Culture

5 Facts About the Death Penalty

by DAVID MASCI – Capital punishment is legal in a majority of U.S. states, including in two states – California and Nebraska – where voters decided to retain it in the 2016 election. Nationally, however, public support for the death penalty has fallen in recent years, as has the number of executions. The death penalty has been back in the news recently as Arkansas carried out its first execution since 2005 – one of eight inmates the state originally planned to put to death over the course of 11 days this month. Courts have since intervened and temporarily halted some of the executions. As the debate over the death penalty continues in the U.S. and worldwide, here are five facts about the issue: 1 The annual number of U.S. executions peaked at 98 in 1999 and has fallen sharply in the years since. In 2016, 20 inmates were executed, according to the...

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New Poll has Very Bad News for the NRA

by Alyson Chadwick – While it may not come as much of a surprise that the leadership at the National Rifle Association (NRA) has a different opinion on gun control than the average American, what is surprising is that same leadership holds a different opinion than the American gun owner. According to a new poll, at least 67 percent of gun owners in the United States believe that the organization has changed its mission from one promoting gun safety to one dominated by professional lobbyists. They say the NRA has been “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission.” The NRA of today looks very different from what it looked like before. In fact, for most of its history, it supported, and even wrote, gun control legislation. Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: the Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, wrote, “Historically, the leadership...

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Why We Can’t Ever Compromise Over Controlling Women’s Bodies

by SemDem – To state the obvious:  with the GOP in power, it has been a very rough time for women. A misogynistic, serial sexual predator won the White House. Hard-fought rights that all of us thought were settled decades ago are suddenly in peril.  Attacks on birth control, reproductive freedom, and women’s health care were just the beginning.  Trump even recently found time to revoke the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act, which means the return of those awful forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment. (Fox News rejoiced.) The attack is on all fronts, from the president, from Congress, and now, a new Supreme Court Justice who said women are manipulators and wants to away their rights.  It gets worse at the state level.  Unchecked rightwing zealots in state legislatures—who openly admit believing that rape is God’s will and that women should regard their bodies as nothing more than hosts–have flooded the docket with bills regulating uteri. Yet through the nonstop parade of the outrageous, there has been...

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Hate Group Leader: Our allies ‘are now very well placed’ in the Trump Administration

by Gabe Ortiz – Yes, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign emboldened white supremacists and extremists, with a wave of hate crimes sweeping the nation in the immediate days following his popular vote loss to Hillary Clinton. White nationalists like Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have found a new home in the administration, and as the New York Times recently noted, a number of lesser known but equally deplorable anti-immigrant voices have joined right alongside them: Mr. Trump’s senior White House adviser, Stephen Miller, worked tirelessly to defeat immigration reform as a staff member for Senator Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. Gene P. Hamilton, who worked on illegal immigration as Mr. Sessions’s counsel on the Judiciary Committee, is now a senior counselor at the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of the Border Patrol and ICE, where Mr. Feere is working. Julia Hahn, who wrote about immigration for Breitbart — with headlines like “Republican-Led...

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Rush Limbaugh and iHeart Radio in Financial Jeopardy. The End is Nigh!

by pentupnrgy – Limbaugh may finally be history! After all the consumer boycotts of products airing on Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated hate filled spew show, they may finally have worked: The parent company of iHeartCommunications, which syndicates programs by conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, appears to be headed toward bankruptcy.  In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had “substantial doubt” that it would be in business by the middle of next year. www.salon.com/… Being in an expensive, dying and controversial industry isn’t good for stock prices, which is why in 2008, iHeartCommunications became a wholly owned subsidiary of iHeartMedia in a $24 billion stock buyout transaction initiated by Bain Capital, the investment firm for which past GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney labored for...

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In Its Rush to Kill, Arkansas May Have Executed an Innocent Man

by Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project – Ledell Lee’s first hard-knock moment came even before he was born. His mom, 16 and on her third pregnancy by a man years older than she was, drank and smoked through his pregnancy. Because of her substance abuse, Ledell was born with a fetal alcohol syndrome disorder, a medical condition that left him with brain dysfunction and intellectual disability. Twenty-eight years later in 1993, Ledell Lee was arrested for the murder of Debra Reese. And on Thursday night, just before midnight, the state of Arkansas killed Ledell in a gross miscarriage of justice. From the beginning, Ledell proclaimed his innocence and wrote to everyone he could think of, beseeching lawyers to fight for him. His journey through the legal system consisted of an unbroken chain of drunk, conflicted, and grossly incompetent attorneys. No one who represented Ledell ever looked at...

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2016 was a Horrible Year for Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes. 2017 is Much Worse

by Jack Jenkins – 2016 was a banner year for anti-Jewish hatred. New data suggests incidents of anti-Semitic hatred have spiked compared to this time last year, an ominous shift that advocates say signals a multi-year increase of vitriol directed at American Jews. According to a report published on Monday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 541 anti-Semitic incidents have occurred so far this year — an 86 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. This includes 161 highly-publicized bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers and schools beginning in January. The FBI and foreign authorities recently arrested two different men — one in Missouri and one Israel — suspected to be the main culprits behind the various waves of threats that sparked mass evacuations at Jewish institutions across the country. But even excluding the bomb threats, the numbers for 2017 are unsettlingly high. Overall, the report says 380 “harassment incidents” have already occurred this year...

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Trump Abruptly asks Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General to Resign

by Bryce Covert – His views may have clashed with Trump’s extreme gun rhetoric on the campaign trail. The Trump administration asked U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, an Obama administration appointee, to resign his role on Friday and quickly moved his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, into the role. The resignation is somewhat unusual. A White House spokesperson told the New York Times that Murthy was asked to leave “after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration.” But employees at the Department of Health and Human Services told the Times they were surprised by the unusually abrupt departure. While it’s not unprecedented, Murthy’s four-year term would have normally ended at the end of this year. The full reasons for the Trump administration’s request that he step down aren’t clear. But one clue may lie in Murthy’s views on gun control. These views were immediately apparent after President Obama...

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SPLC Sues Nazi Website ‘The Daily Stormer’ For Terrorizing Jewish Woman By Internet Trolls

by ursulafaw – The Nazi movement in this country, since the election of Donald Trump, has gotten completely out of hand. The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with its Montana co-counsel, filed suit in federal court Tuesday against Andrew Anglin,  founder of a major neo-Nazi website, “The Daily Stormer,” for orchestrating a vicious online  harassment campaign that has relentlessly terrorized a Jewish woman and her family with anti-Semitic threats and messages, via an army of online trolls. The harassment of this family is beyond belief and it is sick. Take a look: Thanks for demonstrating why your race needs to be collectively ovened. You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning. We are going to keep track of you for the rest of your life. You will be driven to the brink of suicide & We will be there to take pleasure in your pain...

