Kabul Bombing: Huge Explosion Rocks Diplomatic District

Dozens of Afghan civilians killed after massive explosion rips through the heart of the capital’s diplomatic district. A massive truck bomb blast has ripped through the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic district, killing at least 80 people and wounding hundreds, in a powerful explosion described by officials as “one of the biggest” to have hit the Afghan capital. A tanker truck believed to be carrying either water or human waste exploded on Wednesday near Zanbaq square, in Kabul’s 10th district, close to shops and restaurants, as well as government offices and foreign embassies. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the group was not involved in the attack. READ MORE: Social media users react to ‘horrific’ Kabul bombing Police and health officials confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least 80 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the attack. Aziz...

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US Declares Success in Key Test of Missile Defence

But since $40bn system was declared ready for combat in 2004, only four of nine intercept attempts have been successful. The US military scored an important success in a test of its oft-criticised missile-defence programme, destroying a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean with an interceptor that is key to protecting US territory from a North Korean attack. Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the Pentagon agency in charge of developing the missile-defence system, called the test result “an incredible accomplishment” and a critical milestone for a programme hampered by setbacks over the years. “This system is vitally important to the defence of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat,” Syring said in a statement announcing the test result. Despite the success, the $244m test didn’t confirm that under wartime conditions the US could intercept an intercontinental-range missile...

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On This Day, May 31, 2005 – Deep Throat is Revealed

W. Mark Felt’s family ends 30 years of speculation, identifying Felt, the former FBI assistant director, as “Deep Throat,” the secret source who helped unravel the Watergate scandal. The Felt family’s admission, made in an article in Vanity Fair magazine, took legendary reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who had promised to keep their source’s identity a secret until his death, by surprise. Tapes show that Nixon himself had speculated that Felt was the secret informant as early as 1973. The question “Who was Deep Throat?” had been investigated relentlessly in the ensuing years since Watergate in movies, books, televisions shows, and on the Internet. America was obsessed with the shadowy figure who went to great lengths to conceal his involvement with the Washington Post reporters. Although his name was often mentioned as a possibility, Felt consistently denied being Deep Throat, even writing in his 1979 memoir, “I never...

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Illinois Advances Legislation That Would Register More Than a Million New Voters

by Kira Lerner – The state legislature unanimously passed automatic voter registration after it was vetoed last year. Illinois’ legislature unanimously passed legislation Monday that would make it the ninth state with automatic voter registration, adding over one million new voters to the rolls. The bill would automatically register eligible citizens who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, Secretary of State’s office, and several other state agencies unless they opt out. It heads to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)’s desk after final approval by the state senate, which also unanimously passed it earlier this month. Advocates estimate that roughly one million out of 2.2 million unregistered but eligible Illinois voters will be added to the rolls once they visit a participating agency. The bill marks the second time lawmakers in Illinois have attempted to enact automatic registration. Last August, Rauner vetoed a similar bill, citing the threat of non-citizens committing voter fraud even...

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Steve Bannon Told Trump: ‘go to the mattresses’ & Bodies Falling at WH Just Like a Mafia Movie

by ursulafaw – The Trump White House is flailing like a beached whale right now as Kremlin Gate looms like a tsunami in the distance. They can hear it roaring and it’s only a question of time before it arrives, smashing them down, engulfing them and splintering their soon to be lost dreams of glory. And who is the only man who can stop it, or so he tells them? Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has advised Donald Trump that his only hope is to “go to the mattresses,” under Bannon’s direction if he wants to  save his presidency. This from the Washington Post: Although much remained fluid Saturday, the beefed-up operation could include the return of some of Trump’s more combative campaign aides, including Corey Lewandowski, who was fired as campaign manager nearly a year ago, and David N. Bossie, who was deputy campaign manager and made his name in politics...

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Homeless Man Who Helped Manchester Victims is Rewarded With Housing (VIDEO)

by Amanda Froelich – For his heroism, the activist has received offers of assistance and housing. Last week, word traveled fast that a homeless man named Chris Parker had stepped in to help victims of the Manchester terror attack when others went fleeing. As True Activist reported, he helped several individuals – including a woman in her 60’s who passed away in his arms. Now that a short period of time has passed, the details of the incident have become more clear. Parker was not alone when he ran into the Manchester Arena where the bomb took place. Another homeless man, named Stephen Jones, joined him. The duo worked to transport the injured away from the building and to pull debris from peoples’ wounds. Together, they kept a woman’s legs elevated so she wouldn’t bleed out. They also comforted some children as they desperately looked for their parents. For their heroism,...

