News

Islamophobia’s Anniversary

by SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN – How a disinformation campaign changed America. In the annals of American democracy, hardly anything of lasting consequence ever took place at a meeting of one of New York City’s community boards. These panels of volunteers, many of them appointed by local political bosses, hold no binding power and are only an advisory voice on issues like land use, construction and zoning. There is, however, one red-letter date associated with the community board that covered the southern tip of Manhattan, and we are approaching its anniversary. May 25 was the seventh anniversary of Islamophobia in America. Not that the irrational fear and hatred of Muslims and Islam started then and there, but rather that the events helped coalesce a loose alliance of bigots and opportunists into a political movement, the same movement that ultimately elected Donald Trump as president. On that spring evening in 2010, the members...

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Scientists Just Published a Study Calling Out the Head of the EPA by Name

by Samantha Page – No, warming is not ‘leveling off.’ A new study appeared in the journal Nature on Wednesday, directly refuting the idea that satellite data has shown global warming has leveled off, a claim made by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier this year. “Satellite temperature measurements do not support the recent claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades,” the study says. The researchers were upfront about why they ran the study, calling out Pruitt by name. “Mr. Pruitt claimed that ‘over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.’ We test this claim here,” the researchers write. The study was authored by Benjamin Santer, an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and three Livermore colleagues, as well as three scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington in Seattle, and...

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Trump’s Business isn’t Keeping the Receipts From Foreign Governments

by Ned Resnikoff – The president vowed to donate all profits from foreign governments to the Treasury. But he can’t donate them if no one can find them. One month ago, the House Oversight Committee asked the Trump Organization to provide documents related to payments it had received from foreign governments — and outline a plan for donating profits to the U.S. Treasury Department, as President Donald Trump vowed he would. Now it appears that Trump’s business empire hasn’t been keeping track of those payments, making compliance with the president’s promise all but impossible. NBC obtained a Trump Organization pamphlet that says the business will not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity.” Instead, the Trump Organization puts the onus on foreign governments to make those disclosures, voluntarily and without prompting. The Trump Organization forwarded this pamphlet to members of the...

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Seven Things You Need to Know About the G7 Summit (VIDEOS)

What does the G7 stand for, who are the key players and what are the potential bust-ups this year? The leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – countries collectively known as the Group of Seven (G7) – are meeting on Friday for a two-day summit in the resort town of Taormina, Italy. The bloc meets annually to discuss a wide range of issues, including global economy, security and energy – and this year will be no exception. But with four out of seven leaders sitting at the G7 table for the first time, including US President Donald Trump, experts will be looking for signs about potential policy shifts amid growing global challenges. Syrian conflict tops G7 summit agenda Trump, in particular, is likely to face peer pressure over his protectionist and climate-sceptic stance, which has put him at odds with some of the...

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Jared Kushner Marked by FBI as Having ‘significant information’ in Russia

by Hunter – The investigation into Russian election hacking and links to the Trump campaign has now reached the doorstep of Trump son-in-law and adviser for All The Things, Jared Kushner. Oops. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News. Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him. It is not known whether Kushner has received any records requests from federal investigators. Kushner, like multiple other members of the Trump campaign, had meetings with prominent Russian figures during the campaign or transition, including a December meeting in Trump Tower. And while the FBI doesn’t appear to consider Kushner a target, they are “focusing” on his actions. Investigators are focusing on a series of...

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On This Day, May 26, 1897 – Dracula Goes on Sale in London

The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on this day in 1897. A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail on the side. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass. Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but...

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New CBO Score Makes Clear: Trumpcare is ‘Political Suicide’ in Senate

by Deirdre Fulton – The upper chamber of Congress ‘must kill this bill before it kills us’ As outrage continues to percolate over the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score for Trumpcare—showing 23 million Americans stand to lose their healthcare and those who don’t will be stuck with inferior, pricier coverage—advocates and activists are directing their ire toward the U.S. Senate, which is currently crafting its own version of the bill. “In the weeks ahead, MoveOn members will be organizing to press senators with a range of tactics at our disposal, from urging directly affected constituents to speak up at town halls to flooding Senators with phone calls to organizing protests outside of their district offices,” Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said Wednesday evening. “MoveOn members and Americans nationwide will make it clear to the Senate that following in the footsteps of the House by pushing through a dangerous...

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GOP Strategist Admits He Colluded With Russian Hackers to Hurt Hillary Clinton, Democrats

by Eyesbright – I’ll quote the first three paragraphs of the article and provide the link to the whole thing.  Note that it actually originated from the Wall Street Journal but is behind a paywall.  The quotes are from Salon: The U.S. intelligence community has long since concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and it was reported shortly after the 2016 presidential election that a GOP SuperPAC linked to Paul Ryan used illegally hacked material to attack Democratic House candidates. But a bombshell report published on Thursday confirms that Republican political operatives were working with the Russian government to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of so-called collusion. The Wall Street Journal reported that hacked information was posted on a blog run by Aaron Nevins, the political operative, and then passed along to top Trump adviser Roger Stone during the campaign. The Republican...

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‘From Laughable to Inevitable’: $15 Minimum Wage Hits Congress

by Lauren McCauley – Responding to grassroots labor movement, Democratic lawmakers show that they are ready to join the pro-worker fight. Answering the call from millions of underpaid American workers who for years have pounded the pavement demanding a living wage, progressive lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation in both the House and Senate that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, “reversing the growing trend of income inequality between the top and everybody else,” as stated by Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made the $15 minimum wage a pillar of his 2016 presidential bid, said as he introduced the bill alongside Scott and others that he knows the idea “is a radical concept for our Republican friends, but we believe in the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that if you work 40 hours a week or...

