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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What Happens When States Go Hunting for Welfare Fraud?

by Jen Fifield – By the time Illinois decided to crack down on Medicaid fraud in 2012, state officials knew that many people enrolled in the program probably weren’t eligible. For years, caseworkers hadn’t had the time or resources to check. To catch up, the state hired a private contractor to identify people who might not be eligible for the low-income health program and to make recommendations for whose benefits should be canceled. Within about a year, Illinois had canceled benefits for nearly 150,000 people whose eligibility could not be verified — and saved an estimated $70 million. Now, faced with growing Medicaid enrollment and tight budgets, Republican lawmakers in several other states are taking similar steps to ensure that people receiving welfare benefits are eligible for them. Under their proposals, which are modeled on legislation drafted by a national conservative group, recipients would face tougher and more frequent eligibility checks....

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There’s New Evidence that President Trump Obstructed Russian Investigation

by Emily Q. Hazzard – Here’s the case for charging the president with obstruction of justice. President Donald Trump asked two high-ranking intelligence officials to publicly deny allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election reports the Washington Post, citing “current and former officials.” According the Post’s sources, who were granted anonymity, the president asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to publicly deny any evidence existed that the campaign colluded with Russia. The conversations apparently happened in March, after then–FBI director James Comey had told the House Intelligence Committee that officials were investigating links and alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Coats and Rogers apparently each rejected those request on the grounds it would be inappropriate. The sources also tell reporters that a senior NSA official kept a record of the conversation between Trump...

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A Court Just Blocked Trump’s Muslim Ban Because Trump Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut

by Ian Millhiser – Authoritarianism for Dummies. Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. At least, that’s the biggest takeaway from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision upholding an injunction against the most recent version of Trump’s Muslim ban. Ten of the thirteen judges who heard International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump ruled against Trump’s policy, although there was some disagreement as to why among the judges in the majority. As Chief Judge Roger Gregory explains in the court’s primary opinion, the court may have reached a different outcome had Trump and his aides simply kept their big mouths shut. As was the case in several other decisions halting the Muslim ban, Trump lost in large part because he spent months traveling around the country bragging about his plan to violate the Constitution. The primary tension in the Muslim ban cases is between the First Amendment’s prohibition...

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Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments

by Charles Ornstein – Since the passage of the American Health Care Act, Republican members of Congress have tried to swing public opinion to their side. ProPublica has been tracking what they’re saying. Earlier this month, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Ashleigh Morley visited her congressman’s Facebook page to voice her dismay. “Your vote yesterday was unthinkably irresponsible and does not begin to account for the thousands of constituents in your district who rely upon many of the services and provisions provided for them by the ACA,” Morley wrote on the page affiliated with the campaign of Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “You never had my vote and this confirms why.” The next day, Morley said, her comment was deleted and she was blocked from commenting on or reacting to King’s posts. The same thing has...

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British Intelligence Shuts Out US After Information Leaks on Manchester

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump shared classified intelligence with Russian officials, putting Israeli assets at risk. Trump shared the location of two nuclear submarines with Rodrigo Duterte, putting US assets at risk. And now the Trump team has shared the name of the Manchester bomber along with other information, putting the investigation of the British terrorist attack at risk. High-ranking British officials, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, are speaking out against the US, after a number of confidential details in the ongoing investigation into Monday’s Manchester attack appeared in American media before the British authorities confirmed them. It’s all part of a pattern in which the Trump regime talks tough about leakers letting out the details of their own misdeeds, but dishes classified information like paparazzi. The result of the Trump regime’s loose lip is that the US is already getting cut out of further information coming from the Manchester investigation. According...

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NATO to ‘formally join’ Anti-ISIL Coalition

Member states of military alliance are set to officially join a US-led coalition fighting ISIL, diplomatic sources say. NATO member states are expected to formally join a US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group in Syria and Iraq, according to several diplomatic sources. The decision by the North Atlantic Council, the highest decision-making body within NATO, is expected to be officially announced at a meeting of the alliance’s leaders on Thursday. “The NATO (member state) ambassadors decided this evening an action plan on terrorism for the summit. It includes the accession of NATO to the global coalition against IS,” one diplomat told the AFP news agency on Wednesday, using a different name for ISIL. The decision is mainly political because all 28 NATO member states are already individually part of the coalition, with some only taking part in...