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Senate Republicans Could Preserve One of Trumpcare’s Deadliest Provisions

by Casey Quinlan – Out-of-pocket spending could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for those seeking maternity care. As Senate Republicans move forward with their health care bill, they may decide to keep waivers from the House bill that would harm some of the sickest and neediest Americans. At least six Republican Senators — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — are either open to the state waivers in the American Health Care Act or fully support them, according to BuzzFeed and The Hill. This is despite the fact that a Congressional Budget Office report issued earlier this week found that these waivers could make it impossible for some sick people to purchase any health coverage due to higher premiums. These waivers would make it possible for states to disregard essential health benefit standards — which...

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To Ram Through Unpopular Agenda, Trump Urges GOP to Kill Senate Filibuster

by Common Dreams staff – Though his proposals have found slim support among the American people, president wants GOP allies to push items through “fast and easy”. President Donald Trump indicated to Republicans on Tuesday that they should ignore widespread voter disapproval of his agenda as he urged them to once again jettison filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate in order to ram through a bill that would strip health coverage from an estimated 23 million people over the next decade and pass massive tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. “The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” the president tweeted Tuesday morning. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, only 21% of voters approve of the Republican “wealthcare, not a healthcare bill” which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month...

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Salt Lake City Police Invested in Training and Haven’t had an Officer-involved Shooting in Two Years

by Kelly Macias – In the United States, we’ve come to accept a narrative that part of being a police officer means that an unfortunate reality of the job is that someone (a civilian) may lose their life in a justifiable shooting. This line of thinking is simplistic and prevents us from looking at much-needed reform within the institution of policing and it doesn’t have to be true. Less than six months into the year, police officers have already shot and killed 367 people—a number slightly higher than the last two years. But there is evidence that when police embrace training tactics that involve communication and empathy, they don’t have to take lives. In Utah’s capital, police have actively embraced a tactic called de-escalation. The officers being trained in de-escalation are encouraged to communicate and empathize with suspects, take stock of the factors contributing to a confrontation, and consider ways to disengage before the situation spirals out...

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Boom: Macron Calls Out Putin for Election Meddling…While Standing Next to Him

by ExpatGirl – France’s new President, Emmanuel Macron, isn’t playing when it comes to Vladimir Putin. In their first joint press appearance, he specifically called out Russia Today and Sputnik as Russian propaganda and disinformation arms. Wow. Bradd Jaffy ✔@BraddJaffy Macron said this today while standing literally right next to Putin. Damn. http://apne.ws/2rOizND  12:04 PM – 29 May 2017 To quote one person on Twitter, I have President envy. I get the feeling we are seeing the stirring of a fascinating time on the global stage. France and Germany have stepped up to the plate to forge a stronger and more independent path for Europe based in the liberal democracy ideals the US has historically been considered to embody. Standing up to Trump and Putin visibly and vocally has become a political gain not only in Europe but in the countries on our northern and southern borders. And as forces outside...

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Manuel Noriega, Ex-military Ruler of Panama, Dies at 83 (VIDEO)

Former ruler of Panama was held in medically induced coma after brain surgery in March. Manuel Noriega, Panama’s former ruler, has died aged 83, Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela announced on Twitter. Noriega was the country’s military ruler from 1983 to 1989, when he was removed from power by the United States during the invasion of Panama. “The death of Manuel Antonio Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and their families deserve a burial in peace,” Varela said. Juan Carlos Varela ✔@JC_Varela Muerte de Manuel A. Noriega cierra un capítulo de nuestra historia; sus hijas y sus familiares merecen un sepelio en paz. 12:58 AM – 30 May 2017 Noriega was held in a medically induced coma after suffering brain hemorrhaging in March. The hemorrhage occurred after Noriega underwent surgery to have a tumour removed from his brain. During his rule, Noriega initially positioned Panama as a...

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On This Day, May 30, 1491 – Joan of Arc Martyred

At Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy. Joan was born in 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer at Domremy, on the borders of the duchies of Bar and Lorraine. In 1415, the Hundred Years War between England and France entered a crucial phase when the young King Henry V of England invaded France and won a series of decisive victories against the forces of King Charles VI. By the time of Henry’s death in August 1422, the English and their French-Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and most of northern France, including Paris. Charles VI, long incapacitated, died one month later, and his son, Charles, regent from 1418, prepared to take the throne. However, Reims, the traditional city of French coronation, was held by the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Dauphin (heir apparent to the...

