On This Day, Nov. 23. 1976 – Jerry Lee Lewis Arrested at the Gates of Graceland

  1976 – Police arrested Jerry Lee Lewis outside the gates of Graceland after he showed up for the second time in 24 hours and made a scene by shouting, waving a pistol and demanding to see Elvis Presley. In the early hours of November 22, 1976, Harold Loyd, the presiding guard on duty at Graceland, was greeted by an unexpected visitor, Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry Lee, accompanied by his wife, pulled up to the mansion’s front gate in his new Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. He asked Loyd if he could see Elvis, but was told that the King was asleep. Lewis politely thanked Loyd and drove away without incident. Later that morning, at 9:30 a.m., Lewis flipped his Rolls while rounding the corner at Peterson Lake and Powell Road in Collierville. The police report on the incident stated that the Breathalyzer test yielded negligible results, but that Lewis was obviously...

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The Real Reason Why Trump is Still Supporting Roy Moore

by Judd Legum – The conventional wisdom is wrong. On Tuesday afternoon, Trump delivered a full-throated endorsement of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, even though Moore is facing multiple allegations of child sex abuse. Trump framed his support for Moore primarily as a political decision, based on the necessity of maintaining the slim Republican majority in the Senate. “I can tell you one thing for sure:  We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat — Jones,” Trump said. This explanation was largely accepted in the press. It’s “about policy and not the sexual abuse allegations,” an unnamed White House source told CNN. “The White House knows they cannot afford to lose an ‘R’ vote in the Senate.” The most important policy for the White House at the moment is tax reform, which faces a narrow path in the Senate. Republicans can only afford to lose two...

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White House Efforts to Cut Off Funding for Sanctuary Cities Slapped With Permanent Block

by E.A. Crunden – What the Trump administration is doing is “unconstitutional on its face,” Judge William Orrick wrote. A federal judge has permanently blocked President Trump’s efforts to bar cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration forces from receiving funding, the most decisive blow yet to the White House’s efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities. In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled Trump’s January executive order seeking to cut off sanctuary cities from federal funding unconstitutional. The same judge put a hold on the executive order in April. “The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick wrote in the latest decision. “Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not...

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Congress Still Hasn’t Renewed CHIP Funding, 9 Million Children Could Soon Lose Health Coverage

by Elham Khatami – Three states and the District of Columbia are expected to run out of CHIP funds by next month. It has been 51 days since Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire. Since then, states have been grappling with the reality that nine million children may soon lose critical health care coverage. While CHIP has historically received support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, this year, Congress has allowed disagreements over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to take precedence over reauthorizing funding for the program. Things are now especially dire for Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, and North Carolina — all of which are expected to run out of CHIP funds by next month. Thirty-one states will likely exhaust their funding by March 2018. “We’re in an unprecedented situation,” Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, told ThinkProgress. Referring...

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The Trump-Russia Story Is Coming Together. Here’s How to Make Sense of It

by Bill Moyers and Steven Harper – “Everything the Trump campaign told you about the connections between Trump and Russia was a lie.” Editor’s Note: The news is coming so fast and furious, from so many sources and in so many fragments, that it takes more than a scorecard to keep up with the Trump-Russia Connection. It takes a timeline — a “map,” if you will, of where events and names and dates and deeds converge into a story that makes sense of the incredible scandal of the 2016 election and now of the Trump Administration. For years Steve Harper produced timelines for the cases he argued or defended in court as a successful litigator. Retired now from practicing law, Harper has turned his experience, talent, and curiosity to monitoring for BillMoyers.com the bizarre and entangled ties between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and the murky world of Russian oligarchs, state officials, hackers, spies,...

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Ratko Mladic Sentenced to Life in Prison for Genocide (VIDEO)

Former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic has been sentenced to life in prison, for genocide and war crimes during the Balkan conflict more than two decades ago. The presiding judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday found that the 74-year-old general “significantly contributed” to genocide committed at Srebrenica. Previous judgments of the tribunal in the Netherlands already ruled that the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica was genocide. Judge Alphons Orie ruled that the perpetrators of the crimes committed in Srebrenica intended to destroy the Muslims living there. ‘Heinous crimes’ The judge also ruled that Mladic carried out and personally oversaw a deadly campaign of sniping and shelling in Sarajevo. “The crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind,” he said. The former general initially appeared relaxed as he listened intently to the verdict, but was later...

