Culture

Saving Lives in the ‘Overdose Capital of America’ (VIDEO)

by Titi Yu – A new documentary streaming on Netflix is a window into what it’s like to be on the front lines of the opioid crisis.  Heroin(e) is a powerful film that follows the stories of three women in Huntington, West Virginia, who are battling the opioid crisis on its front lines. Drug addiction is so common in Huntington, the “overdose capital of America,” that it’s weaved into the fabric of everyday life. In one scene, paramedics work to revive an overdose victim at a convenience store while people step around the commotion and move along the checkout line as if nothing is happening. Fire Chief Jan Rader is the first responder who carries not only the film, but also the weight of the crisis in her community as she works to save as many people as possible and get addicts into long-term recovery. Judge Patricia Keller is part mother-hen,...

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The Real Reason Why Trump is Still Supporting Roy Moore

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

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The Backlash Against the Bullies

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

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

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

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Ban on Transgender Military Service Just Took Another Blow

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

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

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

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

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

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One Officer, Scores of Tickets and a Familiar Racial Disparity

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

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Police Violence Persists, Though Most Media Have Stopped Paying Attention

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

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Chaos: The New Normal

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

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

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

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Australians Overwhelmingly Expressed Support for Marriage Equality. Now What?

by Zack Ford – The big survey has come to a conclusion, but no outcome is guaranteed. Around 79 percent of all eligible voters participated in Australia’s national postal survey on marriage equality, and now the results are in. As projected, there was very strong support for legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, with 61.6 percent calling for it to be legalized and 38.4 percent percent opposing it. Every state and territory recorded a yes vote, and only New South Wales’ yes result fell below 60 percent (57 percent). But because it was a survey, not a referendum, the results have no immediate effect. The government promised, if the “yes” vote prevailed, that it would allow the Parliament of Australia to hold a conscience vote on a marriage equality bill. But nothing requires the MPs to vote according to the survey. Multiple versions of marriage equality legislation have also been proposed that...

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Hate Crimes Rose by Nearly 5 Percent in 2016: FBI

by Creede Newton – Incidents of hate crimes in the US went up to 6,121 during 2016, seeing an increase of 4.6 percent compared to the previous year, according to data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday. The crimes committed, particularly against African-Americans, Jews and Muslims, rose for the second consecutive year, with a spike of 10 percent from 2014 to 2015. A hate crime is defined by the FBI as a “criminal offence against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity”. The numbers are up across the board. I think it requires an across the board response. All Americans need to hold politicians accountable COREY SAYLOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS Corey Saylor, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations who focuses on Islamophobia, said the results “confirms everything we’ve already known...

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Meet the Spiritual Shepherd of Black Lives Matter

by Jack Jenkins – “We came with a Bible in one hand, and a protest sign in the other.” When Rev. Traci Blackmon took the stage in mid-October at the Prophetic Resistance Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana, she was technically slated to give a “keynote address,” a phrase that brings to mind Powerpoint presentations and break-out sessions. But what she actually delivered to 350-odd clergy was, well, a sermon. The Missouri native, well known for her skills as a preacher, did not disappoint. Over the course of 25 minutes, her voice cracked with passion as she invoked the biblical story of Moses, using the instance of God speaking through a burning bush as a metaphor to explain the world’s many ills. But Blackmon, a pivotal spiritual voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, did not speak in generalities. She listed the tragedies impacting communities of color by name. “Bushes were burning in Ferguson long...

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60,000 People March in Massive Nazi Rally in Poland

by Alan Pyke – “Europe Will Be White,” one sign carried by marchers read. Right-wing racists flew in from Slovakia, Hungary, and Spain to join tens of thousands of Poles at a white supremacist rally in Warsaw on Saturday where marchers bore signs with messages like “Europe Will Be White” and “Clean Blood.” Reporters on hand said the crowd numbered roughly 60,000, citing police estimates. A polish neo-nazi group called The Radical Camp, borrowing its name from a 1930s fascist movement in the country, organized the march. “A number of people in the crowd said they didn’t belong to any neo-fascist or racist organization but didn’t see a problem with the overall tone of what has become Poland’s biggest independence day event,” the Wall Street Journal noted. Counterprotesters also showed up in far smaller numbers. One small group in the square held a sign reading “We are Polish Jews” and stood...