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After ‘Heroic Intervention,’ Funds Being Raised for Portland Victims

by Lauren McCauley – Taliesin Myrddin and Ricky Best died after confrontation with alleged racist; Micah Fletcher survived despite extensive injuries to his neck. In a cruel twist to a devastating story about bravery in the face of hate, friends of Micah Fletcher, the sole survivor of the Oregon transit stabbing on Friday, are now trying to raise funds to pay for his life-saving medical treatment. “Our friend was stabbed and critically injured while being a good Samaritan and heroically intervening during the racist terrorist incident that left two men dead,” reads the Go Fund Me page. “He bravely did what anyone should do when confronted with terrorism and stepped in to stop the harassment of Muslim women by a known White Supremacist.” Fletcher was one of three people who approached suspect Jeremy Christian on the Portland MAX train on Friday after Christian was seen “yelling anti-Muslim hate speech at the...

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The Other Special Prosecutor We Need

by ARN PEARSON – Trump and his inner circle cashing in on the White House is its own growing scandal. It’s been one revelation after the other these days about President Trump’s attempts to shut down the FBI’s Russiagate investigation. Turn on the news and you’re bound to hear comparisons to Nixon’s Watergate scandal and phrases like “obstruction of justice,” “intimidating a witness” and “cover-up” being hotly debated. And then last Wednesday, the Department of Justice finally bowed to reality and appointed a special prosecutor, former FBI Director Robert Mueller. “Based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Progress. Meanwhile, another scandal is brewing in the White House that demands equal attention — Trump, his family and his inner circle cashing...

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Fearing for My Life During a Traffic Stop: Rising Police Violence in the Borderlands

by Ankur Singh, Truthout | News Analysis – Three cop cars with their sirens blazing were coming fast behind me. It was a dark night in April 2017 in Nogales, Arizona, along the US-Mexico border. The infamous wall was visible from where I was stopped. I am an Indian-American college student who had been living in Nogales for the past few months studying journalism and education. My heart dropped as I pulled over to the side of the road. “Driver!” a Nogales Police Department (NPD) officer yelled at me through the loud metallic intercom of his vehicle. I didn’t know how to respond since the officer’s statement wasn’t really a question or a command, so I just shouted, “Yes?” out the window. In my driver-side mirror, I saw an agent creeping toward my car with his blinding, bright flashlight and gun pointed directly at me. Two more officers stood...

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“NSA in Unprecedented Hunt for KremlinGate Evidence”

by pollwatcher – The Trump regime has relentlessly attacked our Intelligence agencies in an effort to discredit them and obstruct any investigation into the regime’s love affair with Putin and other ruthless authoritarians.  I’m not sure how they thought this was going to be a good idea, but it looks like the NSA has had enough.  … now that the Justice Department has appointed Robert Mueller special counsel charged with running the Russia investigation, NSA is apparently pulling out all the stops to track down any additional evidence which might be relevant to the expanded inquiry into KremlinGate. Specifically, last week NSA is believed to have sent out an unprecedented order to the Directorate of Operations, the agency’s largest unit. The DO, as insiders term it, manages all of NSA’s SIGINT (signal intelligence) assets worldwide, making it the most important spy operation on earth. … Such an order would have charged every...

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A Sad, Needy, Little Man

by joe quigley – Donald Trump has to measure up to the big boys. It is important to him. He needs it. He isn’t his father, the man he wants to be just like, and his need to compensate, or even prove himself to his dead father is palpable. His name has to be huge on his buildings. Not only must it be seen from a great distance by the living, but it has to be seen by the dead. He insisted during one Republican Candidate Debate that his penis was the biggest of the bunch. He even had to make sure that people remembered that by calling Marco Rubio ”Little Marco” so he could continually, albeit indirectly, remind people of his  own claimed endowment. He wants people to know, or at least think they know that. At the G7 Summit he needed to push his way to the front, even...

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House, Senate Republicans at Odds Over Blistering Trumpcare CBO Score, Where to go From Here

by Joan McCarter – House Republicans are in full denial over how bad the Congressional Budget Office score of Zombie Trumpcare was for them, insisting that the CBO doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are at great pains to promise that their bill won’t be as awful as the CBO score says the House bill is. Here, for example, is Rep. Mark Meadows, the lead maniac in the Freedom Caucus. “Some of their assumptions appear not to be backed up by real analysis, specifically as it relates to obviously the number of people uninsured,” he said. “What was probably disappointing is that it was long on rhetoric and short on support of where that rhetoric came from,” Meadows told reporters Thursday. Economic analysis=rhetoric if you are a Republican. Or, if you’re Speaker Paul Ryan, you just ignore all the stuff that was really bad and focus on the sliver...

