Culture

White House Demands Border Wall Funding in Exchange for DREAMer Protections

by E.A. Crunden – The Trump administration’s new hard-line list includes draconian demands that seemingly contradict early agreement with Democratic leadership. Funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a crackdown on children fleeing Central America are among the demands laid out by President Donald Trump’s administration in exchange for protecting hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. According to a list released late Sunday night, the White House will ask Congress to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities in addition to funding Trump’s long-sought border wall and accelerating the deportations of children back to countries like Guatemala and Honduras — even if their safety is at risk from escalating violence. Family members of immigrants in the United States will also be barred from joining them. Other measures include hiring thousands of new immigration officials to oversee the proposed measures and appointing 370 additional...

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Myth vs. Fact: Debunking the Gun Lobby’s Favorite Talking Points

The gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), pursues a number of different policies in state legislatures across the country and in Congress, including eliminating permit requirements for concealed carry; expanding locations where guns may be carried; weakening regulation of the gun industry; and overriding duly enacted state laws that limit gun carrying. While each of these policies have different elements, all are united by a core set of dangerous and misleading arguments perpetuated by the NRA that more guns in more hands will lead to increased personal and community safety. Below are some of the top NRA-promulgated myths and the facts that expose them as false. Myth: Owning a gun makes you safer Fact: Owning a gun puts you at heightened risk for gun violence The NRA often argues that the United States is a dangerous place and that owning and carrying a gun is the...

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Americans Deepest in Poverty Lost More Ground in 2016

by Kristen Bialik – Although the overall U.S. poverty rate declined and incomes rose rapidly for the second straight year in 2016, many poor Americans fell deeper into poverty, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The official poverty rate was 12.7% last year, close to its pre-Great Recession level (12.5% in 2007). This represents 40.6 million people in poverty. But categorizing people as below or above the poverty line is just one way of looking at economic well-being. The share of the U.S. poor population in severe poverty – defined by the Census Bureau as those with family or individual incomes below half of their poverty threshold – reached its highest point in at least 20 years. It was 45.6% in 2016, up from 39.5% in 1996. (The share of the total U.S. population in severe poverty has declined over the past two years, alongside the overall poverty rate.) Poverty thresholds,...

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Gaping Holes in Gun Background Check System

by macguru – Gun store manager Christopher M. Sullivan of Guns and Guitars, who sold some of the weapons to the gunman who killed 58 and wounded over 500 people in Las Vegas last week made a statement. The gist of it was that he was sorry about the casualties, but his store performed all of the procedures required by law. And he is most likely correct. The laws governing background checks have holes in them a Mac truck could zip through without rifling the willows on the side of the road. The system has no trip points where any Federal agency is notified if, for instance, anyone buys an excessive number of firearms, anyone buys a particularly deadly form of weapon of mass destruction, (AK-47, AR-15, sniper rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammo, large ammo clips, etc.). No trip points for buying guns over a long period, no alerts if one...

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California Sends Strong Rebuke to Trump Administration, Becomes ‘sanctuary state’

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – “The passage of SB54 has been the answer to our prayers for our community.” California on Thursday became a so-called “sanctuary state,” limiting who the state and local law enforcement agencies can detain and transfer on behalf of the federal immigration agency. Named the California Values Act (or SB 54) and set to take effect in January 2018, the law would provide discretion to state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when they detain a suspected undocumented immigrant. The law, in part, strictly limits local law enforcement agencies’ collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency officials to only conviction cases and not during arrests. It also ensures immigrants are notified about their civil rights before ICE can interview them, stops law enforcement agencies from contacting ICE for translation services for monolingual immigrants, prevents the deputization of local law enforcement officers as immigration law enforcers,...

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Expose on Breitbart Proves the ‘alt-right’ is Just a Euphemism for White Supremacists

by Luke Barnes – Email between Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopolous, and his sources show how Breitbart thrived on pushing a racist agenda. The far-right website Breitbart has spent a good portion of the last few months trying to distance itself from racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic causes. In the wake of the violent white supremacist and Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Steve Bannon went on 60 Minutes to disavow the ultra-racist groups. Bannon, a former top adviser to President Donald Trump and former Breitbart CEO, returned to the site after leaving the White House in August. “They are absolutely awful,” he said. “There’s no room in American politics for that, there’s no room in American society for that.” Breitbart has repeatedly claimed that it is merely representing a populist, grassroots conservative movement that helped get Trump elected, and is not a platform for white nationalists. “We think there’s a lot of disenfranchised people out there...

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America has a Skewed Perception of What Qualifies as Terrorism

by Jack Jenkins – Researchers say Americans react differently depending on a perpetrator’s race, religion, and methods. By many metrics, Monday’s horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada — which left nearly 60 people dead and hundreds wounded — followed the agonizingly familiar patterns of America’s endless string of mass shootings. But one thing was different. As many observers on social media pointed out with deepfrustration, law enforcement negated the possibility that the shooter is a “terrorist” with alarming speed — especially when compared to other recent attacks in which the suspected perpetrator was a Muslim or a person of color. Authorities have thus far held firm in their assessment that there isn’t enough evidence to label suspected shooter Stephen Paddock a terrorist in the literal sense, dismissing claims by extremist group ISIS that the shooter was acting on their accord. Erin Kearns, a terrorist expert and professor of criminology at the University of Alabama, said this is...