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On This Day, May 25, 1977 – ‘Star War’ Opens

On this day in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters. The incredible success of Star Wars–it received seven Oscars, and earned $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide–began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie’s release date. “It wasn’t like a movie opening,” actress Carrie Fisher, who played rebel leader Princess Leia, later told Time magazine. “It was like an earthquake.” Beginning with–in Fisher’s words–“a new order of geeks, enthusiastic young people with sleeping bags,” the anticipation of a revolutionary movie-watching experience spread like wildfire, causing long lines in front of movie theaters across the country and around the world.With its groundbreaking special effects, Star Wars leaped off screens and immersed audiences in “a galaxy...

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First Advertiser Pulls Ads From Hannity

by Judd Legum – The decision follows Hannity relentlessly pushing a murder conspiracy theory about Seth Rich. The first advertiser has pulled their ads from Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, following a week in which Hannity has stubbornly clung to a debunked conspiracy theory. Through his Fox show and social media platforms, Hannity has pushed theory that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was murdered last summer, was the source of the emails released by Wikileaks. Hannity believes this theory would exonerate Russia and, therefore, Trump from interfering with the presidential campaign. Hannity relied on the claims of a private investigator and a report published on FoxNews.com. The investigator has since recanted and FoxNews.com retracted their story. Cars.com announced their decision to pull their ads in response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed News. Mary Georgantopoulos  ✔@marygeorgant .@carsdotcom is suspending its advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox show 2:18 PM – 24 May...

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‘RussiaGate’ Has Become a Catastrophic Failure of Leadership — and a Debacle From Which the Trump Presidency Will Not Recover

by DOUGLAS BLACKMON – The Trump-Russia scandal has metastasized quickly and destructively. A little more than a week ago, I said on CNN and wrote on Facebook that — based on reporting I’d just completed in Washington DC — it was clear that the controversy surrounding Russian contacts with advisers to President Donald J. Trump and his campaign team was about to become much more serious and much more directly focused on the president himself, and would have deeply troubling consequences for our democracy. The revelations since then have confirmed all of that, and will be remembered as the point when an extraordinary but perhaps still manageable political embarrassment for the Trump administration mushroomed into the most serious controversy to engulf a presidency since Watergate. Based on what we know already, and new revelations that will soon illuminate more key events in this sequence, our country faces a dramatic constitutional exigency....

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Roger Ailes: The Man Who Destroyed Objectivity

by NEAL GABLER – The founder of the right-wing network inflicted harm on the body politic that may be impossible to heal. Fox News creator and former chief Roger Ailes, who died at 77 last week from complications after a fall in his Florida home, may have been the most significant political figure of the last 35 years — which isn’t necessarily a compliment to those of us who believe media mavens shouldn’t also be political operatives. Ailes clearly thought differently. He simultaneously changed the contours both of American politics and American media by melding them, and in doing so changed the contours of fact and objectivity as they once were understood before the era of post-fact. It seems a lot to put on one man, but Roger Ailes destroyed the idea of media objectivity in the name of media objectivity, the way a phony evangelist might destroy virtue in the...

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White House Twists Bombshell Testimony About Russia Contacts

by Aaron Rupar – The Trump administration wants you to believe the CIA has no evidence of collusion, but that’s not what the former director said. During a House Intelligence Committee Hearing on Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan said the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia is “well founded.” He cited “information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals” as evidence. As Daily Beast editor Justin Miller pointed out, Brennan’s testimony represents the first time a U.S. official has publicly said they have direct knowledge of communications between the Trump campaign and Russia. Brennan didn’t come out and detail evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He explained during the hearing the evidence is classified information and not appropriate to discuss...

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CBO: Trumpcare Would Strip Coverage From 23 Million, Make It Worse for the Rest

by Deirdre Fulton – In their rush to push the American Healthcare Act through the chamber this month, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. The cruel and destructive bill known as Trumpcare would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 23 million, according to the revised Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score released Wednesday afternoon. The GOP-controlled House passed the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) by just two votes earlier this month, after adding an amendment gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing states to get waivers on the essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare—including maternity and mental health care. In their rush to push the bill through the chamber, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. That assessment, published late Wednesday afternoon, found that 14 million more people would be uninsured under Trumpcare next year. Nineteen...

