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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