Texas Will Now Force Hospitals and Women to Bury or Cremate Fetuses from Abortions

by Walter Einenkel – \What do you get when you add Texas and a Republican and Governor Greg Abbott? One of the worst laws surrounding women’s right to choose, or in some cases not be able to choose, what they do with their bodies. The rules, which go into effect on Dec. 19, mandate that aborted fetal tissue must be buried regardless of how long it has been gestating. The rules state it can either be buried directly after an abortion has been performed or it can be buried or scattered after it has been incinerated. Fetal remains can also be steam disinfected before burial, according to the guideline. This is step one in Gov. Abbott’s war on women. Step two will be his cutting of funding to Planned Parenthood—for which his grandstanding has made him beaucoup dollars. Abbott has said that fetal remains should not be treated like “medical waste,” and...

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Who is the Real Tony Blair?

by Alasdair Soussi – His government presided over economic growth, health and education reforms, but also faced controversy over Iraq war. He arrived like a political hurricane, but in the end, left a legacy of controversy that, in the eyes of many in his native Britain, has today reduced him to the status of pariah. Tony Blair’s landslide victory as UK Labour leader in the 1997 general election saw the Scots-born Oxford graduate become, at just 43, the youngest person to secure the British premiership since Lord Liverpool in 1812. It would lead to 10 years at the helm of the UK government as Blair’s rebranded New Labour party enjoyed three consecutive general election victories. WATCH:  The Iraq war: Did Tony Blair deceive us? ( 2:51) But when Sir John Chilcot, author of the long-awaited and explosive report into Britain’s role in the Iraq war, told the House of Commons liaison...

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Anger Gone Viral

by PADRAIG REIDY – How Trumpism is running rampant across the West. British Labour MP Jo Cox was a committed advocate of the European Union, and a believer in Britain’s ability to do good in the world. She campaigned for the rights of Syrians — both those in her country and those still trying to find a refuge. She believed peaceful, wealthy, democratic countries had a duty to help those suffering from war, poverty and tyranny. On June 16, days before the UK’s referendum on “Brexit,” Nazi extremist Thomas Mair killed her, shooting and stabbing the mother of two multiple times outside the office where she met with her constituents. Cox was one of an increasingly rare breed in politics: an internationalist, capable of joining the dots between global phenomena and interested in analyzing action and consequence. Across the once-liberal democracies of the industrialized West, her politics are in retreat, unable to...

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Trump’s Pick for UN Ambassador Has Zero Foreign Policy Experience (VIDEO)

by PHYLLIS BENNIS – If the Senate took the United Nations seriously, they would insist on a serious diplomat, Bennis told the Real News Network. Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley “Has absolutely zero foreign policy experience,” Phyllis Bennis told Real News Network. “No diplomatic experience that we know of.” This makes it very hard to know exactly how she would play out in this role  Bennis said. Haley does have a history of opposing LGBTQ rights and cutting funding for HIV prevention. Given her domestic policy track record, “regarding issues of health, children and all the various human rights work of the United Nations, it’s very unlikely that is something she is either familiar with or finds important.” In recent years, Bennis said, the role of the ambassador has shifted to focus on building UN support for U.S. wars, and Haley has nearly...

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Bernie: “The Republican Anti-Democratic Vision is not a Future We Will Allow to Happen.”

by TomP – Bernie Sanders called Trump’s voter fraud claims “disgraceful and unfounded nonsense” and warned about Republican attempts to disenfranchise people of color and others today: “When Trump talks his disgraceful and unfounded nonsense about millions of people voting illegally, he is sending a very clear signal that the Republicans will move to make it harder for people of color, the elderly, immigrants, young people and poor people to participate in elections,” Sanders said. Politico Bernie’s Full Statement focuses on the threat to American democracy under Republican control and pledges to fight to prevent it: BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 28 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Monday after Donald Trump claimed “millions of people…voted illegally” and made unfounded allegations of “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California”: “The threat to American democracy under Republican control is two-fold. First, they will likely move to go beyond the disastrous Citizens...

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Trump’s Plan to no Longer Participate in his Company’s ‘Business Operations’ is a Sham

by Ian Millhiser – It’s not enough if he still knows where the money is coming from. President-elect Donald Trump, who’s been widely criticized by constitutional experts and former White House ethics attorneys for the conflicts of interests presented by his business, attempted to defuse these concerns Wednesday morning with a series of four tweets. Trump now says that he will be removed from the operations of the business that bears his name. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task! 6:59 AM – 30 Nov 2016 Trump’s full tweetstorm proclaims that he will hold a press conference with his children in December to announce that his is leaving his business. He also claims, falsely, that he is “not mandated” to do so, but that it is “visually important, as President, to in no...