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U.S. Silent as Egypt Considers New Law Outlawing Homosexuality — and it’s Worse Than You Think

by D. Parvaz – In order to score political points with Islamists, the government has stepped up its horrifying crackdown on LGBTQ community, accusing them of endangering national security. Egypt is considering a draft of a new law officially criminalizing same-sex relations, as part of a wider crackdown on LGBTQ rights after a concert in late September, when a few audience members waved rainbow flags. Reuters reported on Thursday that the proposed law, if passed, would introduced up to a decade in prison for “people engaging in or promoting same-sex relations.” While the White House has refrained from condemning the arrests and the proposed law (the United States provides Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid each year), rights groups have been calling out the Egyptian state on this issue. Amnesty International said that the law would “further entrench stigma and abuse against people based on their perceived sexual orientation.” Human Rights Watch has also spoken out...

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The 2017 Elections Show Criminal Justice Reform Can Be a Winning Issue

by Udi Ofer, Deputy National Political Director and Director of Campaign for Smart Justice, ACLU – On Election Day 2017, candidates in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York won on platforms that proactively embraced criminal justice reform or rejected fear-mongering attempts by opponents to label them as soft-on-crime. Their victories send a strong signal to politicians running in 2018 elections that they do not need to hide from supporting issues like bail and sentencing reform, ending the death penalty, and restoring the rights of people living with a criminal record. They also represent the continuation of a shifting narrative that rejects the old tough-on-crime politics for a new approach that is rooted in civil rights and redefining community safety. Philadelphia By far the biggest criminal justice reform victory came with the election of Larry Krasner as Philadelphia’s next district attorney. Until 2010, Philadelphia had a district attorney known as America’s “Deadliest...

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One Year Later: The Political Cancer Metastasizes

by Neal Gabler – America was never what it had purported to be. One year after the election of Donald Trump, the fog finally seemed to lift and the skies brightened. On Tuesday, voters rejected Trumpism in New Jersey and in Virginia, where establishment Republican Ed Gillespie embraced Trump’s racism and nativism, indicating how deeply the president’s poison has penetrated even the precincts of the party that should be vigorously in opposition to it. In Maine, voters approved an expansion of Medicaid that their right-wing governor had rejected several times. In Washington state, Democrats won the upper house of the legislature. Meanwhile, GOP members of Congress are deserting the ship, one by one. As Steve Bannon marshals his “alt-right” forces to defeat mainstream Republicans, his primary candidates may be so far off the political spectrum next year that they could derail the Republicans’ Senate hopes. Across the board, Democratic prospects in...

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Meek Mill’s Sentencing is Stark Proof of a Broken Criminal Justice System

by Kay Wicker – The rapper continues to be punished for a near decades-old charge. Rapper Meek Mill was sentenced on Monday to two to four years in state prison for violating his probation from a 2008 charge that has been dragged out for several years. Mill’s attorney claims that the judge who has handled his case from the beginning may have a personal vendetta against him. Others, including Jay Z, who signed the rapper to his label, are calling this for what it is — unjust. Philadelphia-native Meek Mill, born Robert Williams, whose career began in the early aughts was in the mainstream sphere by 2012 with the critically-acclaimed song “Young & Gettin’ It.” He has released three studio albums, including one earlier this year titled “Wins & Losses” — a concept with which the rapper is extremely familiar. Mill, as it seems, has been plagued with bad luck. In recent history,...

