Germany: The Rise of the Right

by Gwynne Dyer – A general trend towards the authoritarian, ultra-nationalist right in Western politics has emerged. Angela Merkel’s slogan in her campaign for a fourth term as Chancellor was terminally bland and smug – “For a Germany in which we live well and love living” – but it did the job, sort of. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is back as the largest party, so Merkel gets to form the next coalition government. But the neo-fascists are now in the Bundestag (parliament) too, for the first time since the collapse of Nazi Germany. It’s not Merkel’s fault, exactly, but the numbers tell the tale. The CDU had its worst result ever, down from 40 percent of the vote at the last election to only 33 percent this time. And it looks like the 7 percent of the vote that the CDU lost went straight to the Alternative for Germany (AfD),...

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Mission Accomplished: Study Shows GOP-Backed Voter ID Laws Work to Suppress Turnout

by Jon Queally – “It’s certainly possible that there were enough voters deterred that it flipped the election,” says lead author study about 2016 voting in Wisconsin. Highlighting the effectiveness of such laws to decrease voter turnout, a new study out of Wisconsin shows that somewhere between 16,000 and 23,000 people did not vote in the state’s 2016 November elections due to a newly-imposed restrictive voter ID law passed in the state by the Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker. “Gov. Walker and his co-conspirators ought to be ashamed of what they have done.” —Analiese Eicher, One Wisconsin According to the Urban Milwaukee: Thousands and thousands of legal voters in Wisconsin were prevented from casting a ballot in the November 2016 election because of the state’s strict voter ID law, according to a study of registered voters conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Ken Mayer. The study was based on a survey...

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Milo Yiannopoulos’ Security Cost UC Berkeley $800,000

by Patrick Strickland – US university grappling with budget cuts and layoffs spends sum on security for far-right speaker’s 15-minute rally. After student organizers of the Berkeley “Free Speech Week” cancelled their events, far-right media personality Milo Yiannopoulos vowed to hold a rally of his own. WATCH: Violence breaks out at opposing rallies in Berkeley campus (02:10) Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the steps of the University of California’s Sproul Plaza on Sunday was brief. After 15 minutes, Yiannopoulos’ security guards drove him off, local media reported. The university said security precautions for the event, which involved officers from eight different law enforcement agencies, cost $800,000. Along with far-right author Mike Cernovich and anti-Muslim figure Pamela Geller, Yiannopoulos addressed around 150 supporters who had gathered to hear him speak. “It feels like probably the most expensive photo op in the university’s history,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof, according to The Mercury News. The sum spent...

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Trump Tax “Hoax” Would Blow $5 Trillion Hole in Budget Over Next Decade: Analysis

by Jon Queally – ‘The idea that this plan would help average Americans instead of the wealthy and big corporations has been a hoax all along.’ Trumpcare may be dead again (for a while at least) on Tuesday, but Republicans now want to get serious about what they call “tax reform,” but which critics are resolute in saying is just a major push to give the nation’s corporation and wealthiest individuals another massive giveaway they don’t need and certainly don’t deserve. A day ahead of the Trump administration’s scheduled release of what it says will be a “detailed” tax plan, progressive policy groups are again warning the American people not to be fooled by rhetoric as they highlight estimates showing the likely proposal will cost the government trillions of dollars in revenue over the next decade and lead the way towards massive cuts in key social programs that help insulate low-income...

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Georgetown Students, Faculty Take a Knee to Protest Sessions’ Hypocrisy on Free Speech

by KIRA LERNER & JOSHUA EATON – “We have questions for Jeff Sessions.” Georgetown Law students and faculty gathered on the campus Tuesday to protest a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he blasted college campuses that he said have allowed political correctness to erode free speech. The school did not allow many of the students and faculty at Tuesday’s protest to attend the invite-only speech. “The concept of free speech is to invite both people who dissent and people who disagree,” Imani Waweru, a third-year law student and attorney general of Georgetown’s Black Law Students Association, told ThinkProgress. “The obvious message here is that those who dissent are not invited.” Georgetown’s Center for the Constitution, led by conservative professor Randy Barnett, organized Sessions’ speech. Students and faculty said they took issue with the fact that they had just one day’s notice that the controversial attorney general would speak. The issue of...

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5 Shining Examples of Trump’s Patriotism

by Luke Barnes – Taking a knee is too much for him, however. President Trump transformed himself over the weekend into a one-man litmus test on the patriotism of America’s favorite pastimes. On Friday, he said he hoped any “son of bitch” who kneels during the national anthem would get fired by the NFL owners, before tweeting on Monday that he was “o proud of NASCAR and its supporters” for not disrespecting the country. The President insisted that his comments were solely about being patriotic, and about “respect for our country and respect for our flag.” But Trump’s own history reveals a man who unabashedly ducks away from his patriotic duty when needed – and then goes on to insult those who did. Here are five notable examples: Trump developed a mysterious case of bone spurs after being drafted for Vietnam When Trump was in college from 1964 to 1968 he received...