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Water Protectors Sue Over ‘Deliberate and Punitive’ Police Brutality

by Nadia Prupis – “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s illegal use of force against the water protectors has been escalating. It is only a matter of luck that no one has been killed. This must stop.” Water protectors in North Dakota on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against Morton County, Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and other law enforcement agencies for using excessive force the night of November 20, when peaceful demonstrators were trapped on a bridge and assaulted with impact munitions. The lawsuit seeks to block the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies from using such weapons—including rubber bullets, water cannons, teargas grenades, and other weapons—against the protectors. The suit, brought by the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), a project of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), was filed on behalf of people injured on November 20 and the early morning of November 21 as police descended on the Dakota Access...

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Trump Called to Forcefully Denounce Post-Election ‘Outbreak of Hate’

by Lauren McCauley – Southern Poverty Law Center documents over 860 incidents of hate in ten days following presidential election. In what is being described as a “national outbreak of hate,” the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said Tuesday that in the 10 days following the election of Donald Trump, there were 867 documented hate incidents, such as graffiti, verbal harassment, and in some cases physical violence. The SPLC and a number of national rights groups that spoke to reporters Tuesday attribute the uptick in discriminatory harassment to the divisive rhetoric of the Trump campaign and a failure on the part of the president-elect to strongly condemn such actions. “Mr. Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said SPLC president Richard Cohen. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr. Trump should take...

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Security Experts Back Up Jill Stein’s Demand for Manual Recount

by Nadia Prupis – ‘To determine whether the reported winner actually won requires verifying the results as accurately as possible, which in turn requires manually examining the underlying paper records.’ Security experts on Monday testified in support of Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, who is spearheading a by-hand election recount initiative in Wisconsin. Unless a judge rules in her favor, the state will likely allow its 72 counties to decide whether they want to conduct the process manually or by machine. On Monday, a group of academics and other specialists agreed with Stein’s argument that an automated recount would risk an incorrect tally. President-elect Donald Trump won Wisconsin 47.9 percent to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s 46.9 percent—a margin of just over 22,000 votes. A manual count would be the only way to ensure that there had been no foreign interference, the experts said. “It is not possible to determine with...

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On This Day, Nov 30, 1989 – America’s First Female Serial Killer Strikes

Richard Mallory, a store owner in Palm Harbor, Florida, is last seen taking a ride with Aileen Wuornos. The following day, his car—containing his wallet, some condoms, and an empty vodka bottle—was found abandoned in a remote area of Ormond Beach. Nearly two weeks later, his body turned up in a Daytona Beach junkyard with three bullets in his chest. Mallory’s murder was the first of seven committed by Aileen Wuornos over the next year. Perhaps because she was one of the few women killers to gain widespread fame and notoriety, she was inaccurately dubbed “America’s first female serial killer.” Her case was heavily publicized through television talk show appearances and a documentary, The Selling of a Serial Killer. Wuornos had been the victim of abuse and neglect herself. Her parents split before she was born and her father, who had been arrested for child molesting, killed himself while...

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Trump Proposes Stripping Citizenship from Political Protesters

by Ian Millhiser – This is how autocracy happens. In a scene that is likely to prove quite familiar during a Trump presidency, Americans woke up Tuesday to discover that the incoming president took to Twitter to expose his ignorance of or disregard for the Constitution. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! 6:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016 Criminalizing flag burning is unconstitutional, at least when the flag is burned as a political statement. As the Supreme Court explained in Texas v. Johnson, “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Moreover, there is no indication “either in the text of the...

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Twelve Ideas Post-Election from Front Line Organizers

by Bill Quigley – When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do?   Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be.  Others stand still, let their eyes get adjusted to the different environment, re-orient themselves, then cautiously and sensitively, move forward.  Some search out people who might be able to show the way.  Post-election, a lot of people are re-assessing and searching for the best way forward.  Here are some ideas on where we should be going and what we should be doing from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines. One.  You Were Born for This Time. My friend, Cherri Foytlin, a mother who lives in rural Louisiana in a deeply Republican area, gives her life organizing to protect our earth, water and the rights of indigenous people.  For that she has been arrested and is subject to death threats. ...

