Culture

Hispanic Dems Blast ‘Dictatorial Shenanigans’ at Meeting With ICE (VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – “After attending the ICE meeting it’s hard not to conclude that President Trump has started his mass deportation plan,” says Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas. Two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), said they were asked to leave a meeting Thursday between lawmakers and the top U.S. immigration official, while others said they were barred entry in the first place. Gutiérrez and Torres both expressed incredulity after being kicked out of the meeting between lawmakers and acting Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan—one of them by an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the other by a GOP lawmaker himself. The meeting, requested by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the recent uptick in immigration raids and detentions, was originally scheduled for Tuesday—but ICE canceled at the last minute, saying too many people had expressed interest...

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Immigrants are Fleeing the United States to Seek Refuge in Canada (VIDEO)

by Tara Culp-Ressler – Some of them are crossing the border on foot in freezing conditions. A growing number of immigrants who initially sought refuge in the United States are now fleeing to Canada — and, in many cases, are risking frostbite to make it across the northern border on foot. Immigrant advocates say desperate people are being driven away from the U.S. thanks to the fear and uncertainty sparked by President Donald Trump’s policies — including, recently, an executive order that temporarily halts refugee resettlement from Syria and bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Nine asylum-seekers from Sudan, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday in an exchange that was captured by a photographer from Reuters. After a cab dropped off the group near the border line in Champlain, New York, they dodged a U.S. border patrol officer trying to examine their passports, climbed...

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Trump Preparing to Open New Front in His Dangerous, Misguided War on Immigrants

by Silva Mathema, Rachel West, and Shawn Fremstad – President Donald Trump is actively considering opening a new front in his war on immigrants through another hastily drafted and vaguely worded executive order. Drafts of this new order have been leaked to various press outlets and offer a worrying look into the administration’s complete disregard for commonsense immigration policy. If issued, the order would expand the focus of the administration’s anti-immigrant campaign beyond unauthorized immigrants, refugees, and Muslims—groups that Trump’s campaign and administration have already targeted extensively—to include green card holders—also known as lawful permanent residents, or LPRs—living in the United States. It would also affect potential immigrants seeking visas to lawfully enter the United States to reunite with family members. Under the draft order, individuals who are otherwise eligible for green cards could be denied admission to the United States if they could conceivably become eligible for any kind of...

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Southern Poverty Law Center Finds Disturbing Growth in Anti-Muslim Hate Groups in 2016

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – “Trump’s election has been absolutely electrifying to the radical right,” says the SPLC. The number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s quarterly census of hate groups found that anti-Muslim hate groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at the SPLC, pointed to Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims and his election victory to explain some of the increase in anti-Muslim hate across the country. “I think the most important factor probably driving the growth of these groups, in the states at least, has been Donald Trump and his campaign: his vilification of Muslims; his description of them as so dangerous that we need to keep them out of the country; his idea that we have to form a registry, Nazi-esque registry, in which we’re going...

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Study Shows that in Over 40 Years of Data there is no Link Between Immigration and Increased Crime

by Walter Einenkel – There are numerous reasons why Trump’s and the Republican administration’s Muslim ban security policy is erroneous. But one conservative talking point for decades has always been that immigration means crime as “undesirable” people come into our country with their “undesirable” ways. If you look on any conservative news feed it is awash in horror stories of “illegal immigrants,” or “refugees” molesting women and girls, murdering people at gas stations, and the like. When Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign, he famously did so by calling undocumented Mexicans living in our country rapists and drug dealers. A University of Buffalo-led study has pored over decades of data and come out with very quantifiable evidence that these kinds of statements are simply false. “Our research shows strong and stable evidence that, on average, across U.S. metropolitan areas crime and immigration are not linked,” said Robert Adelman, an associate professor of...

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Oklahoma and Wyoming Republicans Agree Women Aren’t People

by Laura Clawson – Republicans in Wyoming and Oklahoma are starting to drop the pretense that they consider women to be human beings. In Wyoming, the state Senate is considering three bills that would restrict women’s abortion rights. Two of them are being considered by the agriculture committee. said the labor and health committee is busy with a number of bills and the ag group had more time to thoroughly vet them. Allegations that women are being equated to cattle are ridiculous, the Riverton Republican said. Dude, you’re the one who handed the job of limiting what medical care women can get to the agriculture committee. In Oklahoma, Rep. Justin Henry isn’t trying to be even that subtle as he pushes a bill requiring women to get male approval for abortion. He’s ranking women somewhere below cattle: Ultimately, he said, his intent was to let men have a say....

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Chaffetz says Paid Protesters are Hounding Him. Reporters Can’t Find a Single One

by Aaron Rupar – The Republican from Utah won’t accept that his constituents are fed up. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says paid protesters were among the thousand-plus people who gave him a raucous, negative reception at a town hall in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The crowd chanted “shame!” and “do your job.” It was “more of a paid attempt to bully and intimidate” than a reflection of the feelings of his constituents, Chaffetz told the Deseret News. “Chaffetz said he will continue to make himself available to voters but may now avoid providing a venue ‘for these radicals to further intimidate,’” the paper adds. But reporters who were at the event and interviewed attendees say they found no evidence anybody was paid to be there. Eric Bradner  ✔@ericbradner I was there and interviewed many members of the audience. None I spoke with were paid, and all I met were from Utah....

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Totally Detached from Reality, White House Spokesman says Protesters are ‘Paid Professionals’

by Jen Hayden – In an all-out rejection of Donald Trump and the Republican agenda of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and generally screwing over the with financial and environmental regulatory rollbacks, millions of people nationwide are protesting. Organic protests are erupting daily at the offices of our elected representatives, airports, anywhere and everywhere. Senator Cory Gardner (CO-R) casually mentioned he believed the people turning up at his office and Colorado-area protests were “paid protesters.” So did a Tennessee state senator who provided evidence that was easily debunked and became an internet joke. Now the White House itself is latching on to the laughable and insulting notion that these massive protests are the result of “professional paid protesters.” This must be the largest top secret jobs program in the history of the world. Watch Sean Spicer effortlessly spew this lie: Bradd Jaffy ✔@BraddJaffy Spicer says nationwide protests of Trump are not like Tea Party was: This is...

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Senator Warren Persists, We Persist (VIDEO)

by Dave Johnson – Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Raw Power Republicans — President Donald Trump along with lawmakers in the Senate and the House — have discarded any pretense they might have had of civility and upholding norms, standards and even the rule of law. For them it’s all about gaining raw power and using power to benefit “their side” and to shut down their “enemies.” These enemies include the free press, the judicial branch, an entire religion, war refugees, an entire political party, the seasoned “establishment” of their own political party and anyone who might get in the way of their use and abuse of power. We are tumbling down the slippery slope to autocracy. What can we do? We can emulate Sen....

