On This Day, June 30, 1934 – Hitler Launches the Night of the Long Knives

1934 – Adolf Hitler purged the Nazi Party by destroying the SA and bringing to power the SS in the “Night of the Long Knives.” By 1934 Adolf Hitler appeared to have complete control over Nazi Germany, but like most dictators, he constantly feared that he might be ousted by others who wanted his power. To protect himself from a possible coup, Hitler used the tactic of divide and rule and encouraged other leaders such as Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Ernst Röhm to compete with each other for senior positions. One of the consequences of this policy was that these men developed a dislike for each other. Röhm was particularly hated because as leader of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) he had tremendous power and had the potential to remove any one of his competitors. Goering and Himmler asked Reinhard Heydrich to assemble a dossier on Röhm....

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Ted Strickland’s Principled Change of Heart on Gun Safety

by Joan McCarter – Back in the early 1990s, when he was in the U.S. House, Ted Strickland wasn’t a reliable vote on gun safety. To the contrary, he voted against the Brady Bill in 1993 and the 1994 assault weapons ban. Even in 2010, he used those gun votes in his re-election campaign for governor, which he lost. But then in 2012, things changed for him. But a spate of mass shootings caused soul searching, he said. After 26—including 20 children—were killed in an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Strickland called for a commission to consider the nation’s gun laws, telling the Wooster Daily Record, “there needs to be a recognition that we cannot continue to lose thousands and thousands of innocent people to gun violence.”Strickland now supports expanding background checks to people buying guns at gun shows or on the internet. He also supports a Democrat-sponsored amendment banning suspected terrorists...

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More Trump Victims Surface As Condo Scam Is Revealed, Millions Lost As He Profited (VIDEO)

by Oliver Willis – Donald Trump has a pattern of business behavior that he has repeated several times over his career when he isn’t on a reality show pretending to be a billionaire genius. A loud, splashy launch of a project followed by a high pressure sales job that dazzles prospective customers, followed by mismanagement and poor business decisions that result in a failed business but somehow Trump makes money for himself. The pattern has repeated itself with Trump University, Trump Steaks, Trump Magazine, and now the Los Angeles Times has revealed the seedy underbelly of Trump Ocean Resort, a condo community that was supposed to be built in Baja with homes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Guess what happened next? In the end, nothing at all was built at Trump Ocean Resort, and Simms lost her money. As did about 250 other buyers, most of them from Southern California. All told,...

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Michigan Drug Tested The Poor But Wound Up With Zero Positive Results

by BRYCE COVERT – In the eight months that Michigan has been running a pilot program to drug test applicants and recipients of its welfare program, not a single person has tested positive, according to preliminary results. The program began in October in three different counties, instituting a 50-question screening questionnaire that can prompt officials to order a drug test. As of May, 303 people who applied for benefits or were already receiving them participated, but they turned up zero positive drug test results. An applicant can refuse a test, forfeiting benefits if he or she does, and some argue that low positive testing rates can be due to those who abuse drugs simply declining to get tested. But no one in Michigan’s pilot program refused to take a test. The legislature appropriated $300,000 to run the pilot program, although a spokesperson for the department that oversees the welfare program...

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Billboard With Reagan Quote Stands Outside GOP Convention, And Conservatives REALLY Won’t Like It

by Rika Christensen – The GOP convention is drawing all sorts, including nutbags like this one on YouTube. It’s also drawing those who believe the GOP’s policies are a major departure from what this country was supposed to be, despite all their claims that they want us to be exactly that. Because of that, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has a billboard up near their venue with a quote from none other than St. Reagan himself, and conservatives will absolutely despise it. This is the billboard below: FFRF @FFRF FFRF quotes Reagan in Cleveland message to GOP convention… http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/26994-ffrf-quotes-reagan-in-cleveland-message-to-gop-convention#sthash.Mx2A6lQP.dpuf … 3:25 PM – 27 Jun 2016 The point is clear: Keep church and state separate. Over the last couple of decades, Republicans have worked hard to entangle civil law with biblical law, and they hope to keep us from knowing the difference. Pea-brains like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, James Inhofe, and...

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Trump Said ‘Ask The Family’ Of A Benghazi Victim About Clinton’s Judgment, So Someone Did

by John Prager – “Be careful what you wish for” is an age-old adage. Earlier this month, Donald Trump tweeted that “if you want to know about Hillary Clinton’s honesty and judgement,” all you need to do is “ask the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens,” who died in the horrific terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2009. via FreakOutNation So, someone did On Tuesday, after the House Benghazi Committee released its report on the attacks — a report that once again exonerated Clinton and confirmed that the numerous hearings are simply a waste of taxpayer dollars aimed at smearing the 2016 Democratic nominee — Ambassador Stevens’ sister spoke to the New Yorker about the hearings, and Trump has likely dissolved into a steaming pile of seething rage over her remarks. Dr. Anne Stevens, who serves as her family’s spokesperson, made it very clear that no matter what Republicans say, Hillary Clinton is...

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Yet More Good Abortion News from the Supreme Court

by Meteor Blades – On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-3 ruling Monday that overturned provisions of a Texas law that would otherwise have closed half of the state’s remaining 19 abortion clinics, there was more good news in the fallout Tuesday. The Court announced that it would not hear appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin regarding similar provisions in their own laws. The provision in both states mandated that physicians at abortion clinics be required to have “admitting privileges” at nearby hospitals. In the Texas ruling—Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt—the Court rejected the admitting privileges provision as well as another mandating that abortion clinics be built and equipped like mini-hospitals. The majority’s reasoning held that the law “places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion” and “constitutes an undue burden on abortion access.” By declining to hear the cases, the Supremes upheld the Wisconsin ruling last November by the 7th...

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The Supreme Court’s ‘Wise Latina’ Notches Her First Key Victory

by IAN MILLHISER – Twenty-five years ago on Wednesday, the greatest lawyer of the twentieth century confronted his own mortality. “I’m old,” Justice Thurgood Marshall told a room full of reporters. “I’m getting old and falling apart.” The man who time and time again had forced Jim Crow to retreat using only the power of his own arguments was leaving the Supreme Court. Justice Marshall’s retirement left a void on the nation’s highest Court for nearly two decades. Marshall was, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the year after his retirement, “a man who knew the anguish of the silenced and gave them a voice.” This was a man who’d personally faced lynch mobs while struggling to save innocent black men from a death sentence, a lawyer of unmatched skill and poise who was chased out of Southern towns with warnings that “n*ggers ain’t welcome in these parts after dark.”...

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On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites Are Worlds Apart

About four-in-ten blacks are doubtful that the U.S. will ever achieve racial equality Almost eight years after Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president –an event that engendered a sense of optimism among many Americans about the future of race relations1 – a series of flashpoints around the U.S. has exposed deep racial divides and reignited a national conversation about race. A new Pew Research Center survey finds profound differences between black and white adults in their views on racial discrimination, barriers to black progress and the prospects for change. Blacks, far more than whites, say black people are treated unfairly across different realms of life, from dealing with the police to applying for a loan or mortgage. And, for many blacks, racial equality remains an elusive goal. An overwhelming majority of blacks (88%) say the country needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal...