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War in Afghanistan Is Killing Children in Record Numbers in 2017

by Ruchi Kumar, Truthout | Report – Four-year-old Alisina was playing in the fields outside her house in the Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan, located 80 kilometers from the capital city of Kabul, on a mid-April morning. Only vaguely aware of the constant war that surrounds them, Alisina and her friends didn’t know the large metal object they found in the field that day was in fact an unexploded ordnance left behind by one of the warring parties. The little girls squabbled over who would get to play with it first, and Alisina won the rights to the deadly weapon, which minutes later exploded in her hands as she attempted to lift it. “She has shell injuries to face and both eyes, chest and hands. Her thumb and third finger required traumatic amputation,” Alisina’s doctor at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul told me in an interview. “We had...

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Trump’s Cruel and Deviant Budget

by Robert Reich – For years, conservatives warned that liberals were “defining deviancy downward.” They said that by tolerating bad social behavior, liberals in effect lowered what was deemed acceptable behavior overall – allowing social norms to decline. There was never a lot of evidence for that view, but there’s little question that Donald Trump is actively defining deviancy downward for the nation as a whole – whether it’s by lying, denigrating basic democratic values, celebrating tyrants around the world, using his office to build his family wealth, or stopping at nothing to win the presidency. Now comes his budget. Budgets are overall expressions of values and priorities. Trump’s budget is cruel and deviant. He proposes to cut federal spending by more than $3.6 trillion over the next decade, much of it for programs that help the poor (Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security disability, and health insurance for poor children) –...

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What Happens When States Go Hunting for Welfare Fraud?

by Jen Fifield – By the time Illinois decided to crack down on Medicaid fraud in 2012, state officials knew that many people enrolled in the program probably weren’t eligible. For years, caseworkers hadn’t had the time or resources to check. To catch up, the state hired a private contractor to identify people who might not be eligible for the low-income health program and to make recommendations for whose benefits should be canceled. Within about a year, Illinois had canceled benefits for nearly 150,000 people whose eligibility could not be verified — and saved an estimated $70 million. Now, faced with growing Medicaid enrollment and tight budgets, Republican lawmakers in several other states are taking similar steps to ensure that people receiving welfare benefits are eligible for them. Under their proposals, which are modeled on legislation drafted by a national conservative group, recipients would face tougher and more frequent eligibility checks....

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There’s New Evidence that President Trump Obstructed Russian Investigation

by Emily Q. Hazzard – Here’s the case for charging the president with obstruction of justice. President Donald Trump asked two high-ranking intelligence officials to publicly deny allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election reports the Washington Post, citing “current and former officials.” According the Post’s sources, who were granted anonymity, the president asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to publicly deny any evidence existed that the campaign colluded with Russia. The conversations apparently happened in March, after then–FBI director James Comey had told the House Intelligence Committee that officials were investigating links and alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Coats and Rogers apparently each rejected those request on the grounds it would be inappropriate. The sources also tell reporters that a senior NSA official kept a record of the conversation between Trump...

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A Court Just Blocked Trump’s Muslim Ban Because Trump Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut

by Ian Millhiser – Authoritarianism for Dummies. Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. At least, that’s the biggest takeaway from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision upholding an injunction against the most recent version of Trump’s Muslim ban. Ten of the thirteen judges who heard International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump ruled against Trump’s policy, although there was some disagreement as to why among the judges in the majority. As Chief Judge Roger Gregory explains in the court’s primary opinion, the court may have reached a different outcome had Trump and his aides simply kept their big mouths shut. As was the case in several other decisions halting the Muslim ban, Trump lost in large part because he spent months traveling around the country bragging about his plan to violate the Constitution. The primary tension in the Muslim ban cases is between the First Amendment’s prohibition...

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Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments

by Charles Ornstein – Since the passage of the American Health Care Act, Republican members of Congress have tried to swing public opinion to their side. ProPublica has been tracking what they’re saying. Earlier this month, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Ashleigh Morley visited her congressman’s Facebook page to voice her dismay. “Your vote yesterday was unthinkably irresponsible and does not begin to account for the thousands of constituents in your district who rely upon many of the services and provisions provided for them by the ACA,” Morley wrote on the page affiliated with the campaign of Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “You never had my vote and this confirms why.” The next day, Morley said, her comment was deleted and she was blocked from commenting on or reacting to King’s posts. The same thing has...

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British Intelligence Shuts Out US After Information Leaks on Manchester

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump shared classified intelligence with Russian officials, putting Israeli assets at risk. Trump shared the location of two nuclear submarines with Rodrigo Duterte, putting US assets at risk. And now the Trump team has shared the name of the Manchester bomber along with other information, putting the investigation of the British terrorist attack at risk. High-ranking British officials, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, are speaking out against the US, after a number of confidential details in the ongoing investigation into Monday’s Manchester attack appeared in American media before the British authorities confirmed them. It’s all part of a pattern in which the Trump regime talks tough about leakers letting out the details of their own misdeeds, but dishes classified information like paparazzi. The result of the Trump regime’s loose lip is that the US is already getting cut out of further information coming from the Manchester investigation. According...

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NATO to ‘formally join’ Anti-ISIL Coalition

Member states of military alliance are set to officially join a US-led coalition fighting ISIL, diplomatic sources say. NATO member states are expected to formally join a US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group in Syria and Iraq, according to several diplomatic sources. The decision by the North Atlantic Council, the highest decision-making body within NATO, is expected to be officially announced at a meeting of the alliance’s leaders on Thursday. “The NATO (member state) ambassadors decided this evening an action plan on terrorism for the summit. It includes the accession of NATO to the global coalition against IS,” one diplomat told the AFP news agency on Wednesday, using a different name for ISIL. The decision is mainly political because all 28 NATO member states are already individually part of the coalition, with some only taking part in...