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‘Our Momentum Is Unstoppable’: Workers Celebrate as Target Announces $15 Minimum Wage

by Jake Johnson – “Never underestimate the power of organizing.” In what is being described as a huge victory for the tens of thousands of workers across the country who have for years organized, rallied, and gone on strike for higher wages, Target on Monday announced that it plans to raise the company-wide minimum hourly wage to $11 by next month and $15 by 2020. “Five years ago, when 200 New York City fast-food workers first walked off the job for $15 an hour and union rights, nobody gave us a shot. Since then, we’ve spread this movement to every corner of the country and beyond fast-food. We did what they said we couldn’t: we won. We won in the states, in the cities, with the big politicians and with the big corporations,” Steven Suffridge, a Minneapolis McDonald’s Worker and Fight for $15 organizer, wrote in an email reacting to the news. “And...

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Extremist Roy Moore Wins Alabama Senate Primary, Dealing Major Blow to Trump

by Kira Lerner – Trump campaigned for Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange. Roy Moore, an extreme far-right Republican, won Alabama’s GOP primary on Tuesday, defeating Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) who benefited from both President Trump’s endorsement and more than $10 million from the Republican establishment. The victory by Moore, a political outsider, is also a major loss for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who did his best to keep Moore out of Washington. But the far-right former judge framed his campaign as a rebuke of McConnell, ultimately convincing more Alabama Republicans that the party needs to move away from his leadership. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a December general election. Despite their feuds in the past, Trump and McConnell came together in their support for Strange, who was chosen to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat by Alabama’s governor earlier this year. Instead, the Republican leaders saw another defeat in...

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On This Day, Sept. 27, 1973 – VP Spiro T. Agnew Vows Not to Resign

1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew said he would not resign after he pled “no contest” to a charge of tax evasion. He did resign on October 10th. In 1973, Agnew was investigated by the United States Attorney’s office for the District of Maryland, on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. He was charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and later Vice President. On October 10 that same year, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President. Nixon later replaced Agnew by appointing House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to the office of Vice President. Agnew was the second Vice President in United States history to resign, the...

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GOP Concedes Their Latest Trumpcare Bill is Dead

by Addy Baird  & Amanda Michelle Gomez – Republicans don’t have enough votes. A hastily written health bill — with deep cuts to Medicaid and major hits to patient regulatory protections — ran into the same political problems as bills before it, and failed to garner enough support in the Senate. Republicans announced Tuesday the party does not have the votes to pass their latest health care bill, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, and will forgo a vote this week. Instead they will move on to tax reform, reaching for at least one legislative win before midterm elections. Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not dead, but a “matter of when,” Republicans promised. “We are going to fulfill our promise,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a press conference Tuesday. “Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson will be the alternative to Obamacare.” At the end of the press conference, a reporter asked...

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Trump’s Refusal to Send Hospital Ship Tips His Plan to Abandon Puerto Rico (UPDATED)

by DocDawg – A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Eight hundred and ninety-four feet long, 106 feet wide, and weighing 69,360 tons, USNS Comfort is a complete ocean-going medical facility with 1,000 patient beds including 80 for intensive care patients. Along with 12 operating rooms she boasts a complete dental clinic, optometry lab and pharmacy, X-ray machines, CT scanners, oxygen and fresh water production plants, capacity to store 5,000 units of blood, laundry operations, and a morgue. She’s the size of a 20th century supertanker. Indeed, she was a supertanker — the SS Rose City — until purchased by the Navy in 1987 and converted to serve her current lifesaving mission. She and her sister ship in the Pacific, USNS Mercy, are among the rare few assets of the obscenely wealth US military devoted exclusively to saving, rather than taking, lives. But today,...

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Republicans’ New Immigration Bill is so Ridiculous That it Could Take 15 Years to Become a Citizen

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – “These are kids who literally do not have a home anywhere.” Three Republican senators have introduced an immigration bill that grants a 15-year pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. It also prevents those immigrants from sponsoring their family members for legalization. Under the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation (or SUCCEED) Act — coauthored by Republican Sens. James Lankford (OK), Thom Tillis (NC), and Orrin Hatch (UT) — undocumented immigrants would be allowed to get on an eventual pathway to citizenship if they fulfill several years of criteria. For its most basic qualification, applicants must have arrived in the country before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012. “These are kids who literally do not have a home anywhere,” Lankford said during the press conference announcing the bill on Monday. That June...

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Krugman on Republicans: They were ‘lying about health care all along’ now ‘unable to govern’

by Walter Einenkel – It is a clearly untenable position that the Republican Party finds itself in with the recent release of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare repeal bill. The bill is such a transparent cynical-catastrophe. This is something that is self-evident to most every American, but alas, there’s at least 34 percent of the population that thinks Donald Trump isn’t a complete failure of a human being. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote a scathing op-ed in Monday’s New York Times that explains how “Trapped by Their Own Lies,” the Republican Party is at this moment in history. He begins by wondering aloud how, after Sen. John McCain’s famous “no,” the Republican Party finds itself once again trying to push through a clearly craven, universally derided healthcare bill, that cannot be defended with any level of merit. Krugman explains that when your political party makes its entire platform about saying things with zero actionable policy ideas—to achieve political...