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The United Kingdom Authorizes Broad Mass Surveillance on Its Citizens

by Scott Shackford – A level of snooping every autocrat in the world will admire. The United Kingdom’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is not part of an agency tasked with fighting terrorism. They are a licensing body monitoring labor rules in the U.K.’s agriculture industries. Nevertheless, under a new mass surveillance law, high-ranking officials of this agency will have as much access to the private Internet information of British citizens as agencies that actually are tasked with fighting terrorism. This will be the outcome of the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the Snooper’s Charter. It has passed both houses of the British Parliament and will become law in 2017 if approved by the queen. The Investigatory Powers Act makes the surveillance authorized by America’s PATRIOT Act look remarkably tame in comparison. The law requires Internet Service Providers to keep all metadata and web browsing history of users...

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Trump’s NYT Transcript: Read it, and Weep for our Country

by gloriasb – I urge everyone to take the time to read the entire transcript of Donald Trump’s on-the-record interview with the New York Times. It will make you cringe, grimace and maybe even cry. Some of it has already been quoted many times: We’ve seen excerpts about his not wanting to “hurt” the Clintons, about not seeing The Wall as a top priority, and especially that cringe-inducing, Nixonian assertion that “the law is on my side, the President cannot have a conflict of interest.” Understandably, the mainstream media have focused on statements pertaining to policy . But there is a lot more in the transcript that is not getting the attention it deserves. It’s not as quote-worthy—because it’s not succinct or pithy, or headline-ready. But it’s important to read it, because the parts of the interview that are not being highlighted...

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Pay More and Get Less: The Ryan Plan to Privatize Medicare

by David Akadjian – One of the fights likely to come up early during the next administration is privatizing Medicare. Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has indicated Republicans will try to privatize Medicare in a budget reconciliation bill (a sneaky filibuster proof attack). You’re going to hear a lot about “choice” and “efficiency” and the amazingness of markets, but Ryan’s plan basically comes down to two things: 1) you will pay more, and 2) you will get less. Ryan’s proposal is for what he calls “premium support” programs. Think premium like an insurance premium, not like a Cadillac. The latter usage of the word is not a mistake though. The intent is to make it sound desirable. The big change is that Medicare would no longer provide coverage for medical care but would be a subsidy towards the purchase of a privatized insurance plan. No surprise. Ryan wants to...

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Businesses Take Fight Over Credit Card Fees to Supreme Court

by Rebecca Beitsch – The stylists at Expressions Hair Design, a salon in upstate New York, used to display a sign near the register telling customers who wished to pay with a credit card that they would be charged an additional fee to cover the cost. Then a client told them they ought to take it down. “That’s illegal,” the client, who was also a lawyer, told salon co-owner Linda Fiacco. And in New York, it is. The state is one of 10 that allow businesses to charge more for credit card purchases only if they describe the difference as a cash discount and not a credit card surcharge. The owners of Expressions Hair Design in Vestal, along with other New York businesses that have sued the state over the law, say their freedom of speech is being impinged on because they can’t explain to customers how credit card fees affect...

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Steve Bannon’s Disturbing Views on ‘Genetic Superiority’ are Shared by Trump (VIDEO)

by Laurel Raymond – They also validate a core belief of white nationalists. Former Breitbart head Steve Bannon has been a national lightning rod ever since he was appointed CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. At-issue: Bannon’s deep ties to the growing white nationalist movement, which provided some of Trump’s earliest and most fervent supporters. On Sunday the New York Times published a profile on Bannon, casting him as a “combative populist.” Buried deep within the profile is an account of Bannon talking about his belief in the “genetic superiority” of certain people and his support for restricting voting rights to only property owners. A former colleague of Bannon’s, Julia Jones, recounted her interactions with Bannon to reporter Scott Shane: Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting...

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Journalists Denounce WaPo Fake News Blacklist as Red Scare Redux

by Lauren McCauley – “Basically, everyone who isn’t comfortably within the centrist Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush spectrum is guilty.” The Washington Post‘s promotion of a new, “McCarthyistic” so-called black list has journalists aghast over what appears to be a red scare redux, as independent news outlets critical of U.S. foreign policy are being smeared as “Russian propaganda.” “Now that we have entered a New Cold War, I suppose it makes sense that we should expect a New McCarthyism,” writes Robert Parry, investigative journalist and editor of Consortium News, which was one of the websites flagged by the anonymous organization PropOrNot as a “Russian propaganda outlet.” Last week, the Washington Post published a feature story citing PropOrNot and other supposed “experts” who allege that “Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery” was behind the rise of “fake news,” which they say spread false information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, fueling the rise of Donald Trump....

