Duke Energy Nixes Nuclear Plant, Will Invest $6 Billion in Solar and Batteries

by Joe Romm – By year end, global solar capacity could equal nuclear; by 2022, solar could double nuclear. This week, Duke Energy Florida announced that it will terminate all plans to build its Levy Nuclear Project. And as part of a deal with the Florida Public Service Commission, the company will instead invest $6 billion in solar energy, smart meters, and grid modernization as well as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and a battery storage pilot program. Duke’s move reflects global trends that see surging growth for solar power as prices plummet, while increasingly uncompetitive nuclear power stagnates. Note that Duke’s investment in batteries and EV chargers are core strategies for increasing solar penetration. Indeed, as Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s recent grid study explained, a fleet of vehicles or chargers can be used to shift load “in response to price signals or operational needs,” and in particular “vehicle charging could be shifted to...

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Trump’s Tax Plan Is a Confidence Scam

by Robert Borosage – Donald Trump traveled to Springfield, Missouri to kick off the administration’s next big initiative: cutting taxes. Here was the essential Trump, the confidence man, peddling a plan that does not yet exist on paper. Populist bluster was deployed to cover for what will be a one-percenter’s elixir. Each of the four principles Trump claims will inform what he calls “tax reform” is actually mocked in the plans the administration is cooking up behind closed doors. The only question is whether Americans are gullible enough to buy what Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans are selling. And whether Democrats will unite to expose the con and demand progressive tax reforms that are long overdue. Simplicity? Trump’s first principle is simplicity: the tax code should be “simple, fair and easy to understand.” But Republicans aren’t interested in simplicity. They are interested in cutting taxes. particularly for the wealthy and the...

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CDC Survey: Obesity is Still Growing in America

by Julie Fidler – Diabetes rates also climbing. One of the largest surveys of health in the United States reveals some sobering, though not entirely unexpected news: Americans are fatter than ever. Ouch. The CDC has been asking Americans 18 and older about their health and their family members’ health every year since 1957. The National Health Interview Survey, which contains data from 2015 on more than 100,000 people, shows that more Americans had health insurance and smoked fewer cigarettes in 2015 than in previous years, but obesity and diabetes rates are still climbing. In 2015, 30.4% of Americans age 20 and older said they were obese, up from 29.9% in 2014. It’s not a huge increase, but it represents a continuation of a trend that has been going on since at least 1997, when researchers began using the current survey format. At that time, the obesity rate was only 19.4%. Source: BGR Brian Ward, health statistician...

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Extreme Storms Like Harvey and Climate Change: ‘This Is the New Reality’

by Andrea Germanos – “This is the new reality. And the challenge is how we address it. How rapidly we’re going to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.” As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas—and as the death toll from monsoon flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh surpasses 1,200—experts are putting a spotlight on how climate change is linked to the “unprecedented” storm’s devastation. Trying to attribute Harvey to climate change “is an ill-posed question,” argues Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. “While we cannot say climate change ’caused’ Hurricane Harvey,” writes Mann at the Guardian, “we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.” One way, he explains, is because of sea level rise, which contributed to a higher storm surge. In addition, warmer than average sea surface temperatures led to more moisture...

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Dan Rather: Mueller’s Russia Investigation Has Trump ‘Seized With Fear’ (VIDEO)

by April Hamlin – Legendary journalist Dan Rather says that Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation has Donald Trump “seized with fear.” Speaking to MSNBC on Wednesday, Rather explained that the investigation into Trump’s possible collusion with Russia has Trump scared out of his mind. “Donald Trump is afraid. He’s trying to exude power and strength. He’s afraid of something that Mueller and the prosecutors are going to find out.” “A political hurricane is out there at sea for him, we’ll call it Hurricane Vladimir if you will, the whole Russian thing.” “It’s still pretty far out at sea, but each day … this hurricane, this political hurricane … is building in intensity.” Mueller’s investigation has been steadily picking up steam. It was reported on Wednesday that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is now working with Mueller to take an even deeper look at Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn...

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‘The Right Thing to Do’: Kamala Harris to Co-Sponsor Bernie’s Medicare for All Bill

by Jake Johnson – “There’s certainly momentum and energy around” single payer, Harris said. At a town hall Wednesday night in Oakland, California, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced that she will co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) Medicare for All legislation, which is reportedly set to be introduced mid-September. “I’ll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare for All bill because it’s just the right thing to do,” Harris, the first Senate Democrat to publicly endorse Sanders’s legislation, told an audience of around 700 people at the Beebe Memorial Cathedral church. Harris added in an interview with the Sacramento Bee that “there’s certainly momentum and energy around” single payer. The crowd reportedly “roared and cheered in applause” as Harris—who is viewed as a likely 2020 presidential candidate—made the announcement. Support for Medicare for All among the American public has soared since the Republicans began their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. A recent AP/NORC poll found that 62 percent...