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More Than Two Dozen House Democrats Tell Speaker Ryan They are Set to Throw Down for Dreamers

by Gabe Ortiz – This is what leadership looks like. More than two dozen House Democrats say they are prepared to thrown down for Dreamers who face being torn from the only country they’ve ever known as home, telling Speaker Paul Ryan in an op-ed to either pass a clean DREAM Act free of poison pills, or risk losing their support for the end-of-year spending bill. Democrats appear to have the upper hand here. As Politico noted last week,“Republicans will need Democratic votes—definitely in the Senate and almost certainly in the House, too—to pass legislation to keep the government funded.” In their op-ed, the House members say they are prepared to use that hand to protect undocumented immigrant youth: Nobody except for a small extreme faction in the Republican Party thinks deporting DREAMers is a good idea. Every poll indicates that the American people favor legal status for these young immigrants by a 4-to-1 margin. The overwhelming support...

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The Texas Shooter Got a Gun Because America’s Background Check System is a Disaster

by Addy Baird – His domestic violence conviction, like many others, never made it into the database. Sutherland Springs, Texas shooter Devin Kelley was legally prohibited from purchasing a gun, but the Air Force base at which he was stationed never entered his domestic abuse charge into the background check system — and he’s not alone. Many domestic abusers are likely able to purchase firearms because their convictions are never entered into the database. In 2012, Kelley violently assaulted his wife and young stepson. According to a report Monday, he broke the infant’s skull during the assault. “Kelley was convicted by a general court martial on two charges of domestic assault against his wife and step-son,” a release from Air Force Monday afternoon said. Kelley served 12 months in confinement following the conviction. “Federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction,” according to the Air Force. But, the...

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Anti-LGBTQ Lawmaker Defeated in Virginia, Will be Replaced by First Transgender State Representative

by Adam Peck – She becomes the first transgender state representative in the country. Danica Roem, a former journalist turned candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates, handily won her election on Tuesday night to become the country’s first transgender state representative. She unseats 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, among the state’s most vocal anti-LGBTQ lawmakers. Marshall was the sponsor of Virginia’s transphobic “bathroom bill,” which sought to ban transgender residents from using public restrooms that corresponds to their gender identity. Throughout the race, Marshall refused to refer to Roem by female pronouns and refused to debate with her. With 95 percent of the vote in, Roem’s margin stands at 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent. She will represent Virginia’s 13th district, an area that encompasses most of Prince William County in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. That district heavily favored Hillary Clinton in 2016, but in his last election in 2015, Marshall beat Democratic candidate 56.1...

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‘None of This Is Inevitable’: Sen. Murphy Applauded for Texas Church Massacre Response

by Jon Queally – “The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic.” While President Donald Trump was ripped by critics for predictably announcing that the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas on Sunday that left 26 people dead does not represent a “guns situation,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was receiving widespread applause for speaking with impassioned frustration about the failure of U.S. lawmakers to address the “epidemic” of gun violence and murder that has gripped the nation in recent decades. “None of this is inevitable,” Murphy said Sunday in a statement that soon went viral. “I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into...

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Trump to Nominate Notorious Anti-feminist to be ‘Ambassador for Women’

by Zack Ford – “This would be putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.” President Trump is expected to nominate Penny Nance, an anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and anti-feminist activist, to be the “Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues,” a position created under President Obama. Since 2010, Nance has led the Concerned Women for America (CWA), a Christian social policy organization that has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. She doesn’t believe that efforts to restrict health coverage for women are part of a “war on women,” but she used that term to describe the Violence Against Women Act. And she claims that legal abortion is worse than the Holocaust. Planned Parenthood slammed the choice this weekend, with executive vice president Dawn Laguens saying the nomination “would be putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.” According to Laguens, CWA called the Office of Global Women’s Issues, which Nance would oversee, a...

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Russia-linked Propaganda Accounts Banned by Twitter are Still Active on Facebook

by Casey Michel – Multiple Facebook pages tied to Twitter’s suspended, Russia-linked feeds remain online. For the past two months, Facebook has pledged, time and again, the pursuit of transparency when it comes to revealing the extent of the fraudulent Russia-linked accounts swamping its platform. But that claim has flown in the face of evidence on hand. Not only has Facebook refused to release the accounts in question to the public, but the company’s estimates of users exposed to fraudulent Russian material have only continued to rise, from some 10 million users in early Octoberto, as of last week, nearly 150 million users. All the while, Facebook has maintained that it’s cleaned up all of the suspected accounts, preventing them from reaching millions more users. But as the thousands of Russia-linked Twitter handles released this week by the House Intelligence Committee illustrate, that doesn’t appear to be true, either. A ThinkProgress examination of the accounts...