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Following Leak to Russia, Israel is Shifting How it Shares Intelligence With U.S.

by E.A. Crunden – European and U.K. officials have also expressed concern over leaks. Israel is altering how it shares intelligence with the United States after President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russia in the Oval Office two weeks ago. Trump, who was meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, told both men about a believed threat from ISIS involving bombs buried inside of laptops. That information, the New York Times reported, came from Israel — something that was unconfirmed officially until Trump himself seemingly let it slip while speaking in Israel on Monday, ironically while attempting to defend himself on the issue to the media. “I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel’. Never mentioned during that conversation,” Trump said. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” But Israeli officials seem concerned less about being...

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Trump Praised Duterte’s Drug War, Told Him of Nuclear Subs, in Phone Call

by Nadia Prupis – Recently released transcript shows Trump telling Philippines strongman he is doing ‘amazing job’ with murderous regime. President Donald Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he was “doing an amazing job” with his brutal drug war crackdown and informed him that the U.S. had two submarines off the Korean peninsula, according to a recently released transcript of the two leaders’ phone call last month. “You are a good man,” Trump told Duterte in the April 29 call, which was highly controversial when placed. “Keep up the good work. You are doing an amazing job.” “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump said. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.” “Thank you Mr. President,” Duterte replied....

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Exxon Loses in Court and Must Turn Over Documents to NY AG Schneiderman

by DWG – Exxon must now submit to a document proctological exam conducted by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. From Reuters: May 23:  A New York state appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Exxon Mobil Corp should be compelled to turn over records in an investigation into how much the company knew about global warming as it continued to publicly downplay the effects it was expected to have on the fossil fuel industry. Exxon has been battling subpoenas from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is probing the company for fraud in its public statements about climate change. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision, rejecting Exxon’s argument that the court did not properly consider which state’s laws on turning over evidence in an investigation should apply in the case. The investigation is taking place in New York, but Exxon’s headquarters are in Texas. This is a big deal....

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On This Day, May 24, 1935 – Major Leagues Play Ball at Night

1935 – The Cincinnati Reds played the Philadelphia Phillies in the first major league baseball game at night. The switch for the floodlights was thrown by President Franklin Roosevelt. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on this night in 1935 in Major League Baseball’s first night game, played courtesy of recently installed lights at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The first night game in professional baseball took place May 2, 1930, when a Des Moines, Iowa, team hosted Wichita for a Western League game. The game drew 12,000 people at a time when Des Moines was averaging just 600 fans per game. Evening games soon became popular in the minors: As minor league ball clubs were routinely folding in the midst of the Great Depression, adaptable owners found the innovation a key to staying in business. The major leagues, though, took five years to catch up to their...

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Important New Ryan Lizza Piece on Sally Yates

by teacherken – just up at the website of The New Yorker, where it will appear in the May 29th issue.  It is titled Why Sally Yates Stood Up to Trump and has the subtitled “The former acting Attorney General reflects on the F.B.I., Michael Flynn, and how the President ended her career at the Justice Department..” It is the result of the first interview Yates has given since she was fired by the President.  Lizza conducted his interview of Yates the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired. There will be a lot of background about Yates — she is an impressive person. It is a well-written article, one that you should read. Let me offer a few selections to whet your appetites. Here’s the opening paragraph: It is hard to locate when President Trump first declared war on the government establishment, but the story may well begin on...

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How Do We Stop Trump? The Founding Fathers Gave Us a Tool for That (VIDEO)

by KRISTIN MILLER – Partisans’ failure to impeach previous administrations sent a signal that lawlessness could continue unabated. Almost 10 years ago Bill Moyers Journal hosted a freewheeling discussion about impeachment with conservative scholar (and Clinton impeachment article author) Bruce Fein and John Nichols of The Nation. The impetus was a newly released poll that showed some 45 percent of Americans favored starting the impeachment process for President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Among the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the pair were accused of perpetrating were many related to civil liberties and obstruction of justice in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq War. Of course, impeachment never proceeded against Bush and Cheney. Fein and Nichols were clear about the proper use of impeachment — not as a bludgeon or an axe striking off the head of state — but as a cure for what ails a very troubled executive. We...