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First Advertiser Pulls Ads From Hannity

by Judd Legum – The decision follows Hannity relentlessly pushing a murder conspiracy theory about Seth Rich. The first advertiser has pulled their ads from Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, following a week in which Hannity has stubbornly clung to a debunked conspiracy theory. Through his Fox show and social media platforms, Hannity has pushed theory that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was murdered last summer, was the source of the emails released by Wikileaks. Hannity believes this theory would exonerate Russia and, therefore, Trump from interfering with the presidential campaign. Hannity relied on the claims of a private investigator and a report published on FoxNews.com. The investigator has since recanted and FoxNews.com retracted their story. Cars.com announced their decision to pull their ads in response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed News. Mary Georgantopoulos  ✔@marygeorgant .@carsdotcom is suspending its advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox show 2:18 PM – 24 May...

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‘RussiaGate’ Has Become a Catastrophic Failure of Leadership — and a Debacle From Which the Trump Presidency Will Not Recover

by DOUGLAS BLACKMON – The Trump-Russia scandal has metastasized quickly and destructively. A little more than a week ago, I said on CNN and wrote on Facebook that — based on reporting I’d just completed in Washington DC — it was clear that the controversy surrounding Russian contacts with advisers to President Donald J. Trump and his campaign team was about to become much more serious and much more directly focused on the president himself, and would have deeply troubling consequences for our democracy. The revelations since then have confirmed all of that, and will be remembered as the point when an extraordinary but perhaps still manageable political embarrassment for the Trump administration mushroomed into the most serious controversy to engulf a presidency since Watergate. Based on what we know already, and new revelations that will soon illuminate more key events in this sequence, our country faces a dramatic constitutional exigency....

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Roger Ailes: The Man Who Destroyed Objectivity

by NEAL GABLER – The founder of the right-wing network inflicted harm on the body politic that may be impossible to heal. Fox News creator and former chief Roger Ailes, who died at 77 last week from complications after a fall in his Florida home, may have been the most significant political figure of the last 35 years — which isn’t necessarily a compliment to those of us who believe media mavens shouldn’t also be political operatives. Ailes clearly thought differently. He simultaneously changed the contours both of American politics and American media by melding them, and in doing so changed the contours of fact and objectivity as they once were understood before the era of post-fact. It seems a lot to put on one man, but Roger Ailes destroyed the idea of media objectivity in the name of media objectivity, the way a phony evangelist might destroy virtue in the...

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White House Twists Bombshell Testimony About Russia Contacts

by Aaron Rupar – The Trump administration wants you to believe the CIA has no evidence of collusion, but that’s not what the former director said. During a House Intelligence Committee Hearing on Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan said the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia is “well founded.” He cited “information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals” as evidence. As Daily Beast editor Justin Miller pointed out, Brennan’s testimony represents the first time a U.S. official has publicly said they have direct knowledge of communications between the Trump campaign and Russia. Brennan didn’t come out and detail evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He explained during the hearing the evidence is classified information and not appropriate to discuss...

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CBO: Trumpcare Would Strip Coverage From 23 Million, Make It Worse for the Rest

by Deirdre Fulton – In their rush to push the American Healthcare Act through the chamber this month, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. The cruel and destructive bill known as Trumpcare would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 23 million, according to the revised Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score released Wednesday afternoon. The GOP-controlled House passed the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) by just two votes earlier this month, after adding an amendment gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing states to get waivers on the essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare—including maternity and mental health care. In their rush to push the bill through the chamber, Republicans did not wait for a revised report from the CBO. That assessment, published late Wednesday afternoon, found that 14 million more people would be uninsured under Trumpcare next year. Nineteen...

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Following Leak to Russia, Israel is Shifting How it Shares Intelligence With U.S.

by E.A. Crunden – European and U.K. officials have also expressed concern over leaks. Israel is altering how it shares intelligence with the United States after President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russia in the Oval Office two weeks ago. Trump, who was meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, told both men about a believed threat from ISIS involving bombs buried inside of laptops. That information, the New York Times reported, came from Israel — something that was unconfirmed officially until Trump himself seemingly let it slip while speaking in Israel on Monday, ironically while attempting to defend himself on the issue to the media. “I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel’. Never mentioned during that conversation,” Trump said. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” But Israeli officials seem concerned less about being...

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Exxon Loses in Court and Must Turn Over Documents to NY AG Schneiderman

by DWG – Exxon must now submit to a document proctological exam conducted by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. From Reuters: May 23:  A New York state appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Exxon Mobil Corp should be compelled to turn over records in an investigation into how much the company knew about global warming as it continued to publicly downplay the effects it was expected to have on the fossil fuel industry. Exxon has been battling subpoenas from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is probing the company for fraud in its public statements about climate change. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision, rejecting Exxon’s argument that the court did not properly consider which state’s laws on turning over evidence in an investigation should apply in the case. The investigation is taking place in New York, but Exxon’s headquarters are in Texas. This is a big deal....

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Important New Ryan Lizza Piece on Sally Yates

by teacherken – just up at the website of The New Yorker, where it will appear in the May 29th issue.  It is titled Why Sally Yates Stood Up to Trump and has the subtitled “The former acting Attorney General reflects on the F.B.I., Michael Flynn, and how the President ended her career at the Justice Department..” It is the result of the first interview Yates has given since she was fired by the President.  Lizza conducted his interview of Yates the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired. There will be a lot of background about Yates — she is an impressive person. It is a well-written article, one that you should read. Let me offer a few selections to whet your appetites. Here’s the opening paragraph: It is hard to locate when President Trump first declared war on the government establishment, but the story may well begin on...

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How Do We Stop Trump? The Founding Fathers Gave Us a Tool for That (VIDEO)

by KRISTIN MILLER – Partisans’ failure to impeach previous administrations sent a signal that lawlessness could continue unabated. Almost 10 years ago Bill Moyers Journal hosted a freewheeling discussion about impeachment with conservative scholar (and Clinton impeachment article author) Bruce Fein and John Nichols of The Nation. The impetus was a newly released poll that showed some 45 percent of Americans favored starting the impeachment process for President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Among the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the pair were accused of perpetrating were many related to civil liberties and obstruction of justice in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq War. Of course, impeachment never proceeded against Bush and Cheney. Fein and Nichols were clear about the proper use of impeachment — not as a bludgeon or an axe striking off the head of state — but as a cure for what ails a very troubled executive. We...