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Why Trump’s Trash-talking of Professional Athletes Backfired

by Sam Fulwood III – The president is out of his league. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump took a sharp, diversionary turn away from affairs of state — you know, issues such as nuclear weapons in North Korea, a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, or whipping GOP lawmakers to repeal health care laws — to bully another group with trash talk: professional athletes. It didn’t go well. Whatever motivated Trump to believe he could win a war of words with NFL and NBA players was sheer folly. Sure, Trump is adept at posting insulting and inflammatory tweets in the middle of the night. And, yes, he’s found a ride-or-die core of supporters who believe and cheer him. In fact, he tends to make incendiary comments when other news portrays him in less than flattering light. Typically, the subjects of Trump’s Twitter outbursts are staffers or sycophants who have little recourse other than silent suffering....

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Indiana Judge Blocks Anti-choice Law in Indiana, Marking a Win for Planned Parenthood

by Addy Baird – Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law. A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction against an Indiana law that would have prohibited abortions sought specifically because the fetus had been potentially diagnosed with Down syndrome or other disabilities. The law also would have required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated and that abortion providers notify patients that seeking an abortion because the fetus may be disabled was against the law in the state. The restrictions were signed into law in March 2016 by Vice President Mike Pence, who was then the governor of Indiana, but Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, sued and obtained a preliminary injunction. Last year, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt suspended the law, saying it was likely unconstitutional and would violate a woman’s right to choose an abortion before the...

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Facebook’s Russian Ads May Just be the Tip of the Iceberg

by Luke Barnes – The three thousand ads seem like a suspiciously small number. After previously saying it was “crazy” to suggest Facebook helped Donald Trump become president, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that the social media giant will hand over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to Congress to help with their investigation into the Kremlin’s election interference. “I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” he said in a public Facebook post. “While the amount of problematic content we’ve found so far remains relatively small, any attempted interference is a serious issue.” Zuckerberg added that Facebook would continue to investigate the actions of other additional groups that may have tried to influence the election, including those in other former Soviet states. But the 470 fake accounts, and the 3,000 ads purchased for $100,000 seem like strangely small numbers for a social media site that has two billion monthly users and where three million businesses actively...

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Trump’s Threats Seen As Declaration of War by North Korea

by Julia Conley – As Americans hope for diplomatic talks, Trump’s rhetoric leads North Korea to warn it’s prepared to defend itself. President Donald Trump’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric on Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program has been perceived as a declaration of war by North Korea’s foreign minister, who said Monday that the country is prepared to defend itself if Trump follows through with what appeared to be threats of a regime change via his Twitter account over the weekend. “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” said Ri Yong-ho on Monday. After Ri spoke at the United Nations on Saturday, Trump tweeted his latest threat regarding North Korea: Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer! 11:08 PM – Sep 23, 2017 The tweet...

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3.5 Million Americans Face Disease & Death in Puerto Rico. What the Hell is Trump Doing?

by Denise Oliver Velez – People with no drinking water. People with no food. People with no medicine. No dialysis. No insulin. No homes. Water full of feces. No fuel for generators. The mayor of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz describes the horror: Where the hell is the army, the navy, the marines?  Why is there no massive airlift in and out?  insightus @InsightusOrg As 3.4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico face a public health crisis, hospital ship USNS Comfort remains moored in Norfolk VA home port. 9:44 AM – Sep 24, 2017 WTF is the President of the United States and the Republican controlled Congress doing? Thank you Hillary Clinton: Hillary Clinton  ✔@HillaryClinton President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens. https://twitter.com/samynemir/status/911401368983924736 … 12:04 PM – Sep 24, 2017 Thank you Governor Cuomo: Andrew Cuomo   ✔@NYGovCuomo Puerto Rico needs...

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Entire Healthcare System to GOP: “You think we’re f*cking with you? We are not f*cking with you.”

by Brainwrap – it’s pretty rare for the entire medical, hospital and insurance industry to agree on just about anything…and yet here we are (emphasis in the original): The following statement was jointly released on September 23, 2017 by the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association regarding the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation. We represent the nation’s doctors, hospitals and health plans. Collectively, our organizations include hundreds of thousands of individual physicians, thousands of hospitals, and hundreds of health plans that serve tens of millions of American patients, consumers and employers every day across the United States. While we sometimes disagree on important issues in health care, we are in total agreement that Americans deserve a stable healthcare market that provides access to high-quality care and affordable coverage for all. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill does not move us closer to that goal....

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On This Day, Sept. 26, 1960 – Nixon and Kennedy Square Off on TV

1960 – The first televised debate between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy took place in Chicago, IL. The Kennedy-Nixon debates not only had a major impact on the election’s outcome, but ushered in a new era in which crafting a public image and taking advantage of media exposure became essential ingredients of a successful political campaign. They also heralded the central role television has continued to play in the democratic process. Nixon took a major hit in August when a reporter asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower to name some of his vice president’s contributions. Exhausted and irritated after a long press conference, Eisenhower replied, “If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don’t remember.” (While the remark was intended as a self-deprecating reference to the president’s own mental fatigue, the Democrats promptly used it in a television commercial that ended with...

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