On This Day, Oct 17, 1931 – Capone Goes to Prison

On this day in 1931, gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s. Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899 to Italian immigrants. He was expelled from school at 14, joined a gang and earned his nickname “Scarface” after being sliced across the cheek during a fight. By 1920, Capone had moved to Chicago, where he was soon helping to run crime boss Johnny Torrio’s illegal enterprises, which included alcohol-smuggling, gambling and prostitution. Torrio retired in 1925 after an attempt on his life and Capone, known for his cunning and brutality, was put in charge of the organization. Prohibition, which outlawed the brewing and distribution of alcohol and lasted from 1920 to 1933, proved extremely lucrative for bootleggers and gangsters like Capone,...

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On This Day, Oct 16, 1854 – Lincoln Speaks Out Against Slavery

On this day in 1854, an obscure lawyer and Congressional hopeful from the state of Illinois named Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech regarding the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which Congress had passed five months earlier. In his speech, the future president denounced the act and outlined his views on slavery, which he called “immoral.” Under the terms of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, two new territories—Kansas and Nebraska—would be allowed into the Union and each territory’s citizens would be given the power to determine whether slavery would be allowed within the territory’s borders. It was believed that the act would set a precedent for determining the legality of slavery in other new territories. Controversy over the act influenced political races across the country that fall. Abolitionists, like Lincoln, hoped to convince lawmakers in the new territories to reject slavery. Lincoln, who was practicing law at the time, campaigned on behalf of abolitionist Republicans...

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To Save Their Party, Republicans Must Sacrifice the Trump Presidency

by Ian Reifowitz – The Republican Party is Dr. Frankenstein, and Donald Trump is its monster. Yes, there were some exceptions, but the fact remains that—in particular by opposing in a knee-jerk fashion everything Barack Obama proposed and by nurturing white grievance and white identity politics—the GOP created Trump, they chose him as their nominee, they rallied around him, and they made him their champion. Frankenstein’s monster, however, could only terrorize one village at a time. Trumpenstein threatens us all. They know what they’ve done. Bob Corker made that perfectly clear. I’ve been following politics for a long time, and I’ve never seen any national political figure talkopenly and publicly about a president the way Corker did, let alone someone from the president’s own party. I know that we’ve all gotten sort of used to people talking about Trump this way, but it is, truly, unprecedented. It’s the equivalent of calling 911 for our...

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Trump’s Speech Against Iran Deal a National Disgrace

by Trita Parsi – The most insulting of Trump’s lies was when he sought to pass himself off as a champion of the Iranian people. Trump’s speech today was a national disgrace. This isn’t an effort to stiff a contractor over a real estate project, it’s a matter of war and peace. Donald Trump is in way over his head.   Contrary to the reporting, Donald Trump is killing the deal – not in one move, but in several moves. First, Congress will attempt to kill it through deal-killing legislation from Sen. Tom Cotton. If that is blocked, Trump has vowed to kill it himself. Either way, the deal will get killed by this process triggered by Trump. Cotton’s legislation would seek to unilaterally rewrite the nuclear deal, an unequivocal violation of the agreement. A vote for that bill would be as significant as a vote for the 2002 war with...

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Fox News Commentator says Weinstein Allegations Should Close the Company. What About Ailes?

by Emily Q. Hazzard – This is a risky idea for Fox News to explore: they’re under federal investigation for a related reason. Gregg Jarrett, Fox News anchor and commentator, wrote in a Friday column for the site that the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the steps the company took to settle with his accusers should result in the company closing. Gregg Jarrett  ✔@GreggJarrett My new column on Weinstein. Time to close the doors on the company! –Gregghttp://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/13/gregg-jarrett-weinsteins-illegal-contract-should-force-his-company-to-close.html … 4:37 PM – Oct 13, 2017 Gregg Jarrett: Weinstein’s illegal contract should force his company to close The Weinstein Company should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors. foxnews.com  “The Weinstein Company should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors,” he wrote. Jarrett’s claim hinges on Weinstein’s contract with The Weinstein Company, and what other employees at Weinstein’s company knew about the alleged abuse and whether management practice...