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Foreign Policy Mag Lays T Word on Jared Kushner: “It’s time to talk about treason.”

by durrati – Foreign Policy Magazine is touted by the mediabias/factcheck website as being one of the least biased and most reliable sources for news on world affairs. The website says of the magazine’s rating…. “These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes).  The reporting is factual and usually sourced.  These are the most credible media sources.” The drumpf maladministration should be very concerned then when Foreign Policy uses the very loaded T word in an opinion piece about Kushner’s attempts to string a tin can directly to Putin under the lede – “Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason.” Emile Simpson dismisses the maladministration’s various defenses of Kushner’s actions with the simple argument that, if what was to be discussed via Russia’s secret ring decoder hotline to the Kremlin in their NYC Embassy were legal there would be no...

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Trump Will Reportedly Exit Paris Climate Deal, Making Us a Rogue Nation

by Joe Romm – The move could pave the way for other defectors — like Putin’s Russia. President Donald Trump has privately told “confidants” he intends to leave the Paris accord on climate change, “according to three sources with direct knowledge,” Axios reported Saturday. After persuading voters that America isn’t great anymore, Trump apparently intends to make sure of it — by having this country lead the effort to kill humanity’s last, best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Quitting a unanimous agreement by 190+ nations after a two-decade negotiating process would make us a rogue nation, a global pariah, like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And, it could make Putin happy, as we’ll see. While Trump tweeted out Saturday from Italy that “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after the G7 meeting, “The whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory.” She...

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On This Day, May 29, 1953 – Hillary and Tenzing Reach Everest Summit

At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. The two, part of a British expedition, made their final assault on the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and Britons hailed it as a good omen for their country’s future. Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of...

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The Complicated Origin of the Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory

by Adam Peck – On Tuesday, Fox News retracted a story making the case that Seth Rich, a former DNC staffer who was shot and killed in a botched robbery nearly a year ago, was responsible for leaking DNC data to Wikileaks, and was killed as a result. The conspiracy theory has been floating around certain corners of the internet for months, dating back to well before the election. But it’s gained new traction in recent days thanks to some high-profile conservatives, chief among them Sean Hannity and others within the Fox News universe. Even as his own network distances themselves from the story, Hannity, Geraldo Rivera and others continue to sow doubt and suggest—with no evidence—that Democrats are guilty of murder. But if Fox News hosts are the ones responsible for bringing the conspiracy to a larger audience, their broadcasts are propped up on the sloppy, ceaseless, and often fabricated...

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Senate Intelligence Committee Widens Basis of Investigation into Trump–Russia Connection

by Mark Sumner –   Following the Friday night revelations that Jared Kushner had additional, previously-unrevealed communications with the Russian ambassador, and that Kushner had worked with the Russians in an attempt to set up a secret, back-door communications channel—one that was genuinely based on the idea that Trump’s people would come directly to the Russian embassy so they could connect to the Kremlin without being overheard—the Senate has decided to expand the scope of its investigation into Trump–Russia. The Senate Intelligence Committee acted quickly to ask the Trump campaign to preserve all Russia-related documents going back to the start of the campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, has asked President Trump’s political organization to gather and produce all Russia-related documents, emails and phone records going back to his campaign’s launch in June 2015, according to two people briefed on the request. The reasoning...

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Duterte Declares Martial Law After Mindanao Attack (VIDEOS)

Emergency declaration follows heavy clashes between security forces and fighters in Mindanao’s Marawi city. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao after about 100 Muslim fighters laid siege to a major city following a deadly gun battle with government forces. The emergency declaration took immediate effect and will last for 60 days, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, who made the announcement on Tuesday from Russia, where Duterte was on a scheduled four-day official visit. The president “has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao”, Abella said. Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte vows daily executions “This is possible on the grounds of the existence of rebellion,” he added. Duterte cut short his trip to Russia, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said. “The president feels that he is needed in Manila as soon as possible.” Duterte met Russian President Vladimir Putin on...