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We Must Prevent Trump’s “Muslim Registry” Before It Starts

by Tanzila Ahmed, Truthout | Op-Ed – Maybe I shouldn’t have been so glib about talking about internment camps when I gave my speech. Well, at the time it had felt a little glib — but in hindsight, it feels prescient. I was at an award ceremony for a local Asian American organization where my co-podcaster and I were accepting a Rising Star Award for our #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast. It was two weeks before Election Day, and as I accepted the award, I ended my speech with, “Finally, when you vote on November 8, please think of faces like ours — when you vote, you aren’t just voting for yourselves — you’re doing it to not send us to an internment camp.” We both gave campy sad faces. People in the crowd laughed uncomfortably. The internment of Japanese Americans is no joke. But given the absurdity of the world, I thought...

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House Democrats: New Leadership, New Energy

by Robert Borosage – House Democrats will caucus this week to decide who will lead them in the coming term as they gird for the assault coming from Trump and the Republican congressional majorities. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, head of the caucus since 2003, is widely considered a shoo-in for re-election as leader, despite a challenge by Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. But Democrats have been in the minority since the disastrous 2010 bi-elections. In the House where the majority rules, that is the closest thing to six, going on eight years, of house arrest. A squad of spry septuagenarians leads Democrats: Pelosi is 76; Steny Hoyer, the Whip, is 77; Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn is 76. Pelosi and Hoyer have been in place since 2003.   In contrast, Republican leader, Speaker Paul Ryan, turns 47 in January. It is hard to argue that Democrats represent the future when their...

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On This Day, Nov 29, 1981 – Actress Natalie Wood Drowns

On this day in 1981, the actress Natalie Wood, who starred in such movies as Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, drowns in a boating accident near California’s Catalina Island. She was 43 years old. Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, Wood began her acting career as a child. She gained acclaim for her role as Susan Walker, the little girl who doubts the existence of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street(1947). As a teenager, Wood went on to play James Dean’s girlfriend in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. She also earned Best Actress Academy Award nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) with Warren Beatty and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) with Steve McQueen. Wood’s film credits also include West Side Story (1961), winner of...

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France and the Impossible Trump Domino Effect

by Ali Saad – Although many have voiced fears that a Trump scenario can happen in France, a Marine Le Pen victory is highly unlikely. Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has unleashed a media barrage suggesting that France was next in line for a possible shake-up of the political system. Voices across the political spectrum posed the same question: What if the American scenario were to repeat itself in France, with Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right party National Front, elected president of the republic in the May 2017 presidential elections? French President Francois Hollande went so far as to speak of a “period of uncertainty“, while right-wing candidate Alain Juppe warned the French people of “the risks of demagoguery and extremism”. The left-wing newspaper, Liberation’s headline screamed “Trumpocalypse” While Johan Hufnagel, a Liberation columnist wrote that xenophobia and the far-right are on the rise in Europe thanks to...

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Trump is Ignoring Daily Intelligence Briefings, Relying on ‘a Number of Sources’ Instead

by Lindsay Gibbs – His spokeswoman thinks he is getting enough information through phone calls with world leaders. Last week, the Washington Post reported that President-elect Donald Trump had only received two classified intelligence briefings since election day — a number they said was “notably lower” than the amount received by his predecessors at this point in the transition period. In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, host Dana Bash asked Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway about the allegation. Conway did not deny the Post’s report, but instead stressed that in addition to the (limited) intelligence briefings he has received, the President-elect is “receiving information through his personal and on-the-phone meetings with over what’s now 41 world leaders.” When further pressed by Bash about whether he was turning down the daily intelligence briefings that were offered to him, Conway avoided directly answering the question. “I can’t discuss that publicly,” she said. “What...

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Prepare Your Daughters to Re-Fight the Battles Their Grandmothers had Won

by Victor Klemperer Respawned – I have been banging this drum for a long time, but the threat of a Trump (or God forbid, a Pence) administration adds new urgency. At the end of the day, the issue comes down to something real simple.  If you read the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Alito is clear they are not stopping with abortion.   Setting the stage for a repeal of Roe v. Wade isn’t going to satisfy these guys.  They are chomping at the bit to repeal Griswold v. Connecticut.  Griswold is the case that struck down a Connecticut law that had made the use of birth control by married couples illegal. You know who brought the case over 50 years ago that set the stage for access to birth control?  Estelle Griswold, the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut.  So don’t be fooled by the apparent ahistorical nature of the Republicons.  They know exactly...