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Hours After Horrific Mass Shooting, Texas Attorney General Urges More People to Bring Guns to Church

by Judd Legum – “As a country, what do we do? How can we get our arms around this and stop this insanity?” Just hours after a mass shooting left at least 26 people dead at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, state Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared on Fox News. His message to Texans: Bring a gun to church. “As a Texan, as a father, can you wrap your brain around what we’re learning today, that children were killed, children were shot, the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor was killed in this type of attack? As a country, what do we do? How can we get our arms around this and stop this insanity?” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn asked Paxton.  “All I can say is, you know, in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed-carry, And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very...

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New Documentary Tells the Real Story of Serpico, the NYPD’s ‘Godfather of Whistleblowers’

by Josh Bell – In the 1970s, Frank Serpico, a whistleblower, exposed rampant bribery in the New York Police Department. Serpico, a cop himself, ended up getting shot in the face when fellow officers wouldn’t come to his aid when confronting a suspect. He eventually testified before a special commission set up to investigate corruption in the NYPD, and Al Pacino played him in the Hollywood classic “Serpico.” A new documentary out this week, “Frank Serpico,” presents the full story of what happened, as told by Serpico himself and some of the others who lived through it. We talked to the director, Antonino D’Ambrosio, about his film and Serpico’s historic significance. What drove Serpico to blow the whistle? On a basic level, Serpico just wanted to do his job, which was to uphold the law and protect the public. He loved being a cop and he loved public service, which made...

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‘Systemic Failure’: Study Details Black Americans’ Experiences of Discrimination

by Julia Conley – African-Americans report that they avoid calling the police, attending political events, and driving for fear of encountering discrimination. A new study reveals black Americans’ views of the discrimination they experience in their daily lives, detailing some of the lengths people of color go to in order to avoid racism perpetrated by their fellow citizens as well as government institutions. The report, based on survey results compiled last year by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explores the day-to-day reality of the racism black Americans face when interacting with the healthcare sector, law enforcement, and even when completing ordinary tasks like driving or participating in social events. “While many surveys have explored Americans’ beliefs about discrimination,” the study’s authors note, “this survey asks people about their own personal experiences with discrimination.” Sixty percent of the 802 African Americans surveyed reported that they...

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Trump Reactions to ISIL and Far-right Attacks Compared

A vehicle-ramming attack in New York City has drawn a strong reaction from US President Donald Trump, who called the attacker “very sick and deranged” and pledged to step up vetting of those entering the US. At least eight people died and 11 people were injured late on Tuesday after a man drove a rented pick up truck into a cyclists and pedestrians in New York City, before being shot and wounded by police officers. The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, condemned the attack as “cowardly” and investigators have labeled it a “terrorist” incident. Local news stations, citing sources in law enforcement, said the attacker, who they named as Sayfullo Saipov, had left a note inside the car in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL). “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in...

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Nearly Half of Americans Have a Family Member or Close Friend Who’s Been Addicted to Drugs

by John Gramlich – It’s common for Americans to know someone with a current or past drug addiction – and it’s an experience that mostly cuts across demographic and partisan lines. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in August found that 46% of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or has been in the past. Identical shares of men and women say this (46% each), as do identical shares of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents when compared with Republicans and Republican leaners (also 46% each). There are no statistically significant differences between whites (46%), Hispanics (50%) and blacks (52%). Data from the federal government provide context for these survey findings. In 2016, about 7.4 million Americans ages 12 and older (2.7%) reported behavior in the past year that meets the criteria of an “illicit drug use disorder,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services...

