Can Donald Trump Win? These Battleground Regions Will Decide

by teacherken – This article explores what it would take for Trump to truly be competitive.  After a brief introduction, it examines four states in the key areas in which Trump has to be competitive in order to win:  Florida, the upper Southeast, the Rust Belt, and the interior West.  In each case a different New York Times writer examines a specific state:  Alexander Burns examines South Florida; Jonathan Martin explores North Carolina;  Trip Gabriel goes to Pennsylvania, where he focuses on Luzerne County (Wilke-Barre) in the northeastern part of the state, and wealth Chester County (West Chester) in the Philadelphia suburbs; and Fernanda Santos goes to Arizona, with a specific focus on Maricopa County, where Trump’s strong early ally Joe Arpaio is up for re-election as Sheriff. Each article lays out where there are possibilities for Trump, but also points out how there are areas of difficulties for him as...

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Iraqi Army Launches Assault Against ISIL in Fallujah

Special forces enter “second phase” in fight to recapture the central city from ISIL, as 50,000 people remain trapped Iraqi special forces launched an assault on one of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group’s most emblematic bastions, Fallujah, as the group counter-attacked in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria. The assault was launched in the early hours of Monday morning. “Iraqi forces entered Fallujah under air cover from the international coalition, the Iraqi air force and army aviation, and supported by artillery and tanks,” said Lieutenant-General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, the commander of the operation. The battle for Fallujah Iraqi army commanders estimate it will take them about 48 hours to clear Fallujah. I think this is very optimistic. There are between 400 and 1,000 ISIL fighters stationed inside the city – including its most experienced. In the early hours of Monday morning, Iraqi forces began efforts to...

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An Undercurrent of Diminishing President Obama’s Progressive Accomplishments

by DaisiesArePretty – There’s been a growing narrative that Sanders is the “first” progressive politician since FDR or LBJ or fill-in-the-blank with a name other than President Obama. Today, I read this comment: “It’s that he is the first candidate since RFK or Jesse Jackson who would actually DO SOMETHING about our problems.” I guess you can say this was the last straw for me. I understand the strategy, though. Since Hillary Clinton says she wants to build on President Obama’s progressive accomplishments, the counter-punch is to diminish his accomplishments to one single issue — ObamaCare — then criticize ObamaCare as insufficient. As a gentle reminder of the progressive accomplishments of our president, I offer the following partial list. At the end is a link to a more comprehensive list with citations for all (including citations for those listed below). Fighting Lobbyists & Executive Transparency Obama Banned gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the...

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University Of North Carolina Reverses On Complying With HB2

by ZACK FORD – The University of North Carolina (UNC) has made clear in legal filings that it will not enforce HB2, the state’s law requiring transgender people be refused access to restrooms in accordance with their gender identity. This is a reversal of sorts from the university’s prior position. After HB2 first became law, UNC President Margaret Spellings announced that the system would comply with it, in that bathrooms and changing facilities would be “designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex.” This is despite the fact that the university includes — and would continue to include — “gender identity” in its nondiscrimination policy. Her guidance noted, however, that the law “does not contain provisions concerning enforcement of the bathroom and changing facility requirements.” Though students were outraged by the compliance, it seemed that without enforcement, the status quo would not change. Multiple suits have...

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‘Self-Funded’ No Longer – Trump Now Needs Those Huge, Strings-Attached Donations

by Rika Christensen – Donald Trump has supposedly been self-funding his campaign (sort of), and he loves bragging about how he’s not beholden to anybody because he’s not taking the big donations that inevitably come with conditions attached. That all may be coming to an end for him now. One of his top advisers, Paul Manafort, spoke to Senate Republicans about the state of his campaign’s finances, and admitted there isn’t enough money to mount a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton going into this summer’s conventions. Oh, the horror. What happened to all that money Trump claimed he had? Supposedly he’s worth $10 billion. Oh, that’s right, most of that isn’t actual cash, and he’s been loaning what cash he does have to the campaign. Now the campaign owes him tens of millions of dollars and is finding itself broke anyway. Without campaign money, Trump will have trouble running television...

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FiveThirtyEight’s Deconstruction of the Rigged Primary Myth

by snowman3 – I came across a data driven article by the folks at 538 that attempted to tackle this simmering claim (espoused quite often by Donald Trump, of all people) that the democratic primary system has been rigged and Hillary is only winning because it has been rigged in her favor. The article is from May 26, but I haven’t seen it diaried here yet, so if I missed it, forgive me. One of the claims most frequently made is that Hillary is winning because in a lot of states, independents cannot vote in the democratic primary, and that if more states allowed independents to vote, then Bernie would have won. Putting aside the fact that Hillary has won a majority of contests that have open primaries, Nate Silver and Harry Enten ran their models and used simulations to estimate what the results would have been had the non-open primary...