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Top 10 Brain Damage Causing Habits

by Amelia Kinney – Brain damage is often a result of unnecessary stress and exposure to air pollutants. You might reconsider the consequence of these seemingly innocuous habits when you learn how they can inhibit neurological function and cause the brain to age. 1. Understimulation Remember, for the most part, your comfort zone isn’t doing you any favours. Break away from your normal routine and explore, write, create and travel. Try new things that stimulate the senses. Learning new skills keeps your brain young, and should be a priority at every age. 2. Skipping Breakfast Not eating breakfast can lead to lower blood sugar levels, which ultimately deprives your brain of nutrients. If your brain isn’t given sufficient nutrition, it begins to degenerate. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast high in protein. 3. Smoking Smoking cigarettes can cause obstruction of blood flow to the brain, and also can lead to escape of...

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The Outrageous Assumptions Hiding a $6 trillion Hole in Trump’s Budget

by Judd Legum – The budget is so detached from reality, it’s created its own theory of economic growth. The Trump administration has proposed a massive $6 trillion tax cut, mostly for the wealthy. How does Trump’s budget, released today, account for this massive amount of lost revenue? It doesn’t. In fact, it assumes that revenue would increase by $2 trillion over ten years. This is detailed in table S-2, which states that “economic feedback” will reduce the deficit by $2,062,000,000,000 over 10 years. The “economic feedback” refers to the growth that the Trump administration assumes will come as a result of its tax cut. It is an assumption that far exceeds the beliefs of even the most enthusiastic supply-side economists. The theory in play is that, by reducing taxes, you incentivize economic activity by allowing corporations and people to keep more of what they earn. This is true to some degree....

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Atheism More Prevalent Among Americans Than the Polls Generally Show (VIDEO)

by Ronald Bailey – A new study finds that 26 percent of Americans likely do not believe in God. Although acceptance of atheists is increasing, their fellow Americans still eye them with considerable suspicion. The percentage of Americans who declare themselves religiously unaffiliated has risen from 5 percent in 1972 to 25 percent now. But depending upon the poll, the share of Americans who call themselves atheists varies from a low of 3 percent to around 11 percent. Given the social stigma attached to atheism, researchers at the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) hypothesized that polls might underreport the number of Americans who are nonbelievers. To test this hypothesis, they used the unmatched count technique, in which poll respondents are randomly divided into two groups. The control group is asked how many of a number of harmless statements—”I am a vegetarian,” “I can drive a motorcycle,” “I own a dog,” etc.—are...

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Trump & Co. Put Out a Call for Plumbers

by TODD GITLIN – With so many leaks in the White House and no one to stop them, the Trump administration and the right-wing media are stepping up attacks on the “fake news” mainstream media and whistleblowers. Trump’s blasts against the hated media flood out of his reptile brain like rising seas, for example: Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! 4:48 PM – 17 Feb 2017 and 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 And so on. The New York Times (which seems to be fairly thriving, by the way) has counted 41 of these during the 100 days from his inauguration through April...

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Trump to Propose Massive Cuts to Safety Net in ‘Utter Betrayal’ Budget

by Nadia Prupis – ‘Regular folks need Medicaid. Nursing home care especially. These cuts are just cruel, and all because they want to cut taxes for the rich,’ tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz. President Donald Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and Social Security, among other safety net programs, according to new reports. The Washington Post wrote on Monday that the budget will include $800 billion in Medicaid cuts over the next 10 years, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated would slash benefits for 10 million low-income people. It will also call for giving states more power to stiffen work requirements for people receiving federal assistance, which could tighten the limits on who can access anti-poverty payments and for how long, the Post‘s Damian Paletta wrote. “Regular folks need Medicaid. Nursing home care especially. These cuts are just cruel, and all because they...

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Of Confederate Monuments, NOLA’s Mayor Asks: “Is This Really Our Story?” (MUST SEE VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.’ Last week, as New Orleans completed the controversial and long-awaited task of taking down Confederate monuments from its public spaces, Mayor Mitch Landrieu marked the occasion by delivering a speech that has since been lauded as “stunning,” “incredible,” “powerful,” and “a clear-eyed view of our past as well as our present.” Many said the speech would go down in history. Jamelle Bouie ✔@jbouie This may rank with LBJ’s Howard commencement as 1 of the most honest speeches on race given by a white Southern pol. http://pulsegulfcoast.com/2017/05/transcript-of-new-orleans-mayor-landrieus-address-on-confederate-monuments … 11:04 PM – 22 May 2017 Transcript of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments | The Pulse Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be...

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At Least 22 Dead After Explosion at Ariana Grande Concert in England

by E.A. Crunden – Many of the show’s attendees were teens and young children. At least 22 people are dead and 59 are injured after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester, England, according to multiple news reports. Concertgoers said they heard loud bangs at Manchester Arena around 10:30 p.m. local time, just as the concert was ending. Shortly after, Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team arrived at the scene and police cautioned people to avoid the area so that emergency responders could reach victims and those injured.  G M Police  ✔@gmpolice Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena 6:44 PM – 22 May 2017 More than 20,000 people were in the arena when the bomb went off, according to reporting from the Guardian. Many of the show’s attendees were teenagers and young children. A reporter from the Guardian on the scene tweeted that “small...