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Beyond ‘Law and Order’

by Ed Chung and Danyelle Solomon – The Senate will soon vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the 84th attorney general of the United States. If confirmed, Sessions would be America’s chief law enforcement officer and the primary implementer of President Donald Trump’s “law and order” regime to address the so-called “American carnage.” But at a time when crime rates in America remain near historic lows and policymakers look to thoughtfully redesign and limit the breadth of justice systems, the new administration is set to reinstitute a philosophy that will precariously and unnecessarily enlarge the entire enterprise. Sessions would return the nation to failed “law and order” policies These days, a “law and order” platform is synonymous with a tough-on-crime approach that favors more policing and leads to more arrests and convictions and longer jail sentences. It diminishes strategies such as prevention, treatment, and longer-term remedies like...

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Ivanka Trump Brand Responds to Nordstrom: Success is About ‘Integrity,’ Not Just ‘Profits’

by Jessica Goldstein – #GrabYourWallet is the new “grab them by the…” well, you know. In the aftermath of reports that Nordstrom would no longer sell Ivanka Trump’s clothing line due to falling sales — which may well have taken a hit due to the #GrabYourWallet campaign, which encourages those who oppose President Trump’s policies to boycott all Trump businesses — Ivanka’s brand has issued a response. The original news, broken by Racked on Thursday, was that Nordstrom planned to drop all Ivanka Trump branded wares from its shelves. Nordstrom did not cite politics in its statement, instead chalking up the decision solely to the brand’s lousy performance. (Nordstrom did not speculate, in its comment, as to why the brand was performing so poorly.) A company spokesperson told Racked, “We’ve said all along we make buying decisions based on performance,” and that of the “thousands of brands — more than 2,000 offered on the site alone,” approximately 10...

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Our Resistance Must Not Descend into Chaos: Practical Suggestions for a Growing Movement

by Dustin Axe – As we come to grips with what is happening, we must not descend into mass hysteria. Operating on a reactionary basis will not lead to constructive dialog, and it certainly will not lead to positive change. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” –Fredrick Douglas “By the way, I think anger is a good thing. This country is in a crisis. And if you’re fighting to save this country, if you’re fighting to take this country back, it’s not going to be sunshine and patriots.” –Steve Bannon The United States of America is in political crisis, and the whole world is watching. The horrifying decline of the American empire is unfolding before our eyes. We are witnessing the final stages of a wholesale corporate takeover of our government and the deterioration of our political system. It is happening in plain sight....

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Trump Leads the Religious Right to the Promised Land

by ADELE STAN – Evangelicals’ alignment with Trump shows their affinity for power over morality. It’s been a heady two weeks for right-wing Christian evangelicals. Never before has a president of the United States — not Reagan or either of the Bushes — delivered so much of their agenda in such short order as Donald Trump has just done. He capped off his string of early valentines to the religious right with the announcement of a Supreme Court nominee who is poised to revoke the rights of women, further tear down the “wall” between church and state and open wider the doors for big monied interests to buy the political system they want. The right-wing press was breathless in its praise for 49-year-old Judge Neil Gorsuch, named by Trump on Tuesday night to ascend to the high court with the seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia, who was a ferocious...

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The Trump Resistance Plan: Step 3

by STEVEN HARPER – It’s time for the real American majority to demonstrate its unity and mobilize. Time makes more converts than reason — THOMAS PAINE, COMMON SENSE (1776) Stay on message. The Trump Resistance Plan focuses on two messages that are central to our democracy: “Russia interfered” and “Presidential corruption matters.” This installment covers the first one: “Russia interfered.” In a joint interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Jan. 7, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) described the stakes: “What Putin did poses a threat to the very fundamentals of our democracy…” Sen. Graham emphasized that this is not a partisan issue: “We should get to the bottom of all things Russia when it came to the 2016 election, period. Wherever it leads in whatever form…” Trump and Russia Putin engaged successfully in a sophisticated cyberattack on a cherished American right — voting. Among other methods, Russia used WikiLeaks to distribute emails that it...

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In Show of Internal Dissent, Federal Workers Rising Up Against Trump

by Deirdre Fulton – Nearly 200 federal employees are reportedly set to attend an upcoming workshop on workers’ rights and civil disobedience. From the 1,000 State Department officials rushing to sign an official dissent cable, to the 180 federal workers signing up for a workshop on civil disobedience, to the dozens of “rogue” agency Twitter accounts that have sprouted up in the last week, internal resistance to the right-wing Trump agenda is rivaling the power of people on the streets—perhaps not in numbers, but in energy and creativity. In fact, according to the Washington Post, which reported on various strains of internal opposition on Tuesday, this “resistance from within” may be “potentially more troublesome to the administration” than airport protests or call-in campaigns. “The resistance is so early, so widespread, and so deeply felt that it has officials worrying about paralysis and overt refusals by workers to do their jobs,” wrote...

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Jews Give Local Muslims Keys to their Synagogue After Town Mosque Burns Down

by wagatwe – This is what solidarity looks like. While some Texans are going out of their way to target and scare Muslims, there are others who serve as a reminder that, yes, there are people in America who do have a soul. Over the weekend, the only mosque in Victoria, Texas burned down. The cause of the fire is unknown but until the new place of worship is built, the Muslims of Victoria had no physical home base. Fortunately the local Jewish community swiftly stepped in and made an incredible gesture: they gave the Muslim leadership keys to the synagogue. Thanks to this offer, their Muslim neighbors will have space nearby to congregate while their mosque is reconstructed. For the Jewish leadership the decision was a no-brainer. The president of the synagogue Robert Loeb explained: “Everyone knows everybody, I know several members of the mosque, and we felt for them. This is sad for everyone in the community and as Jews we...

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A Trump Effect – “Brutal Decline” in Swedish Interest in Traveling to the US

by Swedish liberal – Swedes are less interested in flying to the US than they have been since the leading Swedish internet site for comparing prices and ordering flight tickets (flygresor.se) started keeping track in 2007. And it all happened after Donald Trump was inaugurated. This story was published today on the website of Dagens Industri, the most prominent business paper in Sweden. (It’s in Swedish but here’s a link for anyone who wants to use Google translate:  www.di.se/… ) Just to give you the basic facts of the story: Flygresor.se analyzed 2,5 million search requests on the first and second weekends after Donald Trumps inauguration and compared them to the same weekends a year ago, they found that search requests relating to the US were down by 44 percent on the first weekend and by 47 percent on the second weekend. The USA was no longer among the top-20 countries on the site,...

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As Administration Pushes Dakota Access Pipeline Forward, Tribes ‘Stand Ready to Fight’

by Natasha Geiling – The Army Corps of Engineers has been instructed to grant the final easement for the pipeline. The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline just got one step closer to completion: according to statements released on Tuesday night by two North Dakota lawmakers, the acting secretary of the Army has instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to grant the final permit needed to finish the pipeline. The easement has not officially been granted — contrary to Rep. Kevin Cramer’s (R-ND) statement — and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has pledged to vigorously pursue legal action to ensure that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), ordered in December by President Obama, is completed. But the statements raise questions about how the Army Corps intends to proceed now that President Trump, a staunch supporter of the pipeline, is in office. Trump — who campaigned on a platform of increased fossil fuel extraction, and repeatedly praised both the Dakota Access...