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Small Donations to Trump Campaign Pay for Trump Jr.’s Massive Legal Bills

by Judd Legum – Paying legal bills for billionaires, ten bucks at a time. The Trump campaign spent $267,924 on lawyers for Donald Trump Jr. from July to September, according to disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday. The figure includes $237,924 for Trump Jr.’s personal attorney, Alan Futerfas. Another $30,000 went to Williams and Jensen, which helped Trump Jr. prepare for Congressional testimony. In the previous quarter, the Trump campaign spent $50,000 on Trump Jr.’s legal bills. The Republican National Committee has also spent over $200,000 on lawyers representing Trump Jr., with most of that amount going to Futerfas. In total, donors to the Trump campaign and the Republican party have spent over half a million dollars on Trump Jr.’s legal representation. Trump Jr. has been under intense legal scrutiny since it was revealed that he set up a meeting between top Trump campaign officials and Russians who claimed to have damaging information about...

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Trump’s Bullying Backfires – NFL To Take Up Protester’s Cause

by Rmuse – Donald Trump epitomizes incompetence that he attempts to conceal with his big mouth as if bloviating nonstop lies and absurdities will convince Americans he is anything other than a monumental douchebag. When the Oval Office oaf took up the cause of defining patriotism as denying other Americans their Constitutionally guaranteed rights, not only did he reveal his fascist tendencies, he pushed an American institution to declare that they would not join his tyranny against mostly African-American athletes. The fascist Trump was certain he could “force” the NFL to restrict its players’ constitutional rights by running his mouth and calling socially conscious players “sons-of-bitches” and demand they be “thrown off the field.” There were even rumors that next week the NFL was convening a meeting with owners to do as Trump ordered and punish mostly African-American players who are unwilling to forfeit their constitutional rights. However, the only thing Trump running...

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Kentucky Governor Says He’ll Never Legalize Marijuana Because of the ‘overdoses’

by Rebekah Entralgo – No one has died from a marijuana overdose. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) appeared on a local radio show this week and called legalized marijuana a “sucker’s bet,” and something that will never happen so long as he’s in office. Why? Bevin says he’s concerned about overdoses. “We are not, while I’m governor, going to be legalizing the use of marijuana in this state for recreational purposes or for revenue-generating purposes,” Bevin said on Terry Meiner’s WHAS radio show. “There are people overdosing based on ingestion of products that are edibles and things.” Contrary to what the governor believes, however, while an individual can certainly have a “bad trip” from marijuana usage, there have been zero reported deaths from marijuana “overdoses,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. Bevin points to the uptick in marijuana-related emergency room visits in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana, as evidence...

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Republican Senator Says Healthcare Policy Will Hurt American Citizens

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – There are no winners in Trump’s health policy. President Donald Trump’s health policy is hurting U.S. citizens, says Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), “by affecting the ability of vulnerable people to receive health care right now.” On CNN’s State of the Union, Collins blasted the Trump administration’s decision to stop paying insurance companies for subsidizing health plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.    Collins is not the first Republican to criticize Trump for undercutting the ACA marketplace, where nearly 22 million people get insurance. And the criticism doesn’t end there. Insurers, doctors, hospitals, and even the U.S. Chamber of Congress think the federal government needs to pay insurers for a subsidy known as cost sharing reductions (CSR). (CSRs help people — who make up to 250 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) — afford deductibles and copayments.) They’ve asked Congress to make these payments, since the president refuses to. The Senate is purportedly...

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How the 25th Amendment Became America’s Secret Hope

by Mark Sumner – The amendments at the end of the list rarely get much attention — though your local bar may have an ode to the 21st and the story of how a college sophomore revived and helped pass the 27th amendment in 1992 after it had lain fallow since 1789 is a good one. The amendment is completely worthless, but the trivia is fantastic. However, in the last few days, very high levels of attention have been focused on an Amendment that comes in the middle of those two. At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have...