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Trump’s ‘Buy American’ Executive Order has no Weight Without Congress

by Lauren C. Williams – President Donald Trump signed his 23rd executive order Tuesday, which aims to overhaul one of the most contentious parts of the American immigration system: high-skilled visas. The “Buy American, Hire American” executive order emphasizes enforcement of “Buy American laws” that will encourage government agencies and Americans to buy and hire American. The main thrust of the order calls on cabinet secretaries to implement administrative changes and produce reports that identify potential abuses of the H-1B visa program, which awarded 85,000 work visas this year to foreign knowledge workers through a lottery system, and look for ways the government can only award contracts to American business owners. Regarding immigration, the order doesn’t address the administration’s main criticisms of the H-1B program, such as exploitatively low pay and replacing the lottery system to guarantee recipients are the best candidates for the positions. It also carries little weight on...

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Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Proposes Fewer Pot Arrests in Drug War

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – More than 260,000 immigrants were deported for drug offenses in a five-year period. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is not a “factor in the drug war” and that the solution is “not arresting a lot of users.” The “War on Drugs”— one that has largely focused on the cross-border import of controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine produced in Latin American countries and transported into the United States — has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of thousands of people for marijuana possession. In turn, these arrests have triggered severe immigration consequences because of the punitive legislation that grew out of this country’s “War on Drugs” policies. During an appearance on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd, Kelly de-emphasized the role marijuana plays in the “drug war,” instead placing the blame on Mexican-produced methamphetamine and heroin, and cocaine...

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Archaeologists Make Major Discovery in Egypt’s Luxor

A 3,500-year-old tomb with several mummies, sarcophagi and statues was found in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis. Egyptian authorities have hailed an “important discovery” after archaeologists unearthed several mummies, 10 colourful wooden sarcophagi and more than 1,000 funerary statues in a 3,500-year-old tomb near the city of Luxor. The 18th Dynasty tomb, discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “There are 10 coffins and eight mummies. The excavation is ongoing,” Mostafa Waziri, the head of the archeological mission, told the AFP news agency. The tomb was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common, Waziri said at the site. “It was a surprise how much was...

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Who Could’ve Known a Muslim Ban Would Devastate U.S. Tourism?

by Kerry Eleveld – Too bad Chinese president Xi Jinping didn’t get 10 minutes to explain the complications of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban to him before he decided to wreck the U.S. tourism industry. Trump’s ban isn’t just depressing travel from the 6-7 majority-Muslim nations his order targeted, it’s also inspired a drop off in travel from Europe and Asia as well as our neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Abha Bhattarai writes: The cancellations came quickly and in rapid succession. Within days of President Trump’s first executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, a number of European travel groups pulled their plans, amounting to a loss of 2,000 overnight stays for Hostelling International USA. The result was a wave of withdrawals. “Getting those cancellations all at once, that was startling,” said Russ Hedge, chief executive of HIU, which oversees 52 hostels across the country. “We’ve never seen something like that.” ...

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Israeli Government Is Petrified of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

by Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview – The following is an interview with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and the editor of On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice. Mark Karlin: How is the charge of antisemitism used to smear critics of the Israeli government and its ignoble policies toward Palestinians? Rebecca Vilkomerson: As Tony Lerman’s contribution to the On Antisemitism book explores, Israel and its advocates have worked hard to portray criticism of the state of Israel as the “new antisemitism.” However, using the charge of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli policies diminishes the meaning of the term and makes it harder to combat the real thing. In our advocacy work for Palestinian rights, we must always be vigilant for cases of real antisemitism directed against Jewish people — as opposed to protest against the Israeli state — just as...

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Report: To Expand Substance Abuse Treatment, Embrace Obamacare

by Casey Quinlan – A new report on substance abuse treatment recommends building on the successes of the ACA. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released on Tuesday makes the case for why states and the Trump administration should build on the Affordable Care Act’s’s success, rather than tear it down. The ACA expanded treatment by requiring that both Medicaid and individual marketplace plans cover basic mental health and addiction services. More than 1 million people receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, according to a recent estimate from professors at New York University and Harvard Medical School. The share of people with substance use or mental health disorders who were hospitalized but uninsured fell from 20 percent to 5 percent from 2013 to mid-2015, according to Health and Human Services data. Medicaid expansion helped many of the states most affected...

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Anti-Defamation League Offers to Teach Spicer About the Holocaust

by Ned Resnikoff – In an open letter, the group says they can do a training at his convenience. The premier U.S. organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism has offered to clear up any lingering confusion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might have over what occurred during the Holocaust. Earlier this week, Spicer said during a White House press briefing that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons against “his own people.” When stunned reporters pointed out that Hitler’s regime slaughtered Jews en masse using lethal gas, Spicer amended his remarks to acknowledge Nazi Germany’s use of “Holocaust centers” — a strange, apparently novel euphemism for the death camps. In an open letter to Sean Spicer, the Anti-Defamation League offered to conduct a Holocaust education training “at your convenience for you, your staff, and anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Kyle Griffin ✔@kylegriffin1 .@ADL_National has sent...

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‘F-ing Horrifying’: Sessions Outlines Immigration Crackdown in ‘Trump Era’

by Deirdre Fulton – Meanwhile, Trump appoints immigration hardliners to key agency posts. In “the Trump era,” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it on Tuesday, immigration officials will undertake a harsh crackdown on undocumented migrants—a campaign one veteran federal prosecutor described as “fucking horrifying.” In his speech at a border port of entry in Nogales, Arizona, “he nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as ‘filth’ brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations,” the Associated Press reported. “This is a new era,” the immigration hardliner told Customs and Border Protection personnel. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch-and-release practices of old are over.” Mother Jones reported: In his remarks, Sessions said nonviolent immigrants...

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Dan Rather Says What Every Person With a Moral Compass is Thinking Regarding Sean Spicer & Trump

by Sarah – It’s gotten to the point where if Donald Trump doesn’t fire Sean Spicer for his egregious remarks about the Holocaust, Assad and Syria, he should be seen as agreeing with Spicer’s sentiment as well as condoning it. It’s disgusting, to say the least, and the legendary Dan Rather just released a statement that should summarize what every person with a decent moral compass is thinking right now. Rather wrote: “It is with sadness that I do not know where to begin. Today in a briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement that is so far beyond the pale, so tone deaf and blind to history and our precarious moment in world affairs, that it is with only a heavy heart that I even bring attention to it. There can be no joy in such incompetence. In trying to make the case for the Administration’s policy...

