Culture

On Fighting Inequality, Which Nations Do More than Pay Lip Service?

by Sam Pizzigati – Two global groups have joined to create a first-ever yardstick for holding our world’s top politicos accountable, nation by nation, for narrowing our grand divides. Two years ago, in 2015, just about all the nations in the world came together and agreed to make reducing inequality — the gap between rich and poor — a prime United Nations “sustainable development goal.” A noble gesture. But UN groups make noble gestures all the time. These gestures do sometimes translate into real progress. They more typically amount to blowing smoke — and obscuring how little progress governments may actually be making. How can we tell which nations are just blowing that smoke? People worldwide clearly need a yardstick that identifies those nations, a global measure that can help average citizens hold their governments accountable to all their noble rhetoric. On inequality, we now have that measure. Oxfam, the activist global charity,...

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Since Trump’s Election, Increased Attention to Politics – Especially Among Women

Most find it stressful to talk politics with those who differ on Trump. Following an election that had one of the largest gender gaps in history, women are more likely than men to say they are paying increased attention to politics. And while far more Democrats than Republicans say they have attended a political event, rally or protest since the election, Democratic women – especially younger women and those with postgraduate degrees – are among the most likely to have participated in such a political gathering. The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 27 to July 9 among 2,505 adults, finds that 52% of Americans say they are paying more attention to politics since Donald Trump’s election; 33% say they are paying about the same amount of attention, while 13% say they are paying less attention to politics. Nearly six-in-ten women (58%) say they are paying...

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What We Know — And Don’t Know — About Hate Crimes in America

by Rachel Glickhouse – It’s been about six months since we joined forces with newsrooms around the country to track hate. We’ve collected information on thousands of incidents, but much remains unknown about the scale of the problem. “Go home. We need Americans here!” white supremacist Jeremy Joseph Christian yelled at two black women — one wearing a hijab — on a train in Portland, Oregon, in May. According to news reports, when several commuters tried to intervene, he went on a rampage, stabbing three people. Two of them died. If the fatal stabbing was the worst racist attack in Portland this year, it was by no means the only one. In March, Buzzfeed reported on hate incidents in Oregon and the state’s long history as a haven for white supremacists. Some of the incidents they found were gathered by Documenting Hate, a collaborative journalism project we launched earlier this year. Documenting Hate is...

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Cop Who Killed Black Ninth Grader Indicted

by E.A. Crunden – Family members said they were “cautiously optimistic” about justice for 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was shot while leaving a party. The police officer who shot and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards has been indicted for murder. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced Monday that Roy Oliver, 37, will also face four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant after firing with a rifle into a car carrying Edwards and other teenagers. Edwards, a black ninth grader at Mesquite High School, was unarmed and leaving a party in late April when he was shot by Oliver, a white police officer, in Balch Springs, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. According to family attorney Lee Merritt, Edwards was attempting to leave along with two friends and his brothers when police arrived, answering noise complaints. Oliver fired four rounds into the car with a rifle, striking Edwards, who later died at...

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Cuts to Texas Family Planning Led to an Increase in Both Teen Births and Abortions

by Addy Baird – New research shows the unintended impact of cuts in family planning spending the state legislature made in 2011. Cuts to family planning funding in Texas led to an increase in teen births and abortions in the state, according to a forthcoming research paper in the Journal of Health Economics. In 2011, The Texas State Legislature restructured funding for family planning, ultimately reducing the state’s family planning budget by 67 percent, from $111 million over two year to just $37.9 million for the next two years. The restructuring also formed a three-tiered system that allocates more funding to clinics with comprehensive health services over those that provide only family planning services. Public agencies that provide family planning services, including public health departments and federally qualified health centers, were classified as Tier 1, while non-public providers that offered both preventive and primary care in addition to family planning were Tier 2. Specialty...

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Laquan McDonald Cover-up Case will do More for Police Accountability than His Killer’s Murder Trial

by Alan Pyke – Nothing will fix Chicago’s broken police-citizen relationship overnight, but a new conspiracy case could be an important first step. Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke is still awaiting trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald, a year and a half after he was first indicted in the 2014 killing. But while the odds of a conviction are very long — in the rare instance that a police officer is charged with a crime over their use of lethal force on the job, they almost never lose before a jury — a separate legal front recently opened in the McDonald that case may present a better chance for winning some accountability from the Chicago Police Department. Three other officers — two retired, one who remains suspended while fighting the city’s efforts to dismiss him — now stand accused of a criminal conspiracy to cover up the truth of Van Dyke’s actions that night. The conspiracy indictment, handed down...

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‘No Trump Zone’ Planned in Paris Ahead of President’s Visit

by Julia Conley – Protesters prepare to greet Trump during Bastille Day visit. As the Trump administration attempts to deflect questions from the press regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting during last year’s campaign with a Russian lawyer, the president himself has kept a relatively low profile ahead of a scheduled trip to France this week—but the French aren’t expected to give him a warm welcome as hundreds of demonstrators plan to form a “No Trump Zone” in Paris, where they will march in protest of Trump’s visit and his policies. Trump was invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to attend France’s national celebration of Bastille Day, where the two would honor the cooperative relationship their countries have shared on what would also be the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I. Trump accepted the invitation despite the two leaders’ disagreement on issues including Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement...