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As Chilcot Inquiry Nears, Tony Blair Hints He May Fight Verdict

by Nadia Prupis – “I don’t think anyone can seriously dispute that I was making it very clear what my position was.” Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hinted that he would refuse to accept the verdict of the highly anticipated Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq if it concludes that he privately signed the country up for war while publicly claiming a final decision had not yet been made. In an interview on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Blair rejected the idea that the growth of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was fueled by the Iraq War, stating, “I understand all the issues and we’ll debate them when we get to Chilcot, but this idea that all of this comes from the decision to remove Saddam , you’ve got to go back into this and look at the roots of it.” Marr then asked, “The...

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On This Day, May 31, 1977 – The BBC Bans the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”

Thirty years after its release, John Lydon—better known as Johnny Rotten—offered this assessment of the song that made the Sex Pistols the most reviled and revered figures in England in the spring of 1977: “There are not many songs written over baked beans at the breakfast table that went on to divide a nation and force a change in popular culture.” Timed with typical Sex Pistols flair to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, the release of “God Save The Queen” was greeted by precisely the torrent of negative press that Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren had hoped. On May 31, 1977, the song earned a total ban on radio airplay from the BBC—a kiss of death for a normal pop single, but a powerful endorsement for an anti-establishment rant like “God Save The Queen.” While some in the tabloid press accused the Sex Pistols of treason and...

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A Veteran’s Perspective On Memorial Day

by BARRY LADENDORF – “The threat to the Constitution does not come from some far-off land”, says Vets for Peace board chair As Americans mark Memorial Day, a holiday that invites us to reflect on the cost of war, we are reprinting these remarks that a leader of the Veterans for Peace made last week at Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power conference in Washington. For 31 years, Veterans For Peace has been the only veterans organization that has rejected war, violence, nuclear weapons, the destruction of the environment created by war, the steady erosion of our civil liberties, the corporate greed that drives our wars and the systemic injustice it produces, here at home and abroad, all in the name of advancing the American empire. As veterans, we refuse to accept the notion that, in order to protect the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, the Constitution that we...

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Arizona’s Getting Hotter, But State Leaders Oppose Solutions

by JILLIAN MURPHY – On average, 2,000 Arizonans visit the emergency room because of heat-related illnesses every year. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse because it’s only getting hotter. This April was just named the hottest on record, making it the 12th consecutive month to break a temperature record. Last year was named the hottest year on record, and at this pace 2016 is set to top it. This week, the Obama administration recognized Extreme Heat Week — something Arizonans have become well-acquainted with in recent years. Climate change is driving extreme heat in Arizona and around the world. Carbon pollution from power plants contributes to climate change, making our days and our summers even hotter. Extreme heat is especially dangerous for our health, and can even be fatal. It’s estimated that extreme heat could lead to more than 11,000 additional deaths during the summer in 2030, and more...

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An Open Letter to Donald Trump: Make Your Tax Returns Public

by Frank Clemente – It is critical that candidates for the highest office in the land release their income tax returns for multiple years, especially you Mr. Trump. After all, you are running for president based on your wealth and business ability. And every other presidential candidate has done so for the past 40 years. Instead, you’re hiding behind the phony excuse that you can’t release any returns until the IRS finishes auditing them, which might not be until after Election Day. The IRS has repeatedly stated that taxpayers can release whatever information they want about their own returns, whenever they want. (Of course, the very fact that, by your own complaint, you’re audited every year raises important questions about whether you are a tax dodger.) Nothing prevents you from releasing your tax returns prior to 2009, which have been cleared by previous IRS audits. You said Mitt Romney should release...

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UN: More than 700 Refugees Feared Drowned off Italy

UN refugee agency says hundreds of people may have died in three separate shipwrecks in recent days The UN refugee agency said more than 700 refugees may have drowned in three Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks south of Italy in the last few days. Speaking to Al Jazeera from Geneva, William Spindler, a UNHCR spokesman for Europe, said there had been a spate of incidents in the Mediterranean last week. “The first one was Wednesday, which was widely reported. A boat capsized, carrying about 600 people. Some of those people are still missing,” Spindler said. “Then there was a second incident on Thursday and a third one on Friday. In total, we fear that in these three incidents more than 700 people are missing, presumed drowned. “There is a number of boats at the moment trying to make their way from Libya to Italy and several rescue operations are ongoing.” READ...