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Why the Moors Murders ‘should never be forgotten’

by Alasdair Soussi – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley may now both be dead but their deeds remain a critical part of British criminal history.   He met his death from ill health at a high-security psychiatric hospital in northwest England where he had been detained for the past three decades. The passing of Ian Brady, 79, on May 15 signalled not only the end of a life, but the end of a grim chapter in modern British history. Brady had been in jail since 1966, when he was given life in prison for the torture and murder of three children – 12-year-old John Kilbride, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and 17-year-old Edward Evans. They were crimes that saw his accomplice and girlfriend Myra Hindley also jailed for life. In 1985, the Glasgow-born killer admitted to the murders of a further two children – 16-year-old Pauline Reade and 12-year-old Keith Bennett, whose...

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Palestinian Basic Rights ‘not on the agenda’ for Trump (VIDEOS)

by Farah Najjar – As US President Donald Trump arrives in Israel, analysts say efforts to revive peace talks are a ‘charade’. US President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel as part of his first foreign trip since taking office in January, but critics have already dismissed as lip service his vows to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. The trip will include bilateral meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Washington earlier this month to pledge his support to a renewed peace process. But experts note that the Trump administration’s “unwavering support” for the state of Israel will render any potential negotiations futile. “They will fall over themselves loving Israel to get elected, come to their senses a bit when in office, then pay lip service to peace while serving the strategic alliance between the US and Israel by blindly supporting Israel,” Sam...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down North Carolina’s Racially Gerrymandered Congressional Maps

by Ian Millhiser – A small victory, but better than the alternative. The Supreme Court held Monday that North Carolina’s congressional maps — or, at least, those of two congressional districts — are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. In an unusual move, Justice Clarence Thomas joined with the Court’s liberal bloc to produce a 5–3 decision. Yet, while Cooper v. Harris is a victory for voters who don’t want lawmakers manipulating districts to determine electoral outcomes, it is a small victory. And there is much in Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion for the Court that highlights how fundamentally broken the law governing gerrymandering will continue to be even after Monday’s decision. Harris involved two congressional districts, the First and the 12th, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature packed with additional black voters — despite the fact that these districts routinely elected the candidate preferred by African-Americans. By cramming more black voters into district that already elected black-preferred candidates, the legislature prevented...

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Is Michael Flynn Trying to Confess?

by ReasonaBill – Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, reportedly will exercise a perfectly valid legal right today to not incriminate himself following his rejection of a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Flynn previously sought immunity from the same committee for his testimony.  Did I miss something, did Michael Flynn just confess to a crime?  He told us in his own words, “when you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime.” I guess it is foolish for me to point out the rampant hypocrisy of the current White House staff both current and former.  The head of this merry little band of hypocrites is the emperor with no clothes, Donald Trump. The tweeting thumb thug, or John Miller or John Barron or whatever name he is using to spread propaganda these days is facing truth and is scared http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-spokesman-impersonation_us_5735e7e9e4b08f96c182eedd.  Trump, one of the pioneers of...

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OOPS: Trump Accidentally Confirms Source of Classified Intel He Gave to Russians

by Aaron Rupar – He did so while mischaracterizing media reports about his Oval Office meeting with top Russian diplomats. During a photo opportunity with President Trump on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked if he’s concerned about Trump sharing highly sensitive counterterrorism intelligence with Russian officials on May 10 — information that reportedly came from an Israeli source. Trump responded by telling reporters that he never mentioned the word “Israel” during that meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. “Just so you understand — I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel,’” Trump said. “I never mentioned it during that conversation.” Gesturing to reporters, Trump added, “They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” “Intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu said. President Trump says he “never mentioned the word Israel” in his Oval Office meeting with...

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The DoJ Temporarily Shut Down a Legal Services Group that Opposed the Muslim Ban

by Lauren C. Williams – A judge eventually issued a restraining order to prevent the Justice Department crackdown. The Justice Department temporarily shut down a non-profit group in Seattle that provides free pro se, or temporary, legal representation to immigrants for nearly a month on a technicality, the Nation reported. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), which offers legal services to upwards of 10,000 immigrants each year, helped immigrants at Seattle-Tacoma International airport avoid deportation under the Trump administration’s Muslim ban executive order earlier this year. But federal authorities shut down the group’s operations via a cease-and-desist letter in April, warning the group to close its asylum program and drop its clients or face disciplinary action. The NWIRP is accused of breaking an obscure law meant to punish fraudulent, predatory immigration lawyers, also known as “notarios” who will take on a case, collect a fee, and then drop it before seeing...

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Newt Gingrich Pushes Discredited Conspiracy Theory About Death of DNC Staffer

by Kiley Kroh – Gingrich quickly pivoted from the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties to a conspiracy theory Seth Rich’s murder. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joined Fox and Friends on Sunday to discuss the day’s major news stories — or in Gingrich’s case, to pivot from the deepening investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia to baseless conspiracy theories about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. After Gingrich and the hosts bemoaned the media’s “presumption of guilt” toward Trump, Gingrich was asked whether Robert Mueller, appointed this week as special counsel overseeing the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, might shed some light on the truth. Gingrich, a staunch Trump supporter, replied that it would depend on the scope of the investigation before quickly shifting gears to the unsolved murder of Rich, claiming without evidence that he was “assassinated.” “At the...

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US and Saudi Arabia Sign Arms Deals Worth Almost $110bn

US Secretary of State says the arms agreements will help Saudi Arabia deal with ‘malign Iranian influence’. The US and Saudi Arabia signed arms deals worth almost $110bn on Saturday, the first day of President Donald Trump’s visit to the traditional US ally. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the arms agreements will help Saudi Arabia deal with “malign Iranian influence”. “The package of defence equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf region,” Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh on Saturday. This is “in particular in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian-related threats which exist on Saudi Arabia’s borders on all sides,” Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh. Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Riyadh, said that the arms deal would be seen by both signatories as a “win-win”, especially as the deal involved arms that Obama was not prepared to sell...