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Top 10 Brain Damage Causing Habits

by Amelia Kinney – Brain damage is often a result of unnecessary stress and exposure to air pollutants. You might reconsider the consequence of these seemingly innocuous habits when you learn how they can inhibit neurological function and cause the brain to age. 1. Understimulation Remember, for the most part, your comfort zone isn’t doing you any favours. Break away from your normal routine and explore, write, create and travel. Try new things that stimulate the senses. Learning new skills keeps your brain young, and should be a priority at every age. 2. Skipping Breakfast Not eating breakfast can lead to lower blood sugar levels, which ultimately deprives your brain of nutrients. If your brain isn’t given sufficient nutrition, it begins to degenerate. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast high in protein. 3. Smoking Smoking cigarettes can cause obstruction of blood flow to the brain, and also can lead to escape of...

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The Outrageous Assumptions Hiding a $6 trillion Hole in Trump’s Budget

by Judd Legum – The budget is so detached from reality, it’s created its own theory of economic growth. The Trump administration has proposed a massive $6 trillion tax cut, mostly for the wealthy. How does Trump’s budget, released today, account for this massive amount of lost revenue? It doesn’t. In fact, it assumes that revenue would increase by $2 trillion over ten years. This is detailed in table S-2, which states that “economic feedback” will reduce the deficit by $2,062,000,000,000 over 10 years. The “economic feedback” refers to the growth that the Trump administration assumes will come as a result of its tax cut. It is an assumption that far exceeds the beliefs of even the most enthusiastic supply-side economists. The theory in play is that, by reducing taxes, you incentivize economic activity by allowing corporations and people to keep more of what they earn. This is true to some degree....

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Atheism More Prevalent Among Americans Than the Polls Generally Show (VIDEO)

by Ronald Bailey – A new study finds that 26 percent of Americans likely do not believe in God. Although acceptance of atheists is increasing, their fellow Americans still eye them with considerable suspicion. The percentage of Americans who declare themselves religiously unaffiliated has risen from 5 percent in 1972 to 25 percent now. But depending upon the poll, the share of Americans who call themselves atheists varies from a low of 3 percent to around 11 percent. Given the social stigma attached to atheism, researchers at the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) hypothesized that polls might underreport the number of Americans who are nonbelievers. To test this hypothesis, they used the unmatched count technique, in which poll respondents are randomly divided into two groups. The control group is asked how many of a number of harmless statements—”I am a vegetarian,” “I can drive a motorcycle,” “I own a dog,” etc.—are...

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Trump & Co. Put Out a Call for Plumbers

by TODD GITLIN – With so many leaks in the White House and no one to stop them, the Trump administration and the right-wing media are stepping up attacks on the “fake news” mainstream media and whistleblowers. Trump’s blasts against the hated media flood out of his reptile brain like rising seas, for example: Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! 4:48 PM – 17 Feb 2017 and Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad! 10:09 PM – 24 Feb 2017 And so on. The New York Times (which seems to be fairly thriving, by the way) has counted 41 of these during the 100 days from his inauguration through April...

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Trump to Propose Massive Cuts to Safety Net in ‘Utter Betrayal’ Budget

by Nadia Prupis – ‘Regular folks need Medicaid. Nursing home care especially. These cuts are just cruel, and all because they want to cut taxes for the rich,’ tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz. President Donald Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and Social Security, among other safety net programs, according to new reports. The Washington Post wrote on Monday that the budget will include $800 billion in Medicaid cuts over the next 10 years, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated would slash benefits for 10 million low-income people. It will also call for giving states more power to stiffen work requirements for people receiving federal assistance, which could tighten the limits on who can access anti-poverty payments and for how long, the Post‘s Damian Paletta wrote. “Regular folks need Medicaid. Nursing home care especially. These cuts are just cruel, and all because they...