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Wingnut Week In Review: Trump’s Tinfoil Hat Campaign

by Terrance Heath – Proving once and for all that he truly has not one shred of decency in him, Donald Trump has traded in his red trucker hat for a tinfoil hat. The sad and frightening part is that he’ll probably get away with it. Claiming that he was “just asking the question,” Trump dredged up the thoroughly discredited claim that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster. Foster, who spent part of his childhood living across the street from Bill Clinton, became the White House Deputy Counsel when the Clintons came to Washington, DC. It was the latest in a long list of accomplishments, including serving as the manager of the law review and graduating first in his class at the University of Arkansas, and being named Outstanding Lawyer of the Year by the Arkansas Bar Association in 1993. He joined the Rose Law Firm in 1971, where he fought...

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When did the United States get so Damn Uptight?

by Mark E Andersen – Last week my 16-year-old son and I were talking about my exploits as a teenager. My son said, “Dad, things were so less uptight when you were a kid. What happened?” My initial response to him was: “Ronald Reagan.” Since then, I have given this a lot of thought. And while I do stand by my original answer of Ronald Reagan, there is actually so much more to it. The reason I start with Reagan is because while he was president, the legal drinking age was raised from 18 to 21. It’s a move that I have disagreed with since I was 17, when the drinking age changed. Eighteen-year-olds can serve in the military, can vote, can marry, can enter contracts, and they can go to prison—but they can’t have a beer. If you are old enough to fight and die for your country, you are damn well old enough to have...

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ISIS Isn’t an Existential Threat to America

by John Mueller & Mark Stewart – In 2014, a militant group calling itself the Islamic State, or ISIL, but more generally known as ISIS, burst into official and public attention with some military victories in Iraq and Syria in the middle of the year—particularly taking over Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. From the outset, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have deemed the group to be an existential threat to the United States. President Barack Obama has repeatedly insisted that this extreme characterization is overblown, but he has clearly lost the debate. A poll conducted a few weeks ago asked the 83 percent of its respondents who said they closely followed news stories about ISIS whether the group presented “a serious threat to the existence or survival of the US.” Fully 77 percent agreed, more than two-thirds of them strongly. However, although the vicious group certainly presents a threat...

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Bernie Sanders Explains The Exact Reason Trump Won’t Debate Him (VIDEO)

by Joe Fletcher – A pre-general election debate between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would have been a political event that would be talked about for years. However, such a debate will never happen because Trump is a giant chicken. Sanders blasted Trump on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night. After Trump “jokingly” said that he would debate Sanders ahead of the California primary, Trump quickly backed out. Sanders expressed his disappointment with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s decision. Sanders put out a challenge to Trump, saying: “I would have loved ! First, he said he would do it, then he said he wouldn’t do it. Then he said he would do it, then he said he wouldn’t do it. So I would hope if he changed his mind four times in two days, change it a fifth time. Trump claims to be a real tough guy, pushes people...

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Holocaust Survivor and Human Rights Activist Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

by Dianne Lee – Always stay human, the long-time activist believed, and never be a bystander ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home. Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime. Unable to secure travel documents for themselves, Hedy’s parents, Hugo and Ella (Eichel) Wachenheimer, arranged for 14-year-old Hedy to leave Germany on a Kindertransport. Hedy credited her parents with giving her life a second time when they sent her to England to live with kind-hearted strangers. Hedy’s parents, grandparents, and most of her aunts, uncles and...

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Iraqi Forces ‘Closing in’ on ISIL-Held Fallujah

Iraqi defence ministry says it has isolated Fallujah and completed first phase of campaign to retake city from ISIL Iraqi forces have surrounded Fallujah and completed the first phase of their assault to retake the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group, officials have told Al Jazeera. Hundreds of people fled the besieged city about 60km west of the capital, Baghdad, on Friday amid rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions as fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIL fighters intensified. Iraqi army promises victory in Fallujah ‘next week’ A defence ministry spokesman said on Saturday that Iraqi forces were closing in on Fallujah, which has been under ISIL control since January 2014. ”Phase one is over and we have achieved our objectives,” Brigadier Rasool Yahya told Al Jazeera. “Our forces have isolated and surrounded the city of Fallujah.” Security forces have safely evacuated many residents away from the outskirts...

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With Endangered Species Act Under Attack, Obama Manages to Score 99 Wildlife Wins

by MARY ELLEN KUSTIN – As part of a final-year push to tackle major environmental challenges, the Obama Administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to slow and reverse the declines in American wildlife populations. Though the United States has enacted and implemented some of the world’s most effective wildlife conservation laws, one in five animal and plant species in the United States — nearly 1,300 total species — is at risk of extinction. Through a recently released Council on Environmental Quality white paper, the Obama Administration calls attention to the challenges facing U.S. wildlife and identifies 99 milestones in wildlife conservation that it has achieved over the past seven years. Among these 99 “wildlife wins,” the White House is highlighting the recovery of the Louisiana Black Bear — a species that originally inspired the phrase “teddy bear.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the bear’s...