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The Drag Show Must Go On!

by Mandy Strickland Floyd, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Tennessee – On Monday night, the attempt by the town of Portland, Tennessee, to ban drag shows came to an end. For months, the town’s aldermen have been searching for a way to regulate drag shows out of existence. But the First Amendment got in their way. It all started in August, when performers with Elite Productions put on a drag show at Envy Restaurant Bar & Grill in downtown Portland. The show was sold out, and the performers went on to hold several more successful performances. Though popular with the public, the show became a target for the Portland board of aldermen, which has spent much of the past several months trying to find a way to ban drag shows. In September, board members introduced an ordinance that sought to classify drag shows as “adult cabaret,” which the town described as a...

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Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students

by Jill Richardson – Imagine having to pay thousands of dollars of taxes on virtually no income. The Republican tax plan winding its way through Congress includes a special middle finger to the nation’s graduate students. It’s a little bit wonky, so stay with me here. I’ll explain how it affects me, since I’m an actual graduate student. Going to grad school would’ve been entirely out of reach for me if I had to pay full tuition for my education. Getting a PhD takes at least five years and often more. I don’t have a spouse, trust fund, or parents to cover my cost of living or my tuition. If I had to pay for my own education, it would’ve been simply out of the question. This is hardly uncommon. How many adults do you know can forego five or more years of income while simultaneously paying thousands of dollars in...

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42 Top Economists Were Asked if the Trump Tax Plan Would Significantly Grow the Economy. 1 Said Yes

by Rebekah Entralgo – Remember when the White House said the economic growth would put an extra $4,000 in your pocket? Overhauling the tax code before Christmas would be a difficult task under “normal” conditions, yet Republicans in Congress are pledging to do just that with their tax bill. There’s just one big problem: It is a supremely poor tax plan that doesn’t provide middle-class tax relief while also serving as a substantial handout to the wealthy. A University of Chicago survey released Tuesday polled 42 of the nation’s leading economists about the Republican tax plan — and all but one said they do not agree with claims that the plan will grow the economy. This survey is yet another piece of analysis that eviscerates a popular White House talking point that by cutting taxes for corporations, the GOP tax plan would create so much economic growth that the average American family would get a raise...

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On This Day, Nov. 22, 1963 – The Death of a President

1963 – President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.  On November 21, the president and first lady departed on Air Force One for the two-day, five-city tour of Texas. President Kennedy was aware that a feud among party leaders in Texas could jeopardize his chances of carrying the state in 1964, and one of his aims for the trip was to bring Democrats together. He also knew that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt — particularly in Dallas, where U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after making a speech there. Nonetheless, JFK seemed to relish the prospect of leaving Washington, getting out among the people and into the political fray. On Nov. 22, his procession left the...

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State Department Officials Accuse Tillerson of Violating Anti-Child Soldiers Law

by Jake Johnson – Secretary of State’s decision to exclude Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar from a list of nations using child soldiers has also been widely condemned by human rights groups. Around a dozen U.S. State Department officials have formally accused Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating the Child Soldiers Prevention Act, citing his recent decision to exclude Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar from a list of nations currently conscripting child soldiers despite his department’s public acknowledgement that children have been used in combat by these nations. The accusations were leveled in a confidential “dissent” memo (pdf) obtained and reported on by Reuters for the first time on Tuesday. “Tillerson’s decision was at odds with a unanimous recommendation by the heads of the State Department’s regional bureaus overseeing embassies in the Middle East and Asia, the U.S. envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the department’s human rights office, and its own in-house lawyers,” Reutersnoted. Passed in 2008, the Child Soldiers Prevention...

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Why There Can Never be a Two-State Solution

by Farah Najjar – For the past 50 years, a United Nations Security Council resolution has helped to sustain Israel’s occupation of Palestine, analysts say. Ghada Karmi, a British-Palestinian author and lecturer at Exeter University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic studies, says the central issue is that Israelis “never intended” to comply with UNSC Resolution242, adopted on November 22, 1967. “From the steady colonisation of the Palestinian area, you can see that there has been no attempt on the part of Israel to comply with any part of the resolution,” she said. Resolution 242 Following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, a resolution called on Israel to give up the territories it occupied in exchange for a lasting peace with its neighbours. Israel defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, resulting in the Palestinian “Naksa”, or setback, in June 1967. In that year, Israel expelled some 430,000 Palestinians from their homes. The Naksa was...

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Russia has Owned Trump for Quite Some Time and Mueller Knows it; Tick, Tock Impeachment Clock

by ursulafaw – Guardian journalist Luke Harding has written a book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. The book contains conversations with former spy Christopher Steele, who admonished Harding to follow the yellow brick road, which in Trump’s case is gold and extends all the way from Moscow to Trump Tower. Good advice and Robert Mueller is following it. Vanity Fair: In December of last year, Steele informed Luke Harding, a journalist for the Guardian, that “the contracts for the hotel deals and land deals” between Trump and individuals with the Kremlin ties warrant investigation. “Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans,” the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding’s new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. “The difference is what’s important.” According to his book, Steele did not elaborate on this point to Harding, but his implication was clear: it’s possible...