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Trump’s Flip-Flop: Now He’s Complaining That Obama Deports Too Many People

by Wendy Gittleson – Donald Trump appears to be backing off on his pledge to deport immigrants, at least he appeared to be earlier on Saturday. Instead, Trump is accusing Obama of being too anti-immigrant. Yes, you read that right. In an interview in Scotland, he said that he would limit deportations to countries with known terrorists and he would start over again on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He toned down his usual xenophobic rhetoric to say that his policies would have “heart,” unlike, according to him, President Obama. “President Obama has mass deported vast numbers of people — the most ever, and it’s never reported. I think people are going to find that I have not only the best policies, but I will have the biggest heart of anybody,” Trump said. Pressed on whether he would issue “mass deportations,” Trump answered: “No, I would not call it mass deportations.”...

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God, Gays, Guns And Orlando

by Terrance Heath – The tragedy in Orlando reveals that the three issues that once made up the Republican’s “winning formula” may have finally ripened into political poison for the GOP. In 1994, James Inhofe told Oklahoma voters that the senate race could be summed up in “the three Gs — God, Gays, and Guns.” Inhofe, whose victory propelled him into the senate the same year that Republicans took both houses of Congress, wasn’t just summarizing the Oklahoma senate race. He identified the major support beams of the GOPs “culture war” platform that had a significant impact on politics throughout the 1990s, and delivered significant victories for Republicans well into the 2000s. It was defined by an insistence that government endorse and enforce conservative Christian morality, codify anti-gay discrimination and prohibit LGBT equality, and allow almost unrestricted access to guns. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, hate crime, and...

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The Trump Campaign is Likely Regretting Asking this Fierce Scottish MP for an Illegal Donation

by Jen Hayden –   Dear Donald J. Trump Jr. Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to UK parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me. Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking foreign nationals for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror. The U.S. elections are a matter for the American people, but I do send my hope that they reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box, not just to protect and improve the cohesion in society, to stop his corrosive othering of immigrants and for the protection of hard fought women’s rights in the U.S. but also, selfishly, for world security, and international relations. The thought of his reactionary type of politics and apparent ignorance of world affairs having access to a seat at the world table is...

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Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee Collapses…and It’s Time To Move On

by Scan – It’s unusual to see back-to-back headlines here, but this from the New York Times says it all: And for good measure, here’s the first sentence: Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead. Clinton responds: The Situation Room ✔@CNNSitRoom Hillary Clinton on #Benghazi: It’s “pretty clear” it’s time to move on http://cnn.it/291XsMI  1:36 PM – 28 Jun 2016 Her campaign responds via spokesman Brian Fallon: “The Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee are finishing their work in the same, partisan way that we’ve seen from them since the beginning. In refusing to issue its report on a bipartisan basis, the Committee is breaking from the precedent set by other Congressional...

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What the Supreme Court Ruling Means for U.S. Abortion Access

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown – The Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt could affect laws around the U.S. In its first significant abortion ruling since 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday held that Texas abortion regulations were unconstitutional. As Damon Root noted here earlier, the 2013 Texas statute, known as H.B. 2, was “one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the United States.” With four liberal-leaning justices and three strict conservatives on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing voter in this case, and his siding against the state of Texas tipped the scales to Whole Women’s Health clinic favor by a vote of 5-3. The decision means Texas can’t require all abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital nor force abortion clinics to meet surgical-center standards regardless of whether they perform surgical abortions. With similar regulations recently passed—and challenged in court—across the country, the Court’s ruling...

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House Rules Committee Chair Says Democrats Should Be Investigated For Gun Control Sit-In

by KIRA LERNER – The Republican chair of the House Rules Committee is calling for an investigation into whether Democrats violated any House rules when they staged a 25-hour sit-in last week to demand that the body consider gun-related legislation after the Orlando shooting. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) said on a Texas news program Sunday that Democrats should be “held accountable” for the sit-in, which was led by Democratic Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-GA). Lewis and close to 170 of his colleagues held the floor for most of Wednesday and into Thursday to demand a vote on legislation to ban people on the “terrorist watch list” from purchasing firearms. The House members took turns telling personal stories about gun violence, chanting and singing, and calling on their colleagues to hold a formal debate on the bill before the July 4 break. “There was a complete lack...

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On This Day, June 29, 1967 – Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

1972 – In Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court rules by a vote of 5-4 that capital punishment, as it is currently employed on the state and federal level, is unconstitutional. The majority held that, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the death penalty qualified as “cruel and unusual punishment,” primarily because states employed execution in “arbitrary and capricious ways,” especially in regard to race. It was the first time that the nation’s highest court had ruled against capital punishment. However, because the Supreme Court suggested new legislation that could make death sentences constitutional again, such as the development of standardized guidelines for juries that decide sentences, it was not an outright victory for opponents of the death penalty. In 1976, with 66 percent of Americans still supporting capital punishment, the Supreme Court acknowledged progress made in jury guidelines and reinstated the death penalty under...

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On This Day, June 28, 1914 – Archduke Ferdinand Assassinated

On this day in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are shot to death by a Bosnian Serb nationalist during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The killings sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I by early August. On June 28, 1919, five years to the day after Franz Ferdinand’s death, Germany and the Allied Powers signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially marking the end of World War I. The archduke traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908. The annexation had angered Serbian nationalists, who believed the territories should be part of Serbia. A group of young nationalists hatched a plot to kill the archduke during his visit to Sarajevo, and after some missteps, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip was able to shoot...

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The GOP’s Zika Bill Could Actually Limit Access to Contraception and Abortion

by CELISA CALACAL – In the midst of the Democratic House sit-in Wednesday night protesting inaction on gun control, the GOP rushed to divert attention by passing a proposal to combat the spread of Zika — the mosquito-borne virus that’s causing concern in the public health community because it’s most harmful to pregnant women. In the aftermath of the sit-in, which attracted national attention, GOP leaders have characterized the Zika bill as a more important priority than bringing gun control legislation to a vote. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said it was a “significant step” to battling Zika, and other Republicans have expressed similar support for the bill. “Given the urgency of the Zika threat, I hope Senate Democrats will rise above politics so we can get this done,” Ryan said. There’s just one catch: the bill doesn’t get to the heart of solving the problem for women who...

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Clinton’s Gamble on Gun Safety is Paying Off (VIDEO)

by Sher Watts Spooner – Last fall, after the latest mass shooting—this one at an Oregon community college that killed nine people—Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton decided to go all in on the gun issue. No doubt it was a personal as well as a political decision. This is not a new issue for Clinton. She has been working against gun violence since she was first lady and continued as a New York senator. She co-sponsored legislation to close gun show loopholes and ban assault weapons, and voted against immunity for gun dealers and manufacturers. But it came with political risk. Guns always have been a divisive issue, and various media—mostly on the conservative side (you’ll pardon me for not providing links)—predicted that gun safety would be a losing issue for her in the general election. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of people in this country want common-sense...