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White House Chief of Staff Praises Robert E. Lee, Expresses Sympathy for the Confederacy

by Aaron Rupar – John Kelly thinks “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” not slavery. During an interview on the debut edition of Laura Ingraham’s new Fox News show Monday night, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly praised Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and openly expressed sympathy for the Confederate cause. Asked about a Virginia church’s decision to remove a plaque honoring Lee, Kelly said, “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man.” “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days,” Kelly continued. “Now it’s different today.” Kelly went on to offer an odd analysis of the cause of the Civil War, attributing it to a “lack of an ability to compromise” rather than the...

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Neo-Nazis Target College Campuses in Recruitment Drive

by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout | Report – The messages are not subtle: “Make America White Again”; “Imagine a Muslim-Free America”; “Are You Sick of Anti-White Propaganda in College? You Are Not Alone. Take Your Country Back.” They’re signed by a handful of neo-Nazi groups — Identity Evropa , The Right Stuff and Vanguard America — and they aim to inspire students to oppose multiculturalism and efforts to promote diversity. Their specific targets are feminists, anti-racist assemblies including Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ activists and organizations, and those in support of immigrant rights. Bigotry against Muslims and Jews provides the foundational pillar for their rage and resentment. “Our movement is almost 90 percent young White men who know they are screwed if things don’t start improving,” a July 2017 article on altright.com states. “We are de facto not a White advocacy group as much as we are a Young White...

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‘Floodgates Are Opening’ as Allegations Against Powerful Men Reveal Scope of Sexual Assault and Harassment

by Jake Johnson – “Every sexual predator in every walk of professional life is—and should be—nervous that they will be exposed by this uprising.” As a slew of powerful and influential men—from former President George H.W. Bush to MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin to filmmaker James Toback—are facing hundreds of new sexual assault and harassment accusations in the aftermath of the explosive and horrifying Harvey Weinstein revelations, activists and commentators are increasingly coming to believe that something of a “culture-rattling revolution” is underway, one that many hope will change the way such behavior is perceived, discussed, and addressed in the United States and around the world. “There is Harvey Weinstein-like behavior in every industry,” wrote Buzzfeed journalist Alex Berg. “The floodgates are just opening up.” “Harvey Weinstein will go down as an historic figure, just not for the reasons he assumed,” added Axios‘s Mike Allen. “His outing as a sexist, dangerous pig triggered an uprising rarely seen: Abused women feel liberated to bring down powerful...

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NFL Owner Compares His Players to ‘inmates,’ Says They Should not be Permitted to Protest

by Lindsay Gibbs – An explosive ESPN report details the ongoing conflicts between NFL owners and players over protests. Earlier this month, after a select group of NFL owners, players, and executives met for a much-anticipated meeting in New York City about the protests during the national anthem, the 12 owners in attendance met with the rest of the NFL owners to debrief them. During that meeting, a small group of owners who feel that NFL players should be required to stand during the anthem expressed their frustration with the way the league as a whole was handling the divisive topic. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said, according to an explosive report by Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN’s Outside the Lines. ESPN says that McNair’s statement “stunned some in the room.” Troy Vincent, who had a 14-year NFL career and...

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‘New Gilded Age’ Reaches New Heights With World’s Billionaires Owning Staggering $6 Trillion

by Jake Johnson – “At what point will society intervene and strike back?” In an analysis (pdf) published Thursday that throws into stark relief the “unjust and unsustainable” nature of what economists have termed the New Gilded Age, the Swiss financial firm UBS found that the wealth of the world’s billionaires grew by 17 percent in 2016, bringing their combined fortune to a record $6 trillion—more than double the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom. The report also found that there are 1,542 billionaires in the world and more than 563 in the United States alone, more than any other country. Josef Stadler, lead author of the UBS analysis, told the Guardian that the firm’s findings demonstrate that the world is “now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age.” The extent of the world’s wealth concentration—just eight men now own as much wealth as half of the global population—raises a number of questions, one of...