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The Backlash Against the Bullies

by Robert Reich – Why are so many women now speaking out about the sexual abuses they’ve experienced for years? Is there anything unique about the time we’re now living through that has encouraged them to end their silence? I can’t help think their decisions are part of something that’s happening throughout much of American society right now – a backlash against what has been the growing domination of America by powerful and wealthy men (and a few women) who came to believe they can do whatever they want to do, to whomever they choose. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy,” said Donald Trump in the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape. Sexual assault is one obvious assertion of dominance. Other forms include economic bullying and the stoking of bigotry to gain political power. Trump epitomizes it all. As a...

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Trump Stands by Endorsement of Roy Moore, Suggests Women are Lying

by Zack Ford – “He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.” Before taking off for his Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump took some questions from the press and finally responded to the multiple sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore. “We do not need a liberal person — a Democrat” in that seat, Trump said. “He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.” When asked if he had a message for women, Trump said it’s “very, very good” for women that these kind of allegations have been “exposed.” But he insisted Moore “totally denies it,” pontificating on the fact that 40 years had passed, implying he doubted the claims the multiple women have made.  This is a significant shift from the White House’s messaging on Moore as of just a day ago. At Monday’s...

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Ban on Transgender Military Service Just Took Another Blow

by Zack Ford – The arbitrary ban “cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest”, the judge wrote. A second federal judge has ruled against President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, issuing a preliminary injunction prohibiting it from taking effect. Unlike the first such injunction, issued last month, this order also ensures transition-related medical procedures remain covered. Senior United States District Judge Marvin Garbis, a George H.W. Bush appointee, ruled Tuesday that Trump’s ban, first tweeted out in July, could not be enforced: President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review, nor did the Presidential Memorandum identify any policymaking process or evidence demonstrating that the revocation of transgender rights was necessary for any legitimate national interest. Based on the circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement and the departure from normal procedure, the Court agrees with the D.C. Court that there is sufficient support for Plaintiffs’ claims that “the decision to exclude...

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Mueller’s Interview With Hope Hicks May Signal He’s Closing in on the Target

by Mark Sumner – If Business Insider is right, Trump’s lawyer may be more accurate than anyone knew when he said Mueller was getting close to wrapping up his investigation. A report from Politico this week, which found that the special counsel Robert Mueller is gearing up to interview the White House communications director, Hope Hicks, indicates that one of the many threads of the Russia investigation is probably moving into its final stages. Why would interviewing Hicks show that the investigation—or at least, one part of the investigation—was about to cross the finish line? “Any time you can get someone who is the right-hand person or who’s been around the primary target of an investigation, under oath, answering detailed questions, means you’ve progressed very far along in the investigation,” Goldberg told Politico. Hicks has served not just as a press secretary and surrogate for Trump during the campaign, she’s been his personal...

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New Report Details ’13 Terrible Things’ About Senate GOP Tax Plan

by Common Dreams staff – Americans for Tax Fairness warns that the bill gives most of the tax cuts to the richest 1%, makes 82 million middle-class families pay more in taxes, and endangers funding for public services. Amid mounting efforts to block the Republican Party’s latest attempts to cut taxes for the nation’s corporations and wealthiest families, a new report out Tuesday details 13 “terrible things” about the most recent GOP tax bill put forth in the U.S. Senate. The analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF)—a campaign of more than 425 national, state, and local groups that advocate for progressive tax reform—is just latest in a series of warnings about the consequences of passing what’s being called the #GOPTaxScam. The report warns that the proposed legislation: Gives most of the tax cuts to the richest 1%. The share of tax cuts going to the richest 1% is 62% in 2027, up from 18% in 2019. Their tax cut...

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On This Day, Nov. 21, 1979 – Protesters Attack and Burn US Embassy in Islamabad

1979 – The US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was attacked by a mob that set the building afire and killed two Americans. The five-hour siege began as an organised student protest outside the locked gates of the embassy compound. But the demonstration grew violent as protesters pulled down part of the outer wall and broke into the compound itself. Gunfire broke out, and a marine, who was standing on the roof of the building, was shot. As the protesters began smashing windows and setting fire to the building, more than 100 embassy staff took refuge in a steel-lined and windowless vault on an upstairs floor. Those trapped in the room included US diplomats, Pakistani staff members and a visiting journalist from Time magazine. Ambassador Arthur W Hummel Jr., was outside the building when the attack began. Staff inside were able to contact him, and it was Hummel who raised...