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The Cult Called the Republican Party

by Libby Shaw – This should come as no surprise to those of us in Texas.  Ever since G.W. Bush replaced Ann Richards as the Governor the GOP has evolved into a cult comprised of crony capitalists, crooks, clowns and mean-spirited dumb bunnies. Just when we think we’ve seen the worse of the worst of Texas Republican politics, it gets even worse.  Greg Abbott is more cruel and cynical than Rick Perry because Abbott is completely bereft of human compassion and empathy.  A passive aggressively angry, insecure man he panders to conspiracy theorists and secessionists.  Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is a cut above a carnival huckster with his right wing hoaxes and hypocrisy. The Attorney General, Ken Paxton is an indicted felon.  The Agricultural Commissioner, Sid Miller, bills the state to pay for his “Jesus” shots (whatever those are) in Oklahoma.  The Land Commissioner, George P. Bush (son of Jeb), pays employees after he fires them so they won’t sue the Land office.  P. hired his friends...

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Five Immigration Actions Obama Should Take Before Leaving Office

by Carl Lipscombe, Truthout | Op-Ed – Comprehensive immigration reform has failed. Millions of immigrants have been deported. President Obama’s executive action programs are in limbo. As President Obama enters his final six months in office, his legacy on immigration has yet to be determined. Will he go down as the savior who stretched the limits of his power to provide relief for millions of Dreamers? Or as the Trojan Horse who rode in promising hope and change while opening the door to raids on immigrant families, communities and record deportations? If President Obama wants to rescue his immigration legacy while shedding the lame duck president stereotype, he should take bold, decisive action on immigration. Here are some ideas: 1. Take a stand against the 1996 laws that criminalized millions of immigrants. Over the last year the Obama administration has taken stands against the war on drugs and the war on crime, acknowledging both as...

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Harvard Study Confirms Anti-Clinton Media Bias

by capkronos – An interesting new study about media bias was conducted recently by Harvard. The results perhaps aren’t all that surprising to those of us who’ve been closely following press coverage throughout the primary process, but go a long way in shedding light on several key issues. Most notable among these are Clinton’s downward trajectory in the “likability” department but also the fact the media has done a disservice to not only Clinton but also Sanders, supporters of both candidates and the party in general. A new report released this week by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy found Clinton has received far more negative coverage than any other candidate in the race thus far. The study was based on an analysis of news statements from CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. “Far more negative?” More like insanely more negative! The study found that 84 percent of Clinton’s coverage...

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Justice Thomas Argues That Convicted Domestic Abusers Need Easier Access To Guns

by LAUREL RAYMOND – Today the Supreme Court handed down two decisions: The first is a monumental, headline-grabbing defeat for anti-abortion groups. The second is a highly technical case about gun rights that’s being mostly overlooked. In the dissenting opinion for the latter case, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argues that convicted domestic abusers have been defrauded of their right to deadly weapons. At-issue in Voisine v. United States is a technical question of whether two men with convictions for “reckless” domestic assault fall under a federal law prohibiting people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from possessing a firearm. The law prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms wasn’t the question under discussion — instead, the question was how far that law reached over certain states’ differing domestic assault laws. Justice Thomas, however, was very concerned in arguments about the broader law that domestic abusers at large can’t...

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Elizabeth Warren Skewers Donald Trump For Cheering For Financial Setbacks That Benefit Him (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Senator Elizabeth Warren continued her crusade against Donald Trump on Monday and she did not hold back. Upon voting to exit the European Union last week, Britain sparked a $2.1 trillion loss across global markets as the Republican nominee cheered. And Warren did not like that one bit, because the financial downturn will affect ordinary Americans more than it affects him. So during a stop in Ohio with Hillary Clinton, Warren tore into Trump in defense of all the Americans who may experience setbacks of their own due to the Brexit vote. “Donald Trump says he’ll make America great again,” she began. “It’s stamped on the front of his goofy hat. You wanna see goofy, look at him in that hat. When Donald Trump says ‘great,’ I say, ‘Great for who, exactly?’ For millions of kids struggling to pay for an education? For millions...

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FEC Rules Huckabee Must Pay $25,000 of his Own Money for Using ‘Eye of the Tiger’

by Jen Hayden – While campaigning to woo America’s most gullible voters, Mike Huckabee held a campaign stop outside a Kentucky jail on the day Rowan County Kim Davis was released. She went straight from the jail to the stage, with Huckabee lauding her release as a victory for “freedom of religion,” vowing to fight to overturn marriage equality. Mike Huckabee gave an enthusiastic introduction to the embroiled county clerk and the song “Eye of the Tiger” was blaring from the loudspeakers as she made her way to the stage (video below). The band Survivor was not happy and they sued Mike Huckabee for copyright infringement. They settled out of court, but Huckabee tried to pass the $25,000 off to his failed presidential campaign: They settled out of court, and it came to light when Huckabee listed the $25,000 cost as a campaign expense on federal election records. A payment to Rude Music is listed as...

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The Right To Choose Survives! Texas Anti-Abortion Law Struck Down By Supreme Court

by IAN MILLHISER – The Supreme Court struck down a Texas anti-abortion law on Monday that threatened to shut down the overwhelming majority of the state’s abortion clinics. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt concerns HB 2, a law which combined expensive architectural and other requirements for clinics with difficult-to-obtain credentialing requirements for abortion providers. Had the law been upheld, at least 32 of the 40 abortion clinics that existed in Texas prior to the law were expected to shut down. HB 2, moreover, was masterminded by Americans United for Life (AUL), a sophisticated anti-abortion group that drafts model legislation for state lawmakers eager to restrict reproductive choice. Overruling Roe v. Wade, AUL claims on their website, “can be accomplished through deliberate, legal strategies that accumulate victories, build momentum, and restore a culture of life.” HB 2, and the Whole Woman’s Health litigation that arose to challenge the law, was one...

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On This Day, June 27, 1988 – Tyson Knocks Out Spinks

On June 27, 1988, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson knocks out challenger Michael Spinks 91 seconds into the first round. The decisive victory left the boxing world wondering if anyone could beat “Iron Mike” Tyson. Mike Tyson was born on June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York. He had a troubled childhood in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, an area known for its poverty and high crime. As a child he often skipped school, spending his time on Brownsville’s streets engaging in petty crimes. Tyson responded violently to his peers’ teasing about his high, lisping voice, which led to several stints in juvenile detention centers. He was eventually sent to a reform school near Catskill, New York, where he was discovered by legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato. D’Amato became a father figure to “Iron” Mike and a stabilizing force in his life: He took the young fighter into his home and dedicated...

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Bad News for Trump: ABC/WaPo Poll – 81% of Sanders Backers Have Already Rallied to Hillary, in JUNE!

by floridageorge – Bernie supporters have rallied to Hillary in huge numbers.  That’s bad news for Donald Trump, as he was hoping to make a play for these voters. Donald Trump’s bad month just got worse, because Sanders backers just rallied to Clinton Donald Trump would like for Bernie Sanders supporters to ditch the Democratic Party and support him. There is very little evidence that they will do that, mind you, but it’s certainly possible that they might just stay home — which would help Trump. Well, we have some bad news for the Trump campaign. Sanders supporters aren’t just rallying around Clinton; they’re doing it rather quickly. And it’s a big reason Clinton just extended her lead over Trump into the double digits, 51 percent to 39 percent. This was to be expected.  The agendas of both Bernie and Hillary are very similar, only separated by degree and idea behind finding a...

