a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, which, when injected into underground wells along fault lines, has been linked to an increase in seismic activity. …we’re looking forward here, to try to prevent future damage In an effort to curb...

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Four Paths Obama Could Take With His Supreme Court Nominee

by IAN MILLHISER – By many accounts, President Obama hopes to name his choice to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia within two weeks, so there is precious little time to speculate about who that nominee may be. There’s also a dauntingly long list of potential nominees. Seven years in the White House, including more than a year when a Democratic Senate could confirm nominees without fear that they would be blocked by a filibuster, enabled Obama to elevate a number of potential justices to lower courts. Additionally, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) appears to have used his three appointments to his state’s highest court to build a farm team for Democratic presidents looking for a future Supreme Court nominee. The person the president eventually picks will reveal a great deal about how he plans to confront Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) plan to block anyone Obama sends up....

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Rubio Lied on Univision: Now Declares on ‘Day One’ of Presidency, He’ll Deport All DREAMers

by SemDem – Ohhh Marco… I know this is hard. I do understand that you have to appeal to both Latinos AND racist, immigrant-hating bigots at the same time. But at least Donald and Ted have the conviction to go all in with the bigots. You, however, tried to have it both ways. Late last week, after CNN called him on it, Rubio got a bit flustered, went off script, (which is dangerous), and essentially admitted to lying to his Univision audience. Now, Rubio says he will deport all DREAMers on “Day One.” This won’t be forgotten. The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) allows for special consideration of conditional residency to be given to the children of undocumented immigrants; as long as they have been here for more than five years before age 16, and either attend college or join the military. The idea is that it is cruel to punish a child for the actions of...

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On This Day, Feb. 23, 1945, U.S. Flag Raised on Iwo Jima

During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment of the 5th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the event. American soldiers fighting for control of Suribachi’s slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a Marine still photographer and a motion-picture cameraman. Rosenthal took three photographs atop Suribachi. The first, which showed five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling to hoist the heavy flag pole, became the most reproduced photograph in history and won him a Pulitzer Prize....

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The Encryption Fight We Knew Was Coming Is Here—and Apple Appears Ready

by Scott Shackford – Company will not compromise user security to help access terrorist’s phone   We have one massive test case for Apple’s commitment to end-to-end encryption on its smart phones in the dock. Syed Farook, one of the terrorists responsible for killing 14 people in San Bernardino, California, had a locked iPhone, and the FBI has not been able to access its contents. So they’re trying to get help from Apple, and they’ve turned to a judge to try to force the company’s assistance. This week a judge sided with the FBI, ordering Apple to not exactly create a back door to bypass its encryption, but pretty damn close. The judge has ordered Apple to assist the FBI by making it possible to bypass or deactivate the auto-erase function that deletes the contents of the phone after too many failed password attempts; to allow the FBI to electronically submit...

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What Republicans Risk By Obstructing Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination

by Bill Scher – Conventional wisdom states that Republicans have every political reason to block anyone President Obama nominates for the Supreme Court. Any Republican who voted for an Obama nominee could face a primary challenge. The people who care most about judicial battles are ideological base voters, so swing voters in a general election wouldn’t blame one party over the other. And if a Republican wins the presidency, then Senate Republicans would confirm a conservative, while if a Democrat wins, the person’s nominee would be no different from an Obama nominee. Nothing lost by holding out. But there are reasons to question all of these assumptions. First, the immediate electoral risk for Republicans is in the general election, not the primary. There are 21 incumbent Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2016. (Three other Republican incumbents are retiring from the Senate.) Six of them, five of which are in...

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Why 175 Oil And Gas Companies Could Go Bankrupt This Year

by KATIE VALENTINE – About a third of U.S. oil and gas production and exploration companies are at high risk of going bankrupt in 2016, according to a new report. The report, published Tuesday by consulting and business services firm Deloitte, looked at more than 500 oil and natural gas exploration and production companies worldwide. It found that 175 of the companies — or nearly 35 percent — were at high risk of going bankrupt, due largely to low oil prices. Together, these companies have more than $150 billion in debt. “2016 will be the year of hard decisions. We could see bankruptcies surpass Great Recession levels as companies struggle to remain solvent,” John England, vice chairman and U.S. oil and gas sector leader for Deloitte, said in a statement. “Access to capital markets, bankers’ support and derivatives protection, which helped smooth an otherwise rocky road for...