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The Trump Team’s History of Flirting With Holocaust Deniers (VIDEO)

by Laurel Raymond – This White House has a long history of thinly veiled anti-Semitism. On Tuesday, the first day of Passover, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a series of statements about Hitler that parallel conspiracy theories common among anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. It’s hardly the first time that Trump officials have sent veiled signals to neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists. Spicer began on Tuesday by comparing Hitler favorably to the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — alleging that Hitler, who used poisonous gas to kill millions of Jews, “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” When given a chance to clarify, Spicer said that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” and that Assad, unlike Hitler, was dropping chemical weapons “down to innocents in the middle of town.” In a subsequent clarification, Spicer repeated that Assad used chemical weapons on “innocent...

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China, Iran, Saudi Arabia Executed the Most People in 2016

Number of executions drop worldwide, Amnesty International says, attributing decrease mainly to fewer hangings in Iran. The number of executions worldwide dropped by 37 percent in 2016 compared to the year before, mainly because Iran hanged fewer people, Amnesty International said in its 2016 global review of the death penalty published on Tuesday. China executed more people than all other countries in the world put together, Amnesty said. But it is difficult to get a clear number as Beijing classifies most information related to the death penalty as “state secrets”. It is estimated to be in the 1,000’s each year. “China wants to be a leader on the world stage, but when it comes to the death penalty it is leading in the worst possible way – executing more people annually than any other country in the world,” said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International. “The Chinese government has...

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Bill O’Reilly’s Survival Strategy

by Judd Legum – How O’Reilly is trying to weather a sexual harassment scandal. The O’Reilly Factor, which has aired for 20 years, is the highest-rated and most profitable show in cable news. But in just a week, the show has become a shell of itself. On April 1, the New York Times reported that host Bill O’Reilly had paid $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment. That O’Reilly had an issue with his treatment of women wasn’t a shock. It was already public that, in 2009, O’Reilly had paid $9 million to one woman who says he sexually harassed her. But the additional allegations come after Fox News ousted its chairman, Roger Ailes, over charges of serial sexual harassment and has pledged to clean up its act. In the week that followed, advertisers have left the show in droves. At the beginning of the week, the...

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The Opioid Overdose Epidemic Hypocrisy of Donald Trump

by Denise Oliver Velez –  As both a former drug researcher, and former user, I am not in denial about the rising number of overdose deaths in the U.S. To sit and watch the Orange Killer in the oval office hold a “listening session” using the families of overdose victims and tearful recovering addicts as a front for his public relations scam made me want to puke. His announcement at the end of March that he is launching “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,” flies in the face of his attempts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in collusion with Republicans in the House and Senate—which would have dropped the addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans. Mother Jones has been on his case like white on rice. In “Remember When Trump Said He Cared About the Opioid Crisis? Fast Forward to Now” they point...

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Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Law that Pence Signed Mandating Ultrasounds 18 Hours Before an Abortion

by Meteor Blades – A federal judge has blocked an Indiana law signed by Mike Pence in 2016 when he was still governor to force women to obtain an ultrasound at least 18 hours before getting an abortion. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the first African American ever appointed to the federal court in Indiana, ruled in the case that the state made no compelling argument that requiring an ultrasound “makes it any more likely that a woman will choose not to have an abortion.” As in many cases where new restrictions are placed on abortion, the defenders of this law claim it protects women’s health. Foes argue that this is bunk and that this law, like others, places an “undue burden” on women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. That’s language from the Supreme Court ruling in (Pennsylvania) Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and elaborated upon in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). The case was filed by Planned Parenthood...

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Resurrecting Another ‘Big Lie’: The Myth of Social Security as ‘Ponzi Scheme’

by Bernard Weisberger – This especially ugly lie resurfaces periodically like the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman and is just as devoid of proof, but at least those fakes are harmless. In these pestilent, perilous times, when the very idea of distinction between truth and falsehood is under siege, it’s more critical than ever to keep a sharp lookout for destructive false analogies. Without an anchor in provable fact it’s dangerously easy to get taken in by them. So I am particularly exasperated by a sample dished up by scaremongers, namely that the Social Security program, our rock of security and stability for an aging population for the last 80 years, is a Ponzi scheme — a swindle designed to cheat Americans out of their money with false promises. This especially ugly lie resurfaces periodically like the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman and is just as devoid...

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Texas Rep’s Bill to Fine Men for Masturbatory Emissions has Made its Way up the Legislative Ladder

by Walter Einenkel – Texas’ House Bill 4260, which relates “to the regulation of men’s health and safety; creating civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions,” has moved from being filed to being handled by the Texas State Affairs Committee. Written by Houston Democrat state Rep. Jessica Farrar in response to the slew of anti-women’s rights bills regarding medical choice, the bill is in the perfect place for discussion. The committee is typically the panel that hears abortion-related legislation and it will now address Farrar’s House Bill 4620, which is named the “Men’s Right to Know Act.” The bill was filed about three weeks ago and at the time state Rep. Farrar had this to say: “A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said in a phone interview. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access...

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Trump says Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly are all Lies

by Zack Ford – Happy National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month! In a new interview with the so-called “failing” New York Times, President Trump came to the defense of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. According to an investigation by the Times, Fox News and O’Reilly have paid at least five women a total of about $13 million to quell sexual harassment claims. Though dozens of advertisers have abandoned the his show over the claims, Trump apparently has his back. “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump told the Times. O’Reilly has interviewed Trump many times over the years. The President went on to say, “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” It’s unclear whether Trump has ever discussed the accusations with O’Reilly...

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The Supreme Court Decision to Protect People with Intellectually Disabilities from Execution Was Long Overdue

by Brian Stull – \In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that the government could no longer execute people with an intellectual disability, then called “mental retardation,” because the practice violated the Eighth Amendment. Texas skirted the ruling by creating wholly unscientific criteria to determine intellectual disability, based on, of all things, the fictional character Lennie from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. A new ruling last week by the court in Moore v. Texas should put an end to that and other unscientific measures states have used to execute people with intellectual disabilities. This is a victory. But as with many victories in modern Supreme Court jurisprudence, they come after many defeats that saw a great human toll. I think of my executed client, Robert Ladd. He had an IQ of 67, and had been identified by the Texas Youth Commission as “fairly obviously” intellectually disabled. As...