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Under GOP Plan, Wealthy Foreign Investors Benefit Nearly Three Times More Than US Taxpayers

by Common Dreams staff – “Just amazing,” said one economic analyst. “Really hard to get your head around. But it’s true.” If the Senate Republicans’ latest version of their tax overhaul bill passes, foreign investors will receive a financial benefit nearly three times larger than all U.S. taxpayers combined, according to a new analysis released Saturday. In its updated analysis, the non-partisan Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that while U.S. households would receive $8 billion in net benefits from the plan, wealthy overseas investors would capture an astonishing $22 billion. “By 2027,” the analysis states, “foreign investors would benefit more than American households overall under the bill as written. While some households would pay more and others would pay less, in 2027 the average net effect for U.S. households would be a tax cut of $8 billion, which is much smaller than the $22 billion benefit to foreign investors.” As Seth Hanlon,...

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As Powerful Men Fall, Renewed Focus on Trump’s Many Accusers and His Disgusting Admission

by Jon Queally – “One man continues to defy America’s new moral norm: its President.” As the floodgates have certainly opened in positive ways over recent weeks in terms of women feeling more empowered and secure in speaking publicly about the men—often those in positions of power—who have sexually assaulted or harassed them over the years, the wave of revelations have also brought renewed focus on the previous and numerous accusations levied against the nation’s most powerful man: President Donald J. Trump. While an infamous recording released during last year’s campaign in which Trump openly talked about how he used his wealth and fame to prey on women, the shifting national conversation about sexual misconduct—and the “hypocritical” way in which Trump injected himself into that conversation this week—has led many to argue that the numerous women who have already publicly accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment should be given further and renewed hearing. Offering...

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EU Cuts Turkey Funding After ‘democratic deterioration’

by Umut Uras – The European Union will cut funds allocated to Turkey due to the “deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights” there, according to a European Parliament (EP) statement. The bloc will shrink the so-called “pre-ascension funds” for Turkey by 105m euros ($124m) and suspend an additional 70m euros in the 2018 budget, the statement said on Saturday. Ankara is entitled to receive 4.45 billion euros from the EU between 2014 and 2020 in the framework of the bloc’s “Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance”. The Council of the EU and the EP, the two legislative institutions of the bloc, still need to formally approve the new budget. “Concerning Turkey, MEPs made sure to cut pre-accession funds by 105 million euros (with a further €70 million in commitments put in reserve), as they consider the deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights worrying,” the statement by the...

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NASCAR Provides the Ultimate Proof That the NFL’s Rating Decline Isn’t Because of Politics

by Lindsay Gibbs – You can’t have it both ways. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last year, you’ve probably heard that our nation is currently undergoing a monumental crisis. No, not the White House one — I’m talking about the fact that after years of being a seemingly invincible ratings juggernaut, NFL ratings are on the decline. I know, I know, it’s hard to process, but it’s true. While people can cherry-pick ratings from certain games to prove whatever point they want to prove, overall, it’s likely that the NFL will finish this year with fewer viewers than it had last year. Last year, NFL viewership was down from the previous year. It’s an undeniable trend. Now, you could say that the NFL’s ratings decline merely mirrors a decline in viewership across television audiences at-large. However, that’s not the narrative-of-choice. Many have blamed the NFL’s “liberal politics” — in other...

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Trump Says He Now Regrets Not Leaving Three College Basketball Players in a Chinese Prison

by Rebekah Entralgo – The president continues his pattern of belittling athletes of color. President Donald Trump attacked LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball, a UCLA basketball player Sunday afternoon, saying that he should have “left them in jail.”  Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail! 12:42 PM – Nov 19, 2017 LaVar Ball told ESPN Saturday that he was skeptical Trump had much to do with the release of his son and his two teammates. “Who?” Ball responded when asked about the president’s involvement. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.” And...

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“Smell of Alabama, he’s not going to be able to escape it” Bannon Going Down in Flames

by ursulafaw – Roy Moore “would not be the horse you would want to bet on first,” opined an anonymous source of Steve Bannon’s.  Bannon’s goal as self-appointed GOP kingmaker was to remake the party in his own image, starting with getting Roy Moore elected after a divisive and passionately fought primary against Luther Strange. Bannon saw Moore as being the first of many right wing candidates that he endorsed that would be victorious at the polls. Unfortunately, with Moore in disgrace and Democrat Doug Jones leading in Alabama, it’s all gotten topsy turvy in Bannon World and the campaign is starting to come off the rails. First and foremost, the RNC announced they were pulling funding for Moore’s campaign a few days ago and lo and behold GOP mega donors are jumping ship as well. Washington Post: Early this month, GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer announced that he was stepping down as...

