Longest-Serving GOP Speaker In History Is A Liar And Serial Child Molester, Federal Judge Says

by LAUREL RAYMOND – Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced in federal court today to 15 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, in addition to two years of supervised release, on the condition that he get treatment as a sex offender. Last year, Hastert pled guilty to breaking banking laws by making illegal withdrawals — which he then lied about to the FBI. Hastert took out $1.7 million in small amounts to avoid suspicion, according to the indictment, which he then used as hush money to prevent a victim of sexual abuse from going public. The victim, identified only as “Individual A” in the court papers, was a 14-year-old on Hastert’s wrestling team when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High school in Illinois. When the allegations become public, three other victims came forward and said that they had been molested by Hastert...

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Bernie has Basically Conceded the Race with his Press Release. Could Open Door for Early Unity

by floridageorge – The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a press statement, and it reads like a concession of the nomination.   Mind you, Bernie will stay in the race until California, that looks to be clear.   The press release makes the point that they are going to try to get as many delegates as possible, take them to the convention to make claims on the party platform. Here is the press release: berniesanders.com/… PRESS RELEASE Sanders Statement on Primary Elections APRIL 26TH, 2016  HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday issued the following statement:  “I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victories tonight, and I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come.  “I am proud that we were able to win a resounding victory tonight in Rhode Island, the one state with an open primary where independents had a say in the outcome....

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Trump’s Clean Sweep Of Northeast Exposes Failure Of ‘Stop Trump’ Movement

by AARON RUPAR – On Tuesday, Donald Trump pulled off a clean sweep of the northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. His dominant performance — at press time, it appears a majority of Republican voters cast ballots for him in all five states — came on the same day the Republican frontrunner broke 50 percent support in a reputable national poll of Republicans and Republican-leaners for the first time. Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing. More so than ever before, he’s now the presumptive Republican nominee. The #NeverTrump movement has failed. Establishment pundits have been powerless to stop him. Mitt Romney couldn’t either. Once-promising GOP candidates such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were run over by the Trump Train. And the last-minute alliance of remaining contenders Ted Cruz and John Kasich? A total failure almost as soon as it was announced. Trump has a chance to hit the...

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Australian Politician Sets Methane-Laden River on Fire to Protest Fracking

by Nadia Prupis – ‘This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers.’ An Australian elected official set fire to a river in Queensland this weekend in an act of protest against the coal seam gas industry, stating that fracking causes methane to seep into the river. In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham can be seen leaning over the side of an aluminum boat on the Condamine River, touching a barbecue lighter to the water and setting it instantly ablaze. Buckingham recoils. “A river on fire! Don’t let it burn the boat.” “This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers, who want to spread across all states and territories,” Buckingham says in the video, which subsequently went viral, hitting 3.3 million views by Monday morning. “The fracking just a kilometer away, methane...

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Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Gay Baker’s Claim Of Religious Freedom

by ZACK FORD – The Colorado Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal brought by a man who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple — upholding lower court rulings that concluded this decision was in violation of the state’s sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections. Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has argued that declining to sell a cake to David Mullins and Charlie Craig (as well as other same-sex couples) was an expression of his religious freedom to refuse to contribute his “artistic expression” to a same-sex wedding, noting that his shop otherwise serves gay people. So far, the courts haven’t found this argument compelling. Phillips lost his case at a lower court in 2013 and then again at the Colorado Court of Appeals last August. As the Court of Appeals ruled, refusing to serve a same-sex wedding cannot be distinguished from discrimination on the...

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Man Sentenced To Die After ‘Expert’ Testified That Black People Are Dangerous

by IAN MILLHISER – Duane Edward Buck’s lawyers were a disaster. After Buck was convicted of murder, his own attorneys retained a now-discredited psychologist who testified that Mr. Buck is more likely to be a danger to society in the future because he is black. This testimony then went unchallenged at a later, crucial state court proceeding even though Buck was then represented by a new lawyer. The only new claim that lawyer raised at this proceeding was “based on a non-existent provision of the penal code.” Now, nearly two decades after his conviction, no court has considered whether the racist testimony elicited at Buck’s trial caused him to be sentenced to death. Moreover, thanks to errors committed by his previous lawyers and an array of laws and legal doctrines that often elevate the finality of convictions ahead of the need to ensure that innocents are not punished and that...

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Trump Fearmongers In Rhode Island With Misleading Claims About Syrian Refugees

by AARON RUPAR – During a Monday afternoon rally in Warwick, Rhode Island, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned Ocean State residents to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees, some of whom he thinks might be associated with ISIS, are being resettled in the state. While reading off Rhode Island factoids from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trump said, “Here’s one I don’t like… Syrian refugees are now being resettled in Rhode Island.” The audience responded with loud boos. “We don’t know where they’re from, we don’t know where they’re from, they have no documentation,” Trump continued. “We all have hearts and we can build safe zones in Syria — and we’ll get the Gulf states to put up the money, we’re not putting up the money — but I’ll get that done.” “Lock your doors folks, okay, lock your doors,” Trump concluded. “There’s no documentation, we have our incompetent...