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The First Step to Ending the War in Syria is to Stop Killing (VIDEO)

by PHYLLIS BENNIS – With a Syrian refugee crisis underway for the last five years, we need to get serious about diplomacy, Bennis tells the Real News Network “Whatever else you’re trying to do when you’re trying to end a war, don’t kill more people,” Phyllis Bennis told the Real News Network in an interview during the People’s Summit. Bennis outlined four highlights of a foreign policy doctrine for dealing with Syria. 1. Stop the killing—Withdraw the troops, get the boots off the ground “There’s 6,000 troops in Iraq that we know about, at least 350 in Syria. There’s probably others,” Bennis said. “Maybe they don’t wear boots, maybe they wear sneakers. They’re forces and the CIA. Get them out. They’re not helping.” 2. Stop selling, giving, and sending arms to everyone who claims they’re against Assad or ISIS “Half of those arms still end up in ISIS’s hands and it doesn’t work....

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Trump, His Virus and the Dark Age of Unreason

by BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP – He’s the latest in a long line of American demagogues but has come closest to the White House. That makes him the most dangerous of them all There’s a virus infecting our politics and right now it’s flourishing with a scarlet heat. It feeds on fear, paranoia and bigotry. All that was required for it to spread was a timely opportunity — and an opportunist with no scruples. There have been stretches of history when this virus lay dormant. Sometimes it would flare up here and there, then fade away after a brief but fierce burst of fever. At other moments, it has spread with the speed of a firestorm, a pandemic consuming everything in its path, sucking away the oxygen of democracy and freedom. Today its carrier is Donald Trump, but others came before him: narcissistic demagogues who lie and distort in pursuit...

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Passing a New Rubicon on Gun Violence and Terrorism

by Frank Vyan Walton – This has been quite a week.  Truly.  It feels almost as if the country is in the midst of an upheaval, one almost as great as the change and trauma we endured following the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.  As great, if not greater, than what we survived following the bombing of the Boston marathon. We do live in interesting times. I do not believe I can fully summarize all that has occurred in the last 7-8 days completely. I do not believe I can fully expressed all the emotions this weeks has generated, but I do feel a need to at least try to talk about some of the highlights, and the lowlights, and attempt to make some sense of it all and offer, humbly, a bit of commentary and suggestions. The first thing I want to point out is...

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Europe’s Most Powerful Leader Is Trying To Hit The Brakes On Brexit

by JUSTIN SALHANI – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she sees no reason to speed up Britain’s departure from the European Union. Her comments are a departure from comments made yesterday by six EU foreign ministers, including Germany’s own foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Quite honestly, it should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time frame,” Merkel told a news conference, according to Reuters. “The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate. Britain will remain a close partner, with which we are linked economically.” Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU wanted Britain to trigger article 50 as soon as possible “so we don’t end up in an extended limbo period”. The process may take longer than the EU ministers would like, however, as David Cameron is set to step aside as Prime Minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked members...

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Tennessee Judge Ignores Supreme Court, Rules Parental Rights Apply Only To ‘Husbands’

by JOSH ISRAEL – Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its historic Obergefell ruling, bringing marriage equality to every part of the nation. But on Friday, a Tennessee judge decided that the protections need not apply in his courtroom, refusing to recognize the parental rights of a mother in a same-sex divorce case because she is not the biological parent. Though Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion held that no state may discriminate against same-sex couples in the licensing and recognition of marriage — and the rights and responsibilities that accompany it — the case included a specific challenge to Tennessee’s same-sex marriage ban. “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry,” Kennedy wrote. “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant...

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Don’t Fret: The House Democrats’ Sit-in on Gun Violence is a Genius Move—and it’s Already Working

by David Nir – House Democrats began a historic sit-in on the floor of Congress Wednesday, with the stated aim of forcing Republican Speaker Paul Ryan to bring two measures to curb gun violence up for a vote: one bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, and another to prevent anyone on the government’s terrorism watch list from purchasing guns. But the sit-in’s true goal is something entirely different: to showcase the Republican Party’s refusal to pass reasonable gun safety legislation, thereby damaging the GOP’s standing with voters and helping Democrats win back Congress—when then they’ll be able to actually pass new gun regulations. Democrats know that Ryan won’t capitulate. He’ll simply never allow the minority to dictate what bills get voted on in the House. And even if he did permit a vote, the proposals would never win a majority. We just saw this happen in the Senate, where...

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Why ISIS Must Love Trump

by Peter Certo – While Muslims prayed for Orlando, the GOP nominee urged his followers to reach for their guns As the sun set over New York on June 12, hundreds of Muslims gathered in Hudson River Park to break their Ramadan fast together. Iftar, the evening Ramadan meal, is often a joyous celebration of faith and family. But the mood that Sunday was solemn: That morning, news had broken of the ghastly massacre of LGBTQ revelers at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. A lone Muslim had allegedly perpetrated the attack. Here by the Hudson, over 200 knelt in prayer. “We’re praying for those who were lost,” one woman explained in a video circulated by the Huffington Post, her voice breaking. “As Muslims, we’re united in our outrage over this senseless act of violence.” Meanwhile, an Orlando imam condemned terrorism as un-Islamic and affirmed his belief that “Islam teaches peace.” The Florida...

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Clinton Skyrockets To 13.3 Point Lead Over Donald Trump in Latest Poll

by Ryan Denson – The polls are not looking good for Donald Trump – and he’s the king of polls. Hillary Clinton leads him in Arizona, Kansas and Georgia and Florida, ties him in Texas and North Carolina, and is now leading him nationally in a new blowout poll. According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, Clinton leads Donald Trump by a staggering 14 points: The June 20-24 poll showed that 46.6 percent of likely American voters supported Clinton while 33.3 percent supported Trump. Another 20.1 percent said they would support neither candidate. Trump had enjoyed a brief boost in support following the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, as he doubled down on his pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country, cutting Clinton’s lead to nine points… Clinton’s 13.3 percentage point lead is about the same as she had before the Orlando attack. So after exploiting a national tragedy...

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Confronting the NRA: Knowing Where to Start

by Aniqa Raihan – December 14, 2012. Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza murdered his mother in her bed and then drove her car to the local elementary school, where he embarked on a shooting spree that left 20 first-grade students and 6 educators dead. In April 2013, the US Senate voted down a proposal to expand background checks to gun shows and online sales. The National Rifle Association, the most powerful gun lobby in the country, spent over $500,000 on advertisements opposing the amendment. Only 4 Republican Senators crossed the aisle to vote for gun reform, while 4 Democrats up for re-election in conservative states voted against. June 12, 2016. Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen entered a popular gay nightclub armed with two legally acquired, high capacity weapons. Three hours later, 50 were dead and 53 more were injured. A week later, the US Senate voted down another 4 proposals for gun reform....