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Toronto Police Crack Down On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

by Johnny Green – Thursday was a sad day in Toronto as Toronto Police cracked down on several medical marijuana dispensaries as part of ‘Project Claudia.’ While it is unknown how many dispensaries were raided, I saw many reports on social media that put the number as high as 40. Those reports are from social media, so take the number for what you will, but the fact of the matter is that a very large number of dispensaries were raided, which is a huge waste of law enforcement resources. Per the Toronto Sun: Giant bags of weed locked in police cruisers, young people in handcuffs inside dispensaries, signs that say “Closed” or “Closing.” This was the very public face Thursday of Project Claudia — an effort by Toronto Police to crack down on stores selling medical marijuana over the counter. Police wouldn’t say how many marijuana dispensaries were raided across the city...

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After Six-Week Strike, Verizon Workers Claim Major Victory as Deal Reached

by Nadia Prupis – “This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.” After a nearly six-week strike, Verizon workers are celebrating a huge victory on Friday after a deal was reached in principle with the telecom giant that will bring gains for union members and end one of the nation’s largest work stoppages in recent history. The deal, announced Friday afternoon by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, reportedly includes a four-year contract between Verizon and its two biggest unions, CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Between the two labor groups, nearly 40,000 workers have been on strike since mid-April over charges that Verizon was refusing to grant basic protections such as fair contracts, stopping pension cuts, and preventing the offshoring of jobs. CWA president Chris Shelton said Friday that the “addition of new, middle-class...

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Trump Attacks Judge Overseeing The Case Against His Fake University: ‘He’s A Hater’

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – During a campaign stop in San Diego on Friday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump devoted a significant amount of time to attacking the federal judge overseeing the ongoing case against Trump University, suggesting the judge is a “hater” who is biased against him. The case against the real estate mogul’s now-defunct company, which has been accused of scamming students who were misled into paying money for insight from business experts they thought were hand-picked by Trump, is scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court shortly after the presidential election. According to his lawyer, Trump is planning on testifying. In what the Wall Street Journal characterized as an “extended tirade,” Trump spent 12 minutes of his 58-minute speech focused on the case and the California judge who will hear it. “I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s...

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The War on Black Lives Matter Escalates to Accusations of Aiding and Abetting Murder

by Frank Vyan Walton – This week Bill O’Reilly has decided to escalate his war on the Black Lives Matter movement by essentially arguing that the group is the source of a rise in the rate of black people being murdered across the U.S. believes there is clearly a “violent subculture in the African-American community” but he thinks that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is forcing a “false narrative” about black people being shot on the public. “Thousands more Americans are being murdered,” he said, “because police are being more passive since the Ferguson situation and the #BlackLivesMatter protests.” “There is a violent sub-culture in the African-American community that should be exposed and confronted,” he continued. “Enter the Black Lives Matter crew which roams around the country promoting a false narrative that police officers are actively hunting down and killing blacks.” And the interesting thing about this is that in order to justify...

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The Grand Inquisitor for Bill Clinton’s Sinning is Mired in a Sexual Abuse Scandal

by Libby Shaw – I am writing this blog post because the host of NPR’s  Texas Standard is curious as to why the reprehensible scandal at Baylor University is slipping from the news cycle. Why?  The host of Texas Standard believes it is because Baylor wins.  When I first moved to Texas, years ago, a friend told me to be prepared. For churches and football loom Texas oversized large here.  If this is so, and it is, in certain parts of the state, I guess when there is a monumental disgrace that involves a religious institution and football  but also includes, God forbid, criminal acts such as rape, sexual assault, along with a hot dash of denial to boot, everyone wants the infamy to go away as quickly as possible.  No! It can’t be!  Not here!  We are a Christian school! We have an honor code!  Students don’t drink and they certainly do not have sex. Those sinful acts take place everywhere else but here. Not so....

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New York City Homeless Take Action Against Police Efforts To Break Up Their Communities

by BRYCE COVERT – Last summer, the New York Police Department (NYPD) began a concerted effort to target a growing community of homeless people living on the streets of East Harlem, issuing “move along” orders and threatening arrest, tickets, or the destruction of their property if they didn’t comply. Now the homeless and advocates are fighting back against the practice. On Thursday, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a complaint on behalf of Picture the Homeless, an organization that represents many of those targeted in Harlem, calling on the city’s Commission on Human Rights to investigate the NYPD. It alleges that the enforcement efforts against the homeless, even if they haven’t broken any laws, violates the Community Safe Act, which prohibits “bias-based profiling,” because the police are targeting people based on their housing status. The group claims the complaint is the first major action brought under the act....