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Israel Begins Evacuation of Illegal Amona Outpost

Israeli police move to clear West Bank settlement as construction of 3,000 new settler homes announced elsewhere. Hundreds of Israeli border police have entered a hardline Jewish settlement outpost in the West Bank Wednesday to evict its residents after a court ruled the homes were built on private Palestinian land. Hundreds of officers marched into the Amona outpost near Ramallah on Wednesday, just hours after the Israeli government announced that another 3,000 more illegal homes would be built in occupied Palestinian territory. The officers’ evacuation of Amona marked the end of months of attempts by government hardliners to legalise the outpost, and the approval over the past two weeks of nearly 5,000 new settler homes elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territories was widely seen as a move to win their support. There had been fears of violence after hundreds of hardline sympathisers of the settlers slipped past army roadblocks on...

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Key Facts about Refugees to the U.S.

by JENS MANUEL KROGSTAD AND JYNNAH RADFORD – An executive order signed Jan. 27 by President Donald Trump suspends refugee admissions for 120 days while security procedures are reviewed, though the resettlement of persecuted religious minorities may continue during this time on a case-by-case basis. Under the plan, the maximum number of refugees allowed into the U.S. in fiscal 2017 will likely decline from 110,000 to 50,000. Separately, admission of Syrian refugees will be suspended pending a revision of security screening measures. About 3 million refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program and the current national standard for the screening and admission of refugees into the country. This is not the first time U.S. refugee admissions have been stopped. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. largely suspended refugee resettlement for three months while security measures...

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Number of Americans Killed by Terrorists Who’ve Entered U.S. as Refugees? ZERO.

by Nick Gillespie – When it comes to Donald Trump’s immigration- and refugee-related executive orders (EOs), some of his harshest critics are fellow Republicans. That’s a good sign, as it suggests that the Grand Old Party, which in the not-so-distant past was the pro-immigration party (even illegal immigration!), isn’t simply rolling over for the new president. Consider, for instance, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents the area around Allentown and a large Syrian ex-pat community. The Trump EO banning all visitors, including those holding green cards, from Syria and six other majority-Muslim countries, was put into effect at midnight on Saturday without any warning. “This is ridiculous,” Dent told The Washington Post, “the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration. You know, there are many, many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for many innocent, vulnerable people around the world.” Sens. John McCain (Ariz.)...

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Suspect Detained in Deadly Quebec Mosque Shooting (VIDEO)

by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – Canadian police detain one man as Muslim leaders call for greater protection of their community after shooting attack. Canadian police have said only one of two men initially detained in connection to a Quebec City  mosque shooting – which killed six people – is now considered a suspect. The second man, who was initially reported as a second suspect, was now considered a witness, provincial police said on Monday. Authorities did not provide additional information about the identity of the suspect, or about the possible motive behind the shooting that left six worshippers dead and at least eight wounded at the Islamic Cultural Centre. Another 12 people attending evening prayers sustained minor wounds, according to a local hospital spokesperson. The attack shocked people across Canada and sent ripples through the country’s Muslim community. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, condemned the shooting as a “terrorist attack on Muslims in a...

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Trump Creates ‘Constitutional Crisis’ as Travel Ban Enforced in Defiance of Court Orders

by Nika Knight – ‘We have a constitutional crisis today’ Chaos reigns in the wake of President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world. No fewer than five courts have issued emergency stays limiting the order’s power since Saturday. The most far-reaching court decision, issued Sunday morning by Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein in Massachusetts, goes so far as to call for a total halt to detentions of anyone targeted by the travel ban. Yet agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on Sunday defied the judiciary and continued to enforce Trump’s travel ban, despite immigration lawyers and even members of Congress pleading with them to enforce the federal courts’ decision. “Rogue Customs and Border Patrol agents continue to try to get people on to planes,” International Refugee Assistance Project director...

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World Leaders Condemn Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ (VIDEO)

Politicians, rights groups and activists criticise Trump’s crackdown on refugees from Muslim-majority countries. European leaders, the United Nations and international groups have condemned US President Donald Trump’s measures against refugees and travellers from several Muslim-majority countries. The chorus of criticism came as passport holders from Arab countries were blocked on Saturday from passing through customs at US airports and others were prevented from boarding US-bound planes. Is Donald Trump’s agenda symbolic? Trump on Friday signed an executive order that will curb immigration and the entry of refugees from some Muslim-majority countries. He separately said he wanted the US to give priority to Syrian Christians fleeing the civil war there. The bans, though temporary, took effect immediately, causing havoc and confusion for would-be travelers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration called on the Trump...

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Orwell’s “1984” Now No. 1 Bestseller After Trump Team Coins Term ‘Alternative Facts’

by: Jack Burns / The Free Thought Project – After Trump’s Senior advisor used the term “alternative facts,” the world responded by buying 1984 books to research ‘newspeak’. When it comes to presidential inaugurations, size matters, particularly to the Trump administration. Obama’s was bigger than Trump’s, at least in the number of attendees who were physically present on Capitol Hill for the festivities. The firestorm of controversy began between the administration’s press secretary Sean Spicer and members of the mainstream media as they clashed over published reports indicating Trump’s inauguration was poorly attended. But it’s how Trump’s advisor and former campaign chair Kellyanne Conway reacted to the controversy that has the news and social media abuzz today with references to George Orwell’s famous work entitled “1984.” In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday, Conway was asked to comment on one of Spicer’s fallacious claims, the most controversial of which was...

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Most Trump Voters Didn’t Vote to Make Richest Richer, But GOP Congress Is About To

by Chuck Collins – Donald Trump’s voters have high hopes that he’ll boost the economy and protect jobs for those who’ve been left behind after three decades of flat or shrinking paychecks. They didn’t vote to make the super-wealthy even wealthier. Even Steve Mnuchin, the Goldman Sachs banker Trump picked to be his treasury secretary, seems to understand this. He promised “no absolute tax cuts for the upper class.” Yet one of the first priorities of Republicans in Congress is to give an exclusive tax break to multi-millionaires and billionaires. They plan to abolish the estate tax and allow tax loopholes for billionaires to continue. The estate tax, sometimes derided as a “death tax,” is only paid by households with assets over $11 million. In 2013, 99.8 percent of the population was exempt. But the 0.2 percent who are subject to the tax are well represented in Donald Trump’s cabinet. Our...

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Dan Rather Launches Gutsy Newsgroup to Counter Fake News & Alternative Facts

by Leslie Salzillo – American journalist and esteemed news anchor Dan Rather announced a new social media page in the midst of January’s flying fake news and alternative facts — which seem to be saturating the nation’s headlines and conversations. The Facebook news page is called  “News and Guts” and if it’s anything like Rather’s posts, it’s going to be hammering down on the new administration. In a recent post, Rather states: Journalism, real journalism, deep-digging reporting without fear or favor, is as important now, if not more so, than any time I can remember.  Over the past year, Dan Rather has built a Facebook following of over a million. It’s a place where he shares his political commentary along with spotlighting news stories from various sources. He says during weeks like in early January when confirmation hearings were coming in fast and furious, there is only so much that he can do on one page and there are far more articles that deserve attention and great reporters he’d like to spotlight. I got into...