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The Next Citizens United Is Coming

by CARRIE LEVINE – The architect of the original blockbuster case is angling for another campaign-money victory Most Americans last heard from conservative lawyer James Bopp six years ago when he crafted a case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that won the Supreme Court’s favor and helped uncork a torrent of cash — some of it secret — that continues pouring into elections. But Bopp is back. The Terre Haute, Indiana-based attorney, who was literally laughed at by a judge when he made his first arguments in Citizens United, is now the lead lawyer in the most prominent of a series of lawsuits attempting to further destroy political contribution limits. The case, brought by the Republican Party of Louisiana, addresses restrictions on how state and local political parties use “soft money” contributions to influence federal elections. Bopp’s clients argue that if independent outside groups such as super PACs are permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of...

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The Most Overrated Intellect In Washington

by IAN MILLHISER – Remember 2009? Glenn Beck was a ratings bonanza for Fox News. Sarah Palin, with her false warnings of looming “death panels,” was a thought leader in conservative circles. Groups opposed to the Affordable Care Act poured angry supporters into lawmakers’ town halls, arming them with advice like “be disruptive early and often,” “try to ‘rattle him,’ not have an intelligent debate,” and “watch for an opportunity to yell.” It was not a high point for intellectual discourse within the American right. Amidst this cacophony, Paul Ryan appeared like a beacon of light. Personable and soft-spoken, capable of stringing together numbers in a way that sounds impressive, Ryan was the yin to a movement drunk on its own yang. And he soon milked his own novelty — a tea partier! who is also a policy wonk! — to become the toast of the political commentariat. Conservative writer...

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On This Day, June 26, 1948 – The Berlin Airlift Begins

1948 – U.S. and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is isolated by a Soviet Union blockade. When World War II ended in 1945, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, though located within the Soviet zone of occupation, was also split into four sectors, with the Allies taking the western part of the city and the Soviets the eastern. In June 1948, Josef Stalin’s government attempted to consolidate control of the city by cutting off all land and sea routes to West Berlin in order to pressure the Allies to evacuate. As a result, beginning on June 24 the western section of Berlin and its 2 million people were deprived of food, heating fuel and other crucial supplies. Though some in U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s administration called for a...

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New York Just Made Using Ticket Bots A Felony

by JESSICA GOLDSTEIN – You have probably had a problem with ticket bots. The automated software — though it is more fun to imagine them as actual robots — allows individuals to purchase oodles of tickets to a show, concert, or game the millisecond the sale begins. No matter how quick your clicking finger is, you’re no match for that Ex Machina-lite technology in the hands of sneaky scalpers. Fortunately for non-robot ticket-buyers, the New York State Assembly just passed legislation to criminalize ticket bots. A statement from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie explains that the civil penalties for using ticket bots will be “strengthened.” The legislation also creates “a new criminal penalty for the use of ticket purchasing software.” Ticket bots are already illegal and can be punished with civil sanctions; this legislation ups the ante, making ticket bot usage a criminal violation. Under the proposal, civil penalties would be...

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America Has a Republican Problem — and the Media is Partly to Blame

by NEAL GABLER – Donald Trump is a distraction from the fact that the mainstream media has pretended the GOP is a normal party with values just to the right. Now the country is paying the price As incendiary and dangerous as he is — and he is very dangerous — and as much of a main event as he has been in this election season, Donald Trump is largely a distraction from what really ails our political discourse. Long after he is gone from the scene, the Republican Party that engendered him, facilitated him, and now supports him — despite a severe case of buyer’s remorse — will no doubt still thrive, booting up for a future candidacy of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan. And the media will still act as if Trump were an aberration, a departure from so-called “sensible” conservatism. If so, it will be...

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Gun Gridlock and the Money Behind It

by KATHY KIELY – In documents filed Monday, the NRA reported a $14 million campaign warchest Maybe Monday’s Senate gridlock on guns would have happened anyway, but it probably didn’t hurt the gun lobby’s cause that the National Rifle Association already has spent close to $2 million trying to help incumbent Republicans hold their majority in Congress’ upper chamber. And the NRA has only begun to fight: The group’s latest campaign finance report, filed Monday with the FEC, shows that it ended the month of June with more than $14.7 million to spend in the general election. While the 9/11 attacks famously inspired a brief interlude of solidarity on Capitol Hill, the same cannot be said for the most deadly act of terror on American soil since then — the gunning down of 49 people and wounding of more than 50 others at an Orlando nightclub. The Republican-controlled Senate consented to vote...

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RNC Protest Rules to be Revised After Judge Says They’re Unconstitutional

by Deirdre Fulton – In response to ACLU lawsuit, judge says Cleveland’s rules for protesters during the Republican National Convention are unconstitutional The ACLU of Ohio and the city of Cleveland have reached a settlement after a judge on Thursday struck down the rules set by city officials for protesters at next month’s Republican National Convention, saying the restrictions on speeches and parades were unconstitutional. The decision from U.S. District Judge James Gwin comes in response to a lawsuit filed last week by the ACLU of Ohio, which said the rules were “arbitrary, unnecessary, and unjustifiable.” According to Cleveland.com, Gwin said: the size of the so-called Event Zone is “unduly large;” the parade route is unconstitutionally insufficient; the times at which people can hold parades—only for a few hours each day of the convention and not during the hours in which the delegates are expected to be downtown—are problematic and “an...

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The U.K. Voted To Leave The European Union. What Happens Next?

by ADRIENNE MAHSA VARKIANI – The U.K. voted to leave the European Union by a vote of 51.9 percent on Thursday — making it the first time a member country has chosen to leave the union. Thursday’s vote is not legally binding, but while the vote could technically be blocked or overturned, U.K. politicians are still likely to move forward with leaving the E.U. Prime Minister David Cameron, who in 2013 promised an E.U. referendum if he was re-elected, has said he will formally resign and there will be a new prime minister before the Conservative Party conference in October. It’s not clear who will replace him, but it could be far-right pro-Leave Conservative MP Boris Johnson. Due to the lack of exit polls and the regulations prohibiting campaigning or any other action that might influence voters (including reporting), the decision to leave the E.U. came as a huge surprise....

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Trump’s Former Campaign Manager Made His First Appearance As A Paid CNN Pundit. It Did Not Go Well

by AARON RUPAR – Just days after he was fired from his gig as Donald Trump’s controversial campaign manager on Monday, CNN snapped up Corey Lewandowski for compensation rumored to be as much as $500,000. The cable network hired Lewandowski to be a political commentator despite the fact he’s contractually prohibited from criticizing Trump. Lewandowski’s first paid appearance on Erin Burnett’s OutFront show Thursday evening was probably indicative of what viewers can expect from him this campaign season. He acknowledged he signed a confidentiality agreement that prevents him from talking about certain aspects of his controversial tenure with the Trump campaign, but didn’t go in detail about exactly what is off limits. Asked whether he’s indeed contractually prohibited from saying anything negative about Trump, Lewandowski dodged the question, but vowed to “tell it like it is.” “I am a guy who calls balls and strikes, I am going to tell it...