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Of Confederate Monuments, NOLA’s Mayor Asks: “Is This Really Our Story?” (MUST SEE VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.’ Last week, as New Orleans completed the controversial and long-awaited task of taking down Confederate monuments from its public spaces, Mayor Mitch Landrieu marked the occasion by delivering a speech that has since been lauded as “stunning,” “incredible,” “powerful,” and “a clear-eyed view of our past as well as our present.” Many said the speech would go down in history. Jamelle Bouie ✔@jbouie This may rank with LBJ’s Howard commencement as 1 of the most honest speeches on race given by a white Southern pol. http://pulsegulfcoast.com/2017/05/transcript-of-new-orleans-mayor-landrieus-address-on-confederate-monuments … 11:04 PM – 22 May 2017 Transcript of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments | The Pulse Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be...

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At Least 22 Dead After Explosion at Ariana Grande Concert in England

by E.A. Crunden – Many of the show’s attendees were teens and young children. At least 22 people are dead and 59 are injured after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester, England, according to multiple news reports. Concertgoers said they heard loud bangs at Manchester Arena around 10:30 p.m. local time, just as the concert was ending. Shortly after, Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team arrived at the scene and police cautioned people to avoid the area so that emergency responders could reach victims and those injured.  G M Police  ✔@gmpolice Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena 6:44 PM – 22 May 2017 More than 20,000 people were in the arena when the bomb went off, according to reporting from the Guardian. Many of the show’s attendees were teenagers and young children. A reporter from the Guardian on the scene tweeted that “small...

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On This Day, May 23, 1934 – Bonnie and Clyde Killed by Police Gunfire

1934 – Notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana. Bonnie Parker met the charismatic Clyde Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old and her husband (she married when she was 16) was serving time in jail for murder. Shortly after they met, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery. Parker visited him every day, and smuggled a gun into prison to help him escape, but he was soon caught in Ohio and sent back to jail. When Barrow was paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and the couple began a life of crime together. After they stole a car and committed several robberies, Parker was caught by police and sent to jail for two months. Released in mid-1932, she rejoined Barrow. Over the next two years, the couple...

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Why the Moors Murders ‘should never be forgotten’

by Alasdair Soussi – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley may now both be dead but their deeds remain a critical part of British criminal history.   He met his death from ill health at a high-security psychiatric hospital in northwest England where he had been detained for the past three decades. The passing of Ian Brady, 79, on May 15 signalled not only the end of a life, but the end of a grim chapter in modern British history. Brady had been in jail since 1966, when he was given life in prison for the torture and murder of three children – 12-year-old John Kilbride, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and 17-year-old Edward Evans. They were crimes that saw his accomplice and girlfriend Myra Hindley also jailed for life. In 1985, the Glasgow-born killer admitted to the murders of a further two children – 16-year-old Pauline Reade and 12-year-old Keith Bennett, whose...

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Palestinian Basic Rights ‘not on the agenda’ for Trump (VIDEOS)

by Farah Najjar – As US President Donald Trump arrives in Israel, analysts say efforts to revive peace talks are a ‘charade’. US President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel as part of his first foreign trip since taking office in January, but critics have already dismissed as lip service his vows to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. The trip will include bilateral meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Washington earlier this month to pledge his support to a renewed peace process. But experts note that the Trump administration’s “unwavering support” for the state of Israel will render any potential negotiations futile. “They will fall over themselves loving Israel to get elected, come to their senses a bit when in office, then pay lip service to peace while serving the strategic alliance between the US and Israel by blindly supporting Israel,” Sam...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down North Carolina’s Racially Gerrymandered Congressional Maps

by Ian Millhiser – A small victory, but better than the alternative. The Supreme Court held Monday that North Carolina’s congressional maps — or, at least, those of two congressional districts — are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. In an unusual move, Justice Clarence Thomas joined with the Court’s liberal bloc to produce a 5–3 decision. Yet, while Cooper v. Harris is a victory for voters who don’t want lawmakers manipulating districts to determine electoral outcomes, it is a small victory. And there is much in Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion for the Court that highlights how fundamentally broken the law governing gerrymandering will continue to be even after Monday’s decision. Harris involved two congressional districts, the First and the 12th, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature packed with additional black voters — despite the fact that these districts routinely elected the candidate preferred by African-Americans. By cramming more black voters into district that already elected black-preferred candidates, the legislature prevented...