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As End of DACA Looms, Colleges and Organizers Ramp Up Efforts to Protect Undocumented Students

by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout | Report – Within days of the presidential election, Maria Ferrera, a professor of social work at Chicago’s DePaul University, began hearing stories that worried her. Calls to suicide hotlines were up, she learned, and many of the callers were undocumented students or people with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival status. Worse, rumors of actual suicides — as yet unconfirmed — were circulating. Fear and anxiety continue to be palpable, she told Truthout. Will US-born children be separated from their undocumented parents? Will DACA recipients be stripped of their legal status and forced to drop out of school? Will the mass deportation of three million people happen, as Trump has promised? “It makes me angry,” says 27-year-old Syndia, a DACA recipient and graduate student at a large Midwestern college. “Thanks to DACA authorization, I’ve been able to work to pay for my living...

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‘Fueled by Hate’: Trump Signs Order on Border Wall, Sanctuary Cities

by Nadia Prupis – President hits ground running with xenophobic national security measures; also reviewing keeping Guantánamo Bay open, reinstating CIA ‘black sites’ Update: President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to start building a U.S.-Mexico border wall and institute a crackdown on immigration, in the first of a series of measures expected this week. Trump signed the actions during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, where he said, “A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.” The order for the wall instructs agencies to erect “a large physical barrier on the southern border.” Others seek to slash immigration and stiffen penalties for undocumented people. The Hill reports: The other order deals with immigration enforcement and ends the “catch and release” policy that quickly returned border crossers back to Mexico...

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Media Blackout at Multiple Federal Agencies

by Lauren McCauley – Moves come amid growing concern that Trump and his appointees will suppress scientific innovation and research to advance their own ideological agenda. Though the majority of President Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet nominations have not yet been confirmed, his so-called “beachhead” teams have arrived at their respective agencies, carrying out orders that make clear that the “War on Science” has begun. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed broke the news that scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are no longer allowed to share information about taxpayer-funded research with the public. In an email sent Monday and obtained by the news outlet, Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for the USDA’s primary in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told the department: “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents…This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social...

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Federal Prosecutors Slap Felony Charges on More than 200 Inauguration Protesters

by Alan Pyke – Break with D.C. tradition follows Trump pledge to check “the violent disrupter.” Some 230 people have been charged with felony rioting in Superior Court after Washington, D.C. police responded to a handful of property destruction incidents on Inauguration Day by rounding up everyone who was in the area at the time. The charges and street tactics shocked legal observer groups that provide volunteer jail support around high-profile street protests in the nation’s capitol, where police have a long track record of handling demonstrators with a subtler approach. The decision by United States Attorney Channing Phillips leaves plainclothes marchers and provocation-minded radicals alike facing maximum punishments of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Arrest reports show the department is using the exact same language to describe its reasons for arresting all 200-plus caught in the round-up, without offering specific allegations of individual property destruction. There is...

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‘Real America’ Helped Make Saturday’s Protests the Biggest in U.S. History

by Adam Peck – Middle America protested Donald Trump’s inauguration just as bigly as coastal elites. A common refrain among Republicans is that the people who live in big coastal cities like New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco are out of touch with “real Americans.” On Saturday, photos from hundreds of protests and marches across the country in opposition to Donald Trump’s day-old presidency countered that notion. In Washington, D.C., an estimated 500,000 people descended upon the national mall to protest Trump’s presidency, a crowd estimated at three times the size of Trump’s own sparsely attended inauguration the day before. But millions more people also partook in sister marches and rallies across the country — including in the very same “real America” that Republicans claim to represent. Here are a few front pages from such liberal bastions as Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Montana: Front pages from newspapers around the country. CREDIT: Newseum A pair...

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Progressives Are the New Silent Majority

by THEO ANDERSON – Most Americans actually prefer progressive policies — so how did we get here? Something remarkable has happened over the past few years: A new silent majority has emerged, decades after Richard Nixon made that phrase famous. Nixon meant the people whose values were, he said, dominant in American culture, but underrepresented in American politics. Calling them the silent majority was a way of channeling the white backlash against the civil rights movement. The new silent majority is defined by the broad consensus that has emerged in the United States around progressive policies. This consensus isn’t widely reported. In fact, it’s obscured by the oft-repeated idea that the nation is deeply polarized, as if Americans are torn between support for conservative and progressive policies. They aren’t. On the battlefield of ideology, conservatives have been routed. The progressive consensus cuts across economic and social issues and includes even traditional...

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Oklahoma Considers Extreme Pro-Discrimination ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill

by Zack Ford – The conservative state fell behind on anti-LGBT legislation in 2016 and is trying to catch up. In 2016, Oklahoma set a record for the most anti-LGBT bills introduced in one session, worsting Texas from the year before. Fortunately, legislative deadlines kept them from advancing, but now one lawmaker is back with what appears to be one of the most extreme “religious liberty” proposals any state has considered. Behind the measure is Sen. Joseph Silk (R), who has an extensive record of particularly anti-LGBT legislation and statements. He calls his new bill, SB 197, the “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act,” but it explicitly enables discrimination against LGBT people — and possibly just about anyone else! SB 197 ensures that no one ever has to provide any services used in or to promote “a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior.” Additionally, such denials will be immune to any...

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Why Obama Nostalgia Matters

by NEAL GABLER – President Obama, for all his faults and our disagreements with him, challenged us to rise to our better natures. As Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, a lot of you may be feeling what I am: premature Obama nostalgia. This isn’t to say we didn’t have disagreements with him — serious ones. After the initial euphoria of having a young, intelligent and black commander-in-chief wore off, I thought of him as a passionless president, too cool for his and our own good. I would have preferred that he be a brawler who not only came out swinging but who also did so bare-knuckled. Instead, Obama sat on the stool and squandered far too much of his presidency trying to make nice with people who were determined to destroy him and the welfare state he should have been protecting. From the outset, he played to history, to the legacy he...

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Netanyahu’s Media Scandal: Who Bribed Whom? (VIDEOS)

by Jonathan Cook – The smell of scandal has swirled around the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for years. But only now is the smell starting to turn to a stench, say analysts. Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have long been known for cultivating close relations with Israel’s leading business families. Those ties, many Israelis assumed, explained why the famously parsimonious couple managed to indulge such expensive tastes. Past investigations have looked into first-class transatlantic flights and stays at top hotels, but foundered on a lack of evidence that the Netanyahus had traded the high life for favours. Until recently, most of the Israeli public had been amused, rather than outraged, by stories of astronomical bills at the prime minister’s residence for wine, ice-cream and hairstyling. But the latest revelations have the potential to be far more damaging. This week one Israeli commentator suggested Netanyahu’s conduct risked being compared to the...