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Read Gabby Giffords’ Beautiful Letter In Solidarity With Democratic Sit-In

by Ryan Denson – When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011, Congress refused to act. Knowing it could happen to any of them at any time wasn’t enough to spar action. When 20 children were killed in their classrooms at Sandy Hook in 2012, Congress did nothing. Knowing their own kids could be next, they still decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Then Orlando happened. The worst mass shooting in American history, and still no action from the GOP-controlled Congress. So Democrats decided to do a classic sit-in. Walk in, sit down, and refuse to leave until something, anything, was done to curb America’s gun violence epidemic. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers are standing their ground on the House floor and refuse to budge, even as the House adjourns for a weeks long recess. Giffords, who is no longer a member of Congress, has written an open letter of solidarity with her former...

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On This Day, June 25, 1876 – Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse Win at Little Big Horn

1876 –Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, leaders of the Sioux tribe on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their people to reservations. In 1875, after gold was discovered in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to leave their reservations and join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River – which they called the Greasy Grass – in defiance of a U.S. War Department order to return to their reservations or risk...

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Judge Rules Federal Government Can’t Regulate Fracking On Public Land

by SYDNEY PEREIRA – A federal judge ruled Tuesday against the Obama administration’s proposed regulations on fracking, on the grounds that the Department of Interior does not have the authority to regulate fracking on federal lands. The decision comes over a year after President Barack Obama’s administration finalized regulations for fracking on public lands. Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming sided with the oil and gas industry and a handful of western states, who argued that the Interior cannot regulate fracking according to a 2005 law. The judge’s decision means the Interior can no longer enforce the rule, but the agency could still appeal the decision. In his opinion, Judge Skavdahl wrote that the “Constitutional role of this Court is to interpret the applicable statutory enactments and determine whether Congress has delegated to the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate .” Three simple words can sum up...

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Warren Buffett Knows Exactly Why Trump’s Campaign Is Broke

by Rika Christensen – Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world and someone who actually does know a lot about money, has known this whole time what drove Trump’s campaign finances into the ground. He didn’t say as much, because at the time Buffett revealed this, it was 1991 and he was talking about Trump’s bankrupt Taj Mahal. What he said then can apply now, though, and the state of Trump’s campaign finances backs it up. Back when Trump filed for bankruptcy on the Taj Mahal, Buffett was giving speeches to undergrad students at Notre Dame when someone asked him where Trump went wrong. Buffett said: “He simply got infatuated with how much money he could borrow, and he did not give enough thought to how much money he could pay back.” That’s so Trump, especially when faced with the possibility that he can’t do what he...

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“People Are Being Tortured in These Units”: The Fight Against Solitary Confinement

by Victoria Law, Truthout | Report – When Daletha Hayden arrived at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison on Valentine’s Day weekend, she expected to visit her son Ian Whitson with a glass window separating them. That was how they had spent each and every one of their visits over the past seven years after Whitson had been labeled a “gang associate” and placed in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) in 2009. There, he was confined to his cell for at least 23 hours each day. In 2011 and 2013, prisoners across California went on headline-grabbing mass hunger strikes to protest conditions inside the SHU. At the time, the SHU held two types of prisoners — those serving a fixed Secure Housing Unit sentence for violating prison rules, and those serving an indeterminate term for alleged gang affiliation. For the latter group, the only way out of the SHU was...

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The Donald Trump Story You’re Not Hearing About

by TODD GITLIN – To readers who follow taxes and finance — subjects often introduced with the adjective “arcane” — David Cay Johnston is one of America’s best-known reporters. Johnston has worked on the staffs of Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and from 1995 to 2008, The New York Times, where his writing on taxes won him a 2001 Pulitzer Prize. He’s branched out to other subjects too:  His first book, published in 1992, was Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In a web post last July, Johnston asked 21 questions about Donald Trump’s finances. One pertained to Trump University, subsequently the object of close scrutiny in many venues. Others concerned mysteries about Trump’s charitable donations, his years paying zero income tax, his more recent — and undisclosed — tax returns and some his acquisition of casino...

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Hey, Paul Ryan, How About These Great Obamacare Numbers?

by Joan McCarter – Hey Paul Ryan and team, top this with your long-awaited, not-really-a-plan Obamacare replacement plan. Oh, that’s right. You can’t, can you? WASHINGTON — Twenty million or so more people have health insurance now than they did before Obamacare, and yet the American health care system is on track to spend $2.6 trillion less from 2014 to 2019 than before the Affordable Care Act became law.That’s right — $2.6 trillion, which is equivalent to about 15 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. That’s the conclusion researchers at the Urban Institute came to when comparing health care spending projections made in 2010 before Congress passed the ACA, and projections made later that year after President Barack Obama enacted the statute, with more recent findings. Just look at the chart: The usual caveats apply: This can’t be all attributed to Obamacare because it coincided with a slow economic recovery, and...

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‘Victory for Children of Every Color’: SCOTUS Upholds Affirmative Action

by Deirdre Fulton – Surprise ruling ‘reaffirms the value of diversity in higher education,’ says ACLU In a narrow but significant 4-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action program. The court’s decision (pdf) in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin “is a victory for children of every color in America,” the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said on Twitter. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher of Sugar Land, Texas, a white woman who said the university had denied her admission based on her race. Fisher, who has since graduated from Louisiana State University, had the backing of anti-affirmative action groups. As Vox explains: The case, Fisher v. Texas, challenged the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions procedures. Most of its students are chosen by admitting the students at the top of every high school class in the state. Because Texas’s...

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On This Day, June 24, 1948 – Soviets Shut Off West West Berlin From World

1948 – One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins as the Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin. The blockade turned out to be a terrible diplomatic move by the Soviets, while the United States emerged from the confrontation with renewed purpose and confidence. Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation. Almost immediately, differences between the United States and the Soviet Union surfaced. The Soviets sought huge reparations from Germany in the form of money, industrial equipment, and resources. The Russians also made it clear that they...

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Van Driver In Freddie Gray Case Found Not Guilty On All Counts

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Caesar Goodson, the third Baltimore officer to go to trial for the death of Freddie Gray and the person charged with the most serious offenses, was found not guilty of second-degree depraved heart murder, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, and manslaughter on Thursday morning. The verdict was handed down by Judge Barry Williams, the same judge who cleared Officer Edward Nero of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in May. When Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury in the back of a police van last year, his death put a spotlight on police brutality in Baltimore, as well as illegal “rough rides” that happen regularly in the city. During those rides, officers put handcuffed people in police vehicles without buckling them in, and drive recklessly around the city. Six officers were implicated in Gray’s death, but Caesar Goodson’s role as the van driver during the ride that killed...

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Latest Attempt at Police Transparency Fails In California

by A.C. Thompson – As police scandals swirl in Northern California, a legislative effort to make the disciplinary records of officers available to the public comes up short There are numerous law enforcement scandals unfolding in Northern California. Last month, San Francisco fired its police chief after a string of officer-involved shootings and two separate episodes involving officers sending racist text messages to one another. In Oakland, the mayor recently ousted two police chiefs in the span of five days amid a widening investigation into allegations that 14 city officers — as well as law enforcement agents from at least three other jurisdictions — had sex with a teenage prostitute. And sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers in San Francisco, Alameda County, and Santa Clara County are facing criminal charges ranging from assault to murder. While this collection of ugly incidents will continue to generate headlines for months to come, many of...