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The Dallas Cowboys’ Owner Is Right: NFL Should Change its Nonsensical Marijuana Prohibition

by Eric Boehm – Jerry Jones is as unlikeable as an NFL owner could be, but he’s right about this. Football’s prohibition on weed makes no sense for players or teams. If a recent lawsuit filed by former National Football League players is to be believed, professional football teams hand out powerful painkillers by the handful on the sidelines before games, after practices, during halftimes, and just about any time a player complains of any injury or nagging pain. But while America’s most popular sports league is awash in opioids, the NFL maintains a strict rule against players’ use of marijuana—either for recreational purposes or as an alternative way to treat aches and pains. Sports are a mirror for the culture that watches them, and the NFL’s contradictory positions on those two types of pain treatments certainly reflects both the rising opioid crisis in America and the ongoing effort to come...

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UN: Americans’ Right to Protest is in Grave Danger Under Trump

by Common Dreams staff – At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attacks the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president. At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attacks the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week. Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. “The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States’ constitutional pillars: free speech,” they said in a statement, calling for action to reverse such legislation. “From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the environmental and Native American movements in opposition to the Dakota Access oil...

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New York Times Exposes Bill O’Reilly’s Pattern of Sexual Harassment and Cover Ups by Fox

by News Corpse – The New York Times published an article online that is certain to rattle the executive suites at Fox News. It revealed new information about Bill O’Reilly’s long history of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. The hostile work environment at Fox has been the subject of recent news reports due primarily to the scandals surrounding its now ex-CEO, Roger Ailes. Following allegations from several female Fox employees Ailes was forced to resign. But Ailes was not alone. Bill O’Reilly has had his own problems with accusations of harassment. One of the more infamous involved a producer who accepted a multimillion dollar settlement to end her legal proceedings. But that didn’t end the boorish behavior by O’Reilly toward the women with whom he worked. While rumors of promises and threats were rampant, details were often hard to nail down. And that’s where the new investigation by the Times comes in....

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Forget Fascism. It’s Anarchy We Have to Worry About

by NEAL GABLER – We are not barreling toward fascism. Fascism requires a program and unity of purpose. So many of us were wrong, myself included, about Donald Trump. We saw in the jut-jawed, brow-furrowed Mussolini-like posturing, in the blatant narcissism, in the reckless disregard for truth, the anger and incitement to hatred, the declamations that he would fix everything single-handedly on Day One of his presidency, his disdain for democracy and hints that he would lock up his opponents — we saw in all of these things incipient fascism. After the inauguration, I began reading Victor Klemperer’s chilling diaries on the rise of Nazism, I Will Bear Witness, and Sebastian Haffner’s memoir of the early days of Hitler, Defying Hitler. The analogies were all too close. Others on these pages have made similar observations. We were on the verge of something unprecedented, something horrifying. We were on the verge of...

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Russia’s New Protest Generation (VIDEO)

by Roman Dobrokhotov – In Russia a new generation of discontented youth has come of age. Last Sunday mass demonstrations took place in almost 100 Russian cities. They were the biggest since the 2011-2012 protest wave, called the “snow revolution”. But if the last time election fraud was what provoked the people’s anger, this time it was an investigation into Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged corruption practices. The investigation was conducted by the Anti-Corruption Foundation headed by Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure who has announced his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections. Russian police detain hundreds at anti-corruption demonstrations Just a few months ago, no one would have believed that a corruption investigation could provoke mass protests across the country. Not expecting such a massive turnout, the authorities tried to stop the protesters from gathering. State media and law enforcement warned against going out into the streets,...

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Inside the Rotten Repeal of HB2

by Lindsay Gibbs – HB2 is dead, but its anti-LGBT legacy lives on in North Carolina. On Thursday, the North Carolina Senate voted 35–12 to repeal House Bill 2, the anti-LGBT legislation that most notably banned transgender individuals from using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. Hours later, after a rousing debate, the House of Representatives also confirmed the repeal by 70–48; hours later, it landed on Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) desk, and the simple stroke of a pen, the controversial legislation that had cost North Carolina millions of dollars, made it one of the most anti-LGBT states in the country, and directly led to the demise of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, was dead at long last. But notably, none of the legislators or advocacy groups that had been fighting for the bill’s repeal for over a year were celebrating. “It’s a disappointing day,” Rep. Price Harrison (D) told ThinkProgress....

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With House GOP Vote, Internet Privacy Is Officially Kaput

by Lauren McCauley – With Trump poised to sign into law, resolution will dismantle ‘years of privacy protection that people have had in this country’. Despite widespread popular outcry, House Republicans on Tuesday voted to strip citizens’ of their right to privacy online, selling out the American public to the deep-pocketed telecom industry. With 215 voting for and 205 against, 15 GOP representatives joined the Democrats in opposing the S.J. Res. 34, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) privacy provision. Six Republicans and three Democrats abstained. Roll call here. Open internet and privacy advocates immediately condemned the resolution, now poised to become law pending a likely signature President Donald Trump. Laying out the implications of the vote, Nathan White, senior legislative manager at Access Now, declared, “Congress today voted to sell off your privacy and your security online.” “Your internet service provider can see...

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Sanctuary Cities ‘Stand Resolute’ in Face of Threatened Funding Cut-Off

by Nadia Prupis – Officials from country’s largest urban centers strategized on sheltering undocumented immigrants after White House announced plan to withhold federal aid. Sanctuary cities are refusing to back down in the face of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, which was codified on Monday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut off funding for states and cities that shelter undocumented residents. Officials from many of those jurisdictions met in New York on Tuesday to discuss how to fight the plan—the second consecutive day of brainstorming from leaders of some of the country’s biggest urban centers, as Reuters noted. The strategy session brought in attendees from California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. It was preceded by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a left-leaning advocacy group, releasing a guide and toolkit on protecting undocumented immigrants. The blueprint, published last week, aims to help local-level policymakers “create...

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With a Daily Dial, Police Reach Out to Seniors

by Jenni Bergal – Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know. That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day. Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone. And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of...

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Complications of the Border Wall Project Increasingly Apparent

by Abstract668 – As the deadline for initial concept papers for Trump’s wall approaches (Wednesday, March 29, 4 pm without specifying the time zone),  we are finally starting to read about some of the problems that will be encountered if an actual contractor tries to build an actual wall. The Washington Post today listed three obstacles to the wall project: money, geography, and legal challenges. You can read the full story by Alicia Caldwell here. To those of us familiar with federal contracting procedures and federally-funded construction projects, the Post story just scratches the surface of the barriers facing this pipe-dream. Money. As Caldwell points out, Trump promised that Mexico will pay for the wall. We all know that was a five-Pinocchio lie. Let’s assume that Trump himself is not going to pay for it (he doesn’t even pay the carpet companies who outfit his hotels!) In order for federal funds...