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On This Day, Oct 15, 1991 – Thomas Confirmed to the Supreme Court

After a bitter confirmation hearing, the U.S. Senate votes 52 to 48 to confirm Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. In July 1991, Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court, announced his retirement after 34 years. President George Bush quickly nominated Clarence Thomas, a 43-year-old African-American judge known for his conservative beliefs, to fill the seat. Thomas had been chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) during the Reagan administration, and in 1990 Bush had appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals. As the confirmation hearings for Thomas’ Supreme Court nomination got underway, he evaded controversy over his conservative views on issues such as abortion by refusing to state a clear political position. He seemed headed for an easy confirmation until Anita Hill, a former aide, stepped forward and accused him of sexual harassment. Hill, who had served as an aide to...

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Several States Vow to Sue Trump Administration Over Obamacare Sabotage

by Rebekah Entralgo – Attorneys general from across the country say they will take legal action. The Trump administration’s recent decision to abruptly end a provision of the Affordable Care Act that helps insurers lower out-of-pocket medical fees for millions of Americans has spurred some states to consider taking legal action. Attorneys general from across the country have said they plan to sue the Trump administration in order to keep money flowing to their states. “Hundreds of thousands of New York families rely on the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for their health care — and again and again, President Trump has threatened to cut off these subsidies to undermine our healthcare system and force Congress to the negotiating table. That’s unacceptable,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) in a press release late Thursday night, following the administration’s decision to cut off cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers selling Obamacare coverage. “I will not allow...

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To Great Applause, Paris Announces Combustion Engine Ban by 2030

by Julia Conley – New goal would accelerate existing plan to do away with gas-powered cars and trucks. Receiving great applause from climate advocates, Paris officials announced a new goal on Thursday to ban gas-powered cars from its streets by 2030. Greenpeace USA  ✔@greenpeaceusa Paris plans to banish all but electric cars by 2030 Paris authorities plan to banish all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars from the world’s most visited city by 2030, Paris City Hall said on Thursday. A BIG step! — Paris is planning to ban all but electric cars by 2030. http://reut.rs/2i5cjxQ  1:00 PM – Oct 12, 2017 The proposal would accelerate existing efforts to reduce air pollution in the city after French President Emmanuel Macron promised to ban the sale of vehicles with combustion engines by 2040. Under the rule, only electric cars would be allowed in the city. Paris is already home to an electric car-sharing service, Autolib, which...

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Donald Trump: The Entertainer

by Neal Gabler – The media continue to view Trump through a political lens when an entertainment lens would be more appropriate. It is becoming increasingly clear that to speak of a “Trump presidency” is a misnomer. There is no presidency, at least not by traditional standards. There is a “Trump show,” and that makes all the difference in the world. I and many others have written about how heavily our president borrows from entertainment: the cooked-up suspense (this week’s “calm before the storm” remark), the high concepts he keeps purveying (“Build a wall!”), the strong-man movie persona attached to the common man appeal, and the psychological underpinnings that tap American’s contrarian anti-elitism, which is a staple of our popular culture. By means of all these things and others, Trump has not only turned the presidency into a B-movie, which would be a remarkable feat unto itself; he has turned it...

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EPA’s 4-Year Strategic Plan Doesn’t Mention ‘Climate.’ Not Once

by Jake Johnson – “This wasn’t an oversight, this is a deliberate strategy by this administration.” If President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hadn’t already made it abundantly clear that addressing climate change is near the very bottom of its list of priorities, the agency’s newly unveiled four-year “strategic plan” should remove all doubt, as it does not contain a single mention of “climate change”—or even just “climate.” The 38-page draft, quietly made available for public comment last week, also neglects to mention “carbon dioxide,” “greenhouse gases,” or “renewable energy.” By contrast, former President Barack Obama’s EPA made addressing climate change the first of the agency’s five stated goals in its 2014 strategic plan—which used the phrase “climate change” more than 40 times. Dr. Rachel Cleetus, climate policy manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists, calledthe EPA’s scrubbing of climate change from its report “stunning,” and argued that it was no accident. “Climate...

