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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