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View From the Left: Better Lawyer Up Team Trump

by Kerry Eleveld – Donald Trump gave us a glimpse into where the administration’s future is headed Thursday when he drew a clear distinction between himself and his campaign in regard to the FBI investigation into the Russia scandal. “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign—but I can always speak for myself and the Russians, zero,” he said during a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. On paper that quote looks a little muddy, but to the ear it was clear that he meant he could “only” speak for himself. In other words, I can’t defend what the rest of my campaign did, nor will I. It’s the third time in two weeks actually that Trump has made overt efforts to separate his actions from that of his campaign. In his letter dismissing FBI director James Comey, Trump famously made sure to reference the “three separate occasions” on which Comey purportedly...

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Should We Treat Big Pharma as a Public Utility?

by Fran Quigley, Truthout | Op-Ed – Drug prices are skyrocketing in the US, and eye-watering Big Pharma profits are rising right along with them. With millions of Americans skipping medicine doses due to cost, widespread public frustration has spurred lawmakers to propose some good ideas for addressing the crisis. Lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating the price it pays for drugs and allowing prescription drugs to be imported from other countries would be helpful. So would the US government overriding patents and licensing generic manufacture of drugs that were discovered with taxpayer funding. Another popular idea, featured in pending Congressional legislation and more than a dozen state proposals, is forcing pharma corporations to open up their black box on drug pricing and research costs. At first glance, so-called transparency legislation, which is already the law in Vermont and has passed the Maryland legislature, can seem a bit tame. After all, what difference will it really make, as long as companies remain free to hike up their prices, with the limited...

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Trump Administration Announces Its NAFTA Renegotiation Concerns

by Brian Doherty – Many of them echo old labor union and Democratic Party complaints about freer trade. Donald Trump’s rhetorical hostility to free trade and his apparent desire to manage U.S. companies’ investment decisions over an obsession with “balance of trade” has been one of his most alarming characteristics to some libertarians. Letters from Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to various congressional leaders sent this week set forth the current contours of the Trump administration’s concerns over renegotiating NAFTA, which can be summed up as, to quote the letter: new provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, services, customs procedures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, labor, environment, and small and medium enterprises. It also notes they want “aggressive enforcement of…commitments made by our trading partners.” And they start with the nerve-wracking declaration that a prime goal in trade deal renegotiating will be to “support higher-paying jobs in...

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‘Unconscionable’ Arms Deal Inked, Trump Delivers Remarks in Saudi Arabia

by Andrea Germanos – Trump says “We are not here to lecture” a day after he finalized a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that critics say will fuel possible war crimes. A day after finalizing an “unconscionable” $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump on Sunday gave a speech in Riyadh to leaders of dozens of Muslim-majority countries—a “vast congress of dictators and cut-throat autocrats,” as one analyst put it—in which he called on them to “drive out the terrorists and extremists” and isolate Iran. Trump—who previously declared, “We’re having problems with the Muslims” and pushed for a Muslim ban—spoke of “shared interests” and stamping out terrorism. “To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce,” he said. Of the weapons sale, described as...

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Mike Pence Is Becoming A Legend For the Frequency & Magnitude Of His Lies

by ursulafaw – Abraham Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” In Mike Pence’s case he must be keeping a catalog of his lies by now. If he’s not, he’s the only one. The Washington Post recently examined a few of Pence’s whoppers and his equally fantastic excuses.This is the exchange between Bret Baier and Mike Pence when Mike Flynn was fired in January, 2017. BAIER: The story today that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has filed with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist, essentially, for Turkey. Your reaction to that, given that, doesn’t that mean, Mr. Vice President, that even if he didn’t lie to you about what the Russian ambassador said or didn’t say, that you would have had to fire him anyway? PENCE: Well, let me say, hearing that story today was the...

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Global Study Shows Americans Dying from Preventable Causes at Shocking Rates

by Nika Knight – ‘Having a strong economy does not guarantee good healthcare’ Americans are dying at a shockingly high rate from preventable causes, found a first-of-its-kind global health study published last Thursday. The new research demonstrates that despite the fact that the U.S. has the largest economy in the world, healthcare for many of its residents is woefully inadequate. The U.S. was tied with Estonia and Montenegro, far below other wealthy nations such as Norway, Canada, and Australia, in the study’s ranking of 195 countries. “America’s ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the U.S. spends more than $9,000 per person on healthcare annually, more than any other country,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Anyone with a stake in the current healthcare debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and...

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Offshore Wind is Now Competitive With Nuclear Power, and Gas is ‘in sight’

by Joe Romm – As prices plummet, offshore wind wins German power auction — with no subsidy. The price of offshore wind power has been dropping so quickly that it threatens to upend the electricity industry around the world. Last month, Denmark’s Dong Energy, the world’s largest provider of offshore wind farms, won a German power auction without needing any subsidies. Dong is a rebranding from Danish Oil and Natural Gas, as the company sells off its fossil fuel businesses to become a clean energy leader. Average global prices of off-shore wind dropped a game-changing 28 percent last year. Ray Thompson, chief of business development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said last month that “it’s staggering to think that in not much more than five years, we could have turned a technology seen as prohibitively expensive into the lowest cost, utility-scale technology available.” By 2016, offshore wind prices had nearly dropped to the level...

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Republican Congressman: ‘Donald Trump is Done. There is no Question About That’

by Egberto Willies – A Republican with a spine appeared on the 11th Hour with Brian Williams and had a striking statement about the Donald Trump’s presidency. And he went much further as he described possible outcomes in this excerpted video. Are we at Trump’s twilight? Former Congressman David Jolly (R-FL) did not mince his words about the state of the Donald Trump presidency. It is over. “It is remarkable Brian tonight how many Republicans support a special counsel once the decision has been made,” said David Jolly. “And I think we’ve watched that. Listen, view this thru the short lens. The short lens, this is actually win-win. Democrats get the investigation that they think is right for the country. Republicans have an opportunity to put the investigation over here in this lane and then say okay now we get back to legislating.” Jolly then said the following with a dark...