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Ringling Bros. Circus ‘Finally Bows to Public Opinion,’ to End Run in May

by Deirdre Fulton – Announcement seen as ‘a sign that any industry—including farms, labs, and circuses—that commits violence against animals is destined to fail’. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday night that it would hold its final performance in May, a victory for animal rights activists who have battled the show for decades. A message from Kenneth Feld, president of the Ringling parent company Feld Entertainment, said that “Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.” The company said in March 2015 that it would retire its elephants by 2018. Other performing animals, such as tigers, lions, horses, dogs, and camels, remained in the show. Animal rights groups cheered Saturday’s announcement, attributing it to shifting public opinion after a long...

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Dissent Is Patriotic. It’s Also a Powerful Antidote to Propaganda

by Bethany Woolman, ACLU of Northern California – “If you’re to be called a communist every time you stand up for basic American rights and freedoms, what’s likely to happen? Will you be silent? And if so, is this what the House Committee on Un-American Activities is really after — a silent, submissive, un-protesting America?” -Ernest Besig, “Operation Correction,” 1961 Fifty-five years ago this January, the ACLU of Northern California was busy filling orders from across the country for copies of its recently produced film, “Operation Correction.” The film was a response to a piece of Red Scare propaganda, “Operation Abolition,” which was produced by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and depicted civil liberties activists in San Francisco as violent “communist agents” bent on destroying the fabric of America. In those days, the federal government was deeply concerned with the political affiliations of ordinary Americans — if those...

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Maybe This Is How Democracy Ends

by Mike Lofgren – The frightening rise of authoritarian populism in the West is a very real, clear, and present danger. The election of Donald Trump has triggered as much wonderment abroad as it has in the United States. David Runciman, a professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, has written in the London Review of Books a provocative reflection on the nature of democracy in the age of Trump: “Is this how democracy ends?” There is much to praise in his essay, including his heavy qualification that we really don’t know for sure if what we are seeing is the end phase of mature Western democracies since we do not have the appropriate historical precedents to be certain. Runciman is correct; as an admirer of Karl Popper, I believe that there is no such thing as historical determinism, either in the form of the Marxist dialectical process, or in...

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Chicago Police Regularly Use Excessive Force in Violation of Fourth Amendment, says DOJ Report

by Josie Duffy Rice – The Chicago Police Department regularly violates the Fourth Amendment by using “unnecessary and avoidable” uses of force, an investigation by the Justice Department has found. The Department has released a 161-page report of its investigation and findings. According to the Department: This pattern or practice includes: Shooting at fleeing suspects who presented no immediate threat; Shooting at vehicles without justification; Using less-lethal force, including tasers, against people who pose no threat; Using force to retaliate against and punish individuals; Using excessive force against juveniles; In addition, the following practices contribute to the pattern or practice of excessive force: Failing to effectively de-escalate situations or to use crisis intervention techniques to reduce the need for force Employing tactics that unnecessarily endanger officers and result in avoidable shootings and other uses of force; and Failing to accurately document...

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Homeland Security Pick, John Kelly, Calls for Border Wall (VIDEO)

The retired marine general says tightening the US border would be his top priority at homeland security secretary. John Kelly, the US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the department of homeland security, has said tightening the country’s border would be his top priority at his new role. In a questionnaire released on Tuesday ahead of his Senate confirmation hearing, Kelly said achieving that goal starts with “physical obstacles like a border wall and supporting surveillance technologies”. The retired marine general said it also requires constant patrols from federal and local law enforcement. Trump vs America: Presidential conflict of interest? – Counting the Cost Trump has pledged to build a wall on the Mexican border and carry out mass deportations of undocumented immigrants. Deportations reached record levels under President Barack Obama, whose administration deported more than 2.5 million people between 2009 and 2015. A large wall already exists on much of the...

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Ending DACA Will Cost States Billions of Dollars

by Silva Mathema – Since June 2012, more than 752,000 people who came to the United States as children have benefitted from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This initiative has provided recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and renewable work permits. DACA has lessened the barriers for these recipients to reach their full potential—they have been able to secure good jobs, obtain driver’s licenses, and pursue higher education—so that they might better contribute to their communities. A 2016 survey of DACA recipients shows that they work across many different industries ranging from educational and health services to nonprofits. Along with receiving higher wages, DACA recipients are buying cars, homes, and other goods and services to boost local economies. But this quintessential embodiment of the American dream is under attack. During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump threatened to end DACA, along with other executive actions. While it remains to...

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Under Jeff Sessions, Drug Legalization and Sentencing Reforms will go up in Smoke

by Alice Miranda Ollstein – Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General is one of Washington’s most anti-marijuana lawmakers. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and hundreds of thousands of people are arrested every year for smoking, growing, or selling the drug. But over the past eight years, President Obama has commuted the sentences of hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders serving decades-long prison terms — signing more commutations than any other president in history. He encouraged a bipartisan effort in Congress to lower harsh mandatory sentences for drug offenders. He expanded the amount of marijuana grown for medical research. His Justice Department opted to leave alone states that decriminalized and legalized marijuana to varying degrees. Under his tenure, eight states and the District of Columbia legalized recreational marijuana, and nearly 30 states now allow its use in some form. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Donald Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next Attorney General, opposed...

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New Data Proves How Effective Gun Control Laws Are

by Ryan Denson – The liberal “third-world hell hole” (as Ann Coulter calls it) that is California has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the United States, far surpassing Illinois and New York. Naturally, Republicans will use these facts to somehow smear the liberal state as being one that exhibits the most gun violence around — even though red states produce more gun violence per capita than blue. Surprisingly, what many people may not know — and what they won’t hear on Fox News — is that California has experienced a sharp decline in gun violence over the last 20 years, putting a fatal dent in the right’s scare tactics when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment. Gavin Newsome, California’s current Lieutenant Governor, recently spoke at a press conference regarding Prop 63, which limited magazine sizes, banned the sale of assault weapons, and conducted background checks on...

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Jewish Centers in at Least Six States all Receive Bomb Threats on the Same Day

by Jack Jenkins – “It seems to be an unfortunate trend.” Jewish centers in at least six states all received bomb threats on Monday, adding to a growing wave of anti-Semitism across the country. As first reported by Haaretz, several Jewish centers were forced to evacuate after anonymous callers phoned in with bomb threats. Although no one was harmed, the threats occurred in New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, and possibly others, according to local news sources and ThinkProgress reporting. Paul Goldenberg, who helps coordinates security for the Jewish Community Centers across the country, said a total of 16 centers received threats. “We have a preschool with almost 200 children, and probably another 30 or 40 staff,” Michael Feinstein, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Maryland, told ThinkProgress. “Everyone was evacuated calmly and quickly.” Feinstein said the threat was the first the center had ever received,...

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In 2 Minutes, Cory Booker Shows the GOP What #Resistance Looks Like as he Defends Planned Parenthood

by Leslie Salzillo – In response to the GOP’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood, New Jersey’s Senator Cory Booker knocked it out of the park this week during a press conference. Here is transcript followed by the short and stunning YouTube video of Booker demonstrating and explaining how a real #Resistance can, does, and will work. TRANSCRIPT: Patty Murray: I call again on all members, Republican and Democrat, who stood with this time and time again, for people across the country, men and women who understand the impacts of what this is — to stand up and fight back now before it’s too late. Cory Booker: So, I don’t have a message for fellow Republican elected, because they’re not depending on Planned Parenthood in their neighborhoods. They’re well paid comfortable people. I have a message for every American, Democrat, and Republican who rely on these services or know people that do,...