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Nobel Prize Winning Economist on Trump’s Budget: ‘You could say it’s a collection of lies put together’

by Walter Einenkel – Nobel Prize winning economist and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has studied market inequalities more intensely than Donald Trump has studied his hair follicles, was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Asked about what he thought of the newly released White House budget, he had this to say. It’s like everything else: It’s made up. You could say it’s a collection of lies put together. It doesn’t make any economic sense. I don’t think anybody who’s looked at it has—can fathom the economics. I mean, you mentioned one thing, the 3 percent growth rate, which is the largest deviation in estimate relative to the CBO on record. You know, when I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, we wanted to be responsible, and we always were conservative and were very careful, getting the views of everybody, wanted to make sure that our...

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CBO = Conservative Bullshit Obliterator

by Jon Perr – This past week was a very big one for some very big promises from Republicans in Washington. It didn’t go well for them. Three weeks after House Republicans voted to pass a new version of their “American Health Care Act,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) weighed in on high-profile pledges from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. While Trump guaranteed “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better,” Ryan insisted the revised AHCA “protects people with pre-existing conditions.” Not content to rest there, HHS Secretary Tom Price boasted that Trumpcare’s $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid will “absolutely not” result in millions losing coverage. Meanwhile, the Trump administration also unveiled its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. With its draconian spending cuts to the social safety net programs, the White House blueprint was proclaimed “dead on arrival” even by some Republicans. But...

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Europe Can No Longer ‘completely depend’ on America, Merkel Says

by Alan Pyke – Time for Europe to “take our fate into our own hands,” Angela Merkel says. As President Donald Trump returned from his first international trip as president on Sunday, his German counterpart told the world she believes the era of American global leadership has ended. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces parliamentary elections in the fall, told a crowd in Munich on Sunday. “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” The comments reflect new divisions between Washington and European capitals. Just before her meeting with Trump and other leaders from the G7 in Brussels, Merkel welcomed former President Barack Obama with a celebration at the Brandenburg Gate, underscoring her tension with his successor. Since his campaign, Trump has deplored the amount of...

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Fossil Fuel Groups Wants to Quit Kids’ Suit For Climate Action

by JOHN LIGHT – The National Association of Manufacturers joined the government in opposing 21 kids who were suing for climate action. An industry group representing fossil fuel companies is looking to pull out of a case in which 21 young Americans, ranging in age from 9 to 21, are suing the federal government to force it to take action on climate change. The move by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) comes days before the group would have to file documents clarifying its position on climate change. The young plaintiffs, represented by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, had initially filed their suit against the Obama administration. In 2015, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and NAM...

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Top Trump Economic Adviser: ‘Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore’

by Joe Romm – Whether or not the United States will remain in the historic Paris climate agreement is a major question surrounding President Donald Trump’s trip to Italy for the G7 Summit. Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, was asked about the decision aboard Air Force One on Thursday, and had some surprising answers. Cohn told reporters that coal doesn’t “make that much sense anymore,” but that pushing renewables could make America “a manufacturing powerhouse.” The words seem off-message from a White House that has promised repeatedly to bring back coal jobs and just proposed massive cuts to federal investment in clean energy. Cohn told the press that Trump would achieve fast economic growth while preserving the environment at the same time. “We’re not going to pollute the air to do that. We’re not going to be rampant polluters,” he said. He then explained that achievement was made possible as...

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On This Day, May 28, 1957 – Owners Allow Dodgers and Giants to Move

On May 28, 1957, National League owners vote unanimously to allow the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers to move to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, at the mid-season owner’s meeting in Chicago, Illinois. There were, however, conditions attached to the owners’ decision. First, either both teams had to move or neither could, which meant that if one team reconsidered, the other would have to change their plans as well. Second, both teams had to announce their plans before October 1, 1957. In the end, both teams did move: The Giants hosted a farewell party at a game on September 29, and the Dodgers formally announced their move on October 8. West Coast baseball fans were overjoyed, and the people of New York City were heartbroken. In 1957, the Dodgers were in the midst of an impressive run; they had won five pennants and one World Championship in...

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The Suspicious Circumstances of Kushner’s Secret Meeting With a Kremlin-connected Banker

by Aaron Rupar – Kushner is under investigation as part of the probe of the Trump campaign and Russia. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that “nvestigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.” The meetings in question happened in December. One of them involved Kushner and Sergey Gorkov, head of Vnesheconombank, a state-owned Russian bank that is still under American sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. That meeting occurred as Kushner, who was still head of Kushner Companies at the time, was looking for investors to redevelop the Manhattan office building he paid $1.8 billion to purchase in 2007. When news of the Kushner-Gorkov meeting was first reported by...