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What Would a Three-Person Race in SC Have Looked Like?

by ATexican– Trump has cruised along this election season with around 30-35 percent of the R primary voters.  In the currently divided field, that is all he has needed.  In NH, Trump had 35% in a field of nine with his closest competition 19% behind (Kasich).  Others (Cruz, Rubio, and Bush) trailed him by roughly 24%.  In SC, Trump drew 32% of the voters in a six person race; while his closest rivals were only 10 percentage points behind him (Rubio and Cruz at 22%).  He again trounced the laggers (Carson, Bush, Kasich) who hovered about 8% by about 25 percentage points. Trump’s support remains solid.  But, as the field narrows his lead shrinks. Cruz and Rubio are like bad rashes, they are not going away.  That leaves, in some sense, the fate of The Donald and the Rs in the hands of Bush, Kasich, and Carson. Bush has now...

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Labor Board Sides With Trump Hotel Workers In Union Battle

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – LAS VEGAS, NV — Just days before Nevada’s Republican presidential caucus, a federal labor official weighed in on the ongoing dispute between Donald Trump’s signature luxury Las Vegas hotel and the hundreds of workers who voted in December to unionize. Trump Hotel management had asked the National Labor Relations Board to throw out the results of that election, claiming that organizers from the Culinary Workers Union intimidated and coerced employees into voting yes, which “interfered with their ability to exercise a free and reasoned choice.” But after weeks of reviewing the evidence, the labor board did not agree. Hearing Officer Lisa Dunn announced: “I recommend that the Employer’s objections be overruled in their entirety.” Trump’s management has already withdrawn some of their objections, but still refuses to recognize the union. They have two weeks to challenge this new recommendation. Now, the hotel’s 500-odd workers say they...

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Sanders: ‘We Have Enormous Momentum’ Going Into South Carolina

by Nadia Prupis – Senator shakes off narrow Nevada loss with rally in Columbia, South Carolina as campaign contributions keep pouring in Despite a narrow loss in the Nevada presidential caucus on Saturday, Bernie Sanders is not slowing down, and neither are his supporters. A report filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows the senator from Vermont has received more than four million contributions, raising a total of $94.8 million through January 31st after his campaign launched last April. “What this entire campaign has been about has been the issue of momentum and bringing more and more people into the political process,” Sanders told a crowd of 600 after the caucus, adding, “we will not allow billionaires and their super PACs to continue to buy elections in the United States of America.” With less than a week to go until the next Democratic primary in South Carolina,...

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On This Day, Feb 22, 2006 – Gang Commits Largest Robbery in British History

In the early morning hours of February 22, 2006, a gang of at least six men, some of them armed, steal £53 million from the Securitas bank depot in Kent, Great Britain. It was the largest such theft in British history. The plot was well planned. On the evening before, two men, dressed as police officers, pulled the depot manager, Colin Dixon, over as he was driving in nearby Stockbury. They convinced him to get out of his car, and forced him into their vehicle. At about the same time, two more men visited Dixon’s home and picked up Dixon’s wife and eight-year-old son; eventually all three Dixons were taken to a farm in West Kent, where the gang threatened their lives if Colin refused to cooperate with the robbery. The Dixons were then forced to go with the gang to the Securitas depot, where Colin helped them evade...

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US and Russia Reach Provisional Deal on Syria Truce

Announcement follows statements by opposition groups and President Assad setting terms for accepting a temporary truce John Kerry, US secretary of state, says a “provisional agreement” has been reached on a ceasefire in Syria’s five-year civil war. Kerry, speaking in Amman on Sunday alongside Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s foreign minister, said he had spoken earlier that morning with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, about the agreement. Inside Story – Syria war: Will cessation of hostilities lead to talks? Now, he said, both the US and Russia planned to reach out to the various sides of the conflict. Kerry said he hoped President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin would talk soon and implementation could begin after that. Kerry said details of a ceasefire still needed to be resolved, such as enforcement and that the international community was “closer to a ceasefire today than we have been”. The Russian foreign ministry confirmed...