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DOJ Rescinds Policy Protecting Transgender People From Workplace Discrimination

by Zack Ford – Discrimination based on gender identity will no longer be considered discrimination based on sex. The Department of Justice will no longer argue that workplace protections on the basis of sex protect transgender people from discrimination. That’s according to a new memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions obtained by BuzzFeed Thursday. The new policy reverses a policy put in place in 2014 by then-Attorney General Eric Holder. The fundamental question is whether denying someone employment based on their gender identity (i.e. being transgender) constitutes discrimination on the basis of that person’s “sex,” as protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Holder held that trans people fall under that category, but Sessions has now reversed that and declared they no longer enjoy such protections. “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes, according to BuzzFeed. Under his view, the law only covers discrimination between “men and...

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Sheriff Who Ordered Aggressive Pat Downs of Students in Drug Raid Indicted for Sexual Battery

by Robby Soave – 900 searched, no drugs found. The Georgia sheriff who authorized intrusive pat downs for hundreds of students at Worth County High School earlier this year was indicted for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violating his oath of office. Authorities will issue a warrant for Jeff Hobby’s arrest later this week, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two deputies were also indicted. It is alleged that they groped male and female students, touching them inappropriately during the completely pointless search. No drugs were found on any of the 900 boys and girls subjected to the pat downs. Reason‘s Brian Doherty wrote up the details of the students’ lawsuit: According to the suit’s account of events, all the students “were confined either to their first-period classrooms, to the hallways immediately outside their classrooms, or to the gym” and their “cell phones were seized so that they could not reach their parents….During the lockdown and...

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Mental Illness Rates are Spiking, and its Victims Feel Forgotten by the Trump Administration

by Lindsey Weedston – “I’m worried that Trump’s America doesn’t have a place for people like me.” The first week of October marks the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI’s) Mental Illness Awareness Week. Nine months into Donald Trump’s presidency — and nearly one year after his victory sparked a flurry of self-care and self-help articles — the new normal is taking a toll on Americans, and there’s still no sign of change in our policies. Nicole Nadeau, a 26-year-old from Georgia, suffers from severe anxiety, which, she says, became noticeably worse after Trump became president. After Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments during his campaign, Nicole was “terrified that it would be more alright for women and men to be sexually assaulted” — a fear aggravated by her disorder. “The first month after he was brought into office, I was scared to leave the house,” she told ThinkProgress. Of course, mental health...

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The World is Baffled by U.S. Gun Laws

by D. Parvaz – We take a look at global media response to the Sunday night massacre. After a mass shooting in Las Vegas left at least 58 dead and 500 people injured, most U.S. media focused on the usual stories: a cycle of shock, blame, and healing. The rest of the world, however, largely marveled at what on earth is wrong with Americans. Why are there so many mass shootings in a country that’s not mired in civil war? Why are people allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons? And how does law enforcement in the United States decide when a mass shooting is the act of a “lone wolf” (as shooter Stephen Paddock has been described) or emblematic of a larger problem? Almost all major international news outlets had a running list of the worst mass shootings in the United States — some going back to 1966 — but The New Zealand Herald...

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Republicans Say it’s Too Soon to Talk About Guns After Las Vegas’ Shooting. How About Sandy Hook?

by Hunter – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has some notions on when we should be discussing new legislation to deal with the nation’s now near-daily mass shootings. Well that’s a shame. If it’s premature to talk about action after Las Vegas, though, perhaps we could instead use the opportunity to finally talk about legislative solutions to the Pulse Nightclub murders? It has been over a year since that day….. has enough time passed for the Senate to act? Specifically:  Sahil Kapur   @sahilkapur McCONNELL dismisses talk of new gun laws after Vegas massacre: “I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions.” 2:20 PM – Oct 3, 2017 What about the Umpqua Community College mass shooting, in Oregon? It’s been two years since that one, is it still premature? What about the race-motivated murders of black American churchgoers in South Carolina? What about Sandy Hook? The Virginia Tech mass murder killed 32—that was in 2007. Surely,...

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Tom Petty’s Progressive Politics Won’t be Forgotten

by Casey Quinlan – The pain of Petty’s music is more relevant than ever, and his songs often sent messages about searching for freedom. Tom Petty was the soundtrack to my childhood. His unique voice, with that nasal quality and a distinctive Florida twang, always sounded like it was searching for something, but that it was also resigned to never finding it. It was perfect for long family car trips in my dad’s black pickup truck. Sometimes the trip itself — sitting silently and letting the music wash over us — was more fun than the hiking or fishing plans we made. That seemed appropriate, since Petty’s music allowed us to sit in our pain for a moment, to fully feel it. The stories and themes of his music were often vague enough that it could apply to a wide variety of people and experiences. But his music is still often...