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Why Jeff Sessions Is the Best Argument for Reducing Prosecutorial Power

by Taylor Pendergrass, Senior Staff Attorney , NYCLU – Rumors of the demise of the War on Drugs have been greatly exaggerated, but there have been some recent signs of a draw down. Both red and blue states have been taking steps to reduce incarceration for people charged with drug-related offenses. At the federal level, changes to sentencing guidelines and policies giving prosecutors more discretion in prosecuting drug crimes, implemented by former Attorney General Eric Holder, is credited for a major part of the 14 percent drop in the federal prison population. That progress, however, did not sit well with the current attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III. On May 12, Sessions single-handedly resurrected a mass incarceration zombie by revoking the Holder policy and reimplementing an approach that is likely to maximize prison time for any person the federal government charges with a drug crime. Sessions’ move ignores a widespread...

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The Worst Sexual Abuse Scandal in British Soccer History is Up to 560 Victims

by Lindsay Gibbs – The allegations are focused on 252 suspects. One of the worst child sexual abuse scandals in sports history just keeps growing in scope. Last month, the National Police Chiefs’ Council in England released the latest numbers in an ongoing investigation into a child sex abuse scandal in British soccer. As of that report, 560 alleged victims had come forward with allegation against 252 suspects. So far, 311 football clubs from all ranks, amateur through premier, have been impacted by the investigation. This week on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, former Chelsea soccer player Gary Johnson talked to journalist David Scott about the abuse he suffered. Johnson was scouted for Chelsea’s elite youth program when he was only 13 years old by Eddie Heath. One day, after Johnson had a bad day at school, Heath invited Johnson back to his house. Once there, Heath put on a...

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Psychiatry has Spoken: President Donald Trump is Mentally Ill

by asudvarg – by: Abbe L. Sudvarg, M.D. Francis Baumli, Ph.D. For many conscientious citizens of the United States, the election of Donald Trump as President has caused a great deal of anxiety. Perhaps this anxiety is healthy because the alternative would involve descending into a perilous miasma of emotional chaos that would cause us to become apathetic, anesthetized, even callous. Many citizens are less concerned about Donald Trump being President than they are about the fact that so many Americans, apparently exorcising their inner demons, voted him in to office. Many men voted for him because they felt emasculated by politicians who have blithely ignored their concerns—even their existence. Disgusted by this unsavory state of affairs, they voted for a man whose loud, chronic, and self-confident blustering gave them something to grab on to: “He ain’t afraid to say what he thinks,” or, “At least he’s a man who’ll get...

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Police Arrest Portland Man Alleged to Have Fatally Stabbed Two Men After Yelling Anti-Muslim Slurs

by Yvette Cabrera – The victims had reportedly tried to confront the man, who witnesses said was targeting a girl in a hijab. Police have arrested a man who they allege fatally stabbed two men and injured another on a commuter train Friday afternoon in Portland, Oregon after the passengers confronted the suspect, who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs among other hate-tinged obscenities. Law enforcement officials told CNN that the man was “yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs,” possibly directed at two girls who witnesses described as Muslim, including one wearing a hijab head covering. Police are treating the suspect’s remarks as hate speech. “We have not been able to find those girls to verify that,” Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson told CNN. Police charged the suspect, North Portland resident Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, on two charges of murder, as well as attempted murder, two counts of second degree intimidation, and...

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Mike Pence is Toast: Anonymous Letter to WaPo Shows the Role of Eric Prince in Trump-Russia

by ursulafaw – Pence lost all plausible deniability about his alleged ignorance of all things Russian today, if the Washington Post is correct that Pence benefactor and mentor Erik Prince is the “representative of Trump” named in an anonymous letter received by the Post in December; and moreover that Prince was a member of the Trump transition team all along. The letter said among other things that Jared Kushner had talked to Sergei Kislyak about setting up a secret and secure communications channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. The letter also made reference to a “Trump representative” meeting with a Russian contact to set up the communications channel and the Trump representative is Erik Prince. If The Washington Post is correct, and it certainly appears that way, there is absolutely no way that Pence can maintain he didn’t know everything about Flynn and Trump-Russia, and that he learned it first hand...

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Other G7 Leaders Plow Ahead After Trump Throws ‘Tantrum’ Over Climate Accord

by Lauren McCauley – In addition to stymying action on fossil fuels, Trump also ‘forced the Italian prime minister Paulo Gentiloni to shred plans for an ambitious statement stressing the plight of migrants’. Further isolating the United States as other world powers prepare to take on the crisis of climate change, President Donald Trump refused to commit to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement as the remaining G7 leaders reaffirmed their determination to implement the accord. In what has been described as an “unusually frank statement,” the G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué (pdf) released Saturday after the two-day meeting in Sicily, says that the U.S. is “in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.” “Understanding this process,” the document continues, “the heads of state and of government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy,...