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The Dangerous Normalization of Donald Trump

by STEVEN HARPER – There’s a way to keep our short attention spans and Trump’s norm-shattering behavior from damaging the republic: “Expose and Oppose.” Americans are living through the dangerous effort to normalize the abnormal candidate who won the presidency with a record popular vote deficit of nearly 3 million ballots. Donald Trump has about the same popular support as losing candidates Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004). But that won’t slow him down. As with many insecure leaders, he’ll attempt to govern as if he had a mandate for sweeping change. He doesn’t. Any mandate resides with the opposition. The first step in his path toward a destination that only he knows is normalizing him. He’ll succeed and, in the process, subject the republic to incalculable damage only if others let it happen or, even worse, assist him. This column is the first in a series outlining a way to prevent that calamity....

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The 15 Warnings Signs of Impending Tyranny

by Robert Reich – As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically: 1.  Exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote. 2.  Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections. 3.  Call anyone who opposes them “enemies.” 4.  Turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum.” 5.  Hold few if any press conferences, preferring to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements. 6.  Tell the public big lies, causing them to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals. 7.  Blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias and even violence against them. 8.  Attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and...

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About Seven in Ten Americans Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade

by HANNAH FINGERHUT – More than 40 years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 69% of Americans say the historic ruling, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, should not be completely overturned. Nearly three-in-ten (28%), by contrast, would like to see it overturned. Public opinion about the 1973 case has held relatively steady in recent decades, though the share saying the decision should not be overturned is up slightly from four years ago. In January 2013, 63% said this, which was similar to views measured in surveys conducted over the prior two decades. Democrats have long been more likely than Republicans to say Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, but the partisan gap has grown wider over time.  Today, 84% of Democrats and those who lean Democratic say the Supreme Court should not completely overturn the ruling, up 9 percentage points...

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Dan Rather Takes on Wall Street Journal Regarding Trump Treatment: ‘A Lie, is a Lie, is a Lie’

by Jen Hayden – Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker was a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend and during a discussion about how to cover Donald Trump moving forward, the subject of politicians, like Trump, flat-out lying came up and Gerard Baker gave a stunning answer, cautioning against using the word “lie.” Read the remarkable exchange: CHUCK TODD:  The issue of facts. We don’t — people always say, “You’ve got to fact check, you’ve got to fact check.” There isn’t an agreement on what the facts are. And this is yet another challenge for you and everybody here. Do you feel comfortable saying so and so lied? You know, if somebody says just an outright falsehood, do you say the word, “lie”? Is that important to start putting in reporting, or not?  GERARD BAKER:  You know it’s a good — I’d be careful about using the word,...

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Racist Carl Paladino Gets Booted Off School Board (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – The Buffalo School Board refuses to tolerate racism from one of their own members, and decisively voted to oust a racist Trump supporter from their ranks on Thursday. Earlier this month, Carl Paladino wrote a wish list hoping for President Obama’s death from mad cow disease and called for First Lady Michelle Obama to be sent to live with gorillas in Africa. “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” Paladino wrote. Predictably, national outrage ensued as Paladino’s own son condemned him. “We value and respect our employees, friends, partners and all of our commercial and residential tenancies and we do not condone the statements made about the President of the United States and his wife,” William Paladino wrote. “They were disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary.”...

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Anti-Semitic Group Plans Armed March in Small Montana Town

by Aaron Rupar – Neo-Nazis escalate their harassment campaign against Jews in the hometown of a white supremacist leader’s mother. The Daily Stormer, a popular American neo-Nazi website, is organizing an armed march in Whitefish, Montana, home of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s mother. In a recent blog post that features Hilter’s face as its banner image, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website, announced he’s planning an armed march in the town for the second week of January — days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. “Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles,” Anglin wrote, adding that he plans to be there personally. “Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who...

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Russian Officials Finally Admit Olympic Doping was an ‘Institutional Conspiracy’

by Lindsay Gibbs – They’re not apologizing, though. In the past, Russian officials have vehemently denied allegations of widespread doping, going so far as to call reports “baseless libel.” But now they are changing their tone. “It was an institutional conspiracy,” Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national anti-doping agency, told the New York Times in a series of interviews conducted in Moscow. This reversal comes just weeks after Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren delivered the second part of his report on Russian doping, part of an independent investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). McLaren found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes in 30 sports were part of the state-sponsored doping program, which dates back to at least 2011. The breadth of the Russian doping scandal is unprecedented. In May, an explosive New York Times interview with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, revealed...

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There were 61 Victims of Gun Violence in Chicago During Christmas Weekend

The number of homicides in the city skyrocketed this year. Gun violence killed 11 Chicago residents and injured 50 more, including two teenage girls, during Christmas weekend. The shootings came just days after a Brennan Center report concluded the homicide rate in the nation’s biggest cities jumped 14 percent in 2016 — due in large part to gun violence spiraling out of control in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, which closely tracks shootings in the city, seven people were killed on Christmas Day. The total number of shootings over the holiday weekend was also significantly higher than on the past two Christmas holidays. There were 29 people gunned down in 2015 and 35 people shot in 2014. Fourteen of them died. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson attributed the recent shootings to gang violence in the “South and West sides of the city.” “These were deliberate and planned shootings by one gang against...

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Ted Cruz to Introduce Bill Allowing Discrimination Against LGBT Americans Nationwide

by Hunter   – Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, Republicans will be wasting no time in their efforts to roll back civil rights for LGBT Americans. would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The intentionally broadly-written law would, in other words, enshrine the “right” of any private business to deny service to gay Americans outright if they are personally opposed to marriage equality. It would not merely allow businesses to deny their services in same-sex marriage ceremonies themselves: it would allow any business to...

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Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump

by PANYIN CONDUAH – Many Americans are still going through a whirlwind of emotions as they process November’s election results and the dawning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Although, by the time the official tally is finished, Trump will likely have lost the popular vote by 2 full percentage points, the Electoral College will place him in the Oval Office when a joint session of Congress formally counts the votes in January. Many feel hopeless when it comes to the future of America and criticize the outcome as the result of a broken system. But while Trump may have won the big seat in the Oval Office, officials in other branches of government at the federal, state and local levels have the power to stand up to Trump’s agenda. For American voters to effectively push these levers of power, however, they’re going to have to understand how government works. Studies show that...