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PA-Sen: Toomey’s (R) Votes Prove He Is The Biggest Fraud When It Comes To Background Checks

by poopdogcomedy – All last week, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R. PA) was getting praise for this: In a potential shift in the debates on gun laws, Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans are now saying they would consider new laws to limit suspected terrorists’ ability to buy guns – opening a door to action that has long eluded advocates for tougher restrictions on firearms purchases. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), a key figure in the contentious argument, renewed his advocacy Wednesday, taking part in a Democratic takeover of the Senate floor and later saying he would introduce a bill Thursday to bar anyone on a federal terrorist watch list from buying guns, but also creating an annual review of the names on that list. He was hoping for support from a group founded by gun control advocate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his office said, though sources familiar...

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Trump’s Charity is all Talk, no Dollars From ‘the Cheapest Billionaire’

by Mark Sumner – Let’s hear it for Ebeneezer Scrooge. Yes, he’s believes that the poor are shiftless and undeserving, but he isn’t afraid to say so. And that Grinch! Sure, he thinks the Whos are a bunch of noisy slackers, but he’s upfront about it. At least neither one of them is pretending to run a charitable organization and lying about how much they are donating. “I give millions for charity each year,” told Playboy. At the time, his empire was collapsing: The diminished mogul was fighting for his financial survival. And despite his grandiose promises, Trump gave just $135,000 to his namesake foundation that year. And that was a good year for Trump’s charity. The dynamic has been a pattern over the years. In the media, Trump makes lofty claims that he will give the proceeds of a project to charity, only to give far less to his personal...

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Rising Tide of ‘Politically Acceptable’ Killings Spells Danger for Environmentalists Worldwide

by Nika Knight – More than three people were slain each week in 2015 for ‘protecting the land, forests, and rivers,’ a new report reveals Environmental activists are being murdered for their work in record numbers, a new report finds, as 2015 saw a stunning 185 people killed—more than three people each week—for resisting destructive industries and the exploitation of land and water. The report (pdf) from U.K.-based human rights group Global Witness, titled “On Dangerous Ground,” found that “s demand for products like timber, minerals and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are exploiting land with little regard for the people who live on it.” “Increasingly, communities that take a stand are finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers,” wrote the rights group. The 2015 death toll marked a 59 percent increase from 2014, and represented...

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Hillary Clinton Gives Detailed Policy Speech While Trump Rants

by Mark Sumner – While Donald Trump was busy keeping up his amazing 75 percent of everything he says is a lie batting average in a speech based on heavily debunked conspiracy theories, Hillary Clinton was instead giving a detailed policy address to explain how she will grow the economy. That may lack some of the pizzazz of a speech scripted by the Hoover Institute’s black helicopter team, but hey, it’s nice that one of the candidates has ideas for governing with just a little more detail than six bullet points hidden in a 40-minute hate-and-lie extravaganza. Clinton made it clear that she’s after a solution that works directly for everyone, poor through wealthy, rather than tossing more dollars to those on top in hopes they’ll drop a few dimes. Hillary set herself directly against the idea of trickle-down economics, calling it a “failed economic theory” that had too many politicians “in its grips.” She directly attacked the...

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Today, John Lewis Stood Up for Human Dignity Once Again

by BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP – A sit-in by the civil-rights icon on the floor of the House of Representatives is a powerful statement against gun violence On March 7, 1965, 25-year-old John Lewis, already a veteran of the Freedom Rides, Mississippi’s Freedom Summer and Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, walked ahead of 600 civil rights activists as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on the first leg of what was meant to be a peaceful march for voting rights. As they stepped off the end of the bridge, a posse of 150 state troopers and deputy sheriffs attacked them, wielding clubs, bullwhips and tear gas. Lewis was beaten to within an inch of his life. But he took the horrible pummeling of  “Bloody Sunday” and survived to lead another march a week later. This time they kept going — all the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, 50 miles...

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The Tax Debate Is Over, and Progressives Won

by Bill Scher – The Washington Post recently highlighted the economic divergence between California and Kansas. California is tied, with Oregon, for the fastest growth in the nation with 4.1 percent gross domestic product growth in 2015. Kansas was flat, at 0.2 percent, and the second half of the year recorded negative growth, placing the state in recession. Only West Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota performed worse. These diametrically opposite economic numbers came three years after each state took a different path on taxes: In 2012, voters in California approved a measure to raise taxes on millionaires, bringing their top state income tax rate to 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation … Also that year, the governor of Kansas signed a series of changes to the state’s tax code, including reducing income and sales tax rates. The Post noted that the Kansas tax cuts “were meant to spur entrepreneurship,”...

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Elizabeth Warren Hilariously Exposes Trump’s Lies About His Business Record (VIDEO)

by Vera – Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has launched yet another epic attack on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, and it’s circulating around the internet at lightning speed. Trump had barely recovered the tongue lashing that his biggest rival, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had just given him about his failed businesses when Warren echoed the former Secretary of State’s comments in a new video. The video appeared on MoveOn.org’s Facebook page on Tuesday morning, and quickly went viral as Warren unloaded on the business mogul, criticizing him for not providing his tax returns and not paying them every year like all Americans must. Warren started off by talking about how much she despised Trump: “I have to be honest: It’s hard to talk about Donald Trump. Between his ignorance, racism, sexism, lies—it’s hard to know where to start.  Today I want to focus on one lie that helps sum up what Donald Trump...

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On This Day, June 23, 1940 – Adolph Hitler Tours Paris

1940 –In his first and only visit to Paris, Adolph Hitler made Napoleon’s tomb among the sites to see. “That was the greatest and finest moment of my life,” he said upon leaving. Comparisons between the Fuhrer and Napoleon have been made many times: They were both foreigners to the countries they ruled (Napoleon was Italian, Hitler was Austrian); both planned invasions of Russia while preparing invasions of England; both captured the Russian city of Vilna on June 24; both had photographic memories; both were under 5 feet 9 inches tall, among other coincidences. As a tribute to the French emperor, Hitler ordered that the remains of Napoleon’s son be moved from Vienna to lie beside his father. But Hitler being Hitler, he came to do more than gawk at the tourist attractions. He ordered the destruction of two World War I monuments: one to General Charles Mangin, a...

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Conservatives’ Obsession With The Orlando Shooter’s Allegiance Is Missing Some Key Context

by JACK JENKINS – Conservatives are blasting Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision not to release ISIS-related statements made by the shooter who massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub last Sunday, accusing her of trying to obscure the role of “radical Islam” — even though the shooter’s ISIS pledge doesn’t appear to make any sense. On Sunday, Lynch announced the FBI will release partial transcripts of phone conservations between the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and authorities recorded during the rampage, but that references he made to ISIS and other militant groups would be edited out to avoid “further his propaganda.” Although the redactions appear to be minimal, conservatives were quick to express outrage, with Ric Grenell, a Fox News contributor and former aide to UN Ambassador John Bolton, calling it “a PR move.” Similarly, Mollie Hemingway, writing for the Federalist, referred to it as “the latest in a series of efforts...