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Jeb Bush Suspends Campaign Under Pressure From Supporters Of Fellow GOPers (VIDEO)

by Shannon Barber – Jeb Bush was originally the anointed one for the GOP Presidential nomination. However, Donald Trump turned the whole race upside down, and Bush never made it out of the single digits. As the South Carolina Primary draws to a close with yet another poor showing in what is widely seen as one of the most important primaries of the election season, supporters of other GOP candidates urge Bush to drop out. Florida Senator Tim Scott, who is backing Marco Rubio, says of Bush’s candidacy and how it affects the GOP’s chances at the White House: “It’s hard to tell you what the Bush camp is thinking. He served as a great governor. I think it’d be a great opportunity for him to bring his folks over to the Rubio camp.” “But the reality is everyone who is running wants to do something good for America, so the...

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2015: The Year US Political Leaders Fanned the Flames of a Nation ‘Awash’ in Hate

by Lauren McCauley – SPLC’s annual census documents significant rise of hate and extremist groups operating in the US 2015 marked a year “awash” in hate, according to an analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as the number of extremist groups in the U.S. grew significantly, matching the rise of discriminatory and hateful rhetoric from mainstream political figures. The civil rights group’s annual census (pdf) found that in the past year the number of hate groups operating in the U.S. increased 14 percent, growing from 784 groups in 2014 to 892. Even more troubling, according to the report, was the explosion of extremist violence in 2015. “While the number of extremist groups grew in 2015 after several years of declines, the real story was the deadly violence committed by extremists in city after city,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of the group’s quarterly investigative...

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Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is A Popular New Policy That Cost States Millions. Here Are The Results

by BRYCE COVERT & JOSH ISRAEL – In 10 states, someone who applies for welfare cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program doesn’t just have to deal with complicated paperwork at a time when there’s a good chance she’s already in a state of financial crisis. She also has to be screened and possibly tested for substance abuse. And if she tests positive, she won’t receive benefits. Proponents of these programs argue that they’re implemented not just to save money, but to help people who may be struggling with substance abuse. But the data tells a different story. In 2015, despite lack of evidence that programs in other states accomplished their goals, three more states have implemented similar regimes. And a ThinkProgress survey of the 10 states that now have these programs in place found that they continue to be expensive and not especially effective. All...

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On This Day, Feb 21, 1965 – Malcolm X Assassinated

In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm’s father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities. In 1946, at the...

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The GOP Has Made Such A Mockery Of Elections Even Canada Gets To Poke Fun At Us (VIDEO)

by Charles Topher – Canada is just…fun. Our great white neighbor to the north just shed a decade of hate and ignorance in favor of “Prime Minister Centerfold” and a slew of not just leftish but downright liberal political and social reform. In other words, Canada joined the rest of the civilized world in evolving faster than America ever could. They’ve had advantages, of course. I can’t quite remember exactly who it was but back in the 80s some comedy news person, possibly Stewart Pankin, said that the first words in Canada’s National Anthem should be changed to “Oh, America…thank God we’re next to you…” Yes, you can laugh. For much of its existence and in many ways still, that is true. Anything bordering something as massive and internationally strategic as the United States Of America is going to benefit greatly from a relationship that is symbiotic by nature. Still, Canada...

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Obama’s Cuba Visit: Rumors Turn into Reality

by Natasha Ghoneim – Havana, Cuba – Since I arrived, my Cuban producer Lagmi Chavez had been telling me there were persistent rumours circulating that US President Barack Obama would be visiting the long-isolated island. A woman joked about a bet with a friend, revolving around the question of whether Obama would be given the opportunity to make a speech directly to Cubans at Revolution Square, the iconic site in the capital where former president Fidel Castro has made many a historic speech. On Thursday morning, I awoke to read the news that Obama was indeed visiting next month and immediately texted Lagmi: “You were right!” People and Power: Cuba for Sale When Obama arrives on March 21, he will be the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in almost 90 years. (President Calvin Coolidge has been the only US president to visit Cuba and he did so in 1928.)...