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Taking Weapon Out of Trump’s Arsenal, Obama Finally Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry

by Jon Queally – ACLU applauds end of “completely failed counter-terrorism tool and massive profiling program that didn’t yield a single terrorism conviction in nearly a decade” With a President Donald Trump on the horizon, civil liberties advocates applauded President Barack Obama on Thursday after his administration announced the end of a federal registration program for Muslim and Arab immigrants. Established by the George W. Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was criticized since its inception as regressive attempt to profile individuals based on their national heritage and religion. Though the provision has been dormant since enforcement of it was blocked in 2011, Thursday’s announcement signals the government’s official cancellation of the policy. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security, “the regulatory structure pertaining to NSEERS no longer provides a discernible public benefit as  the program has been...

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The U.S. Executed Fewer People in 2016 than in any Other Year Since 1991

by Carimah Townes – Support for capital punishment is at its lowest point in decades. Capital punishment in the U.S. is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Twenty death row inmates were executed in 2016 — the lowest number in 25 years, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a non-profit organization that collects and analyzes data on capital punishment. The DPIC projects that 30 new death sentences will have been handed down this year, a 37 percent drop from 2015. Public support for executions is also waning among people of all political and social backgrounds. The DPIC’s annual findings, published on Wednesday, included an analysis of death penalty trends since the 1970s, when the U.S. Supreme Court abolished and then reinstated capital punishment. The number of executions skyrocketed in the 1990s and peaked in 1999, when 98 people were put to death; since then, there’s been a...

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Beach Boys Song Too Sexually Offensive for 2016 College Campus

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown – The Midwest farmer’s daughters are not alright. Before they took a turn toward the psychedelic in the mid-1960s, the Beach Boys were about as uncontroversial as you could get in American pop music. But what was acceptable for teenyboppers in the early ’60s may be too sexually taboo for today’s college campuses. University of Kentucky (UK) journalism professor Buck Ryan claims he was sanctioned for singing the Beach Boys’ 1965 single “California Girls” while in his official capacity as a UK representative. The university’s Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity found Ryan violated federal Title IX guidelines against sex-based discrimination and harassment by using “language of a sexual nature.” “If my case is any indication, then everyone concerned about discrimination and sexual harassment should be alarmed,” wrote Ryan in a letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan also pointed out that he has never, in a...

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This Is Real, This Is Happening

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” — Henry David Thoreau I baked cookies the other day. Chocolate chip with those little nuts mixed in, the crumbly ones that get everywhere as soon as you crack the bag. I didn’t do the Toll House thing, the easy stuff in a yellow tube you find in the aisle next to the yogurt. No, I went full Nana, hunting every shelf in the market for ingredients like a nearsighted quarterback doing check-downs after a busted play. Brown sugar, chocolate chips, butter, the crumbly nuts … I started to get worried when I found myself squinting at a row of bleach bottles looking for flour. As for the cookies, well … they exist. I sharpened the kitchen knives on the first one out of the oven. Didn’t leave a mark. This...

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In Historic Decision, Canada Declares Internet Access a Fundamental Right for All

by Lauren McCauley – National telecom agency promises to connect all Canadians, from Quebec to Yukon, to high-speed broadband. In what is being described as a “historic” decision that will have a significant impact, particularly on the lives of those living in rural and First Nations communities, Canada’s telecom agency on Wednesday issued a new rule declaring high-speed internet a basic service “necessary to the quality of life” of all Canadians. “The future of our economy, our prosperity, and our society—indeed, the future of every citizen—requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chair of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), at a news conference. “These goals are ambitious. They will not be easy to achieve and they will cost money. But we have no choice.” Under the new broadband strategy, the CRTC aims to provide 100...

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President Obama on Political Correctness: ‘Don’t Go Around Just Looking for Insults’ (VIDEO)

by Robby Soave – In an NPR interview, the president explained the difference between being polite and being politically correct. During a recent interview with NPR, President Obama was asked if Donald Trump was right: has political correctness gone too far? “This is a tricky issue,” Obama answered. “Because the definition of political correctness is all over the map. I suspect the president-elect’s definition would be different than mine.” The president then offered two definitions of political correctness: the first is simply having good manners. It’s wrong to shout racial epithets at people, or to verbally harass them. Objecting to abusive treatment isn’t an example of political-correctness-run-amok—or if it is, then political correctness is a good thing. Most people probably want to live in a country where people are encouraged not to scream obscenities at each other. The second definition of political correctness, according to Obama, is “hypersensitivity that ends up...

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Dylann Roof was not ‘Self-Radicalized.’ He was Part of a Racist Community

by Casey Quinlan – The group that radicalized Dylann Roof isn’t that different from the “alt-right.” Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who shot nine African Americans at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston last June, was found guilty of 33 separate federal charges last week. He faces the death penalty. Roof acted alone, but the massacre he committed was not an isolated incident. Other white supremacist shooters from the past five years included Wade Michael Page, who fatally shot six people and wounded four others in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in 2012; and Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., who killed three people at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas in 2014. News reports have often described Roof and the perpetrators of similar massacres as “self-radicalized” “lone wolves.” But these attacks don’t emerge out of vacuums. Page got involved in neo-Nazi activities at a U.S. Army base. Miller was the leader of...

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The Bigotry of Trump’s Cabinet (VIDEO)

by Victoria Fleischer – By “talented,” he means… President-elect Trump ran a campaign insulting Mexicans, spreading fear about Islam, and generally enthralling white supremacists, so it should be no surprise that he’s chosen a cabinet that reflects these views. Trump nominated Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. In 1986, the Senate rejected Sessions’ nomination to become a federal judge due to accusations of racism. How about Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary? His bank is accused of discrimination. According to the complaint, the bank kept branches out of neighborhoods of color and denied mortgages to homebuyers of color. Watch the video to see what some of Trump’s other picks had to say. Transcript: TRUMP: These are really really talented people TEXT: President-elect Trump has started shaping his administration. Here’s what it looks like: Jeff Sessions; Junior Senator, Alabama; Trump’s Attorney General RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: An African-American assistant U.S. attorney in Alabama testified...

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Dare for Democracy: Three Essential Steps

by FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ AND ADAM EICHEN – The Small Planet Institute has published an online guide to help people find a way to get involved. Many Americans remain in shock and outrage, unable to grasp how a man who told bald-faced lies, who ridiculed and defamed others, and who boasted of sexual assault could yet ascend to the presidency of the United States. Despair isn’t an option; it’s our greatest enemy. We know we must act more boldly than ever. To save the democracy we thought we had, we must take democracy to where it’s never been. Most of us find our courage through acting with others. So we at the Small Planet Institute are launching a Field Guide to the Democracy Movement. Together we can create a vibrant, bipartisan, multicultural “movement of movements.” This Democracy Movement can mobilize people not just online, but face-to-face, creating personal bonds strong enough to...

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Talking Back to Hate Speech, Explained

by GAIL ABLOW – The outbreak of racist, sexist and xenophobic harassment across the US is alarming. People have reported almost 900 instances of hate speech since Nov. 8, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many are on high alert, wondering how they might respond to a hate crime. “I am extremely concerned about all the hate crimes I am reading about. What can I do if I witness a bias attack?” Short answer: We reached out to experts to devise a strategy. Here’s what they recommend: 1) Be a good witness, record and identify the incident. 2) Be prepared to speak out, but don’t escalate the conflict. 3) Be an ally. 4) Find a safe space. 5) Learn more. 1. Be a good witness Report it. “First of all,” said J. Thomas Manger, police chief of Montgomery County, Maryland, “be a good witness. Call 911 so the police can...