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DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow

by Tom K. Wong, Greisa Martinez Rosas, Adam Luna, Henry Manning, Adrian Reyna, Patrick O’Shea, Tom Jawetz, and Philip E. Wolgin – Since it was first announced on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) policy has provided temporary relief from deportation as well as work authorization to approximately 800,000 undocumented young people across the country. As research has consistently shown, DACA has not only improved the lives of undocumented young people and their families but has also positively affected the economy more generally, which benefits all Americans. From August 1, 2017 to August 20, 2017, Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream (UWD); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); and the Center for American Progress fielded a national survey to further analyze the economic, employment, educational, and societal experiences of DACA recipients. This is the largest study to date of DACA recipients with a sample size of 3,063 respondents in 46 states...

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Report: Corporate Tax Cuts Boost CEO Pay, Not Jobs

by Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati – The 24th annual Institute for Policy Studies ‘Executive Excess’ report offers a first-ever look at the jobs record of U.S. firms that pay taxes near the rates the Trump White House favors. House Speaker Paul Ryan is proposing to cut the statutory federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. President Trump wants to slash the rate even further, to just 15 percent. Their core argument? Lowering the tax burden will lead to more and better jobs. To investigate this claim, we set out to analyze the job-creating performance of the 92 publicly held American corporations that reported a U.S. profit every year from 2008 through 2015 and paid less than 20 percent of these earnings in federal corporate income tax. These 92 corporations offer an ideal test for the proposition that lower tax rates encourage corporations to create jobs. By exploiting loopholes...

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On This Day, Aug 31, 1980 – Gdansk Shipyard Strike Comes to an End

1980 – Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day strike. Established in September of 1980 at the Gdansk shipyards, Solidarity was an independent labor union instrumental in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, and the primary catalyst that would transform Poland from a repressive communist satellite to the EU member democracy it is today. The Solidarity movement received international attention, spreading anti-communist ideas and inspiring political action throughout the rest of the Communist Bloc, and its influence in the eventual fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe cannot be understated or dismissed. Solidarity’s cohesion and initial success, like that of other dissident movements, was not created overnight, nor the result of any specific event or grievance. Rather, the emergence of Solidarity as a political force in Poland was spurred by governmental and economic difficulties that had continued to deepen...

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In NYC, a Teenager Crawls Over High Beams to Gently Talk to, Hold, and Comfort a Suicidal Stranger

by Tevye – This is further proof that not all is lost. That when given a chance for compassion, many of our youth..our future..will know what to do when the time comes. This happened in New York City on Saturday. At a subway station at Lafayette and Broadway. A despondent young woman climbed over a railing and crawled over open girders that were 25 feet above the ground and over 5 feet apart. And began sobbing. According to a witness, Michal Klein, “The only thing I overheard was the young girl saying nobody cares about her.” Then a young man on the first level saw her, and ran up to the second floor. He climbed and crawled over the beams to where she was sitting. He began talking to her quietly. Then he put his arm around her. After a minute, she put her head on his shoulder. They were up there for almost ten...

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Fox News Pulled From the Air in Britain Because No One Watched It

by wagatwe – Rupert Murdoch and his sons are giving a gift to the folks of Britain: the Fox News channel will be pulled off the air. The decision comes after the channel struggled to get viewers, according to CNN. “Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. “We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K.,” it added. Glad the folks across the pond don’t buy into the Faux News nonsense. Now, how do we get rid of it over here in the States?   Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

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Nearly Half of Trump Voters Think Whites, Christians are Most Oppressed Groups

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – He has come for Mexicans, Muslims, Black people, trans people, Democrats, the news media, activists and even leading members of Congress from his own party. Few have been spared Donald Trump’s scorn, but when it came time to condemn white supremacists for inciting deadly violence last week, the president was quick to argue that it wasn’t entirely their fault. A storm of media controversy followed, but Trump refused to back down, defending his initial remarks about the racist invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia. Then he held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona this week where he threatened to shut down the government over funding for his unpopular border wall and flirted with pardoning former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a known racist who is facing jail time because he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos. However, Trump’s approval rating is not as low as some assume it is. It continues to hover just below...

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UN: Israel Settlements Big Hurdle to Two-State Solution

Antonio Guterres condemns ‘illegal’ Israeli settlement construction, calling it an ‘obstacle’ that needs to be removed. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, has lashed out at Israel’s illegal settlement activity, calling it a “major obstacle” to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians. “There is no plan B to the two-state solution,” he said on Tuesday after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established,” Guterres added. His remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to never uproot any West Bank settlement – just days after a White House envoy was in the region trying to restart peace talks with the Palestinians. “We have returned here for good,” Netanyahu said. “There will...