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Days After Administration Promised not to Touch Food Stamps, Trump Budget Reportedly Will Cut Them

by Alan Pyke – Expect big cuts to SNAP, WIC, and food bank subsidies systems. “As far as I’m concerned we have no proposed changes” to the food stamps program, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told congressmen last Wednesday. “You don’t try to fix things that aren’t broken.” Perdue’s comments, delivering during a Wednesday House Agriculture Committee hearing, seemed to signal that President Donald Trump would not seek to shrink America’s efforts to help low-income families feed themselves. Yet just five days later, a leaked budget document seems to show the White House is going back on Perdue’s commitment — contemplating some combination of policy changes and outright budget cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) and other key food supports for the poor. The leaked spreadsheet lists proposed budget requests for thousands of different government line items, without any of the accompanying policy information that would...

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Is Michael Flynn Trying to Confess?

by ReasonaBill – Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, reportedly will exercise a perfectly valid legal right today to not incriminate himself following his rejection of a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Flynn previously sought immunity from the same committee for his testimony.  Did I miss something, did Michael Flynn just confess to a crime?  He told us in his own words, “when you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime.” I guess it is foolish for me to point out the rampant hypocrisy of the current White House staff both current and former.  The head of this merry little band of hypocrites is the emperor with no clothes, Donald Trump. The tweeting thumb thug, or John Miller or John Barron or whatever name he is using to spread propaganda these days is facing truth and is scared http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-spokesman-impersonation_us_5735e7e9e4b08f96c182eedd.  Trump, one of the pioneers of...

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OOPS: Trump Accidentally Confirms Source of Classified Intel He Gave to Russians

by Aaron Rupar – He did so while mischaracterizing media reports about his Oval Office meeting with top Russian diplomats. During a photo opportunity with President Trump on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked if he’s concerned about Trump sharing highly sensitive counterterrorism intelligence with Russian officials on May 10 — information that reportedly came from an Israeli source. Trump responded by telling reporters that he never mentioned the word “Israel” during that meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. “Just so you understand — I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel,’” Trump said. “I never mentioned it during that conversation.” Gesturing to reporters, Trump added, “They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” “Intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu said. President Trump says he “never mentioned the word Israel” in his Oval Office meeting with...

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The DoJ Temporarily Shut Down a Legal Services Group that Opposed the Muslim Ban

by Lauren C. Williams – A judge eventually issued a restraining order to prevent the Justice Department crackdown. The Justice Department temporarily shut down a non-profit group in Seattle that provides free pro se, or temporary, legal representation to immigrants for nearly a month on a technicality, the Nation reported. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), which offers legal services to upwards of 10,000 immigrants each year, helped immigrants at Seattle-Tacoma International airport avoid deportation under the Trump administration’s Muslim ban executive order earlier this year. But federal authorities shut down the group’s operations via a cease-and-desist letter in April, warning the group to close its asylum program and drop its clients or face disciplinary action. The NWIRP is accused of breaking an obscure law meant to punish fraudulent, predatory immigration lawyers, also known as “notarios” who will take on a case, collect a fee, and then drop it before seeing...

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Newt Gingrich Pushes Discredited Conspiracy Theory About Death of DNC Staffer

by Kiley Kroh – Gingrich quickly pivoted from the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties to a conspiracy theory Seth Rich’s murder. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joined Fox and Friends on Sunday to discuss the day’s major news stories — or in Gingrich’s case, to pivot from the deepening investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia to baseless conspiracy theories about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. After Gingrich and the hosts bemoaned the media’s “presumption of guilt” toward Trump, Gingrich was asked whether Robert Mueller, appointed this week as special counsel overseeing the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, might shed some light on the truth. Gingrich, a staunch Trump supporter, replied that it would depend on the scope of the investigation before quickly shifting gears to the unsolved murder of Rich, claiming without evidence that he was “assassinated.” “At the...