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DOJ to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities by Denying and Clawing Back Federal Grants

by Zack Ford – At Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer turned the podium over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a plan to cut Office of Justice Programs grants to sanctuary cities — those that choose not to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation. “Today I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S. Code § 1373,” Sessions explained. That law states that no government entity can restrict sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. “Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.” Not complying with 1373, Sessions warned, could “result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.” He added that the Department of Justice...

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James Jackson Charged with Murdering Timothy Caughman (VIDEO)

Baltimore resident with ‘intent to kill as many black men as he could’ plunged sword into 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. A white supremacist who stabbed a 66-year-old black man to death with a sword in New York has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime. James Harris Jackson, who killed Timothy Caughman on Monday, was charged on Thursday after he told police that he had hated black men for at least 10 years. “His intent was to kill as many black men here in New York as he could,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said as the 28-year-old was arraigned. “The defendant was motivated purely by hatred.” Caughman was bent over a rubbish bin around the corner from his home, gathering bottles, when Jackson plunged a two-foot sword into his chest and back and walked off, prosecutors said. A bleeding Caughman staggered into a police station and later died at a hospital....

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J&J Pulls Ads From YouTube Over ‘Offensive’ Videos

Johnson & Johnson the latest company to drop ads over fears content may appear alongside ‘terrorism’ and hate videos. US healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has become the latest company to suspend all digital advertising on YouTube over concerns its ads may have appeared on channels that broadcast offensive videos. J&J said on Thursday it wanted to ensure that its product advertising did not appear on channels that promote “offensive content”, a day after AT&T, Verizon, and several other major advertisers suspended their digital ads after discovering their brands had been appearing alongside videos promoting violence and hatred. “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.” Google, YouTube’s parent company, has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos...

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Two Months In, Trump Breaking Every Vow to ‘Drain the Swamp’: Report

by Nadia Prupis – President ‘has shown himself to be everything that on the campaign trail he expressed to hate about Washington—a self-dealer more interested in helping his friends and big donors than creating a democracy’ Surprising no one, a new report out Wednesday finds that President Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” at every turn, and has instead turned the government over to corporate interests and enriched his bottom line. The joint report from advocacy groups Public Citizen and Every Voice analyzes the two months since Trump took office and concludes that the new administration is mired in corruption and conflicts, while the president himself has hired the very figures he claimed he would fight—big-money donors, lobbyists, and Wall Street executives. In fact, the administration has failed to live up to even its own “painfully inadequate” ethics standards, the groups said. That includes refusing to...

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US Ditches Human Rights Hearing in ‘Unprecedented Show of Disrespect’

by Nadia Prupis – ACLU had planned to drill officials on immigration, DAPL, and Muslim ban, but representatives from various departments never showed. The U.S. failed to show up to a human rights hearing in an “unprecedented show of disrespect to the international community,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Tuesday. In a surprise move, the government ditched a hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an arm of the Organization of American States, where the ACLU had planned to drill officials on the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration; its ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries; and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), among other issues. The civil rights group had filed an emergency request for the meeting in February, after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. That order, as well as its follow-up mandate, issued last month, have since...

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Eccentric Millionaire Returns Manhattan Building to American Indians

by Amelia Kinney – Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois plans to return his small part of Manhattan to the Lenape Indians by transforming the building into prayer house. Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, plans to transfer the deed of his $4m West Village House to the Lenape American Indian tribe, also known as the first Manhattanites. The house was purchased under the Goldwater Bourgeois family name in 2006 for $2.2m. An architectural historian and activist, Goldwater Bourgeois told the NY Post “I have a romance with the history of the city, and I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites.” He went further to say, “This building is the trophy from major theft. It disgusts me.” Goldwater Bourgeois is referring to the Lenape’s original inhabitation of Mannahatta, meaning “land of many hills”. Original correspondences show Dutch traders purchased the land from the Indians...

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How Slashing the NEA Would Damage the US Economy

by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and Charlotte Channing, Truthout | Op-Ed – Despite the National Endowment for the Arts’ vital role in the US economy, in February, Trump announced that his proposed 2018 budget would eliminate the agency. While the NEA has been on the target list for the right wing for ages, with so much else at stake, it’s hard to imagine that the left wing will take this on as a priority in its resistance efforts. The final budget proposal is promised to be out within weeks, which leads us to ask, what would life be like without the NEA? Fifty years ago, Congress voted to authorize the National Endowment for the Arts based, in part, on a notion that a great US followed from an enlightened and unfettered citizenry. The authorizing legislation observed that: “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster … access to the...

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ICE Agency is Publicly Calling out Counties that don’t Detain Immigrants for Deportation

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – It’s a ‘name and shame’ game. The Trump administration is beginning to fulfill its promise to name and shame so-called “sanctuary cities” where local law enforcement officials arrest immigrants and do not turn them over to the federal immigration agency for potential deportation proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security publicly released its first-ever weekly report showing that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency issued a total of 3,083 detainer requests between January 28 and February 3 to detain arrested immigrants for deportation proceedings. The report included a list of all the counties and jurisdictions that had declined a total of 206 federal detainer requests. ICE criticized the lack of cooperation as an assault to public safety. “When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,”...

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Former Police Chief Detained at JFK. Meet the 21st Century Gestapo

by Sidof79 – Hassan Aden, former Police Chief of Greenville, NC, arrived at JFK airport on his way back from Paris with his family.  This is where the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP, aka Trump’s Gestapo) allegedly detained him, telling him that “someone on the watch list was using his name as an alias.” “On all of my prior trips, I was greeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers with a warm smile and the usual, ‘Welcome home sir’,” he said.  … “I was in a room with no access to my mobile phone to communicate with my wife and family about what was happening, my movements were restricted to a chair, and they had my passport, and he had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained,” Aden said. You are free to go, but we have your passport, your phone…and you can’t...

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Meet Julia, the First Muppet on ‘Sesame Street’ with Autism (VIDEOS)

by Jessica Goldstein – “Sesame Street’ stands for inclusion and acceptance.” The first thing children watching Sesame Street might notice about Julia, the new Muppet on the block, is that she doesn’t want to make eye contact with Big Bird. Sesame devotees — which is to say, toddlers, kids, and their parents — might recognize Julia from her previous appearances on digital Sesame platforms, including ebooks. They’ll already know that Julia is a four-year-old with autism. But for viewers who will meet Julia for the first time when she makes her broadcast debut on April 10, Julia might seem unusual. Then again, maybe not: One in 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Maybe Julia will not seem unusual at all. Maybe she’ll seem totally, completely familiar. “When something is this prevalent, it’s something we have to step up to,” Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President for Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said by phone....