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Could Trump’s Education Secretary Damage Public Schools? Just Look at Detroit

by Casey Quinlan – Detroit schools help explain Betsy DeVos’ mission. President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist and a strong supporter of school choice, as his education secretary. And although DeVos isn’t a household name, she could end up having a big impact on public school students across the country. For evidence, just take a look at Detroit — a city where DeVos’ influence shows how an expansion of charter schools without the proper oversight can hurt the quality of education for low-income students. Throughout DeVos’ career as a school choice advocate, she has aggressively pushed for the expansion of charter schools. Although many charter schools across the country benefit low-income families seeking an alternative to public schools, educational equity advocates often raise concerns that a lack of accountability allows less effective charter schools to thrive. And DeVos has been at the forefront of efforts to push against this accountability. DeVos...

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Meet The Republicans Who May Actually Help Democrats Control The Senate

by Rika Christensen – We’ve known for more than a year that some Republicans are less than thrilled with Donald Trump, and now they’re even more irritated because he won and they get to put up with him. Now the party must grapple with his extreme agenda, and there are actually several Republican senators who are looking to block, or at least mitigate, some of what Trump wants to do. These aren’t just any Republican senators, either. Many have a lot of influence and are seen as leaders, whether they’re officially part of the leadership or not. They include Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake and John McCain (Arizona), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), Ben Sasse (Nebraska) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina). And all of them have different agenda items against which they’ll work. One of the worst potential thorns in Trump’s side could be Rand Paul. In 2013, he was...

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A Progressive Agenda for Renegotiating NAFTA

by TIMOTHY A. WISE – Here’s what President-elect Trump should do to make trade deals better for US workers. During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, or withdraw the United States from the pact. Although no one at Trump Tower so far has asked me for advice (and I’m not waiting by my phone for a call), I know a little bit about this subject: Eight years ago I helped convene a panel of experts to make recommendations to another president who promised to rewrite NAFTA. That would have been Barack Obama, who, as a candidate in 2008, was clear on the issue: “NAFTA’s shortcomings were evident when signed and we must now amend the agreement to fix them.” Alas, as president, he did no such thing, which is of course one of the reasons we find ourselves...

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Russian Intelligence Worked to Elect Trump. Why?

by kmoorh – Friday’s Washington Post revealed that two separate investigative teams of researchers have found evidence of Russian meddling in the U.S. Presidential campaign. Moscow mounted an intense online propaganda effort using a network of websites and social media accounts to push fake news into the center of the campaign. The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation. Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of...

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Why Traditional Media Failed so Badly in 2016 Election, and Why They’re Still Failing

by Sher Watts Spooner – The election was horrible, the coverage was worse, and the outcome was unbelievable. Yet here we are, soon after being served up an orange turkey on a Thanksgiving platter, and the traditional media still haven’t learned their lesson. We waded through nonstop screaming coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails on every channel and every inch of print. Yet there was so little coverage of Donald Trump’s coming conflicts of interest, his fraudulent practices at Trump University, and his pay-to-play dealings with the Trump Foundation that the average voter would react with a shrug and a big, “Huh? Never heard of it.” Media Matters has a rundown of how the news media avoided reporting on Trump’s conflicts of interest before the election. Even now, there are scant stories outside of left-leaning blogs and small mention in traditional media about the obvious ways Trump and the Trump offspring are...

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Conflicts of Interest Could Put Trump in Violation of Constitution ‘On Day One’

by Deirdre Fulton – Under President-elect Trump, the country is facing a “wholesale oligarchic kleptocracy of a kind that we have never seen before in our history.” President-elect Donald Trump’s global business interests continue to come under intense scrutiny, with two top ethics lawyers saying the Electoral College must reject Trump on December 19 if he does not divest his holdings and establish a truly blind trust. Norman Eisen, chief ethics counsel for Barack Obama, told ThinkProgress this week that “the founders did not want any foreign payments to the president. Period.” “This principle,” explained ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum, “is enshrined in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which bars office holders from accepting ‘any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.'” The provision, he said, is aimed at limiting foreign influence over the president. However, according to Legum: Eisen said that Trump’s businesses, foreign and domestic, “are...

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On This Day, Nov 28, 1520 – Magellan Reaches the Pacific

After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic. On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their...

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Donald J. Trump is a Confirmed Charlatan and a Fraud

by Frank Vyan Walton – The bogus nature of Donald Trump’s claims of wealth and competence may not be news to many of us who opposed his presidency, or happened to have read anything about the trail of waste and destruction his businesses practices have left in his wake. To anyone who has watched Trump over the past four decades, none of this is a surprise. His presidential campaign is built on the claim that he’s a brilliant businessman worth $10 billion who turns every challenge into success, but Trump is none of those things. Instead, he was born into an exceedingly wealthy family and tried to build upon his father’s success with ever-riskier ventures, and by any rational measure, he failed again and again. He’d have done better if he’d never gone into business. In 1982, Trump reported to New Jersey regulators a personal net worth of $321 million, built largely...