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On This Day, May 22, 1856 – Violence Erupts in the Halls of Congress

1856 – Southern Congressman Preston Brooks savagely beats Northern Senator Charles Sumner in the halls of Congress as tensions rise over the expansion of slavery. When the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was passed, popular sovereignty was applied within the two new territories and people were given the right to decide the slave issue by vote. Because the act nullified the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the debate over slavery intensified. Northerners were incensed that slavery could again resurface in an area where it had been banned for over 30 years. When violence broke out in Kansas Territory, the issue became central in Congress. On May 19, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, an ardent abolitionist, began a two-day speech on the Senate floor in which he decried the “crime against Kansas” and blasted three of his colleagues by name, one of whom — South Carolina Senator Andrew P. Butler — was...

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US and Saudi Arabia Sign Arms Deals Worth Almost $110bn

US Secretary of State says the arms agreements will help Saudi Arabia deal with ‘malign Iranian influence’. The US and Saudi Arabia signed arms deals worth almost $110bn on Saturday, the first day of President Donald Trump’s visit to the traditional US ally. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the arms agreements will help Saudi Arabia deal with “malign Iranian influence”. “The package of defence equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf region,” Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh on Saturday. This is “in particular in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian-related threats which exist on Saudi Arabia’s borders on all sides,” Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh. Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Riyadh, said that the arms deal would be seen by both signatories as a “win-win”, especially as the deal involved arms that Obama was not prepared to sell...

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View From the Left: Better Lawyer Up Team Trump

by Kerry Eleveld – Donald Trump gave us a glimpse into where the administration’s future is headed Thursday when he drew a clear distinction between himself and his campaign in regard to the FBI investigation into the Russia scandal. “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign—but I can always speak for myself and the Russians, zero,” he said during a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. On paper that quote looks a little muddy, but to the ear it was clear that he meant he could “only” speak for himself. In other words, I can’t defend what the rest of my campaign did, nor will I. It’s the third time in two weeks actually that Trump has made overt efforts to separate his actions from that of his campaign. In his letter dismissing FBI director James Comey, Trump famously made sure to reference the “three separate occasions” on which Comey purportedly...

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Should We Treat Big Pharma as a Public Utility?

by Fran Quigley, Truthout | Op-Ed – Drug prices are skyrocketing in the US, and eye-watering Big Pharma profits are rising right along with them. With millions of Americans skipping medicine doses due to cost, widespread public frustration has spurred lawmakers to propose some good ideas for addressing the crisis. Lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating the price it pays for drugs and allowing prescription drugs to be imported from other countries would be helpful. So would the US government overriding patents and licensing generic manufacture of drugs that were discovered with taxpayer funding. Another popular idea, featured in pending Congressional legislation and more than a dozen state proposals, is forcing pharma corporations to open up their black box on drug pricing and research costs. At first glance, so-called transparency legislation, which is already the law in Vermont and has passed the Maryland legislature, can seem a bit tame. After all, what difference will it really make, as long as companies remain free to hike up their prices, with the limited...

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Trump Administration Announces Its NAFTA Renegotiation Concerns

by Brian Doherty – Many of them echo old labor union and Democratic Party complaints about freer trade. Donald Trump’s rhetorical hostility to free trade and his apparent desire to manage U.S. companies’ investment decisions over an obsession with “balance of trade” has been one of his most alarming characteristics to some libertarians. Letters from Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to various congressional leaders sent this week set forth the current contours of the Trump administration’s concerns over renegotiating NAFTA, which can be summed up as, to quote the letter: new provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, services, customs procedures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, labor, environment, and small and medium enterprises. It also notes they want “aggressive enforcement of…commitments made by our trading partners.” And they start with the nerve-wracking declaration that a prime goal in trade deal renegotiating will be to “support higher-paying jobs in...

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‘Unconscionable’ Arms Deal Inked, Trump Delivers Remarks in Saudi Arabia

by Andrea Germanos – Trump says “We are not here to lecture” a day after he finalized a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that critics say will fuel possible war crimes. A day after finalizing an “unconscionable” $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump on Sunday gave a speech in Riyadh to leaders of dozens of Muslim-majority countries—a “vast congress of dictators and cut-throat autocrats,” as one analyst put it—in which he called on them to “drive out the terrorists and extremists” and isolate Iran. Trump—who previously declared, “We’re having problems with the Muslims” and pushed for a Muslim ban—spoke of “shared interests” and stamping out terrorism. “To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce,” he said. Of the weapons sale, described as...