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At Least One Republican Is Taking A Stand Against Donald Trump

by AARON RUPAR – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are among the prominent establishment Republicans who not so long ago publicly expressed concern about Donald Trump’s character, but have recently indicated they’re setting those aside in hopes of installing a Republican — any Republican — in the White House. The party elite may be primarily interested in winning an election, but at least one Republican remains committed to the “Never Trump” cause. Her name is Katrina Elaine Jorgensen, and on Monday she announced she’s resigning from her position as Communications Chair with the Young Republicans National Federation, a national organization that works with registered Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40 and provides grassroots support for GOP candidates and conservative causes. “With the practically fulfilled nomination of Donald Trump as our presidential candidate, I can no longer continue...

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All the Presumptive Nominee’s Men

by MICHAEL WINSHIP – For a guy who yells about Washington and Wall Street money in politics, Donald Trump sure has a lot on insiders on his team Right after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, I flew off to Australia and New Zealand to attend a conference and take some vacation time. At the end of the long flight, when I got to Sydney, I picked up one of the local newspapers and read that the president-elect had chosen Rahm Emanuel, poster boy for corporate Democrats and the status quo, to be his chief of staff. Uh-oh, I thought. If Obama was choosing him to guide his administration, we probably could say goodbye to any dreams of a New Deal-style, aggressive agenda to cure the ills of our country. Emanuel was less the type to Keep Hope Alive and more the guy who holds Hope at arm’s length with a blackjack...

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The 4 Most Damning Revelations In Wisconsin’s Voter ID Trial

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – A federal court is currently weighing a case that could impact the right to vote for thousands of people in a crucial swing state in this November’s presidential election. A two-week trial examining the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law wrapped up this week, and a federal judge will issue a ruling by the end of July. The plaintiffs, a group of voters who have been personally impacted and the advocacy groups One Wisconsin Now and Citizen Action, are also challenging restrictions on early voting and the elimination of straight-ticket voting that Wisconsin Republicans have implemented over the past few years. Throughout the trial, former and current state officials, election law experts and individual voters offered damning testimony about both the purpose and impact of the laws, which they argue suppress the votes of people of color, students, the elderly, and the poor. Here are...

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On This Day, May 28, 1998 – Comic Phil Hartman Killed by Wife

On this day in 1998, the comedian and actor Phil Hartman, famous for his work on Saturday Night Live and NewsRadio, is shot to death by his troubled wife, Brynn, in a murder-suicide. He was 49. Born on September 24, 1948, in Ontario, Canada, Hartman was raised in Connecticut and Southern California, and later became an American citizen. Early on, he found work designing record album covers (he created the official logo for the rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) but made the leap to acting in 1975 when he joined the L.A. improvisational acting group, the Groundlings. With his fellow Groundlings alum, Paul Reubens, Hartman wrote the screenplay for the successful comedy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985). Along with Reubens, Hartman had helped create the zany man-child character of Pee Wee Herman, though Reubens received most of the credit. From 1986 to 1990, Hartman portrayed Kap’n Karl on...

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The Myth Of Donald Trump’s ‘Straight Talk’

by JUDD LEGUM – Donald Trump has, purportedly, captured the Republican nomination on the strength of his “straight talk” and his willingness to “give voice to people’s frustrations.” Under the Trump mythology, which he has studiously constructed through endless appearances on shows like Hannity and Morning Joe, he is a candidate who is never afraid to speak his mind. While other politicians obfuscate, Trump tells it like it is. The myth of Trump, however, does not survive a cursory examination of his stated positions. Confronted with a controversial topic, Trump frequently positions himself on both sides of the debate. The result may be an incoherent mess. But the strategy is easy to understand. On several issues, Trump would prefer to have it both ways. 1. Transgender bathroom use The use of bathrooms by trans people has become the latest front in the culture war. Some states, like North Carolina, have...

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When a Killer Cop Retires: The Resignation of Dante Servin

by Martinez Sutton, Aislinn Pulley and Kelly Hayes, Truthout | Op-Ed – On May 19, organizers and community members around the United States engaged in #SayHerName actions in support of women and femmes who have been harmed by state violence. This national day of action should have coincided with the start of the termination proceedings for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned on May 17, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin: as the last stage in his firing process. Dante Servin has literally gotten away with murder. For four years, Chicago activists and community members, led by Rekia’s family, have marched, protested, held teach-ins and attended Chicago Police Board meetings demanding that Servin be held accountable for taking Rekia’s young life. Every step of the way, Rekia’s family and supporters have been met with...

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600+ Writers Sign #NeverTrump Letter Because Dictatorship

The problem is that the letter goes too far. It’s that it doesn’t go far enough Over at Literary Hub, “an organizing principle in the service of literary culture,” about 600 writers ranging from Stephen King to Jane Smiley to Dave Eggers to Rita Dove have signed an open letter denouncing Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee, the signatories argue, “deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities.” And there’s this: as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;… we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;… the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;  It goes...