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Hateful Letter To Food Bank Proves We Need Food Stamps

by Wendy Gittleson – A few days before Thanksgiving, a food bank in Central Texas received a letter that was so hateful it could only have been written by a Trump supporter. Dear Foodbank: I don’t understand who these poor folks are that need food. I assume they consist primarily of illegals, who come to Texas for “free stuff.” And of course, our unemployed Africans, who find work too much trouble, especially when they can collect the equivalent of $40,000 a year on welfare, and other “benefits” offered to the unfit, the lazy, and the under-educated…and of course, the drug addicts. I expect that most who need food are marching around whining that the congenital liar, Hillary Rodham Clinton, lost the election. Too bad; How sad. I also wonder if your organization is not one of those Phoney-Baloney, so-called “charities,” designed primarily to provide a good living to its organizers. In...

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Electoral College Must Reject Trump Unless he Sells his Business, Top Lawyers for Bush and Obama Say

by Judd Legum – Ethics lawyers for the last two presidents are in agreement. Members of the Electoral College should not make Donald Trump the next president unless his sells his companies and puts the proceeds in a blind trust, according to the top ethics lawyers for the last two presidents. Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, and Norman Eisen, Chief Ethics Counsel for Barack Obama, believe that if Trump continues retain ownership over his sprawling business interests by the time the electors meet on December 19, they should reject Trump. In an email to ThinkProgress, Eisen explained that “the founders did not want any foreign payments to the president. Period.” This principle is enshrined in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which bars office holders from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” Debates and...

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Twelve Scientists Propose Ten Policies to Protect Pollinators

by Besame – In response to the United Nations’ global study on pollinator status, twelve scientists from universities around the world have outlined ten policies to protect pollinators. Earlier this year, the U.N. confirmed that pollinator populations are declining in North American and western Europe, and that urgent studies are needed to fill in data gaps here and elsewhere in the world. The status of pollinators outside these two regions can’t be determined due to lack of adequate information. This is no small issue for humans, although pollinators like bees, wasps, flies, moths, butterflies, and bats are important to all habitats and wildlife. Even orcas depend on pollinators. Three-quarters of the world’s food crops benefit from pollinators and ironically one primary threat to pollinators is the agriculture that produces our food. Pollinator health is a worldwide issue that extends across national boundaries. Avocados, chocolate, coffee and vanilla come from outside the U.S. and other nations depend on the income...

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UN Human Rights Office Gearing Up to Take On Trump’s America

by Nadia Prupis – Human rights officials reportedly strategizing to resist Trump’s xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism. The United Nations commission for human rights said Tuesday that the agency is ready to take on President-elect Donald Trump over his “ghastly” campaign promises. “We are going to speak up,” one U.N. official told Foreign Policy. “It’ll be rough, but if puts any of those ghastly campaign pledges into action we will condemn.” U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein reportedly told his staff that they will serve as the “front line” in a global campaign to prevent the Trump administration from violating or rescinding human rights principles. Agency officials are coming up with strategies to deal with the man who was elected on a mandate of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, vowing to implement a “Muslim registry,” reinstate torture, and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Foreign Policy writes: A chief...

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NYC Mayor Teaches Democrats How To Fight Trump (A MUST WATCH VIDEO)

by SemDem – I think we found our 2020 candidate. Just watch this: I hope this speech inspired you. It did me. This is what it means to be progressive. It takes A LOT strength to stand up for others.  Cowards are those who give into fear and paranoia—the very definition of the rightwing Trump supporter. Right now, it’s the thousands of liberals in this country who are standing up against bigotry and hatred: in our schools, on the streets, and against our own government at Standing Rock.  It’s the millions of liberals who will be expected to protect our country from the coming onslaught against our freedoms and values from the Trump administration. If there is any perception that liberalism=weakness, (aka “bleeding heart”), that has nothing to do with our values:  you can thank the many weak-kneed Democrats who supposedly represent us.  It’s those Democrats who refuse to fight.  Those who go along to get-along. It’s those Democrats who...