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Black Protest and the Limits of Debating the First Amendment

by Alycee Lane, Truthout | Op-Ed – This is how African American protests of police violence, and reactions to them, generally unfold: African Americans protest. Some people respond by attacking the protesters as un-American or anti-police or worse. Others counter by defending the protesters on First Amendment grounds. From here, a robust First Amendment debate ensues, during which the protests get recast in First Amendment terms. And while some people try to redirect the conversations back to the issue of police violence, they are rarely successful. Consequently, First Amendment freedoms prevail as the protests’ defining issues. And yet, African Americans march or sit-in or hold up traffic or “take a knee” — that is, exercise First Amendment free speech and assembly rights — precisely to protest the routine violation by the police, and thus the states, of our Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; our...

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What More is There to Say on Gun Laws? (VIDEOS)

by BillMoyers.Com Staff – There comes a point where you feel like there’s nothing more to say about gun violence that hasn’t already been said. Over the years, we’ve done many, many stories on gun violence in America. In the days following the Sandy Hook massacre, Bill Moyers urged us to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre by name. He read out the names of all 26 victims and observed that “laws are hard to come by, civilization just as hard. But democracy aims for a moral order as just as possible — which means laws that protect the weak, and not just the strong.” On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at Newtown, we explored the role of guns in America’s national psyche throughout history. And talked to Francine and David Wheeler, the parents of 6-year-old Ben, who died at Sandy Hook. The Wheelers became hopeful activists working doggedly for...

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White Supremacists Gather for Annual Stormfront Summit (VIDEOS)

Counterprotesters heckle the attendees of a conference for Stormfront, a white supremacist forum linked to murders. White supremacists from across the United States have gathered in the state of Tennessee for the annual Stormfront forum summit, drawing protests from some community members and anti-racist activists. Dozens of protesters heckled the white supremacists as the summit attendees convened, according to local media. Charlottesville, Trump and the media – The Listening Post With more than 330,000 members, Stormfront is a leading web forum for white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis, among others. The forum started on Saturday in Crossville, a small town located 70km west of Knoxville, Tennessee and was announced by founder Don Black back in July. Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), reportedly fell ill and has been unable to attend the conference. Billy Roper, another white supremacist, took Black’s place. Among the attendees are...

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White House’s Message to the Nation After Las Vegas Massacre: Don’t Discuss Gun Control

by Zack Ford – “The president has been clear: He’s a strong supporter of the second amendment.” During Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made clear the Trump administration is not interested in any immediate conversations on gun violence prevention legislation in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting that killed at least 58 and injured more than 500. “There’s a time and place for a political debate but now is the time to unite as a country,” Sanders said. Because an investigation is underway and a motive has not yet been determined, it would be “premature to discuss policy when we don’t know all the facts of what took place last night.” She likewise deemed it “premature” to call the shooting “domestic terrorism.” “I think that there will be certainly time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place that we’re in at this moment.”...

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White Folks Need to Stop Assuming We Know Everything About Race

by Jill Richardson – If you don’t understand why football players are taking a knee, take it as a sign you have more to learn. As white people across the nation criticize Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who “take a knee” for the national anthem, they ought to know something first. White people in America have no idea what life is like for black people in America. How can I make such a broad statement? How would I possibly know? For one thing, I’m white. I grew up in a mostly white town. Like many white people, I was raised to oppose racism, at least as I understood it then. I celebrated Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. I wasn’t quite sure who Malcolm X was — I’d heard the name, but we never studied him in school. I’d never heard of other black leaders like Marcus Garvey or...

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The Definition of Leadership: In Response to Racism, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gave a Speech for the Ages

by Jen Hayden – Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent of U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the speech he gave, seen below, in response to a racist incident on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Prep Academy is the absolute definition of leadership. Here is the back story from the Air Force Times: Racial slurs were written on the dormitory message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School earlier this week. Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, director of public affairs for the academy, said the slurs were discovered Monday. One cadet candidate’s mother posted a photo on her Facebook page Wednesday that shows the words “go home n*****r” written on the white board outside her son’s room. “This is why I’m so hurt!” the mother said in her post, which was at first public but then taken offline Thursday. “These young people are...

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The Shady Case That Put a Nashville Man in Prison for Over 20 years

by Aviva Shen – Witnesses say police threatened them into lying about a murder they never saw. Marquise Harris was leaving his family’s apartment one morning in 1992 to catch the school bus when a police officer stopped him outside his door. His parents had already left for work, but Nashville homicide detective Bill Pridemore asked the 13-year-old to talk in private. According to Harris, the detective wanted him to say he had seen another teenager, Cyrus Wilson, shoot a man outside his bedroom window. Harris said he didn’t know anything about the alleged altercation. “Then the detective grabbed my left arm and asked me in a loud tone, do I want to spend the rest of my life in prison for someone else’s mistake,” Harris recounted in a handwritten affidavit earlier this year. Pridemore told him he had enough evidence to arrest Harris as an accessory to murder if he...

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