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Cybersecurity Advisors Resigned en Masse Due to Trump’s ‘insufficient attention’

by Jen Hayden – With the deluge of bad news, especially Hurricane Harvey, you might have missed this important news item. Last week, one-quarter of the nation’s leading cybersecurity advisors walked off the job, resigning in a group letter. Their reason? Donald Trump and his administration are ignoring their dire warnings about our nation’s cybersecurity. From Defense One: More than one-quarter of a panel tasked with advising the Homeland Security Department on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection resigned en masse Monday, citing President Donald Trump’s “insufficient attention” to the nation’s cyber vulnerabilities, among other complaints. Resigning members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council also cited the president’s failure to single out neo-Nazis and white supremacists for condemnation after a violent protest earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia. “The moral infrastructure of our nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built,” the council members stated in a group resignation letter. The resigning...

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Judge Refuses to Toss Joe Arpaio’s Conviction Without Hearing Oral Arguments First

by Gabe Ortiz – USA Today reports that the federal judge who last month convicted Joe Arpaio, the disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, of criminal contempt of court has refused his request to immediately throw out his conviction, ordering “Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn’t grant Arpaio’s request.” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton did agree to cancel Arpaio’s sentencing hearing following Donald Trump’s reprehensible pardon, but as USA Today states, “there is case law that says a pardon implies an admission of guilt, and that will have to be argued in open court”: Mark Goldman, one of Arpaio’s attorneys, said, “We look forward to the hearing, and hope that the court will make the appropriate ruling. The verdict should have been set aside by the court already and prior to the pardon for the reason that it was never delivered to...

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Jeff Sessions is Bringing Back Civil Forfeiture With a Bang

by Kristin Miller – Here’s how the police can take your assets even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime. In mid-July Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy rollback that’s getting criticism from both sides of the aisle, and the center, too. As The Washington Post notes undoing this Obama-administration policy is a big deal — and means big money. Known as “adoptive forfeiture,” the program — which gives police departments greater leeway to seize property of those suspected of a crime, even if they’re never charged with or convicted of one — was a significant source of revenue for local law enforcement. In the 12 months before Attorney General Eric Holder shut down the program in 2015, state and local authorities took in $65 million that they shared with federal agencies, according to an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants....

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Trump is Soliciting Donations for His Campaign, But Hasn’t Asked for Hurricane Harvey Relief

by News Corpse – Republicans already have a reputation for callousness and insensitivity toward Americans in need. Much of that is coming out in the manner in which they are responding to Hurricane Harvey. Of Texas’ twenty-six members of congress, twenty-five of them voted against aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. That includes their two GOP senators. Now they are begging Trump for assistance from the federal government. As for Donald Trump, he’s begging for assistance as well. Not for the suffering people of Texas, but for himself. In the midst of an historic natural disaster, organizations like the American Red Cross and the Greater Houston Communities Association are in dire need of funding. For a list of organizations taking donations, click here. And the American people, as usual, are demonstrating their generosity and compassion. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has yet to make an appeal to the nation to help out....

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On This Day, Aug. 30, 1965 – Thurgood Marshall Becomes First Black on Supreme Court

  1965 – Thurgood Marshall was confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice. Marshall was the first black justice to sit on the Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a U.S. Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate. Marshall earned an important place in American history on the basis of two accomplishments. First, as legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he guided the litigation that destroyed the legal underpinnings of Jim Crow segregation. Second, as an associate justice of the Supreme Court – the nation’s first black justice – he crafted a distinctive jurisprudence marked by uncompromising liberalism, unusual attentiveness to practical considerations beyond the formalities of law, and an indefatigable willingness to dissent. Marshall was an outspoken liberal on a court dominated by conservatives. In his twenty-four year tenure, he voted to uphold gender and racial affirmative action policies in every...

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‘Crown Heights’ Dramatically Illustrates the Hell of Wrongful Incarceration

by Sam Fulwood III – New film tells the true story of a man who spent 21 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It haunts me to know that Colin Warner spent 21 years in prison for a murder he never committed. I heard Warner, 55, speak without anger or rancor about his Kafkaesque experience, now depicted in Crown Heights, a documentary-style film that tells his life story. The movie dramatically illustrates how Warner, then just 18 years old, was railroaded to prison in 1980, and the absurd sequence of atrocities that befell him before finally convincing an aggressively disbelieving judicial system to set him free. “Everything in the movie — well, I’d say 99.8 percent of it — is accurate,” Warner said earlier this month following a pre-release screening of the film at the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival. “It fairly tells the hell that I went through...

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Trump Organization Sought Business Help From Putin While Trump Praised Him on Campaign Trail

by Aaron Rupar – “As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance.” On Monday afternoon, the Washington Post broke news that amid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, one of the Trump Organization’s top executives emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman “to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow.” The Post, citing documents submitted to Congress on Monday, reports that Michael Cohen sent a message to Kremlin press aide Dmitry Peskov’s general government account in January 2016 that read, “As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon.” Cohen’s email to Peskov marks “the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and...

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