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The Management of Unleashed Insanity

by TODD GITLIN – Trump perfects the role of Propagandist-in-Chief. Richard Nixon lied about wars and cover-ups, but otherwise his evasions and spins were in the mainstream of American political discourse. He was not in the regular practice of calling black white. By the end of his second term, Ronald Reagan was so mentally impaired as to make it unclear what he knew and when. But the present situation, a regime that systematically assaults truth, is unprecedented. One critical mass of citizens, Trump’s true believers, live in a mental universe composed of falsehoods poured steadily into their eyes and ears by a kept propaganda system, a system of untruth which they either affirm or, one way or the other, make their peace with. A second critical mass, the systematic resisters and doubters, is troubled beyond measure, but they are, for the moment, after years of default, powerless. Trump’s gamble is that...

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RIP: Chuck Berry, Dead at 90

Here are the opening paragraphs of The Washington Post’s obituary: Chuck Berry, the perpetual wild man of rock music who helped define its rebellious spirit in the 1950s and was the sly poet laureate of songs about girls, cars, school and even the “any old way you choose it” vitality of the music itself, died March 18 at his home in St. Charles County, Mo. He was 90. St. Charles County police announced the death in a Facebook post on its Website, saying officers responded to a medical emergency at Mr. Berry’s home and administered lifesaving techniques but could not revive him. No further information was available. “While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together,” reads Mr. Berry’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

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Public Support for Modern-Day Jails is Remarkably Low

by Carimah Townes – Very few people believe jail should be punitive. Approximately 12 million people are held in jail each year in the United States. The majority of them are nonviolent offenders and people detained for their inability to pay bail. But as the country braces for President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ crackdown on crime, few Americans agree with how jails are being used. According to a new poll conducted by Zogby and released by the MacArthur Foundation on Thursday, the public widely favors alternatives to jail. Out of 3,007 people surveyed across the country, 62 percent of respondents support rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders instead of locking them up to prevent future crimes or using jail as a form of punishment. About 75 percent preferred rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders with mental illness. The poll also found that few Americans support pretrial detention for people who can’t afford bail....

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Can Customs and Border Officials Search Your Phone? These Are Your Rights

by Patrick G. Lee – Recent detentions and seizures of phones and other material from travelers to the United States have sparked alarm. We detail what powers Customs and Border Protection officials have over you and your devices. This story has been updated to add that Customs and Border Protection agents must have probable cause of wrongdoing to make stops outside the 100-mile border zone within which they have broad search powers. A NASA scientist heading home to the U.S. said he was detained in January at a Houston airport, where Customs and Border Protection officers pressured him for access to his work phone and its potentially sensitive contents. Last month, CBP agents checked the identification of passengers leaving a domestic flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport during a search for an immigrant with a deportation order. And in October, border agents seized phones and other work-related material from...

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Europe’s Extreme Right is Losing Elections but Still Reshaping Politics

by Justin Salhani – Experts say Geert Wilders’ ideas are now mainstream in the Netherlands. European politicians emitted a collective sigh of relief Wednesday, as nativist right-winger Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party succumbed in the polls to center-right incumbent Mark Rutte in Dutch elections. With two more crucial European elections later this year in France and Germany, Wilders’ loss has placated fears of a right-wing populist surge. Cas Mudde  ✔@CasMudde Pro Tip: French presidential elections are even less representative of “European trend” than Dutch parliamentary elections. –> 10:37 AM – 16 Mar 2017 Wilders’ electoral loss will be cited as a crucial victory (much like the defeat of his party’s namesake in Austria) against a strain of right-wing and nativist populism that gifted the world a Donald Trump presidency and the UK’s decision to depart from the European Union. But proclamations of greater trends are typically flawed. While populists may not have...

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Beyond the Acid-Filled Jacuzzi: Sinister Truths About Bannon’s Fascism

by Alexander Reid Ross, Truthout | News Analysis – Stephen Bannon is an enigmatic man. According to The Washington Post’s well-traveled report, he is so difficult to pin down that he effectively had no fixed address during the three years before becoming Trump’s top adviser. Although Bannon filed for residency in Florida, evidence shows that he may not have lived there. Some speculate that he may have claimed residency in Florida to avoid California’s high taxes. However, his ex-wife apparently did live at his declared home, and the landlord reported some doors in the house dead-bolted, some doors missing entirely, and the Jacuzzi destroyed and “covered in acid.” Further reports indicate that Bannon was paid $376,000 from 2012-2015 for 30 hours of work a week by an anti-Clinton media company funded by Robert Mercer and connected to the Koch brothers called Government Accountability Institute at the same time as he...

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Where Free Speech Ends, Ignorance Begins

by Michael Winship – At the risk of sounding like a geezer complaining about “these kids today,” back in my college days, when it came to points of view we were unhesitatingly exposed to literature, teachers and on-campus speakers covering the ideological waterfront. In one instance, the student body was addressed by civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, radical Irish activist Bernadette Devlin and the conservative writer and critic Russell Kirk — all in the course of a week or so. Such variety was a common occurrence, and freewheeling, open discussion was encouraged. We didn’t always like or agree with a lot of what we heard or read — from time to time there were vehement protests — but all of it was invaluable. None of us were harmed in the making of our education. So I was appalled the other day when I read about the attempt by Republican...

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“Morally Obscene” Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

by Deirdre Fulton – Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump’s “cruel” budget blueprint.   Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump’s proposed “skinny budget,” officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here. The document was variously denounced as “an all-out assault on our planet;” “dirty and dangerous;” “cruel;” and “unacceptable.” “President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help...

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Judge Temporarily Halts Trump’s Revised Muslim Ban Hours Before it Goes into Effect

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – “Nothing of substance has changed.” A Hawaii judge ordered a temporary restraining order on President Donald Trump’s revised Muslim ban on Wednesday, just hours before it was set to go into effect. The ban, which is a revised version of a similar executive order Trump signed just one week into office, suspends all refugee resettlement for 120 days and blocks the entry of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days. It also limits the number of refugees the United States will accept in 2017 to 50,000–60,000 less than originally planned under Obama. The ban was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson heard Hawaii’s case, which the state filed by itself. The state argued that the ban violates the First Amendment’s establishment, as it is essentially a Muslim ban, and it also hurts...