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Austin Police Union Blames Staffing Shortage for Shooting of Naked, Unarmed Teen

by Ed Krayewski – The Austin Police Association released a statement today appearing to blame the Austin Police Department (APD) police chief’s budget priorities for the shooting of David Joseph, a naked, unarmed teen who Officer Geoffrey Freeman alleged was charging at him when he shot Joseph twice in the chest. The shooting last Monday has led to protests by local activists and an insistence by the police chief, Art Acevedo, that his department is committed to a transparent investigation.  “We aren’t Ferguson; we’re not another American city,” Acevedo said. “We’re the city of Austin and we stand together to hold each other’s feet to the fire.” Nevertheless, Acevedo has resisted calls for an outside investigation, saying those were “premature” and that the APD was capable of conducting an impartial investigation. In its statement today, the police association insisted that while the incident had not yet been fully investigated, “one question...

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The Way America Picks Judges Is Stupid And Needs To Change

by IAN MILLHISER – Here’s a spoiler alert: whoever President Obama nominates to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, they almost certainly will not be confirmed this year. Yes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President” is unprecedented, unprofessional, and a number of other words that my editor will not let me print on this website. But as a matter of raw power, Senate Republicans control 54 seats. Absent some absurd event — maybe eight Republican senators will simultaneously quit to pursue their dreams on Broadway — the GOP will retain that majority until the next Congress is sworn in next January. Now here’s another spoiler alert: there’s no guarantee that anything will change for the foreseeable future. If 11 months from now, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders places their hand on a Bible and recites the...

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The Passion of Scalia

by Donald Kaul – Had the late justice not violated his own philosophy, George W. Bush might not have occupied the White House and brought on the Iraq War My mother always told me never to speak ill of the dead. For that reason I won’t go on at length about Antonin Scalia, the recently departed Supreme Court justice. My opinion wouldn’t be worth that much anyway. I didn’t know the man — I was never even in the same room with him. However, I do find this avalanche of posthumous praise of him as “a judicial giant” and one of the great justices of our history a little gag-inducing. OK, he was a bon vivant and a fun guy who wrote snarky, entertaining opinions. I get that. As a jurist, however, he left much to be desired. As a matter of fact, he was terrible — one of the most...

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Fiscal Conservative Ted Cruz Just Released His Plan To Destroy America By EXPLODING Our Deficit

by Christian Drake – If you ever want to know how STUPID Republicans are when it comes to economics, you don’t need to look back over the decades of Republican presidents and their associated financial disasters. All you need to do is find any potential Republican presidential candidate, and examine their tax plan. 2016’s crop of candidates does not fail in this. Every single one of them that has come out with a plan has been universally mocked by legitimate economic scholars that use real math because their plans are more unrealistic than a stop-motion monster movie. The latest member of the idiot village to have his tax fantasy completely trashed is Ted Cruz. His “plan” reads like something a failed James Bond villain would try to do in order to destroy the U.S. economy. Here are some of the features included in Cruz’s plan A 10 percent flat income tax...

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On This Day, Feb 20, 1962 – An American Orbits Earth

From Cape Canaveral, Florida, John Hershel Glenn Jr. is successfully launched into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first orbital flight by an American astronaut. Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts. A decorated pilot, he flew nearly 150 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War. In 1957, he made the first nonstop supersonic flight across the United States, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes. Glenn was preceded in space by two Americans, Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, and two Soviets, Yuri A. Gagarin and Gherman S. Titov. In April 1961, Gagarin was the first man in space, and his spacecraft Vostok 1 made a full orbit before returning to...

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Legal Marijuana Sales Totaled $1 Billion in Colorado Last Year

by Jacob Sullum – Pot is almost as big as craft beer, but the tax revenue it generates is still a tiny share of the state budget New numbers from the Colorado Department of Revenue show that marijuana sales by government-licensed stores in that state totaled nearly $1 billion in 2015, making marijuana almost as big as craft beer by that measure. Marijuana sales raised $135 million in taxes and fees for the state last year. “These tax revenue figures are truly impressive,” says Mason Tvert, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Just six years ago, Colorado received zero dollars in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in the state.” While $135 million is indeed a lot compared to $0, it looks less impressive compared to the state budget, which totals $26.4 billion this fiscal year. In other words, last year’s marijuana money, $109 million of which came from taxes on recreational...

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