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Vince Foster’s Sister Is FURIOUS With Donald Trump

by Wendy Gittleson – Donald Trump has a strategy to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that’s to re-litigate decades of anti-Clinton conspiracy theories – theories that should have been put to bed years and years ago. The ugliest of those theories is that Hillary Clinton had her friend Vince Foster murdered – this despite the fact that numerous investigators, including Clinton attack dog Kenneth Starr, have said that Foster’s death was suicide and now his sister is speaking out. Here’s more on Trump’s accusation:  In an Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Sheila Foster Anthony, sister of Vince Foster, said this to Trump: It is beyond contempt that a politician would use a family tragedy to further his candidacy, but such is the character of Donald Trump displayed in his recent comments to The Washington Post. In this interview, Trump cynically, crassly and recklessly insinuated that my brother, Vincent W. Foster Jr., may...

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The Awesomely Affluent are Cheating Average Americans of More Than $400 Billion a Year in Federal Taxes

by SAM PIZZIGATI – Congress needs to subject the super rich to the same reporting and withholding standards as the rest of us The folks working for the federal government can do some incredible things. Over at NASA, for instance, they’re now putting the finishing touches on the new James Webb Space Telescope — an instrument The Washington Post says will be powerful enough “to capture the heat signature of a bumblebee on the moon.” Amazing. We can now spot a bug in space. So why can’t we spot people who cheat on their taxes right here in the US of A? A great many people, the IRS says in a new report, are stiffing Uncle Sam. Our federal “tax gap” — the disconnect between what taxpayers owe and what they eventually pay — is now averaging $406 billion a year. That eye-opening figure comes from the 17 percent of taxpayers who...

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New Mexico Officials Accused Of Forging Applications To Deny Poor People Emergency Food Stamps

by BRYCE COVERT – Kimberly Jones knows just how hard it is to wait for emergency food stamps to come through. New Mexico is supposed to grant people in dire financial situations expedited benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within seven days, rather than the 30 it takes to process regular applications. But it often doesn’t work out that way. At the end of last year, Jones, who was living in a hotel room because she couldn’t afford an apartment, applied for emergency benefits. But months passed without any word from the state’s Human Services Department (HSD), which oversees SNAP. Forced to decide between spending her meager income from her part-time job caring for a home-bound patient on either food or the hotel room, she spent it on the room, knowing that she needed somewhere to keep her belongings. So while she waited for help buying food, she...

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On This Day, May 27, 1940 – British Evacuation of Dunkirk Turns Savage

On this day in 1940, units from Germany’s SS Death’s Head division battle British troops just 50 miles from the port at Dunkirk, in northern France, as Britain’s Expeditionary Force continues to fight to evacuate France. After holding off an SS company until their ammo was spent, 99 Royal Norfolk Regiment soldiers retreated to a farmhouse in the village of Paradis, just 50 miles from the Dunkirk port. Ships waited there to carry home the British Expeditionary Force, which had been fighting alongside the French in its defensive war against the German invaders. Agreeing to surrender, the trapped regiment started to file out of the farmhouse, waving a white flag tied to a bayonet. They were met by German machine-gun fire. They tried again and the British regiment was ordered by an English-speaking German officer to an open field where they were searched and divested of everything from gas...

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GMOs Are Complicated, And Our Food System Is Not Designed To Handle Complicated. That’s A Problem

by NATASHA GEILING – This month, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) — an independent group created by Congress — released what is, to date, one of the most extensive reviews of genetically modified crops. The nearly 400-page report looks at everything from genetically modified crops’ potential impact on human health to their impact on the environment. It’s a massive, hulking piece of scientific literature — the panel spent two years pouring over more than 1,000 existing studies on genetically modified crops, interviewing 80 witnesses, and analyzing more than 700 comments submitted by the public. The report comes at an important time in the overall debate about GMOs and their place in the American food system. In a country almost constantly polarized, an overwhelming majority of Americans think that GMOs should be labeled. According to a Pew poll, more than half of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe. At the same time,...

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David Cay Johnston on Trump and his Ties to the Mob

by teacherken – in a piece in Politico dated May 22, with the title Just What Were Donald  Trump’s Ties to the Mob? with a subtitle that reads I’ve spent years investigating, and here’s what’s known. Before getting into what Johnson offers, which I strongly urge people to read, bookmark and pass on to any reachable Trump supporters (I know some are not), anyone paying attention in New York City when Trump was getting started, and really starting to build a fortune, knew that building in New York City meant dealing with the mob, particularly if you were building with concrete, as Trump did. Johnson  starts with Trump’s boast that when he got his license for Atlantic City gambling, he had been investigated and found “clean as a whistle” except he was only investigated for 6 months instead of the usual one year. The very next paragraph really sets the stage: But Trump was not clean...