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The “Freedom Cities” Campaign: Resistance Through Progress at the Local Level

by Ronald Newman – On Saturday night, people at more than 2,200 events around the nation tuned in for the inaugural event of People Power, a new platform harnessing nationwide grassroots resistance to the Trump administration’s assault on our Constitution and our values. At the event, we announced “Freedom Cities,” a campaign that provides a concrete plan for the People Power team to play offense in cities and towns across the country. WATCH THE RECORDING Even before “Freedom Cities,” our grassroots activism has borne fruit, as evidenced by the incredible protests around the country that brought defeat to President Trump’s first attempt to ban Muslims and refugees. We will resist with equal strength Muslim Ban 2.0, along with any other unconstitutional and un-American policies that flow from the White House. While we resist, however, we must also play offense, and work to paint a picture of the type of country we...

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Muhammad Ali’s Family Takes to Capitol Hill to Oppose Trump’s ‘Insulting’ Muslim Ban

by Lindsay Gibbs – “Someone needs to turn the humanity switch on.” Last month, Muhammad Ali Jr. and Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the son and ex-wife of the late Muhammad Ali, were detained by immigration officers for several hours at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on their way back from Jamaica and questioned explicitly about their religion. On Thursday afternoon, the devout Muslims — both of whom are U.S. citizens and had all the proper documentation with them while traveling — spoke about this experience at a House of Representatives forum on Capitol Hill. “I was so violated,” Camacho-Ali, the second wife of the boxing legend and mother of four of his children, said. “This is not acceptable. I’ve never felt this uncomfortable being in this country.” The mother and son had no qualms tying their experience directly to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, the executive order — now in its second iteration — banning nationals from several majority-Muslim countries and preventing all...

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Decades of Exoneration Stats Show Blacks More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted

by Scott Shackford – Everything from official misconduct to bad eyewitness identifications to false confessions played roles. National Registry of Exonerations America saw another record year for the number of prisoners being exonerated, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society, University of Michigan Law School, and Michigan State University College of Law. For 2016, 166 people were exonerated of crimes and released from prison, 52 of them for murder. Of all the exonerations, 70 cases involved official misconduct of some sort, and in 74 of the cases, convictions came from guilty pleas. And in 94 cases (also a record) it turned out that no actual crime occurred at all. These were mostly drug cases but also some child sex abuse cases. Most famously, the San Antonio Four, four women convicted in 1998 in a fabricated satanic child sex abuse...

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Ethics Office Tells Trump & Co.: Sorry, You’re Not Above the Rules

by Deirdre Fulton – The No TRUMP Act, introduced this week, seeks to address at least some of President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest. The head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has taken issue with the Trump administration’s grasp of ethics rules, expressing deep concern that the executive branch apparently thinks it is above such regulations. In a letter sent Thursday to deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino, OGE director Walter Shaub admonished the administration for failing to censure advisor Kellyanne Conway for her February endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s products on the television program “Fox & Friends.” The OGE had previously told the White House that there was “strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted.” But Passantino let Shaub know earlier this month that the White House would not discipline Conway, saying she acted “inadvertently” when...

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Drug Industry CEOs are Profiting off Our Opioid Epidemic

by SARAH ANDERSON – A labor leader whose son was a victim of the opioid epidemic has inspired a campaign to crack down on these pain profiteers. Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler’s drug problem. He was too embarrassed. Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler’s body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio. The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries. Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him. “Now I have no choice but to speak out,” the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union’s convention in July 2016. As he proceeded to share the unvarnished tale of how a middle class, star athlete had wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member...

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LGBT Community Centers See Wave of Vandalism Across the Country

by Zack Ford – It’s part of the broader wave of hate that has spread across the country since the election. Over the past two months, various LGBT centers have been targeted with vandalism. Fortunately, the attacks on these important resource spaces and gathering places have not resulted in anyone being hurt, but the damage is real. The latest pair of incidents took place this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Shortly after midnight Monday morning, a white four-door truck drove past the center and fired multiple shots across the front door and windows of the center. Tulsa police recovered 13 pellets, but fortunately they did not penetrate the reinforced glass. It was the first time in the center’s 12-year history that it was targeted for a serious act of vandalism. Monday afternoon, a man then entered the Equality Center and began yelling at the staff,...

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What is the Alt-Right and What Does it Stand For? (VIDEOS)

by Patrick Strickland – Examining the alt-right’s ideological and historical origins, its internal divisions and what to expect from it now. Although largely confined to websites, online media forums and social media, the alternative right, or alt-right, came into the spotlight during the US election campaign and appears to have been energised by Donald Trump’s electoral victory. In November, media attention honed in on the alt-right when, during a speech at the National Policy Institute Conference in Washington DC, white nationalist Richard Spencer chanted “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” as the audience gave Nazi-like salutes. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist who is on the National Security Council, was previously the executive chair of the far-right Breitbart News blog, which he has described as the “platform for the alt-right” – although they were late to champion it and many alt-right supporters describe them as “alt-light”. But what is the alt-right? Media distrust...

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Dutch Election Could Set Stage for Europe’s Far Right

by Justin Salhani – The anti-immigrant, anti-EU parties have grown, but upcoming elections could still reject them. The Dutch elections, scheduled to take place on March 15, have been described as Europe’s bellwether for a reason. The results could predict how successful right wing populist parties will be in other upcoming European elections. The Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders, noted for his rabidly anti-Muslim and anti-immigration policies, led polls since summer 2015, according to the Guardian; but support for Wilders has dropped substantially in recent weeks, possibly down to a drop in public appearances allowing other parties to make up ground. Wilders has lived under police protection for 10 years and stopped appearing in public after an alleged security leak late last month. Incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who heads up a liberal-led government, has spoken optimistically regarding his chances of remaining in power. However, Bloomberg reported five parties are in contention to...

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90 Homeless Shelters to be Built in New York Within Next 5 Years

by Amanda Froelich – By 2021, the city aims to reduce the number of people living in shelters by 2,500. The figures might be difficult to comprehend, but consider this: in a city of 8.5 million people, more than 58,000 men, women, and children sleep in homeless shelters. An additional 3,100 sleep on the streets and this equates to 1 in every 147 New York citizens being homeless. Because this is a travesty, the mayor of New York recently unveiled a new plan which intends to reduce the number of people in shelters by 2,500 within the next five years. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Tuesday that the city will replace the use of hotels and “cluster” shelters which are scattered around the city with 20 new shelters in 2017 and 20 more in 2018. These structures will be located closer to peoples’ own neighborhoods, that way they will be near...

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This Presidential Memorandum is Ominous. Everyone Missed it Today Including Me

by kavips – While all eyes were focused on the “Muslim Ban 2” coming out today, hidden from all the hoopla was this item buried in a Memorandum to several heads of departments… Sec. 3.  Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States.  I direct the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the heads of all other relevant executive departments and agencies (as identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security) to rigorously enforce all existing grounds of inadmissibility and to ensure subsequent compliance with related laws after admission.  The heads of all relevant executive departments and agencies shall issue new rules, regulations, or guidance (collectively, rules), as appropriate, to enforce laws relating to such grounds of inadmissibility and subsequent compliance.  To the extent that the Secretary of Homeland Security issues such new rules, the heads of all other relevant executive departments and agencies...