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Obama Finally Weighs In On His Vote For President With Explicit Message For Democrats

by Sarah – If you’ve been on the email list for President Obama, as well as the Democratic National Committee, then you probably woke up to an email this morning from the president. For the most part, he’s kept quiet in regards to who he would like as the person to come after him as commander-in-chief. There’s been speculation, but nothing definitive, and to be honest that’s really best. Whoever wins should win on their own merits. However, in the email sent out, President Obama told it like it is. He gets directly to the point and lets us know that we cannot, no matter what, allow a Republican to win the White House. Their divisive and hateful rhetoric is absolutely un-American. Yet, more to the point, the president points out that the Democrats have two fantastic choices, and that no matter what their differences may be, they actually share more in...

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Missouri GOP Throws Away $8.3 Million To Block Planned Parenthood From Getting $400K

by Charles Topher – In a growing trend to keep backwards-thinking idiots voting on the issues that really matter, like a woman’s right not just to choose but her right to accessible, affordable healthcare, the GOP is going to even more ridiculous lengths than ever to enshrine their antiquated beliefs into law. Between that and teaching your children to love God and worship him like the founders intended and making sure what happens in your personal life is regulated by overwhelmingly Christian beliefs, the zealots of the right have their hands full. To prove they can be bought with taxpayer money, Missouri Republicans are willing to spend $8.3 million so Planned Parenthood doesn’t get $400K. It’s so simple it’s stupid, which is why it’s the perfect play for the GOP. First, you decline all federal funding for healthcare costs associated with women’s health care, which in this case is $8.3 million....

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Federal Judge Upholds ‘Discriminatory’ NC Voter ID Law

by Nika Knight – ‘The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans. This ruling does not change that reality.’ North Carolina’s sweeping and controversial election reform law, HB 589, was upheld on Monday by a federal judge in Winston-Salem, prompting vows to appeal from the plaintiffs who allege that the legislation’s dramatic voting restrictions widely disenfranchise minority voters. “The sweeping barriers imposed by this law undermine voter participation and have an overwhelmingly discriminatory impact on African-Americans. This ruling does not change that reality. We are already examining an appeal,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, in a statement. Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote (pdf) that the law’s controversial cutbacks on early voting, elimination of same-day registration and pre-registration for 17-year-olds, and notoriously strict voter ID requirement served a “legitimate state interest” by attempting...

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Polls Show Millennials Hate Trump, Would Overwhelmingly Back Clinton

by Ryan Denson – The notion that millennials are stupid, spoiled, uninformed voters who only care about themselves was shredded today after a new poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics showed millennial voters would overwhelmingly back Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup with Donald Trump. Collecting responses from over three thousand 18-29 year old voters showed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would garner 60 percent to Trump’s 25 percent, an astonishing 36 point lead, while 14 percent remain undecided. So, in other words, the “selfish, uninformed, spoiled” millennials wouldn’t back the actual selfish, spoiled, uninformed Republican front-runner. Go figure. Not only do millennials overall have a highly unfavorable view of Trump overall, he isn’t all that popular amongst young Republicans, either. His bombastic, hateful nature has rubbed some young Republicans the wrong way: Thirteen percent of Republicans would back Hillary Clinton verses 5 percent of Democrats who would back Trump. Clinton leads...

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Captors Kill Canadian Hostage in the Philippines

Canada confirms head dumped in a street in Jolo was that of John Ridsdel, who was seized by Abu Sayyaf last September The severed head of a Canadian hostage has been found on the streets of Samal Island in the Philippines. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has confirmed the news that a plastic bag containing a decapitated head and dumped in a street on Monday night by two men on a motorcycle in Jolo, a town in Sulu province of the Philippines, was that of John Ridsdel of Calgary. Ridsdel, 68, was abducted along with three other tourists – fellow Canadian Robert Hall, a Norwegian man and a Filipino woman – last September by the Abu Sayyaf armed group from a marina on Samal Island, also known as Islam Garden. Abu Sayyaf had earlier threatened to kill one of the three male hostages if a large ransom was not...

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The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

by NEAL GABLER – The top journalists covering the elections are out of touch. No wonder they’re missing this year’s big stories To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. That is no small thing when you consider those two are the big stories this campaign season. It’s like a weatherman missing a Category Five hurricane. Of course, if a weatherman had blown that call, he probably would be fired. With pundits, getting it wrong never seems to matter. To their credit, a few of those Big Feet have fessed up to their errors. New York Times columnist David Brooks, one of the most contrite, admitted that he realized he had been living in a bubble and had to...