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Fidel Castro in Context

by Belen Fernandez – The revolutionary’s achievements in the face of US meddling made him a powerful symbol of resistance against hegemony. As of the year 2006, Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader, who has died aged 90, had reportedly been the subject of no fewer than 638 assassination plots by the CIA. The Guardian newspaper notes that these had ranged from mundane bombing and shoot-’em-up schemes to more ludicrous proposals, such as one involving “a diving-suit to be prepared for him that would be infected with a fungus that would cause a chronic and debilitating skin disease”. At first glance, of course, it may seem odd and overreactive that a global superpower would engage in neurotic efforts for over half of a century to take out the leadership of an island nation smaller than the US state of Pennsylvania. But, has it really just been a simple case of neurosis-for-the-sake-of-neurosis? Following...

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Taking on Trump: Lessons from the Reagan Years

by ROBERT BOROSAGE –   How do Democrats respond to the coming of Donald Trump? The tens of thousands in the streets across the country provide one answer: no business as usual. Trump’s first appointments — a retired general as national security advisor whom Colin Powell privately terms “right-wing nutty,” a senator as attorney general who was previously rejected for a judicial appointment because of his racist views and a former Goldman Sachs media mogul as “chief strategist” who peddles white supremacist and misogynist tripe – suggest the same. This will not be business as usual. Democrats might learn something from the experience of an earlier Democratic Congress facing a shocking victory by an unlikely candidate. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was scorned as too inexperienced and reactionary for the presidency. Like Trump, Reagan ran a populist campaign laced with clear racial posturing. Like Trump, he was the outsider, defeating the establishment’s...

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Indigenous Resolve ‘Stronger Than Ever’ as Feds Order DAPL Protest Camp Shut Down

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘If the Army Corps tears down this protest camp hundreds more will spring up in its place,’ says filmmaker Josh Fox. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday informed Indigenous water protectors and their allies that they have nine days to vacate the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp—or else face arrest. “This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” Col. John Henderson of the Corps said in a letter to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II. The Oceti Sakowin camp, on the banks of the Cannonball River, will be closed Monday, December 5, the letter warned. Any individuals found on Army land north of the river...

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On This Day, Nov 27, 1978 – San Francisco Leaders George Moscone and Harvey Milk are Murdered

On this day in 1978, former Board of Supervisors member Dan White murders Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk at City Hall in San Francisco, California. White, who stormed into San Francisco’s government offices with a .38 revolver, had reportedly been angry about Moscone’s decision not to reappoint him to the city board. Firing upon the mayor first, White then reloaded his pistol and turned his gun on his rival Milk, who was one of the nation’s first openly gay politicians and a much-admired activist in San Francisco. Future California Senator and then-Supervisor Dianne Feinstein, who was the first to find Milk’s body, found herself addressing a stunned crowd at City Hall. “As president of the Board of Supervisors, it’s my duty to make this announcement: Both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed. The suspect is supervisor Dan White.” White, who was caught...

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Iraq: Scores Killed in Gas Station Hilla Attack

ISIL claims responsibility for blast targeting Shia Muslims returning from Arbaeen pilgrimage in holy city of Karbala. At least 97 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a massive suicide truck bomb blast at a petrol station south of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, according to medical sources. The target of Thursday’s attack near the town of Hilla  appeared to be Shia Muslim pilgrims returning from the annual Arbaeen pilgrimage in the holy city of Karbala. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid said, reporting from Erbil, said the attack involved a rigged petrol tanker which was parked near a petrol station that also has a restaurant popular with travellers on its premises. “When the gas tanker blew up, it also torched several buses and minivans that were carrying the pilgrims,” Abdel-Hamid said. “The...

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Clinton Campaign Announces Bad News For Trump, Will Participate In Recount

by Vera – On Saturday morning, Hillary Clinton’s campaign counsel posted a statement to Medium to announce that the campaign will back recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan if Green Party candidate Jill Stein follows through with reexamining the votes in those states. The post was written by attorney Marc Erik Elias, who said that the campaign had been questioning the results since the election ended, weighing different options. Elias said: “It should go without saying that we take these concerns extremely seriously. We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted. Since the day after the election we have had lawyers and data scientists and analysts combing over the results to spot anomalies that would suggest a hacked result. These have included analysts both from within the...

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Fidel Castro Dead at 90

by Meteor Blades – Tracey Eaton at Al Jazeera writes Fidel Castro, a titan of the Cold War who defied 11 American presidents and thrust Cuba onto the world stage, is dead at age 90. Cuban state-run television said the former long-time president died at 7pm local time on . Castro’s brother and current president, Raul Castro, confirmed the news. The US government spent more than $1bn trying to kill, undermine or otherwise force Castro from power, but he endured unscathed before old age and disease finally took him.   Rory Carroll at The Guardian: As in life, Castro was deeply divisive in death. The announcement of his death was greeted by thousands online with celebration and condemnation of the “cruel dictator” and his repressive regime. Others mourned the passing of “a fighter of US imperialism” and a “charismatic icon”. In Miami, home to the largest diaspora of expatriate Cubans, people took...