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Trump Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit From Woman Who Accused Him of Assault

by Tara Culp-Ressler – She brought a defamation lawsuit against him that Trump’s lawyers are trying to get thrown out. Lawyers representing President Donald Trump are urging the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought against him by a former contestant on the Apprentice reality show, who alleges Trump smeared her reputation on the campaign trail after she came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. The president has previously argued for the loosening of libel laws to make it easier for Trump to sue journalists who publish reports he doesn’t like. But in this case, the First Amendment suits Trump just fine. Trump’s lawyers are arguing he was simply saying what he needed to say to win his campaign. Summer Zervos, who appeared on the fifth season of the reality show, filed suit against Trump in January. Her suit does not center on the sexual assault accusations themselves; instead, Zervos accuses Trump of defaming her after she went public...

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Hundreds of Thousands Gather in Turkey to ‘Revolt Against Injustice’

by Julia Conley – Opposition declares massive rally in Istanbul the beginning of a pro-democracy movement. Turkey’s opposition leader declared a new beginning for the country and demanded reforms to the country’s current government at a huge pro-democracy rally in Istanbul on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Turkey’s first city following a peaceful 25-day March for Justice that began 250 miles away in the capital city of Ankara. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), organized the march with other politicians to protest President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government. Since rising to power as Turkey’s prime minister in 2002, Erdogan has exhibited an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) has muzzled the press and removed judges from the country’s highest courts in an apparent effort to gain control over the judiciary. After a deadly coup attempt in the summer of 2016 by a...

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Where is the Outrage Over Anti-immigrant Bills?

by Sonali Kolhatkar – Two pieces of legislation just passed by the House go “hand-in-hand with a coordinated effort by the administration to paint all immigrants as criminal just by nature of their immigration status.” While many of us are rightfully angry over Donald Trump’s treatment of the media, over the GOP’s attempt to gut health care for millions of Americans and over myriad other issues, two little-noticed but impactful bills sailed through the House of Representatives last week with barely a peep from progressive voices. The bills were the first immigration-related pieces of legislation taken up by the House since Trump’s inauguration and apply harsh penalties for undocumented people. They also help the president live up to some of his most xenophobic rhetoric and were passed with little or no debate, even receiving some Democratic support. They now head to the Senate, and unless there is a major public outcry,...

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Melania Trump’s Anti-cyberbullying Initiative Looks Like a Bust

by Jack Jenkins – Plus, experts say any action from the White House would likely lack credibility. Less than a week before Donald Trump was elected president in last November, his wife Melania declared before a Pennsylvania crowd that one of her core projects as First Lady would be combating the scourge of cyberbullying. “We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media,” she said, to raucous applause. “It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I’m privileged enough to become your First Lady.” But eight months later, cyberbullying experts say she has virtually nothing to show for it — and few believe she will be able to make good on her promise. As the Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey reported on Friday, anti-bullying advocates say they have yet to be contacted by the Trump administration, much less hear of any cohesive...

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‘We Will Not Be Intimidated’: Organizers Announce Women’s March Against NRA

by Jessica Corbett – In response to hostile videos by gun lobby group, progressive activists announce march in nation’s capitol for next week. Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington—which took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration and inspired solidarity marches in hundreds of cities across the globe—are planning a protest against the National Rifle Association for July 14, in response to a video published to the NRA’s Facebook page last month. This time around, the two-day 18-mile march will begin Friday at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, and culminate with a rally in front of the Department of Justice Saturday morning. Organizers are promoting the march on social media with #NRA2DOJ and details are available on the group’s Facebook event. “We know that we are not safe,” the group stated. “But we will not be intimidated into silence.” In the minute-long video that provoked the march, conservative talk-radio host Dana Loesch pushes the false narrative that protesters are violent, in an effort to...

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Artist Uses 100,000 Books To Create Full-Size Parthenon At Nazi Book Burning Site

by Amanda Froelich – To protest political repression and remind the public of events which occurred during WWII, a 74-year-old artist created a full-size Greek Parthenon from 100,000 copies of books.  To protest political repression and remind the public of events which occurred during WWII, 74-year-old Argentinian artist Marta Minujín created a full-size Greek Parthenon from 100,000 copies of books. Named The Parthenon of Books, the monumental replica is located in Kassel, Germany. According to MyModernMet, it is part of the Document 14 art festival. Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify over 170 titles which were — or still are — banned in different countries around the world. The team then got to work constructing a full-size replica of the iconic temple from the books, plastic sheeting, and steel. Most notable, perhaps, is the fact that The Parthenon of Books is located on a historic site where Nazis burnt 2,000+ books in 1933 as part of a very broad campaign...