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Syria, Russia Condemn US-led Strike on Pro-Assad Forces (VIDEOS)

Deadly US-led coalition air raid against pro-Syrian government forces denounced as ‘brazen’ and ‘unacceptable’. Syria and its Russian ally have condemned a deadly US-led coalition air raid against pro-Syrian government forces in a desert area near the country’s border with Jordan and Iraq. Coalition fighter jets on Thursday struck a convoy of militiamen advancing inside a protected “deconfliction zone” north-west of the southern town of al-Tanf, the military alliance said in a statement. Syrians’ suffering persists after returning to former ISIL-held town The US, which is leading an air campaign in Syria targeting groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), said the convoy’s advance had posed a threat to US and US-backed Syrian rebel forces in the area. “This brazen attack by the so-called international coalition exposes the falseness of its claims to be fighting terrorism,” a Syrian military source told...

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It’s Tougher Than it Should be to Impeach Donald Trump

by Ian Millhiser – Trump isn’t the disease. He’s the symptom. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Donald Trump declared last year. He’s spent his entire time in the White House putting this theory of his enduring political popularity to the test — and so far, he’s proving himself mostly correct. Trump backed a health care bill that would strip coverage from 24 million people. He’s turned his top aides into punchlines who tout obvious falsehoods and are often immediately contradicted by Trump himself. He briefly removed the deeply damaging story of his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey from the headlines by replacing it with the even more damaging news that he’d leaked highly sensitive information to the Russians. And yet Trump’s numbers are remarkably constant among his core supporters. Although a Public Policy Polling poll released on Tuesday finds that...

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Why Sheriff Clarke Will be a Disaster in His New Job, According to His Predecessor

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – ‘Just plain awful’ Sheriff David Clarke Jr.— a controversial law enforcement official known for his outlandish remarks and fatal detention practices — announced Wednesday that he would be appointed as an Assistant Secretary within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June. According to various media outlets, former DHS personnel, and Clarke himself, Clarke will oversee the Office of Partnership and Engagement, which functions as a liaison between the Department of Homeland Secretary and state and local officials. The official DHS Twitter handle, however, tweeted out that no official decisions have been announced. After news broke of Clarke’s new role, former DHS officials — who held the position he will soon take — strongly condemned the decision. Phil McNamara, who was appointed to the position between April 2013 until President Donald Trump took office on January 20, 2017, called Clarke’s potential appointment “just plain awful.” As the former assistant secretary of the...

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Israeli Source That Trump Outed Was ‘the most valuable source’ on ISIS

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump didn’t just spill any source to Russia in his effort to show what a big man he is. He pilled a source that was key to dealing with ISIS. These officials, who are privy to intelligence about the terrorist group’s efforts, said the source of information was particularly valuable for tracking Islamic State’s attempts to place explosive devices on commercial airplanes. The most valuable source on ISIS, one that has the inside knowledge and connections to understand how that terrorist group is trying to strike out against travelers around the world. It was information from this source that caused the international alert about carrying laptops and other electronic devices earlier this year. And how did Donald Trump’s loose lip affect this ship? One official said now that the Russians are aware of the source, there is greater risk the source could be compromised in some...

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Trump Told Russians “Nut Job” Comey Was Fired to Ease Pressure: Report

by Common Dreams staff – “What’s worse: President admitting Comey was fired over Russia, or Spicer justifying it?” President Donald Trump characterized former FBI director James Comey, whom the president had fired just a day earlier, as a “nut job” to top Russian government officials during a recent Oval Office meeting, the New York Times reports on Friday citing an anonymous U.S. official who read from an internal document that purportedly summarized the exchange. Trump was meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the White House on May 10 when, according to the account reported by the Times, he made the derisive statements about Comey and also indicated possible motivations behind the director’s ouster. “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the readout of the document provided to the Times. “I faced great...

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Notre Dame Students are Protesting the Vice President’s Commencement Speech

by Casey Quinlan – Students say they deserve a commencement that respects LGBTQ and undocumented graduates. Notre Dame seniors will stage a walkout to protest Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at the Indiana university on Sunday. Students say they are expressing solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students affected by Pence’s policies. Students plan to stand up when Pence begins speaking and quietly leave the ceremony. Fifty to 100 people could walk out on Sunday, student organizers say. Protesters are using the hashtag #WalkOutND to bring attention to the protest on social media. “During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities,” said the student activist group organizing the protest, We StaND For,...

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‘Wrong, Wrong, Wrong’: An Expert Assessment of Joe Lieberman as FBI Director

by Alan Pyke – “Why in the name of all the saints and stars would you appoint a politician to a 10-year statutory term in a post that is supposed to be above politics?” Just 10 days after he fired James Comey as Director of the FBI, Donald Trump reportedly views former Senator Joe Lieberman as the frontrunner to replace the man he fired for investigating Russia’s influence in the 2016 election too vigorously. Lieberman would be a concerning choice. He would break decades of precedent that FBI directors should come from the criminal justice realm. He holds Bill of Rights protections for American citizens in low regard. And his late-career embrace of the American political right — complete with a move into Trump’s own professional locker room after leaving the Senate — would make for a polarizing and potentially caustic tenure at the embattled domestic security agency. Lieberman has been a professional politician almost...

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Donald Trump’s Middle East Visit: What to Expect (VIDEOS)

by William Roberts – Saudi Arabia arms deal, Syria’s war and Arab-Israeli peace set to top agenda of Trump’s first foreign trip as president. Donald Trump heads to Saudi Arabia on Friday on his first foreign trip as president to repair relations with the United States’ closest Arab ally, restart the Arab-Israeli peace process and, potentially, reassert the US security role in the region. Going to Saudi Arabia first is a highly symbolic move for President Trump who is struggling with political troubles at home, but is drawing optimism from Arab leaders despite his deep unpopularity in Arab public opinion for his anti-Muslim commentary during the 2016 US election campaign. The president will hold a series of meetings starting on Saturday with Saudi rulers, including King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudis want more US help confronting Iran and armed groups, as well as private...