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We Must Be Brave Enough to Admit the War on Terror Simply Not Working

by Jeremy Corbyn – Amid sorrow of Manchester bombing, UK Labour Party leader explains why actively building peace is requisite for ending such horrific and inexcusable carnage in the future. Our whole nation has been united in shock and grief this week as a night out at a concert ended in horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people enjoying themselves. When I stood on Albert Square at the vigil in Manchester, there was a mood of unwavering defiance. The very act of thousands of people coming together sent a powerful message of solidarity and love. It was a profound human impulse to stand together, caring and strong. It was inspiring. In the past few days, we have all perhaps thought a bit more about our country, our communities and our people. The people we have lost to atrocious violence or who have suffered grievous injury, so many of them...

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On This Day, May 27, 1937 – Golden Gate Bridge opens

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a stunning technological and artistic achievement, opens to the public after five years of construction. On opening day–“Pedestrian Day”–some 200,000 bridge walkers marveled at the 4,200-foot-long suspension bridge, which spans the Golden Gate Strait at the entrance to San Francisco Bay and connects San Francisco and Marin County. On May 28, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicular traffic. The concept of bridging the nearly mile-wide Golden Gate Strait was proposed as early as 1872, but it was not until the early 1920s that public opinion in San Francisco began to favor such an undertaking. In 1921, Cincinnati-born bridge engineer Joseph Strauss submitted a preliminary proposal: a combination suspension-cantilever that could be built for $27 million. Although unsightly compared with the final result, his design was affordable, and Strauss became the recognized leader of the effort to bridge the Golden Gate Strait. During the...

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Islamophobia’s Anniversary

by SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN – How a disinformation campaign changed America. In the annals of American democracy, hardly anything of lasting consequence ever took place at a meeting of one of New York City’s community boards. These panels of volunteers, many of them appointed by local political bosses, hold no binding power and are only an advisory voice on issues like land use, construction and zoning. There is, however, one red-letter date associated with the community board that covered the southern tip of Manhattan, and we are approaching its anniversary. May 25 was the seventh anniversary of Islamophobia in America. Not that the irrational fear and hatred of Muslims and Islam started then and there, but rather that the events helped coalesce a loose alliance of bigots and opportunists into a political movement, the same movement that ultimately elected Donald Trump as president. On that spring evening in 2010, the members...

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Scientists Just Published a Study Calling Out the Head of the EPA by Name

by Samantha Page – No, warming is not ‘leveling off.’ A new study appeared in the journal Nature on Wednesday, directly refuting the idea that satellite data has shown global warming has leveled off, a claim made by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier this year. “Satellite temperature measurements do not support the recent claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades,” the study says. The researchers were upfront about why they ran the study, calling out Pruitt by name. “Mr. Pruitt claimed that ‘over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.’ We test this claim here,” the researchers write. The study was authored by Benjamin Santer, an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and three Livermore colleagues, as well as three scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington in Seattle, and...

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Trump’s Business isn’t Keeping the Receipts From Foreign Governments

by Ned Resnikoff – The president vowed to donate all profits from foreign governments to the Treasury. But he can’t donate them if no one can find them. One month ago, the House Oversight Committee asked the Trump Organization to provide documents related to payments it had received from foreign governments — and outline a plan for donating profits to the U.S. Treasury Department, as President Donald Trump vowed he would. Now it appears that Trump’s business empire hasn’t been keeping track of those payments, making compliance with the president’s promise all but impossible. NBC obtained a Trump Organization pamphlet that says the business will not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity.” Instead, the Trump Organization puts the onus on foreign governments to make those disclosures, voluntarily and without prompting. The Trump Organization forwarded this pamphlet to members of the...

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Seven Things You Need to Know About the G7 Summit (VIDEOS)

What does the G7 stand for, who are the key players and what are the potential bust-ups this year? The leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – countries collectively known as the Group of Seven (G7) – are meeting on Friday for a two-day summit in the resort town of Taormina, Italy. The bloc meets annually to discuss a wide range of issues, including global economy, security and energy – and this year will be no exception. But with four out of seven leaders sitting at the G7 table for the first time, including US President Donald Trump, experts will be looking for signs about potential policy shifts amid growing global challenges. Syrian conflict tops G7 summit agenda Trump, in particular, is likely to face peer pressure over his protectionist and climate-sceptic stance, which has put him at odds with some of the...