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The Walls are Closing in on Jared Kushner

by Melanie Schmitz – New reports show that the president’s son-in-law may have hidden key details pertinent to the ongoing Russia investigation. Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner has spent much of the past few months playing a cat-and-mouse game with special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators working to unearth possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. But several media reports this week detailing missing documents that the president’s son-in-law may have kept from congressional investigators suggest that the walls around him may be closing in. On Friday, The New York Times reported that Kushner had been forwarded a chain of emails during the 2016 campaign from someone looking to set up a meeting between then-candidate Trump’s people and Vladimir Putin. Senate Judiciary Committee members have accused Kushner of hiding the emails from investigators, among a number of other things. According to the report, Alexander Torshin,...

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Robert Mugabe Sacked as Leader of ZANU-PF

by Tendai Marima – Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, has voted to sack President Robert Mugabe as its leader. Members also voted to name sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who Mugabe fired on November 6, as new party leader. “They were determined to fire Mugabe as leader of the party,” said Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, as she described jubilant scenes. Mugabe remains president of the country, however, amid calls for him to resign following a military takeover on November 15. In opening remarks at ZANU-PF’s Central Committee meeting, Obert Mpofu, the minister of home affairs who chaired the gathering, blamed First Lady Grace Mugabe and her allies for taking advantage of the veteran leader. “We meet here today with a heavy heart because Mugabe’s wife and her close associates have taken advantage of his frail condition and abused the resources of the country,” he told members. “I warmly welcome you all to this historic...

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On This Day, Nov. 20, 1977 – Anwar Sadat Addresses Israeli Parliament

1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to address Israel’s parliament. In his eleven years as president, he changed Egypt’s trajectory, departing from many of the political, and economic tenets of Nasserism, re-instituting a multi-party system, and launching the Infitah economic policy. He led Egypt in the October War of 1973 to regain Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967, making him a hero in Egypt and, for a time, the wider Arab World. Afterwards, he engaged in negotiations with Israel, culminating in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty; this won him and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin the Nobel Peace Prize. His address to the Israeli Knesset, Sadat said: “I come to you today on solid ground, to shape a new life, to establish peace. We all, on this land, the land of God; we all, Muslims, Christians and Jews,...

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On This Day, Nov. 19, 1863 – Lincoln Delivers the Gettysburg Address

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania. Before Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address, Edward Everett gave a long speech. He droned on for 2 hours comparing the Civil War soldiers to Greek gods. In comparison, Lincoln’s speech lasted only 2 minutes. Because it was very short compared to the other speaker, there was silence from the audience afterward. Some said it was because they were not sure that he was done, but others said that the crowd was in awe of what was said. His speech was brief, to the point, and poetic yet understandable. It is a classic piece with famous lines now recognized by people worldwide. “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the...

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The Senate Ethics Committee is a Terrible Place for Sexual Harassment Investigations

by Josh Israel – The Franken case could set a terrible precedent for future cases. Just a few hours after broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) on Thursday of kissing and groping her without her consent on a 2006 USO tour, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled to his colleagues how the matter should be dealt with: He farmed out the question to the Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics. “As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else,” he said in a statement. Soon after, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), other senators, and Franken himself followed suit. While noting that he had a different recollection of the events, Franken apologized for his conduct. Tweeden accepted the apology and said she...

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Trump’s Asia Trip Proves the Increasing Irrelevance of the US

by m2c4 – Early on in the Trump administration, it was already clear that Trump was incapable of a coherent foreign policy and his erratic and destructive behavior was forcing our allies to re-examine their relationship with the US, signaling the end of the “American Century”. That process has been taking place all over the world. Australia implemented a complete review and refocus of their foreign policy based on the assumption that America was in retreat and China would become the dominant force in Asia. The European Union no longer considers the US as “friend” and is looking to move forward without the US and the UK as a partner. Now, in an almost immediate indication of the failure of Trump’s Asia trip and a reflection of foreign leaders’ fear of the instability of Trump and his administration, it seems that Japan is actually looking to also move closer to China. Japanese Prime Minister Abe...

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One Officer, Scores of Tickets and a Familiar Racial Disparity

by Topher Sanders, ProPublica, and Benjamin Conarck, Florida Times-Union – C.J. Brown wrote four times as many pedestrian tickets as any other officer in Jacksonville over the last five years. Most of them went to blacks. His boss says he’s just “good at his job.” It was just before 9 a.m. one day last July, and Noemi Martinez was on her way from one job interview to the next, running to catch a bus on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville, Fla. Sprinklers from a nearby nursery were showering water onto the broken sidewalk in front of her, so Martinez walked out into the shoulder of Lee Road and pressed on. Things were fairly urgent for Martinez, 52. An eviction notice had been pasted on her apartment door on Jacksonville’s West Side. A job was vital, and she’d just interviewed for work as a bus driver. Now, she was off to interview for a...