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Purging Career Civil Servants? That’s The Conservative Playbook

by Bill Scher – When the Trump transition asked the Energy Department to name employees that attended climate change conferences, many people — especially Energy Department employees — reacted in horror, concluding that the incoming administration wants to purge career civil servants from the government. As the Washington Post has reported, some Trump advisers are counseling him to weaken civil servant protections and make purging easier: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) urged Trump to take on unions by “getting permission to fire corrupt, incompetent and dishonest workers,” declaring in a New Yorker magazine article, “you have to end the civil-service permanent employment.” Reuters quoted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) saying Trump should seek civil service changes to make it “a lot easier to fire those people.” Of course, the recommendations are publicly couched in terms of improving government effectiveness. But it’s a longstanding chapter in the conservative playbook...

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Will Police Killings Rise in Trump’s America? (VIDEOS)

by Patrick Strickland – Every Mardi Gras, Sandra Harris would make ham and bell peppers for her 22-year-old son, Eric. “He used to say, ‘Mama, make sure you cook enough … We should have some left over for tomorrow,'” Sandra recalls, a wistful smile settling on her face. The family would host relatives and friends for the annual carnival at their home in Harmony Oaks, a predominantly African-American neighbourhood of New Orleans. But this year, on the night of February 8, the day before Mardi Gras, Sandra started to worry. Eric had gone to the mall to buy clothes for his two-year-old son, Carter, and wasn’t returning her phone calls. “He always answered or called right back,” she says. “I felt something. I just kept making calls. His phone just rung, rung, rung.” She was afraid he’d been arrested. But when she received a frantic phone call from her daughter, what...

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San Francisco Judges Dismiss 66,000 Arrest Warrants Against The City’s Homeless

by Whitney Webb – San Francisco chief judge John Stewart and his colleagues dismissed thousands of cases against the homeless for “quality-of-life” crimes such as sleeping on sidewalks because it “was the right thing to do.” The United States, despite often advertising itself as the world’s “most developed” nation, has a major problem with homelessness, with approximately 3.5 million currently living with no place to call home. Even though vacant houses outnumber the nation’s homeless by more than five to one, most of them end up sleeping in public places or out in the street. In cities around the country, the homeless are frequently criminalized as are those who offer them food and other forms of human kindness. Despite the widespread maltreatment of the homeless, judges in San Francisco have been dismissing thousands upon thousands of arrest warrants targeting the homeless because “it was the right thing to do.” Many...

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Oklahoma Republicans Mandate New Anti-Abortion Signage in the State’s Public Restrooms

by Hunter – As part of the Republican Party’s ongoing efforts to turn America into a society based on The Handmaid’s Tale (if it had been written by George Orwell), Oklahoma Republicans have forced through some new, properly theocratic signage. Oklahoma plans to force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state. The provision for the signs was tucked into a law that the Legislature passed this year that requires the state to develop informational material “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” The signs must be posted by January 2018. No money was allocated to the signs, which means nursing homes (sigh) will have to put up the anti-abortion signage on their own dime. And it includes nursing homes because it includes all public bathrooms in the...

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Sanctuary Cities Vow to Defend ‘Basic Human Decency’ From Trump

by Andrea Germanos – With Donald Trump‘s inauguration just over a month away, it will soon become clear whether he intends on using beginning days in the White House to try to follow through on his promise to end federal funding for sanctuary cities. Scores of such cities, however, are standing resolute, with officials from over three dozen of them publicly reaffirming their commitment to “basic human decency.” Sanctuary cities, sometimes called Fourth Amendment cities, as The Atlantic‘s CityLab has described, offer some protection to undocumented immigrants because they “keep local policing and federal immigration enforcement separate by asking local police to decline ‘detainers’—non-binding requests from ICE asking for extended detention of inmates they suspect are deportable.” In contrast to claims made by proponents of harsh immigrant crackdowns, research has shown that “designating a city as a sanctuary has no statistically significant effect on crime.” In fact, it is harsh immigration...

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‘Fascist Rhetoric’ Becoming Commonplace in US and Europe: UN

by Nadia Prupis – Human rights chief’s warning comes as far-right Dutch politician favored to become Prime Minister is convicted of inciting discrimination. The “rhetoric of fascism” is on the rise in the U.S. and Europe, a United Nations official warned on Thursday, a disturbing trend that puts “unprecedented pressure” on human rights standards around the world. “Anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. human rights chief. “The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the ‘Deep Net.’ It is becoming part of normal daily discourse.” Speaking ahead of International Human Rights Day on December 10, Zeid warned that “if the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone...

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4 Factors Driving Anti-Establishment Sentiment in Europe

by RICHARD WIKE – The failure of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reform referendum has rattled the already shaky nerves of European political elites. On the heels of Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory, the Italian verdict highlights once more the depth of public anger with the political establishment in Western nations. And with elections approaching in the Netherlands, France and Germany, many worry that 2017 could be at least as politically disruptive as 2016 has been. Pew Research Center surveys have highlighted a variety of factors driving the anti-establishment sentiments spreading throughout much of Europe, including economic anxieties, security fears, cultural unease and a lack of confidence in political institutions. 1) Europeans are pessimistic about their long-term economic future. Many are unhappy with the current state of the economy in Europe: In five of the 10 European nations we polled earlier this year, majorities described the economic situation in the country...

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‘Identity Politics’ Actually Won in North Carolina (VIDEO)

by Zack Ford – Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has finally conceded defeat, and he lost for being anti-LGBT. The gubernatorial race in North Carolina was close, though not quite as close as originally thought. After weeks of challenges, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) conceded Monday, making him the only incumbent governor who was not reelected in 2016. McCrory’s unique loss can only be attributed to his opposition to LGBT equality. He lost to Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) by just over 10,000 votes in a year when North Carolina otherwise voted more heavily Republican. Donald Trump (R), who McCrory openly campaigned with, bested Hillary Clinton (D) by about 173,000 votes. Sen. Richard Burr (R) held his seat with 267,000 more votes than challenger Deborah Ross (D). The major thing that differentiated McCrory from the candidates in these other races is that HB2 defined his campaign. HB2 was the law the North Carolina legislature...

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Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied

by Nika Knight – ‘For the first time in Native American history, they heard our voices.’ In a long-awaited victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, tribal leadership announced late Sunday. The agency will not allow the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a reservoir near the tribal reservation, without a full environmental impact assessment that examines alternative routes for the pipeline. While acknowledging that it may only end up being a temporary pause in pipeline construction, many see it as an incredible victory for the water protectors, who have faced water cannons, mace, rubber bullets, mass arrests, and more in their months-long struggle to protect their drinking water and treaty land. Other activists expressed suspicion and caution, as the U.S. government has historically betrayed its promises to Native Americans, and warned that the water protectors must remain...

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