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Allowing Guns in Schools is a Bad Idea

by Steven Singer – Guns were not allowed at Donald Trump’s inauguration. They were not allowed at his speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Nor were they allowed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) or at most of his hotels, golf courses and other properties. But he wants them to be allowed at our public schools. He promised to eliminate gun free zones at schools around the country on day one of his presidency. With all the tweeting about crowd size, he didn’t get around to it. But he may – soon. Press Secretary Sean Spicer promised in February that the President has an executive order in the works to address the issue. Before running for Chief Executive, Trump had been much more moderate on guns. But since then he has echoed the NRA’s official position several times, saying that there are fewer shootings in areas where guns are...

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Trump Signs Muslim Ban 2.0

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – Here’s all you need to know. On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning nationals from six Muslim-majority countries and halting all refugee resettlement. The order comes a little over a month after Trump first signed a similar ban, which has since faced multiple legal challenges. Under the new order, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will not be able to obtain visas to the United States for 90 days. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will determine whether the governments of the targeted countries are providing enough information about their nationals who wish to enter the United States, and reassess whether they should stay banned after the first 90 days. The order also suspends all refugee resettlement for 120 days, while the DHS reviews “screening procedures to ensure refugees admitted in the future do not pose a security risk to...

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Large Majorities See Checks and Balances, Right to Protest as Essential for Democracy

77% say it would be ‘too risky’ to give presidents more power Large majorities of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike, say open and fair elections and a system of governmental checks and balances are essential to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States. However, there is less consensus about the importance of other aspects of a strong democracy – notably, the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders. The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults, finds that 89% say fair and open national elections are very important to maintaining a strong democracy, while 83% say the same about a system of checks and balances dividing power between the president, Congress and the courts. As in past surveys, most also view the right to nonviolent protest (79%) and protecting the rights of those with unpopular views (74%) as very important components of...

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‘Visa War’: EU Votes to Bar Visa-Free Travel for American Citizens

by Nika Knight – Since US won’t allow visa-free entry for citizens of some Baltic countries, EU parliament voted to end visa-free travel for Americans in Europe. United States citizens traveling to Europe will soon have to pay for a visa to enter the continental bloc, thanks to an escalating “visa war,” as the Telegraph puts it, between the U.S. and the European Union. The European Parliament, “by a show of hands, urged the Commission to adopt restrictive measures against U.S. citizens ‘within two months,'” reports Reuters. The U.S. has long forced citizens of some E.U. countries—namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania—to purchase visas in order to enter the country, denying the E.U. complete reciprocity when it comes to visa-free travel. The E.U. gave U.S. officials notice in 2014 that the country need to enact reciprocity or the visa-free travel for U.S. citizens would come to an end,...

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Building “Feminism for the 99 Percent,” Women’s Strike Will Take Many Forms

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement.’ Whether by walking off the job or boycotting “unseen” labor, women and allies around the world next week will stand up and speak out to say: Women’s rights are human rights. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the March 8 day of action is being promoted in solidarity by those who organized January’s Women’s March as well as a grassroots movement known as the International Women’s Strike (IWS). While both groups acknowledge that the election of President Donald Trump makes their call more urgent, their overlapping visions look beyond one administration—and reach further back into the past. “March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial, and...

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Hate Crimes in New York City Have Skyrocketed this Year

by Adam Peck – And Jews are increasingly the ones being targeted. Except for Tel Aviv in Israel, New York City is home to the largest Jewish population on earth. And since January 1, the number of attacks and threats made towards Jews in the five boroughs is up 94 percent compared to the same period last year. The New York Police Department has documented 68 hate crimes since the year began, more than half of which targeted Jews. Over the same span in 2016 there were 44 hate crimes — an increase of 55 percent from year to year. The rise of anti-Semitic attacks isn’t constrained to New York City, either. Across the country, waves of terroristic threats and attacks have poured into Jewish neighborhoods and communities in recent weeks. So far, ProPublica has documented more than 100 bomb threatsdirected towards various Jewish organizations, schools, and community centers in more than 90...

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Indivisible? Meet the Activists Doing the Job the Democratic Party Has Failed to Do

by John Knefel, Truthout | Report – The United States has now entered month two of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the opposition to his administration is strong and growing. The past week has produced too many town hall protests to catalog, many of which have resulted in blistering criticisms of Republican elected officials, as well as of some Democrats. For now, the common enemy of Trump has served as a rallying cry and unifying force for a popular front, but the divisions in the big-tent, left-of-center coalition highlighted by the Democratic primary still exist and are in fact deepening, as the race for the head of the Democratic National Committee showed. At the center of many of these town hall protests, often incorrectly dubbed a progressive answer to the Tea Party, is a group called Indivisible. It is less an organization than a network of local organizations, many of...

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Harvard Law Review Elects its First Black Female President in its 130 Year History

by wagatwe – In “great but way overdue” news: The Harvard Law Review has elected its first Black female president. The highly regarded publication, which had its first black male president when Obama attended 27 years ago, finally reached this milestone after 130 years in existence. Harvard BLSA @HarvardBLSA Congrats to Imeime Umana, HLS ’18, on her selection as President of the Harvard Law Review. 1st black woman to serve as President. #Herstory 9:24 PM – 29 Jan 2017 · Harvard Law School Imeime Umana, a 24-year-old woman born to two Nigerian immigrants (I know Trump wouldn’t be happy to hear that), spoke about her election in an interview with The New York Times and why this is a Pretty Big Deal:  presidency is considered the highest-ranking student position at the ferociously competitive law school and a ticket to virtually anywhere in the legal realm. Half of the current Supreme Court justices served...

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A Great Danger to Our Country

by TODD GITLIN – The twisted art of intimidating with slander to help build “a new political order.”   Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad! 10:09 PM – 24 Feb 2017 So blared the tweeter-in-Chief at 10:09 p.m. Friday, rounding out a full day spent ranting against The Enemy Within. Trump, whose prime rhetorical instrument is percussion, used the word “dishonest” seven times to describe journalists — not all journalists, mind, only the ones who “knowingly tell the truth.” Earlier that day, Trump strutted into the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and repeated his charge that what he calls “FAKE NEWS” is “the enemy of the people,” meaning that “they have no sources, they just make it up” — a practice with which he has some familiarity, having...

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