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Revenge Is a Rotten Way to Run a Country

by Michael Winship – Yielding to one of the basest of human impulses, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are subverting Western society and democracy. Looking back at the last tumultuous year, to me, one of the saddest aspects of the Trump candidacy and presidency is that both in part were built from one of the basest of human impulses: revenge. We’re taught that ideally, the desire to run for office should reflect a commitment to public service. And we know that the reality is far too often otherwise, running to slake a thirst for power and money that overpowers the greater good. Yet to seek elected office for revenge, to use it to get back at someone or inflict harm on them or anyone associated with them seems in some ways even worse; shabby, petty and immoral. Examine the roots of the Trump campaign and you see two men eager to...

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Roy Moore, From the Gadsden Mall to the Ten Commandments Monument

by Todd Gitlin – Sin of the sin-catchers. The spectacle of 30-something Deputy District Attorney Roy Moore cruising the Gadsden, Alabama, mall hunting for high school girls to chat up, grope and “date” rivets our attention, and deservedly so. Not everyone’s attention, of course. As CNN’s Brian Stelter points out, Alabama’s own media have long overlooked his depredations. Even now, a local paper persists in claiming that the ex-judge has “refuted” his accusers. (They meant “rebutted,” but even that isn’t true.) Still, for all the back-and-forth, most commentators stop short of noting that the defrocked Alabama Chief Justice belongs to a tradition and a culture. Proliferating stories of Moore’s life as a predator invite reflection on what he and Harvey Weinstein share in common — their privileged positions in a protective culture where men get away with whatever they can get away with. No one outside a deep cave lacking Wi-Fi is altogether astonished to...

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Is the Trump Administration Planning a First Strike on North Korea?

by Gareth Porter, Truthout | News Analysis – Ever since the Trump administration began a few months ago to threaten a first strike against North Korea over its continued missile tests, the question of whether it is seriously ready to wage war has loomed over other crises in US foreign policy. The news media have avoided any serious effort to answer that question, for an obvious reason: The administration has an overriding interest in convincing the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un that Trump would indeed order a first strike if the regime continues to test nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Therefore, most media have shied away from digging too deeply into the distinction between an actual policy of a first strike and a political ruse intended to put pressure on Pyongyang. The use of military threat for “diplomatic coercion” is such a basic tool of US...

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Investigation Reveals US-Led Bombings in Iraq Kill 31 Times More Civilians Than Reported

by Jessica Corbett – New York Times reporters uncovered “consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate” in what “may be the least transparent war in recent American history”. An 18-month investigation by a pair of New York Times reporters reveals far more civilians are killed in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—particularly in the air war—than the U.S.-led coalition reports. After visiting nearly 150 bombing sites in northern Iraq between April 2016 and June 2017, as well as the American base in Qatar where decisions are made about coalition air strikes, Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal “found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition.” Since the U.S.-war against ISIS began in August 2014, the coalition has released monthly reports in which it...

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As COP23 Closes, Climate Movement Calls for Ambition ‘That Science and Justice Demand’

by Andrea Germanos – “We confront a mortal threat, now endangering the very existence of island and low-lying nations in the Pacific and around the planet. Accordingly, ambition must be increased and enforced,” says James Hansen. As the United Nations climate conference known as COP23 drew to a close on Friday, leaders from the global climate justice movement called for greater ambition to make the necessary transition away from fossil fuels. The two-week summit in Bonn, Germany (but presided over by Fiji) saw delegates from nearly 200 countries work towards creating a “rulebook” for implementing the Paris climate accord, while protesters on the sidelines drew attention to the urgency of the crisis and its already-felt impacts on communities. As one indigenous activist at the conference said: “Life itself and the future of humanity is at stake.” Former NASA scientist James Hansen laid out the stakes as well. “We are entering a period of consequences and are...

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On This Day, Nov. 18, 1903 – Treaty With Panama Gives US Right to Build Canal

1903 – The U.S. and Panama signed a treaty that granted the U.S. rights to build the Panama Canal. Following heated debate over the location of the proposed canal, on June 19, 1902, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of building the canal through Panama. Within 6 months, Secretary of State John Hay signed a treaty with Colombian Foreign Minister Tomás Herrán (at the time, Panama was a province of Columbia) to build the new canal. The financial terms were unacceptable to Colombia’s congress, and it rejected the offer. President Teddy Roosevelt responded by dispatching U.S. warships to Panama City (on the Pacific) and Colón (on the Atlantic) in support of Panamanian independence. Colombian troops were unable to negotiate the jungles of the Darien Strait and Panama declared independence on November 3, 1903. The newly declared Republic of Panama immediately named Philippe Bunau-Varilla (a French engineer who had been...