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11 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders Lost this Thing Fair and Square

by kos – Bernie Sanders exceeded all primary season expectations and was en route to building something of a real movement. But rather than locking in those gains and settling in for a long-haul effort, he’s opted for a legacy-busting temper tantrum instead, heading out the (primary) door in a cloud of whining, conspiracy mongering, and blame casting. It’s a bizarre finale to what was undoubtedly an incredible run. So here are some observations, not because it matters—he’s lost—but because his claims of victimhood are absolute bullshit and need to be corrected. 1. If you plan for a coup, you’ve already lost Let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Sanders is trying to accomplish here—he knows he’s lost the election. He’s all but acknowledged it. Which is why he’s now focused so heavily on getting the establishment superdelegates to overturn the election in his favor. Like a despotic dictator, he is so...

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Conflicting Claims Cloud EgyptAir Crash Cause

Official’s claim of small size of body parts suggesting explosion on board Flight 804 is denied by head of forensics Egypt’s head of forensics has denied reports of a possible explosion on board the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, killing all 66 people on board. The Associated Press news agency had reported earlier on Tuesday, quoting an unnamed Egyptian forensics official, that human remains retrieved from the plane’s wreckage pointed to an explosion on board, even though no traces of explosives had been detected. The official based his assessment on the small size of body parts so far recovered from the area where flight 804 crashed on Thursday while en route from Paris to Cairo. “The size of the remains points towards an explosion, the biggest part was the size of a palm,” the forensics official said. EgyptAir Flight 804: Sisi says ‘all scenarios possible’ The official...

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Elizabeth Warren, Vowing to Stop Trump, Looms As a Democratic Unifier (VIDEO)

by EMILY SCHWARTZ GRECO – The progressive heroine signals that she could be the bridge between Sanders and Clinton Ana Maria Archila, one of the Center for Popular Democracy’s two co-executive directors, gleefully introduced Elizabeth Warren at her grassroots organization’s gala Tuesday night. Take A Look “I have a feeling she’s going to say some really deep stuff, some really inspiring stuff, some really tweetable stuff,” Archila told the diverse crowd of progressive policy wonks and community organizers assembled in the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill ballroom. “Those of you who tweet, get your thumbs together. Get ready because we are really going to hear something very, very awesome and important.” The senior senator from Massachusetts didn’t disappoint. Warren tore into Donald Trump, caricaturing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as a greedy narcissist. She questioned whether the billionaire real estate mogul ever pays a dime in taxes, dismissing him as “a...

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Trump Leading Hillary? McCain led Obama at Parallel Point in 2008—It’s Called a Nomination Bounce

by Ian Reifowitz – Donald Trump got a significant bump from wrapping up the Republican nomination a couple of weeks ago, while Hillary Clinton—even though she will be the nominee—still has a strong opponent in the race who is making the case against her, as well as against the fairness of the nomination process itself. Bernie Sanders has won most of the races this past month, and the chaos at the recent Nevada Democratic Convention only increased the bad blood. Negative feelings toward Clinton felt by some Sanders’ supporters are, without question, affecting the Clinton v. Trump poll numbers. Some percentage of Sanders voters are currently saying they are undecided, or voting for Trump or even, if there’s such an option in a given poll, “other” (i.e., Sanders). When the Democratic race is settled and both nominees are in a similar position regarding the supporters of their primary opponents, we’ll have a much...

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The Hill: Insiders Say Dems Likely to Fire Schultz from DNC Before Convention

by InteGritty – thehill.com/… Democrats backing likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton worry Wasserman Schultz has become too divisive a figure to unify the party in 2016, which they say is crucial to defeating presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in November. “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said one pro-Clinton Democratic senator…“I don’t see how she can continue to the election. How can she open the convention? Sanders supporters would go nuts,” said the lawmaker… Senate sources stress that a final decision won’t be made until Clinton and Sanders negotiate some type of deal aimed at healing the party. Obama is expected to be the key broker for that deal. Further, The Hill’s sources agreed, the recent convention platform committee re-structuring Clinton/Sanders compromise was an effort to wrest convention control away from DWS. But it is being viewed...

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Rahm Emanuel Is Still Scrambling To Fix Chicago’s Police Problem

by CARIMAH TOWNES – It’s been six months since the video of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting put a national spotlight on police brutality and corruption in Chicago, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still grappling with how to restore trust of the city’s officers. After replacing the head of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) to review and overhaul the agency, which has long colluded with Chicago officers instead of holding them accountable, Emanuel wants to scrap the police oversight body altogether. Emanuel recently proposed an ordinance to dismantle IPRA and replace it with a civilian-run investigative agency and public safety inspector general to closely monitor and audit the CPD. The specific details of the ordinance have not been revealed yet, so it is unclear who will sit on the proposed oversight board, how members would be selected, and the extent to which the new board can go after cops. But the proposed...