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Internal Memo Reveals ICE Officers Have Free Rein to Detain Any Undocumented Immigrant

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – Mass deportation has begun. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been instructed to place any undocumented immigrant they encounter in deportation proceedings regardless of their criminal history, according to an internal agency memo obtained by ProPublica. Matthew Albence — the executive associate director for the ICE division in charge of deportation proceedings — wrote to the agency’s current staff of 5,700 deportation officers that “effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.” The memo also includes a priority list of undocumented immigrants for ERO officers to detain and put in removal proceedings. But the list appears broad enough to cover all categories of undocumented immigrants, including those who in the immigration officer’s judgement could “pose a risk to public safety or national security.” The memo represents an even harsher stance toward undocumented immigrants than President Donald Trump...

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Trump’s Escalating Assault on the Press

by Robert Reich – On Sunday morning Trump seemed to promote violence against CNN. He tweeted an old video clip of him performing in a WWE professional wrestling match, with a CNN logo superimposed on the head of his opponent. In it, Trump is shown slamming the CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with punches and elbows to the head. Trump added the hastags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN, for “fraud news network.” The tweet culminated a bizarre week of Trump attacks on the media. The night before, Trump used a portion of his speech at the “Celebrate Freedom” rally at the Kennedy Center to denounce the press. “The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. The people know the truth,” he said. “The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not.” Trump’s words drew a standing ovation from...

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Mistakes in the News Are Not Fake News

by TODD GITLIN – And tantrums from the faker-in-chief don’t make them so. When they’re not frantically defending the Tweeter-in-Chief’s outbursts against Mika Brzezinski, the latest freak-out in his long running misogynistic obsession with female blood, right wing outlets have been jumping up and down about CNN as a “network in crisis,” a nonstop manufacturer of “FAKE NEWS” that’s been caught out. The tweeter-in-chief himself crowed: Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Wow, CNN had to retract big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS! 6:33 AM – 27 Jun 2017 And then:  Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News! 8:47 AM – 27 Jun 2017 What instigated these presidential shrieks was a CNN.com piece stating that hedge-fund impresario Anthony Scaramucci, a latecomer to the Trump campaign, was connected to a Russian investment fund managed by a Kremlin-controlled bank, a fund said to be under Senate Intelligence Committee...

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A Political or Apolitical 4th of July?

by Wim Laven – With a long holiday weekend lined up for the 4th of July most people are probably worried about having enough food for the barbeque, or hoping that their get-togethers aren’t too political. Facebook will be littered with messages of freedom, and assorted dissents. I post a link to Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” to mark the occasion most years. For many people this year will be different and it is important that we pay attention. The freedoms marked by the day are under attack. The Declaration of Independence declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is important to consider the choice of reflecting these specific values. For example, in Canada...

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In Georgia, You Can Now Carry Guns on College Campuses

by Lauren C. Williams – Dozens of new gun laws take effect July 1. Georgia officially ended a gun ban for college campuses Saturday, the Associated Press reported. Georgia joins nine other states with legislation that permits concealed gun carriage on college campuses, including Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kansas’ law, which allows concealed carry on-campus without a permit or training, also went into effect July 1. Georgia’s law requires gun permit applicants to be at least 21 years old, or 18 if you have proof of basic weapons or military training. They are also subject to fingerprinting, a criminal records check, and a federal background check. Georgia campuses, however, are not required to have new signage or provide storage facilities for concealed weapons, according to the Charlotte Observer. The University System of Georgia will hold information sessions for faculty and students to explain the...

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Alarm Raised as Trump Election Panel Requests Detailed Data on All US Voters

by Jon Queally – ‘This meritless inquisition opens the door for a misguided and ill-advised Commission to take steps to target and harass voters and could lead to purging of the voter rolls.’ Voting and civil rights advocates are ringing alarm bells on Thursday after it was learned that an election commission established by Donald Trump—one which critics feared from its inception would be used to suppress, not protect, voter access—had sent requests to all fifty states demanding personal and detailed information about voters. According to The Hill, a letter was sent from Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas and vice chairman of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asking the states for “several pieces of information about voters, including their names, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their voting history dating back to 2006.” The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights and...

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NRA Issues Call for White Supremacy and Armed Insurrection (VIDEO)

by Bill Moyers, Michael Winship – The gun lobby’s new “recruitment ad” is really a call for white supremacy and armed insurrection, deliberately crafted to stir anger and fear. Take a look at the ad below and ask whether the National Rifle Association can go any lower. Ponder this flagrant call for violence, this insidious advocacy of hate delivered with a sneer, this threat of civil war, this despicable use of propaganda to arouse rebellion against the rule of law and the ideals of democracy. On the surface this is a recruitment video for the National Rifle Association. But what you are really about to see is a call for white supremacy and armed insurrection, each word and image deliberately chosen to stir the feral instincts of troubled souls who lash out in anger and fear: Disgusting. Dishonorable. Dangerous. But also deliberate. Everything deplored by the NRA in the ad is committed...

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