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Police Violence Persists, Though Most Media Have Stopped Paying Attention

by Roberto Rodriguez, Truthout | News Analysis – October was an especially brutal month when it comes to the tally of people killed by police in this country, particularly for people of color. I emphasize people of color because my lifelong research on this topic tells me that their killings are not random, but rather are a result of dehumanization and the constant patrolling of bodies and communities of color, especially those of Native, Black and Brown peoples. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. This pattern of killings with impunity has been ongoing since 1492. Regardless of whether the killings are random or targeted, the number of law enforcement killings in this country is unparalleled anywhere else in the “developed” world. Killedbypolice.net (KBP) lists 93 people killed in the month of October. For September, the number was “only” 84. Let that sink in; that is more than three per day, and...

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Chaos: The New Normal

by Lynn Sherr – Lynn Sherr on why we need #ThisIsNotNormal. In life, just like closets, the enemy is chaos. Even our most mundane mess — clumps of mismatched shoes on the floor, tangles of unworn shirts falling off hangers, layers of ancient bills on the desk, weeks of forgotten wanna-do’s in the corners of your mind — can be unsettling. Debilitating. Depressing. Thus, the success of super-organizer Marie Kondo, whose passion for housekeeping is existential, with its promise that tidying up can transform your spirit and get your life back on track. “I found the opposite of happiness is not sadness,” one of her newly freed followers explains. “It’s chaos.” Which brings us to Donald Trump. One year after the federal election process was upended by some combination of deluded voters and devious Russians; nearly 10 months after Trump turned the White House into a graveyard for truth, civility and intelligence;...

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As Predicted—Because ‘Pipelines Are Bound to Spill’—Existing Keystone Gushes 200K Gallons of Oil

by Jon Queally – ‘With their horrible safety record, today’s spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada.’ Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline came true on Thursday when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota. While the company reported the spill in a public statement, Buzzfeed notes there was an approximately four-and-a-half hour gap between when the company said the breach was discovered at 6:00 am and when local officials say they were notified at 10:30 am.  As a South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources told the news outlet, “We’re not quite sure why there was a time gap in there.” Outside of the company’s statement, there has been no outside or independent verification of the size of the spill or details about...

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14 Reasons Why Trump’s Tweets on Al Franken Cannot be Ignored

by Judd Legum – Getting elected president doesn’t make sexual assault allegations any less relevant. Donald Trump’s tweets are exhausting and many people, particularly Republican members of Congress, prefer to ignore them. But a series of tweets by Trump on Thursday night about allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) cannot be ignored. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? ….. 10:06 PM – Nov 16, 2017 Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump .And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape? 10:15 PM – Nov 16, 2017 Franken has been accused of a very serious episode of sexual harassment and misconduct by radio commentator and former model Leeann Tweeden. Today, a short...

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Scott Pruitt Claims He’s Taken More Actions to Fight Pollution Than Obama, but Can’t Name Any

by Mark Hand – The EPA has not taken a single step to significantly reduce air or water pollution under Trump. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has accomplished an impressive feat: In only nine months in office, he has done more than any of his predecessors — even more than the divisive Anne Gorsuch under President Ronald Reagan — to roll back the EPA’s crucial functions and create a culture of fear among agency employees with years of expertise in environmental protection. EPA observers contend Pruitt “has claimed the worst-ever title” from Gorsuch, who herself succeeded in shepherding through major agency budget cuts and rollbacks of new clean and air and regulations when the agency was in its infancy. But Pruitt is going several steps further by turning the agency into “a hollow shell by whacking its budget, overturning rules based on bogus reports and keeping employees in the dark,” according to one assessment of Pruitt’s...

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The Strange Tale of How Michael Flynn Became National Security Advisor

by Mark Sumner – The job of assembling candidates for positions in the Trump White House was given to outgoing New Jersey governor and perennial Trump punching-bag, Chris Christie. Christie’s team brought Trump a list of possible NSA nominees that they considered qualified — a list that notably did not include Michael Flynn.  Flynn had been booted from his position under Obama, and both Christie and everyone he interviewed seemed to agree that Flynn was, at best, an unreliable flake. Christie appears to be the only one who failed to realize that Trump’s “important assignment” was just another way of humiliating his former opponent. Again. And again. But Donald Trump’s selection of Flynn for the NSA role went into far stranger territory than just his innate love for anyone or anything that he thinks Barack Obama hated. It even went beyond the side bonus of giving Chris Christie an extra little dash of humiliation. It...