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Fox Host Shatters Conservative Claim That Bathroom Bills Are Needed To Stop Predators (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – A Fox host actually debunked a conservative talking point by doing what a real journalist does best: research. An anti-LGBT conservative columnist appeared on Fox News Sunday to defend anti-LGBT laws that ban transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Ben Domenech argued that such laws are necessary to protect women and children from predators whom right-wingers claim will use transgender protections to get into women’s restrooms to sexually harass and assault victims. “That’s actually what people are concerned about,” The Federalist columnist claimed. “They’re less concerned about transgender people coming into bathrooms than they are about men using this as a way to get into locker rooms with women and to exploit that opportunity to participate in some kind of criminal act.” Of course, predators can already do that and no law will stop them from doing it anyway...

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“No Such Thing as Closure”: Tamir Rice’s Family Settles for $6M with Cleveland

by Nadia Prupis – “Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” the family’s attorneys said on Monday The family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot to death by police while playing in a park in November 2014, has settled a federal lawsuit with the city of Cleveland for $6 million. “Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement on Monday. “Nothing will bring Tamir back. His unnecessary and premature death leaves a gaping hole for those who knew and loved him that can never be filled.” The settlement, which admits no wrongdoing on the city’s part, also lets Cleveland officials off the hook in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Rice’s family over the death of the “young boy,...

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Pages Said to Detail Saudi Arabia’s Involvement in 9/11 to be Made Public

by Lauren McCauley – As Obama administration and Gulf ally try to evade accountability, 28-page document may be declassified by June Confidential and deeply controversial documents said to reveal the support network behind the 9/11 hijackers may soon be made public, according to the Obama administration’s head of national intelligence. James Clapper, who is charged with overseeing the declassification, reportedly said that it is a “realistic goal” that the 28-page section of the 9/11 Commission Report would be available as early as June. “We are in the position of trying to coordinate interagency position on the declassification of the 28 pages,” he told attendees of an event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor,The Hill reported on Monday. Clapper’s statement followed similar remarks made Sunday by Sen. Bob Graham (R-Fla.), who was co-chairman of the bipartisan congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attack. Graham and others familiar with the report have alleged that...

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Fed Up With Officer Violence, San Francisco Residents Go On Hunger Strike Against Police Chief

by CARIMAH TOWNES – “I’ve reached 48 hours now. After the 24-hour mark, you kind of get over the pain of hunger. We get distracted, kind of, with the people that are visiting. We’re trying to stay dry. It was raining last night,” Edwin Lindo told ThinkProgress by phone Friday morning. “I’m hanging in there.” Lindo is one of six hunger strikers currently sitting in front of the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, alongside local rapper Equipto, preschool teacher Maria Cristina Gutierrez, local resident Ike Pinkston, and two others. Lindo, who is also running for District 9 supervisor, is one of the four people who initiated the action on Wednesday in protest of Police Chief Greg Suhr, the embattled leader of the San Francisco Police Department. Under Suhr’s leadership there’s been a spate of fatal police shootings of residents of color, including Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, and Amilcar Perez-Lopez....

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Crimes & Punishments

by Christopher Brauchli – Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. — Theodore Roosevelt, Third Annual Message (1903) A number of readers have written inquiring whether it is acceptable to have state attorneys general continue to serve in that capacity when they have been charged with criminal conduct and/or have lost their licenses to practice law. The reason for the inquiry is that readers know that the attorney general of a state is the chief law enforcement officer of the state, serves as the state’s principal legal advisor, and represents the state in litigation. Those tasks have to be done by someone who is licensed as a lawyer. Those are good questions and, happily, there are two real life examples that enable me to provide the answers to both those questions. The first comes to us from Texas, where the attorney general is Ken...

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We Fact-Checked A High-Profile Article On Climate And Energy. It Wasn’t Pretty

by JOE ROMM – Foreign Affairs has run one of the most confused, out-of-date and error-riddled pieces ever seen on clean energy and climate change. I will fact check it here, since the editors apparently didn’t. Despite the title, “The Clean Energy Revolution: Fighting Climate Change With Innovation,” it’s not about how the clean energy revolution of the last several years has been a game-changer for near-term climate action. Quite the reverse: It’s mostly an outdated rehashing of the oddly pessimistic “We need an energy miracle” myth, which has been debunked here and elsewhere so many times I’ve lost count. Bloomberg New Energy Finance: The “energy miracle” has arrived Indeed, earlier this month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich, one of the world’s leading experts on the state of emerging clean energy, devoted his entire keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference to debunking the myth. His data- and...

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Meet The ‘Jewish Terrorist Network’ In The West Bank

by JACK JENKINS – Israeli police and security officials have announced the discovery of a right-wing network of “Jewish terrorists” in the occupied West Bank, saying they have arrested several accused of plotting and enacting attacks against Palestinians and their homes. On Wednesday, representatives of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet revealed they had apprehended several members of a “Jewish terrorist network” in the Palestinian territories over the past few weeks. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier who reportedly confessed to tossing a tear gas grenade into the home of a Palestinian family and throwing firebombs at another house in Mazraa al-Qabliyah. “ widespread terrorist activity,” Shin Bet said in a statement. “…Including attempted terrorist attacks on homes of Palestinians while the occupants were inside, attacking minorities, arson and vandal assaults on Palestinian vehicles, and stone throwing from a...

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