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If Trump Got His Way, Our Economy Would Be Doomed

by BRYCE COVERT – If all of the economic policies presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has trumpeted on the campaign trail were to become reality, the U.S. economy would plunge back into recession, losing millions of jobs, according to a new analysis from Moody’s Analytics. The heart of Trump’s economic proposals come down to tax, trade, and immigration policy. He’s put forward a tax package that experts have found would cost $9.5 trillion and hand nearly all of the benefits to the wealthiest. He’s promised to levy huge tariffs on imports from countries like China and Mexico and he’s railed against trade deals. And he says he’ll deport 11 million undocumented immigrants while building a wall along the Mexican border. If all of that were to happen just how Trump proposes it, Moody’s analysis finds that the American economy would dip into a recession beginning in 2018 that would...

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Nobody Cares About Paul Ryan’s Conservative Rehash

by Bill Scher – Speaker Paul Ryan’s has been rolling out an ambitious legislative agenda, titled “A Better Way,” designed to show that the Republican Party — irrespective of Donald Trump — is brimming with exciting policy ideas and is ready to govern. But The Atlantic finds it akin to a tree falling in an empty forest: …thus far, Ryan’s beloved agenda—the one his wonkish heart has been dreaming of and laboring over and counting on to define his speakership—has been something of a PR bust, yet another sad casualty of this election cycle’s Trumpsanity. But chalking up the bust to Trump’s hogging of the media oxygen is too simple. Ryan could have swiped a piece of spotlight if he had anything interesting to offer. Instead, Ryan served up cold conservative porridge. Nothing that showed any lessons learned from the failed conservatism of the past. Nothing that went beyond hack...

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Clinton Destroying Trump In Fundraising

by RTRot – Trump, the guy who says that he is the best at everything, the greatest, nobody compares, is getting clobbered by Clinton in the fundraising game. Clinton currently has $42 million in the bank plus her super PAC Priorities USA has $52 million. The Donald has a measly $1.3 million. Of course, this doesn’t add in the amount of free airtime Donald Trump has had for his outrageous comments. That amount figures to be close to $2 billion, according to mediaQuant. CNN reports: The extraordinary money deficit comes as Democrats lay out plans to spend that cash on an onslaught of television advertising that Trump has shown no urgency in matching. Clinton and her allied groups are planning to spend $117 million between Tuesday and Election Day on television — much of it anti-Trump television — while Trump and his groups have $700,000 in time awaiting him thus far. http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/20/politics/republicans-cash-crunch-donald-trump/...

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These 23 GOP Senators Voted Against Background Checks. They Could Also Be Voted Out In November

by KIRA LERNER – On Monday night, one week after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the Senate rejected four gun-related measures. One proposal would have made it harder for suspected terrorists to purchase firearms and another would have expanded background checks to all gun sales. Similar measures also failed after 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 14 people were killed at a San Bernardino office party. The votes are not surprising given that the 56 senators who voted against expanding background checks (and 53 who voted against allowing the attorney general to stop the sale of a firearm to a suspected terrorist) have received a combined total of roughly $36 million from the National Rifle Association. “What am I going to tell 49 grieving families?” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said after the votes. “I am going to tell them the NRA won again.”...

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Refugee Planet: There Have Never Been This Many Displaced People on Earth

by Nadia Prupis – Half of refugees worldwide are children, new United Nations report finds An unprecedented 65.3 million people have been displaced around the world due to war and persecution, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Monday. The new figure is not only a 21st century record, it is also the first time that the numbers have surpassed 60 million—which means one in every 113 people worldwide is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced, or a refugee, the UN said. Half of them are children. Over the past five years, forced displacement has increased quicker than ever due to long-standing conflicts in regions like Somalia and Afghanistan; “dramatic” escalations in newly destabilized countries like Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine; and a growing resistance from other nations to providing asylum for refugees, the UN reported. “More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in...

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Counselors Punish Tennessee For Anti-LGBT Law By Moving Convention To San Francisco

by ZACK FORD – The American Counseling Association was planning to hold its 2017 national convention in Nashville, but after Tennessee lawmakers passed a law allowing for religious discrimination in counseling, the organization decided not to reward the state with its business. Last week, the ACA announced it would instead be heading to the “inclusive and inviting city” of San Francisco. The new Tennessee law ensures that any counselor or therapist can decide not to provide services to a client if doing so violates their religious beliefs. A lawsuit challenging its constitutionality points out that it flagrantly violates the ACA Code of Ethics, which the state had previously embraced as the standard for its counselors and therapists. Back in May, ACA officials announced that after hearing complaints from many members, they would move the convention somewhere else. “Of all the state legislation I have seen passed in my 30 years...

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On This Day, June 22, 1944 – FDR Signs G.I. Bill into Law

1944 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services – known as G.I.s (Government Issued) – for their efforts in World War II. As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill – officially the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – hoping to avoid a relapse into the Great Depression after the war ended. FDR particularly wanted to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932, when 20,000 unemployed veterans and their families flocked in protest to Washington. The American Legion, a veteran’s organization, successfully fought for many of the provisions included in the bill, which gave returning servicemen access to unemployment compensation, low-interest home and business loans, and – most importantly – funding for education. By giving veterans money for tuition, living expenses, books, supplies...

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I am Convinced That They Want Us All to Just Die

by boofdah – What is their endgame? I asked this to myself as I read the news about the gun violence protection bills—all four of them—going down in flames on a predictable almost-party-line vote. The Republicans, those self-purported fighters against terror and those eeevil, eeevil Middle Easterners, wouldn’t even back one of the bills proposing the prevention of gun sales to people on the “No-Fly” terrorist watch lists. So not only do (mostly) Republicans want to prevent any measure to protect Americans against needless gun violence codified into law, they also don’t seem to care if terrorists are the ones to be executing the gun violence. And these were the same Republicans who misused the names of all who died on 9/11 to promote their dirty war in Iraq. And speaking of wars, I had to ponder…why is it that our country’s military spending not only dwarfs that of the rest of the...

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Hillary Clinton’s Real Record On LGBT Rights (VIDEO)

by Wendy Gittleson – Hillary Clinton is a complicated woman running in a country that wants its political platforms to fit on a trucker’s cap. As a candidate, she has taken a lot of heat from progressives for being late to coming around to marriage equality. She was, but it’s not that simple. If you scratch just a little beneath the surface, you’ll find a true champion of LGBT rights throughout the world. When it comes to Clinton’s evolution on LGBT rights, there are a lot of legitimate complaints. First, her husband’s legacy, although also not that simple, is the failed military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Bill Clinton didn’t love the policy, but it was what he saw as the best compromise at the time. Of course, that wasn’t Hillary’s policy. In fact, in 1999, she said she was against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, so let’s move on....

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