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Presidents Can’t Use National Security Concerns as an Excuse to Spy on Critics

by Brett Max Kaufman – Until 40 years ago, American presidents regularly used surveillance powers for their own political ends. Watergate, of course, was perhaps the best-known example of such activity — and not coincidentally, it was also perhaps the last. In the wake of President Richard Nixon’s abuses of individual rights and government resources to enact political vengeance, a shocked American public demanded that Congress ensure that the president’s crimes could not be repeated. In 1976, in a document known as the Church Committee Report (named after Democratic senator Frank Church), the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence delved into America’s far and recent past to tell a disturbing tale about the dangerous powers of the American presidency — powers whose abuse had led just years earlier to a full-blown constitutional crisis resulting in the impeachment and resignation of President Nixon. The committee’s historic report is just as important today with...

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In An Ugly Election Result, Hate Surges Online

by A.C. Thompson and Ken Schwencke – Has Trump emboldened extremists? Some disquieting early returns. Over the past month, more than 564,000 unique visitors have spent time on the Daily Stormer, a website that takes its name from a Hitler-era German tabloid, “Der Stürmer.” The site bills itself as “America’s #1 Most Trusted Republican News Source” and features headlines like “Jew Billionaires Meet to Overthrow Trump Government,” “Faggots and Jews Whining About Bannon Appointment,” and “Yes, Trump Really Can Make America White Again.” Throughout Donald J. Trump’s ultimately successful run for the presidency, many worried that he had, willfully or recklessly, emboldened racists across the country. On Tuesday, Trump told the New York Times that had not been his intent. “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why,” Trump told the Times. He said he...

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Experts Quietly Asking Clinton Camp to Press for Probe Into Election Results

by Andrea Germanos – Meanwhile, Clinton’s popular vote lead over Trump now surpasses two million. As Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote now passes the 2 million mark, a group of computer scientists and election lawyers has reportedly pressed her campaign team to petition for recounts in three battleground states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—because the election results may have been compromised as a result of hacking or manipulation. New York magazine wrote Tuesday evening that the group, which includes John Bonifaz, an attorney, voting rights expert, and co-founder and director of Free Speech for People; and J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and director of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society, has thus far only privately lobbied the Clinton team, making a call last Thursday to campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias. As CNN sums up, the group told...

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On This Day, Nov 26, 1989 – MTV Unplugged Premieres

The television series MTV Unplugged, featuring stripped-down acoustical performances by a wide range of artists not usually known for such performances, makes its broadcast premiere on this day in 1989. The premiere episode of MTV Unplugged was only lightly promoted by the network, in part because it featured a lineup whose biggest name was the English pop group Squeeze—a band whose greatest popular success was already several years behind it. The episode also featured performances by the relatively unknown singer-songwriter Syd Straw, Cars guitarist Elliot Easton and singer-songwriter Jules Shear, who went on to act as host in the first season of MTV Unplugged. Following this less-than-star-studded debut, subsequent episodes featured a smattering of moderately popular acts like 10,000 Maniacs and Michael Penn along with performers with little or no name recognition among the MTV generation, like Graham Parker and Dr. John. Late in its first season, however MTV...

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On This Day, Nov 25, 1986 – Iran-Contra Connection Revealed

Three weeks after a Lebanese magazine reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran, Attorney General Edwin Meese reveals that proceeds from the arms sales were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua. On November 3, the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. The revelation, confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources on November 6, came as a shock to officials outside President Ronald Reagan’s inner circle and went against the stated policy of the administration. In addition to violating the U.S. arms embargo against Iran, the arms sales contradicted President Reagan’s vow never to negotiate with terrorists. On November 25, controversy over the administration’s secret dealings with Iran deepened dramatically when Attorney General Meese announced that the arms sales...

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The NY Times Interview of the Incoherent Orange Gasbag

by annieli – This is so damn sad… after eight years of coherent POTUS comments on policy questions, we get this idiot and some reasoned questions with few follow-up questions if only because of a cowed press wanting to retain their stenographic access to the WH. BAQUET: So, I’d love to hear you talk about how you’re going to manage that group of people who actually may not be the larger group but who have an expectation for you and are angry about the country and its — along racial lines. My first question is, do you feel like you said things that energized them in particular, and how are you going to manage that? TRUMP: I don’t think so, Dean. First of all, I don’t want to energize the group. I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group. They, again, I don’t...

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