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Hate Group Faces Defeat in Anti-gay Calligraphy Case

by Zack Ford – ADF’s challenges to nondiscrimination protections keep failing. For the second month in a row, a court has rejected the Alliance Defending Freedom’s attempts to overturn LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. It’s the latest in a long line of defeats leading up to the Supreme Court’s consideration of an anti-gay baker’s case later this year. An Arizona state judge ruled earlier this week that Brush & Nib, a custom calligraphy studio run by Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, does not have the right to refuse service to same-sex couples for their weddings. The Brush & Nib case was the first of ADF’s now many “pre-enforcement challenges,” in which businesses challenge sexual orientation nondiscrimination protections, seeking permission to refuse service to same-sex couples without actually being found in violation of the law. Brush & Nib contend that they shouldn’t have to create custom art for a same-sex couple’s wedding (invitations, programs, etc.)...

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New Investigative Website Fights Rich and Powerful ‘Who Call the Shots’

by Michael Winship – Corporate insider-turned-whistleblower Wendell Potter starts up an investigative website to expose corruption and show the public how to fight back. EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2009, he came to us at Bill Moyers Journal because he wanted to tell the truth and needed someone to hear him. As Wendell Potter told his story, we listened — and what we heard was sickening: a story of corruption in the health insurance industry that not only raised the cost of coverage to consumers but put lives at risk. Potter had seen it up close, as head of corporate public relations pulling down a six-figure salary for one of the country’s biggest insurers. He had watched in disbelief as he saw how Wall Street’s hunger to force up quarterly profits gave insurers every incentive to deny coverage, as every dollar not paid out to a claim added to profits and to the soaring paychecks and bonuses of...

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Trump Declares Public Health Emergency Over Opioids, Adds No New Funding

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – Here’s what the declaration misses. President Donald Trump has finally declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, two months after he first said he would. The belated declaration is short of what is immediately needed to combat this epidemic. It offers no new funding that experts on the frontlines of the crisis say is needed — one expert says hundreds of billions in investment is necessary —  and does not seem to yet prioritize increased access to the critical overdose reversal drug naloxone. Thursday’s public health emergency declaration frees up very limited resources to combat the opioid epidemic that killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 alone. The declaration lasts 90 days but can be renewed. The new order allows for the following: Access to the Public Health Emergency Fund: The declaration opens up access to a limited pot of money. The public health emergency fund currently stands at $57,000, an...

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As Luxury Apartments Rise, Homelessness in New York City Reaches Record Levels

by Alex Jacobs, Truthout | News Analysis – According to the Coalition for the Homeless, as of August 2017 homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression. Of the more than 61,000 people without homes, nearly 23,000 are children. During a three-month period of 2016 in just the Bronx alone, there were over 15,000 warrants of possession entered in housing court, meaning a landlord could subsequently evict the tenant. There is an invidious racial component to homelessness in New York as well. About 58 percent of shelter residents are Black and another 31 percent are Latinx. Giselle Routhier, the policy director for Coalition for the Homeless, the nation’s oldest direct service organization assisting those without homes, describes the current situation in New York as a “lost decade.” Back in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg restricted access to federal subsidies, and instead instituted a series of time-limited rental subsidies. “Between 2005 and 2014,...

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Hollywood, Washington and the Enablers

by Neal Gabler – Weinstein has been vanquished, but Trump has paid no price for his depredations. This past week, with the revelations about disgraced former Miramax and Weinstein Company head and serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, it has been impossible to ignore the correspondences between Hollywood and Washington, where another sexual predator now occupies the Oval Office. Hollywood has always been something of a den of iniquity commanded by aggressive satyrs, and Washington’s movers and shakers have long taken a page from that den. Powerful men will be powerful men, which means that they will likely exploit, harass and abuse women. The difference is that when Weinstein’s rapacity became public knowledge, he was promptly banished from decent company, shorn of his career, his family and his reputation, and turned into a pariah, while Trump has paid no price for his depredations — and I don’t mean just sexual depredations —...

