Culture

With House GOP Vote, Internet Privacy Is Officially Kaput

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

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

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

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With a Daily Dial, Police Reach Out to Seniors

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

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Complications of the Border Wall Project Increasingly Apparent

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

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

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

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James Jackson Charged with Murdering Timothy Caughman (VIDEO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eccentric Millionaire Returns Manhattan Building to American Indians

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

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How Slashing the NEA Would Damage the US Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Management of Unleashed Insanity

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

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RIP: Chuck Berry, Dead at 90

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

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Public Support for Modern-Day Jails is Remarkably Low

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Where Free Speech Ends, Ignorance Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drug Industry CEOs are Profiting off Our Opioid Epidemic

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

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LGBT Community Centers See Wave of Vandalism Across the Country

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

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

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

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Dutch Election Could Set Stage for Europe’s Far Right

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

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

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

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

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

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Allowing Guns in Schools is a Bad Idea

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

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Trump Signs Muslim Ban 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hate Crimes in New York City Have Skyrocketed this Year

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

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

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

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

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

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A Great Danger to Our Country

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

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Germany: ’10 attacks a day’ Against Refugees, Shelters in 2016

Hate crimes last year injured more than 500 asylum seekers, including 43 children, interior ministry says. More than 2,500 refugees in Germany were attacked last year, according to a report by the interior ministry, raising fears over the safety of those who have fled war and persecution. In a statement on Sunday, the interior minister citing police figures said that Germany recorded more than 3,500 attacks in total against refugees, migrants and their shelters last year, amounting to nearly 10 acts of anti-migrant violence a day. The attacks left at least 560 people injured, including 43 children. “People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter,” the interior ministry said, according to the AFP news agency. In one case, a German neo-Nazi was sentenced to eight years in jail in February for burning down a sports hall set to...

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The Woman Who Washes the Dead

by Fahrinisa Oswald – The story of two women – a Palestinian Bedouin and a Syrian refugee – as one prepares the other for burial. In the large one-room container in the quiet cemetery of Kato Tritos, a small town several kilometres from the capital of Lesbos, Warda Alkenawy prepares for the ritual body washing. The 35-year-old Palestinian Bedouin from Herat, Israel, is a social worker and accidental washer of the dead who has been on the island since September 2015 – at the height of the mass influx of refugees . Before her lie the bodies of Ghalia Abdi and her two young children, Zanaf and Walat. They were Kurds from Syria, and, like hundreds of thousands of others, were fleeing for their lives. Only their lives ended somewhere in the Aegean, between Turkey and Greece. Now they are here, on Warda’s wooden washing table. Warda learned how to wash bodies...

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Milo Yiannopoulos’ Fall From a Hateful Summit

by Sam Fulwood III – Until recently, I’d never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos. How I wish that blissful ignorance had remained intact. Over the past several years, Yiannopoulos has developed a fanatic following among a minority of Americans who’ve embraced his nasty bleating on Breitbart. Had he been confined exclusively to Breitbart, I might not have ever become aware of him. Alas, he crossed my path over the weekend, turning up like a lightening bug smashing into my social media windshield. The bombastic provocateur accepted a headline speaking gig at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. That didn’t sit too well with some of Yiannopoulos’ critics, of which I’ve learned there are legions. He seems to enjoy attracting controversy as a means to burnish his reputation and line his pocket. Yiannopoulos is an unlikely hero for the conservative political action group; he’s an openly gay man who...

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Right-Wingers Want Us to Accept Inequality and Move On

by SAM PIZZIGATI – Cheerleaders for concentrated wealth have a new reason to cheer. They have chanced upon a fresh rationalization for inequality. This new rationalization comes from an unlikely source, a sober and thoughtful just-published book from a distinguished historian and classicist, Stanford’s Walter Scheidel. In The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, Scheidel builds upon his considerable academic expertise on the ancient world and explores how and when societies have actually become less unequal. In the process, he has brought forth a book that could hardly be more profoundly depressing. Scheidel’s basic thesis: Down through history, only “massive and violent disruptions of the established order” have generated “big equalizing moments.” “It is almost universally true,” he advises, “that violence has been necessary to ensure the redistribution of wealth at any point in time.” The violence that Scheidel details has taken various...

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New Deportation Rules Could Cost the Economy Trillions

by Bryce Covert – Deporting all undocumented immigrants would have extreme effects on the economy. President Trump pushed forward on his campaign promise to deport all undocumented immigrants on Tuesday by releasing new guidelines to expand and speed up deportations. The memos from the Department of Homeland Security target all undocumented immigrants for deportation, even those who haven’t committed serious crimes, while necessitating the hiring of thousands of new agents and building new detention facilities. These policies are going to wreak havoc on the lives, families, and communities of those who end up deported. And they will also come with a steep cost for everyone in this country. It’s still not clear whether the administration will actually have the resources and ability to deport every undocumented immigrant. But even if it were able to deport just the 7 million undocumented workers in this country, out of the estimated 12 million total, it...

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The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency is Crumbling Under Pressure From Protests

by News Corpse – Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare. These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values. For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they...

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President Trump Has Cheapened the Dignity of His Office

by Sam Fulwood III – It hasn’t even been a full month yet, but many of us who pay close attention to Washington feel like the Trump administration has aged us a full decade. Every day begins with a fearful peek at President Donald Trump’s latest insomniac posting on Twitter. Who is he attacking today? A fashion retailer? Or the all-knowing purveyors of “fake news?” Perhaps a beloved civil rights leader and member of Congress? In a way, starting the day with Trump’s tweets is like reading the comics before the front-page news. As tempting as it might seem, however, the president’s online hijinks are no laughing matter. It’s serious business when the leader of the free world expresses pique and ire daily in 140 characters or less. As he did during the presidential campaign, Trump has continued to attack any one or any institution that dares to disagree with him....

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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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