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House Approves $700B ‘Cash Cow for Weapons Companies’—But Single Payer ‘Too Expensive’

by Jake Johnson – “What if we tell House Republicans and Democrats that North Korea wanted to close schools, take our healthcare away and pump CO2 into our air—we could suddenly, magically find $700 billion dollars for all of it.” In a bipartisan show of support for endless war and out-of-control military spending, the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 that aims to boost war outlays by $80 billion—an amount that critics noted would easily cover the costs of free public college tuition and other initiatives that are frequently dismissed as too expensive. The final vote tally was 357-70, with 127 Democrats throwing their support behind the bill. Sixty-seven Democrats—including Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and John Conyers of Michigan—voted against the legislation. In addition to providing cash for 90 F-35 jets—20 more than President Donald Trump requested—the measure also approves...

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An Arkansas Town Agrees to Criminal Justice Reform to Ensure That the Poor Are Not Jailed

by Rita Sklar, Executive Director, ACLU of Arkansas – For years, the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, home to about 30,000 people, had a practice of jailing people who could not afford to pay court costs incurred from bounced checks. Thousands of Arkansans were locked up—sometimes after bouncing checks in small amounts—when they could not pay crushing fees, fines, and other costs that compounded their debt by as much as 10 times the original amount. Today, thanks to litigation brought by the ACLU, the ACLU of Arkansas, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Sherwood has agreed to stop jailing people for being poor. Under this week’s settlement, the city agreed that it will not jail or issue arrest warrants for people because they can’t afford to pay their debts. Sherwood also agreed to clearly advise defendants of their rights before sentencing, ensure that defendants have access to counsel,...

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On This Day, Nov. 17, 1968 – Oakland Raiders, NY Jets Get Tackled by Little Mountain Girl

1968 – NBC cut away from the final minutes of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to begin a TV special, “Heidi,” on schedule. In the late 1960s, few professional football games took longer than two and a half hours to play, and the Jets–Raiders three-hour television time slot was thought to be adequate. However, in this instance, a high-scoring contest between the two bitter American Football League rivals, together with a number of injuries and penalties, caused the game to run long. Although NBC executives had originally ordered that Heidi must begin on time, as 7 p.m. approached, and it became clear the exciting game would run long, they decided to postpone the start of the film and continue football coverage. However, when they tried to call the studio to implement their decision, they were unable to get through because so many members of the public were calling NBC...

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On This Day, Nov 16, 1957 – Ed Gein Kills Final Victim Bernice Worden

Infamous killer Edward Gein murders his last victim, Bernice Worden of Plainfield, Wisconsin. His grave robbing, necrophilia, and cannibalism gained national attention, and may have provided  inspiration for the characters of Norman Bates in Psycho and serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Gein was a quiet farmer who lived in rural Wisconsin with an extremely domineering mother. After she died in 1945, he began studying anatomy, and started stealing women’s corpses from local cemeteries. In 1954, Gein shot and killed saloonkeeper Mary Hogan, piled the body onto a sled, and dragged it home. On November 16, Gein robbed Worden at the local hardware store she owned and killed her. Her son, a deputy, discovered his mother’s body and became suspicious of Gein, who was believed to be somewhat odd. When authorities searched Gein’s farmhouse, they found an unimaginably grisly scene: organs were in the refrigerator, a heart sat...

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7 Ways Democrats Misread the Election Results

by Richard Eskow – The base is critical to victory — and it wants to move left. If you’re a Democrat, there’s a name for that unfamiliar emotion you were feeling last Tuesday night. It’s called happiness. But there is a serious risk that the party will draw the wrong lessons from last week’s results. Here are seven important lessons from the November 7 results that a lot of Democrats seem to have missed. 1. It’s too easy to fall for spin, or for easily digestible but misleading narratives What do a former Republican doctor, a Goldman Sachs executive turned Bernie-style economic populist, a transgender heavy metal singer, and a Virginia socialist have in common? They all won as Democrats. You’d think a diverse group like this would make it hard to pigeonhole the election’s results. That didn’t stop some people from trying. On election night, Jennifer Psaki, former...

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The Trump White House’s Actions Recall the Most Divisive Eras of the American Past

by Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program – One of the most striking, and dispiriting, aspects of the actions and pronouncements coming from the White House over the last year is the way that they seem to echo the most divisive and damaging eras of the country’s history. Chief of Staff John Kelly’s recent description of the Civil War as a disagreement that could have been resolved through more compromise was a revisionist attempt to trivialize the enormous injustice of slavery and white supremacy in much the same way as President Trump’s efforts to find equivalencies between Nazi demonstrators and those opposing white supremacy. Kelley’s statement harks back to efforts in the early 20th century to advance a racist agenda by recasting the Civil War. That effort was embodied in the 1915 film “Birth of a Nation,” which portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as gallant warriors in the battle to save...

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