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NFL Row Intensifies as Players Kneel and Raise Fists

by Patrick Strickland – Professional American football players continued their protests against police brutality on Sunday despite ongoing blowback from right-wing US President Donald Trump and other politicians. At least 22 players across the National Football League (NFL) participated in the protests, according to the Associated Press’ count. On Monday morning, Trump tweeted his latest in a series of verbal attacks on the protesting athletes, accusing the players of “showing total disrespect” to the country and its flag. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL! 7:53 AM – Oct 23, 2017 During the San Francisco 49ers-Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday, at least eight players from the 49ers knelt during the anthem, while no player from the Cowboys participated in the protest. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has vowed bench any player on his team...

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How to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

by Jocelyn Frye – The most recent revelations about sexual harassment perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, the prominent movie producer, are the latest in a seemingly endless string of blockbuster stories about high-profile figures and allegations of sexual harassment, pay-offs, and cover-ups. With each story, there are sordid, troubling accounts from victims—many of whom were ignored or dismissed at the time the incident occurred—followed by outrage and disbelief from co-workers, professional colleagues, and the media. But, the reality is that the prevalence of sexual harassment should no longer be surprising. Sexual harassment—such as unwanted sexual advances and other actions of a sexual nature used as a condition of employment, to interfere with an individual’s work, or to create a hostile or intimidating work environment—has been an unfortunate part of the workplace for years. Most cases occur out of sight or behind closed doors; most victims are not famous and never have their stories told....

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Republican Sen. Jeff Flake Rails Against Trump: ‘I will not be complicit or silent’ (VIDEO)

by Kerry Eleveld – Saying that he has “children and grandchildren to answer to” for his actions in this perilous political moment, Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake declared that he would not stand by and say nothing while Donald Trump takes this country down. Robert Costa  ✔@costareports “I will not be complicit or silent,” Flake says, citing thoughts of grandchildren he will have to answer to in the coming years 3:19 PM – Oct 24, 2017 Quoting President Teddy Roosevelt, Flake called it “morally treasonable” that “we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavioral” as Trump has displayed. Ed O’Keefe  ✔@edatpost Flake says he will “free myself from political consideration” that causes him to “compromise far too many principles.” 3:19 PM – Oct 24, 2017 Flake also announced that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Read an excerpt of Flake’s speech and watch the video below. If I have been critical, it is not...

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The NRA Hoped Everyone Would Forget the Las Vegas Massacre. It Only Took 3 Weeks

by Addy Baird – Legislation has stalled and interest has faltered. The NRA has won this round. At this point, it feels like tale as old as time: Man takes up gun and slaughters dozens of elementary school children in Newtown or clubgoers in Orlando or concert attendees in Las Vegas. Social media is flooded with messages of concern, with thoughts and prayers, with surety — at least from some — that this time, things will be different. This time, they’lll ban semi-automatic weapons. This time, they’ll close the no-fly list loophole. This time, they’ll outlaw bump stocks. But Vegas isn’t different. It’s been a little more than three weeks since Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival, shooting out the window of a Mandalay Bay hotel room in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 others. It was the worst mass shooting in modern American history,...

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Ohio State Won’t Let Richard Spencer Speak on Campus, Citing ‘substantial risk to public safety’

by Tara Culp-Ressler – The decision comes after three of Spencer’s supporters opened fire on counter-protesters. Officials at Ohio State University won’t allow noted white nationalist Richard Spencer to rent space on campus, citing safety concerns after several of his supporters opened fire on counter-protesters at the University of Florida. The events in Florida, of course, aren’t the first time that a white supremacist event has recently turned violent. In August, amid a “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia, 19 people were injured and one woman was killed by a man who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. In a letter from an attorney representing Ohio State sent on Friday, the lawyer noted the university was concerned that hosting Spencer would pose a “substantial risk to public safety, as well as material and substantial disruption to the work and discipline of the University.” According to the letter, Ohio State officials came...