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World Leaders React to Donald Trump’s Speech on Iran (VIDEO)

World leaders were quick to react to US President Donald Trump‘s decision to “decertify” an international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. The 2015 deal, reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union, saw Tehran curtailing its nuclear programme in exchange for the easing of crippling economic sanctions. In a White House address on Friday, Trump struck a blow against the accord in defiance of other world powers, and despite the UN nuclear watchdog’s repeated confirmations that Iran was complying with its obligations under 2015’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump’s move does not amount to a withdrawal from the deal, but instead pushes action to US Congress, which could reimpose sanctions that were lifted under the pact. He threatened, however, that if a deal could not be reached with Congress or US allies, he would walk away from the accord. Trump’s speech put him at odds with US allies in Europe, as well as...

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Why the Republican Tax Plan is More Failed Trickle-down Economics (VIDEO)

by Robert Reich – Trump and conservatives in Congress are planning a big tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. To justify it they’re using the oldest song in their playbook, claiming tax cuts on the rich will trickle down to working families in the form of stronger economic growth. Baloney. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke. Just look at the evidence: 1. Clinton’s tax increase on the rich hardly stalled the economy. In 1993, Bill Clinton raised taxes on top earners from 31 percent to 39.6 percent. Conservatives predicted economic disaster. Instead, the economy created 23 million jobs and the economy grew for 8 straight years in what was then the longest expansion in history. The federal budget went into surplus. 2. George W. Bush’s big tax cuts for the rich didn’t grow the economy. In 2001and 2003, George W. Bush lowered the top tax rate to 35 percent while also cutting top rates...

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Promoting Renewable Future, Solar Companies and Nonprofits Rush to Puerto Rico

by Jessica Corbett – Promoting Renewable Future, Solar Companies and Nonprofits Rush to Puerto Rico As Congress on Thursday approved a $5 billion loan that will further burden the already bankrupt U.S. territory, various solar companies and nonprofits continued working together to offer aid to the storm-ravaged island while also promoting a more sustainable future and resilient energy system. On Thursday, the nonprofit Empowered By Light and Sunrun—the nation’s largest residential solar company—partnered with local leaders to install a 4kW solar array with battery storage at the Barrio Obrero fire station in San Juan. A second system will be installed at another fire station on Friday. More than 90 percent of the island’s power grid has not been restored since Hurricane Maria struck last month. The commonwealth’s power system was already hobbled by financial difficulties long before the hurricane devastated the island, and the federal government has been widely condemned for its slow and inadequatedisaster relief efforts. “It appears the federal emergency response is focused on diesel to...

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Taxpayers are Picking up the Tab for White Nationalists’ ‘free speech’ Rallies

by Luke Barnes – Security for Richard Spencer’s latest speech will cost half-a-million dollars. Campus officials at the University of Florida are preparing for white nationalist Richard Spencer to visit their campus next month — and are being forced to spend upwards of $500,000 to provide him with security. It’s the latest in a series of right-wing rallies which taxpayers and beleaguered universities are picking up the bill for. Spencer, fresh off leading another torch rally at Charlottesville, will travel to Gainesville, Florida on October 19th, despite the University not inviting him or wanting him to host his event there. “People are concerned for their well-being and safety,” senior Dwayne Fletcher told the Washington Post. “Gainesville will definitely have a different atmosphere in the days to come, and afterward, because of his presence.” According to the Washington Post, the university is also being forced to close several key medical centers, including surgery centers and...

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On This Day, Oct 14, 1944 – The ‘Desert Fox’ Commits Suicide

On this day in 1944, German Gen. Erwin Rommel, nicknamed “the Desert Fox,” is given the option of facing a public trial for treason, as a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, or taking cyanide. He chooses the latter. Rommel was born in 1891 in Wurttenberg, Germany, the son of a teacher. Although not descended from military men, the newly unified German empire made it fashionable to choose a military career, which young Rommel did, becoming an officer cadet. During World War I, he showed himself to be a natural leader with unnatural courage, fighting in France, Romania, and Italy. Following the war, he pursued a teaching career in German military academies, writing a textbook, Infantry Attacks, that was well regarded. At the outbreak of World War II, Rommel was given command of the troops that guarded Hitler’s headquarters, a disappointment for a man used to fighting...

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