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Hillary Clinton Broke Government Transparency Rules While Secretary Of State, Report Finds

by LAUREN C. WILLIAMS – Hillary Clinton ran afoul of a federal record keeping law meant to help government agencies be more transparent when she used a private email server to conduct official business, according to a new State Department compliance report given to lawmakers Wednesday. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that while the State Department suffers from “systemic weaknesses…that go well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state,” Clinton’s office — as well as that of her predecessors — have been recalcitrant in managing cybersecurity risks. The OIG investigated the cybersecurity practices of five former state secretaries: Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. But the agency singled out Clinton for her exclusive use of a private email server. “Sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such...

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Elizabeth Warren HILARIOUSLY Continues Battle With Trump, ROASTS Reputation With Women (VIDEO)

by Sarah – If you haven’t heard about the ongoing battle between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren then you’re clearly living under a rock, or possibly a newborn baby. They’ve been going back and forth on Twitter, in speeches, and every time he tries to call her “goofy” or “Pocahontas” (because he’s apparently five years old) she smacks him down harder and harder. During her commencement address at Suffolk University this past weekend, Warren went after him yet again. Taking a brilliant dig, because let’s face it, she’s brilliant, Warren said: “How’s this speech polling so far? Higher or lower than Donald Trump’s unfavorable numbers with women?” If you weren’t aware, Trump isn’t doing so well with women, polling at 70% unfavorable. But can we be all that surprised? He’s very misogynistic, constantly calling women names, and him going after Warren and then Hillary Clinton for actually being a woman, is...

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High-Ranking Official Reveals How Pentagon Punishes Whistleblowers

by Nika Knight – A DoD official blows the whistle on how the U.S. government has repeatedly—and illegally—quashed whistleblowers Pentagon officials tasked with protecting whistleblowers have lied under oath, illegally destroyed documents, and gone out of their way to ruin people’s careers and lives for attempting to raise concerns about government abuses of power, according to a high-ranking Department of Defense (DoD) official, John Crane, who went public with his story on Sunday. Crane’s explosive revelations are being released in coordination by the Guardian, Der Spiegel, and Newsweek Japan. “We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories,” whistleblower Edward Snowden responded to Crane’s revelations in the Guardian. “Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy—recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the...

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Syria Civil War: ISIL Bombs Rock Assad-Held Cities

String of car bombs and suicide attacks hits hospital entrance, bus station and other places in Syria’s Latakia More than 120 people have been killed in multiple attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group in areas controlled by the Syrian government, a monitoring group said. Syrian state TV also reported the attacks, putting the death toll at 78. Simultaneous car bombs and suicide bombers hit bus stations, hospitals and elsewhere in the coastal cities of Tartus and Jableh in Latakia province on Monday, appearing to severely breach government defences, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Footage broadcast by the state-run Ikhbariya news channel of what it said were scenes of the blasts in Jableh showed several twisted and incinerated cars and minivans. Pictures circulated om social media showed dead bodies in the back of pick-up vans and charred body parts on...

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Trump Took Federal Money Meant For Small Businesses Affected By 9/11 Attacks

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Trump is a millionaire who clearly doesn’t need federal money for his businesses, but he took it anyway, even though it was supposed to go to small businesses that were devastated by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. When the twin towers fell that day, it did significant damage to many area businesses. Many businesses were wiped out entirely because they were based within the World Trade Center. In the aftermath, people avoided the area and area businesses struggled to survive the economic hit. That why Congress tried to come to their rescue by passing a recovery program earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars meant to help small businesses that were affected by the attacks. However, small businesses that could have been helped were actually shortchanged because wealthy corporations ended up getting awarded millions of dollars despite not being near Ground Zero. Donald...

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With Women and Doctors in Danger, House GOP Called to End ‘Witch Hunt’

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘We disgrace ourselves by allowing this misconduct to continue,’ 178 House Democrats say in letter to Speaker Paul Ryan Backed by key women’s health and civil liberties groups, 178 House Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to Republican Speaker Paul Ryan demanding he disband an anti-choice investigative panel that has been issuing subpoenas to abortion providers and medical researchers around the country. The so-called “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives” was created to look into fetal tissue research in the wake of last summer’s video smear campaign by anti-abortion activists that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials admitting to selling fetal body parts. In January, a grand jury impaneled to investigate those charges indicted the anti-abortion activists for fraud instead. Women’s health and academic freedom advocates have long warned that the panel could have a chilling effect on both the provision of healthcare and university research. But the panel’s...

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