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NYPD Cops are Smearing a Victim Accusing Them of Rape to Avoid Indictment

by Adrienne Masha Varkiani – “Without commenting on this ongoing investigation, defense counsel’s characterization of how a rape victim should behave is inaccurate, inappropriate and demeaning.” Two New York Police Department officers accused of raping a teenager while on duty are smearing the victim’s credibility over her social media posts and ideas of how a rape victim should behave, according to a letter obtained by the New York Post. The teenager, who goes by the name “Anna Chambers” online and isn’t using her legal name in press, said she was raped by Brooklyn narcotics detectives Richard Hall and Edward Martins on September 15. Chambers said she was driving with two of her friends, and after being pulled over by the detectives, her car was searched. The cops found a bag of drugs next to Chambers, and one on her friend’s person. Chambers says they then handcuffed her and drove her to a Chipotle...

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What Breitbart’s Email Leaks Mean for Public Perception of the “Alt-Right”

by Shane Burley, Truthout | News Analysis – The celebrity of Milo Yiannopoulos has always been a balance between career-end charades and headline-grabbing stunts. While tabloids were still fawning over his wedding photos, especially on the race of his new husband, BuzzFeed was preparing a feature that further demolished his defenses against allegations of white nationalism. In the story published on October 5, Joseph Bernstein unveiled what was apparently years of private emails and Breitbart memos that outlined the far-right publication’s relationship with open white nationalists, including Yiannopoulos’ clear reliance on them. What this revealed was how Yiannopoulos’ celebrity became a tool by which Stephen Bannon engaged in an information war to “defend the West.” While the term “alt-right” was roundly used to describe Yiannopoulos as he railed against Black Lives Matter and feminism, it was always a bit misapplied. The “alt-right” has always meant white nationalism, though in a dressed-up form that would rather...

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Trump Pardon Does Nothing To Make Sheriff Arpaio Less Guilty, Says Judge

by Julia Conley – In ruling, federal judge notes that Arpaio’s acceptance of the pardon amounts to an admission of guilt. A federal judge refused to erase history Thursday, stating that former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still guilty of criminal contempt of court for defying orders to stop racially profiling Latinos—despite President Donald Trump’s pardon of Arpaio in August. The pardon did not “revise the historical facts of this case,” said U.S. District Judge Susan Ritchie Bolton in her ruling. Bolton convicted Arpaio in July for violating the constitutional rights of residents in Maricopa County, Arizona after an earlier order barred him from doing so. Arpaio, a loyal Trump supporter, was notorious for detaining Latinos without any evidence of wrongdoing. He established a detention center known as Tent City where inmates were regularly humiliated and exposed to extreme temperatures, drawing condemnation from human rights groups. Arpaio faced a maximum of six...

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NFL’s Chris Long Will be Donating All of His 2017 Football Salary to Education Charity

by Walter Einenkel – While presidents and their enablers shake their impotent fists at the peaceful protests of Americans NFL linebacker Chris Long has been doing some real patriotic work. About a month ago, Long and his wife announced that they would be donating almost half a season’s worth of Long’s sizeable football salary towards education scholarships in Charlottesville. Now, as ESPN reports, the Long’s have announced that Chris will donate the remaining 10 games worth of paychecks to a campaign for his foundation—Pledge 10 for Tomorrow. “My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality,” Long told the Associated Press. “I think we can all agree that equity in education can help effect change that we all want to see in this country.” Long’s foundation has selected four organizations whose missions focus on making education easily accessible to underserved youth while also providing students the support...

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Why We Must All Fight for the Dream Act

by Robert Reich – By repealing DACA – Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals – Trump has endangered both these young immigrants and the economic security of America. In 2012, the Obama  administration created DACA as a temporary way to address the needs of young people who came to America as infants or toddlers, and know no other country. To apply and qualify for DACA, these young people had to risk entering the system by giving their identifying information. Once approved, they were granted two years of “deferred action” on deportation, with the promise that they could reapply every two years indefinitely. This allowed “dreamers” to go to college, get a job, and pay taxes without fear of deportation. DACA was never perfect, but for 800,000 immigrant youth it meant freedom from fear and an opportunity to fully contribute to the country they were raised in. But now these young people are threatened with...

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