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Jared Kushner Marked by FBI as Having ‘significant information’ in Russia

by Hunter – The investigation into Russian election hacking and links to the Trump campaign has now reached the doorstep of Trump son-in-law and adviser for All The Things, Jared Kushner. Oops. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News. Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him. It is not known whether Kushner has received any records requests from federal investigators. Kushner, like multiple other members of the Trump campaign, had meetings with prominent Russian figures during the campaign or transition, including a December meeting in Trump Tower. And while the FBI doesn’t appear to consider Kushner a target, they are “focusing” on his actions. Investigators are focusing on a series of...

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On This Day, May 26, 1897 – Dracula Goes on Sale in London

The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on this day in 1897. A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail on the side. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass. Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but...

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New CBO Score Makes Clear: Trumpcare is ‘Political Suicide’ in Senate

by Deirdre Fulton – The upper chamber of Congress ‘must kill this bill before it kills us’ As outrage continues to percolate over the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score for Trumpcare—showing 23 million Americans stand to lose their healthcare and those who don’t will be stuck with inferior, pricier coverage—advocates and activists are directing their ire toward the U.S. Senate, which is currently crafting its own version of the bill. “In the weeks ahead, MoveOn members will be organizing to press senators with a range of tactics at our disposal, from urging directly affected constituents to speak up at town halls to flooding Senators with phone calls to organizing protests outside of their district offices,” Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said Wednesday evening. “MoveOn members and Americans nationwide will make it clear to the Senate that following in the footsteps of the House by pushing through a dangerous...

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GOP Strategist Admits He Colluded With Russian Hackers to Hurt Hillary Clinton, Democrats

by Eyesbright – I’ll quote the first three paragraphs of the article and provide the link to the whole thing.  Note that it actually originated from the Wall Street Journal but is behind a paywall.  The quotes are from Salon: The U.S. intelligence community has long since concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and it was reported shortly after the 2016 presidential election that a GOP SuperPAC linked to Paul Ryan used illegally hacked material to attack Democratic House candidates. But a bombshell report published on Thursday confirms that Republican political operatives were working with the Russian government to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of so-called collusion. The Wall Street Journal reported that hacked information was posted on a blog run by Aaron Nevins, the political operative, and then passed along to top Trump adviser Roger Stone during the campaign. The Republican...

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‘From Laughable to Inevitable’: $15 Minimum Wage Hits Congress

by Lauren McCauley – Responding to grassroots labor movement, Democratic lawmakers show that they are ready to join the pro-worker fight. Answering the call from millions of underpaid American workers who for years have pounded the pavement demanding a living wage, progressive lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation in both the House and Senate that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, “reversing the growing trend of income inequality between the top and everybody else,” as stated by Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made the $15 minimum wage a pillar of his 2016 presidential bid, said as he introduced the bill alongside Scott and others that he knows the idea “is a radical concept for our Republican friends, but we believe in the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that if you work 40 hours a week or...

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War in Afghanistan Is Killing Children in Record Numbers in 2017

by Ruchi Kumar, Truthout | Report – Four-year-old Alisina was playing in the fields outside her house in the Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan, located 80 kilometers from the capital city of Kabul, on a mid-April morning. Only vaguely aware of the constant war that surrounds them, Alisina and her friends didn’t know the large metal object they found in the field that day was in fact an unexploded ordnance left behind by one of the warring parties. The little girls squabbled over who would get to play with it first, and Alisina won the rights to the deadly weapon, which minutes later exploded in her hands as she attempted to lift it. “She has shell injuries to face and both eyes, chest and hands. Her thumb and third finger required traumatic amputation,” Alisina’s doctor at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul told me in an interview. “We had...

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Trump’s Cruel and Deviant Budget

by Robert Reich – For years, conservatives warned that liberals were “defining deviancy downward.” They said that by tolerating bad social behavior, liberals in effect lowered what was deemed acceptable behavior overall – allowing social norms to decline. There was never a lot of evidence for that view, but there’s little question that Donald Trump is actively defining deviancy downward for the nation as a whole – whether it’s by lying, denigrating basic democratic values, celebrating tyrants around the world, using his office to build his family wealth, or stopping at nothing to win the presidency. Now comes his budget. Budgets are overall expressions of values and priorities. Trump’s budget is cruel and deviant. He proposes to cut federal spending by more than $3.6 trillion over the next decade, much of it for programs that help the poor (Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security disability, and health insurance for poor children) –...

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