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Hassan Rouhani Wins Iran’s Presidential Election (VIDEOS)

Final results show incumbent president emphatically beating rival Ebrahim Raisi to extend his time in office. Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani has decisively won the country’s presidential election, according to official results, fending off a challenge by principlist rival, Ebrahim Raisi. With all of votes in Friday’s poll counted, Rouhani was re-elected with 57 percent, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmanifazli said on Saturday. “Of some 41.2 million total votes cast, Rouhani got 23.5 … and won the election,” Rahmanifazli said in remarks carried live by state TV. PROFILE: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani Raisi, Rouhani’s closest rival, got 15.8 million votes, he added. A big turnout on Friday led to the vote being extended by several hours to deal with long queues. Campaign pledges The election was seen by many as a verdict on Rouhani’s policy of opening up Iran to the world and his efforts to rebuild its stagnant economy....

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Mike Pence Is Becoming A Legend For the Frequency & Magnitude Of His Lies

by ursulafaw – Abraham Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” In Mike Pence’s case he must be keeping a catalog of his lies by now. If he’s not, he’s the only one. The Washington Post recently examined a few of Pence’s whoppers and his equally fantastic excuses.This is the exchange between Bret Baier and Mike Pence when Mike Flynn was fired in January, 2017. BAIER: The story today that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has filed with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist, essentially, for Turkey. Your reaction to that, given that, doesn’t that mean, Mr. Vice President, that even if he didn’t lie to you about what the Russian ambassador said or didn’t say, that you would have had to fire him anyway? PENCE: Well, let me say, hearing that story today was the...

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Global Study Shows Americans Dying from Preventable Causes at Shocking Rates

by Nika Knight – ‘Having a strong economy does not guarantee good healthcare’ Americans are dying at a shockingly high rate from preventable causes, found a first-of-its-kind global health study published last Thursday. The new research demonstrates that despite the fact that the U.S. has the largest economy in the world, healthcare for many of its residents is woefully inadequate. The U.S. was tied with Estonia and Montenegro, far below other wealthy nations such as Norway, Canada, and Australia, in the study’s ranking of 195 countries. “America’s ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the U.S. spends more than $9,000 per person on healthcare annually, more than any other country,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Anyone with a stake in the current healthcare debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and...

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On This Day, May 21, 1856 – Lawrence, Kansas Sacked by Pro-Slavery Forces

Lawrence was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery settlers, many with the financial support of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. The town soon became the center of pro-slavery violence in Kansas Territory. While the village had been besieged in December 1855, it was not directly attacked at that time. The non-fatal shooting of Douglas County Sheriff Samuel Jones on April 23, 1856, while he was attempting to arrest free-state settlers in Lawrence, is considered the immediate cause of the violence. Lawrence residents drove Jones out of town after they shot him, and on May 11, Federal Marshal J. B. Donaldson proclaimed the act had interfered with the execution of warrants against the extralegal Free-State legislature, which was set up in opposition to the official pro-slavery territorial government. Based on this proclamation, as well the finding by a grand jury that Lawrence’s Free State Hotel was actually built to use as a fort, Sheriff Jones assembled a posse of about...

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Offshore Wind is Now Competitive With Nuclear Power, and Gas is ‘in sight’

by Joe Romm – As prices plummet, offshore wind wins German power auction — with no subsidy. The price of offshore wind power has been dropping so quickly that it threatens to upend the electricity industry around the world. Last month, Denmark’s Dong Energy, the world’s largest provider of offshore wind farms, won a German power auction without needing any subsidies. Dong is a rebranding from Danish Oil and Natural Gas, as the company sells off its fossil fuel businesses to become a clean energy leader. Average global prices of off-shore wind dropped a game-changing 28 percent last year. Ray Thompson, chief of business development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said last month that “it’s staggering to think that in not much more than five years, we could have turned a technology seen as prohibitively expensive into the lowest cost, utility-scale technology available.” By 2016, offshore wind prices had nearly dropped to the level...

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