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The Birth of the Living Constitution

by Damon Root – Should we interpret the Constitution as a living document? What’s the proper method for interpreting the U.S. Constitution? Should it be viewed according to its original meaning? Or should the document be viewed in the light of contemporary conditions? If you answered no to the second question and yes to the third, you may be a living constitutionalist. As Georgetown law professor Larry Solum explains in a fascinating new article at his Legal Theory Blog, “living constitutionalism is the view that the legal content of constitutional doctrine does and should change in response to changing circumstances and values.” This view has been around for a long time. According to Solum, the phrase itself apparently dates back to a 1927 book titled The Living Constitution, though it was the influential progressive historian Charles Beard who first took the phrase and really ran with it. “Since most of the...

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Is Ignorance Trump’s Excuse for Obstructing Justice?

by Jacob Sullum – Maybe the president doesn’t know enough to break the law. The claim that Donald Trump is guilty of obstructing justice suddenly looks more plausible in light of the report that the president asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But it still would be hard to make that charge stick in federal court (although it would be easier in impeachment proceedings, where Congress decides how much evidence is enough). The chief obstacle might be that Trump is too ignorant to be guilty. The U.S. Code includes more than 20 provisions dealing with obstruction of justice. The most appropriate one in this context seems to be 18 USC 1505, which makes it a felony to “influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law,” either “corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter...

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A New Meth Surge Gathers Momentum

by Christine Vestal – The opioid epidemic has killed tens of thousands over the last two years and driven major reforms in state and local law enforcement and public health policies for people with addiction. But another deadly but popular drug, methamphetamine, also has been surging in many parts of the country. And federal officials say that, based on what they learned as opioids swept the U.S., methamphetamine is likely to spread even further. “The beginning of the opioid epidemic was 2000 and we thought it was just localized,” said Kimberly Johnson, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Now we know that drug outbreaks aren’t likely to stay localized so we can start addressing them sooner and letting other states know of the potential for it spreading.” From Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma to Montana, Wisconsin and Minnesota and...

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Republicans: It’s Time to Decide — Party or Country?

by ROBERT REICH – The question is no longer whether there are grounds to impeach Donald Trump. It is when enough Republicans will put their loyalty to America ahead of their loyalty to their party. The question is no longer whether there are grounds to impeach Donald Trump. It is when enough Republicans will put their loyalty to America ahead of their loyalty to their party. Trump’s statements last week about his firing of former FBI director James Comey provide ample evidence that Trump engaged in an obstruction of justice — a major charge in impeachment proceedings brought against Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. It’s worth recalling that the illegality underlying Nixon’s impeachment was a burglary at the Watergate complex, while the illegality underlying Clinton’s was lying to a grand jury about sex with an intern in the White House. Trump’s obstruction is potentially far more serious. It involves an...

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Jordanian Spies Provided ISIL Bomb Intel: Officials

by Ali Younes – Reported Israeli intelligence on plane-bomb plan came from Jordanian spies inside ISIL, officials tell Al Jazeera. Intelligence on an ISIL airliner bomb plot given by US President Donald Trump to Russian officials originated in part with Jordanian spies, not Israelis,veteran Jordanian intelligence officials told Al Jazeera. According to several US media reports, Trump’s disclosure of sensitive intelligence to the Russians may have endangered an Israeli spy inside Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ABC News reported on Tuesday “the life of the spy is now at risk”. But several Jordanian sources who spoke on condition of anonymity doubted this assertion. They said they don’t believe Israel has any high level spies inside ISIL and depends instead on “intelligence sharing with Arab spy services partners”. “When it comes to ISIL, unlike Jordan, Israel relies on its electronic surveillance collection and its intelligence sharing-arrangement with its Arab partners,”...

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What’s In the Transcript? There’s a Way to Find Out What Trump Told Russia

by Deirdre Fulton – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday morning demanded the White House release an “unedited transcript” of Trump’s meeting with Russians. Among the revelations in Monday evening’s bombshell Washington Post report on President Donald Trump disclosing classified information to Russian diplomats is the fact that one U.S. counterterrorism official “called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.” Now, amid outrage, calls are growing for that transcript to be released—if not to the public at-large, than at least “to Congress for investigative purposes,” as National Memo editor-in-chief Joe Conason wrote Tuesday. “he House and Senate intelligence committees should request—or if necessary, subpoena—the transcripts of Trump’s meeting with the Russians, to see who is telling the truth,” Conason...

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Louisiana Lawmakers Vote to Make it Harder to Remove Confederate Monuments

by Aviva Shen – “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen done in this building.” They’ve lost in state, federal, and civil court. Two New Orleans statues have already been removed. But now, Confederate monument champions are escalating their appeals to the more conservative state government to intervene. On Monday, the Louisiana House passed a bill that would require an election before any war memorial is removed or even altered. The legislation was approved by a House committee earlier this month, after the first Confederate monument in New Orleans came down. The fraught debate over the bill quickly turned to its authors’ conception of Civil War history, or the “War Between the States,” as the bill calls it. After being questioned by Rep. Sam Jones (D), Rep. Thomas Carmody (R) said he did not believe slavery was the reason for the Civil War, and that the South had a legal...

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Donald Trump Has Destroyed the Credibility of the Presidency

by Peter Suderman – There is no longer any reason to trust anything the president or his surrogates say. Shortly after multiple outlets published reports last night that President Donald Trump had shared highly sensitive, classified information about an ISIS plot with Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last week, White House officials stepped up to respond with denials. The denials were hard to believe because Trump has destroyed the credibility of his office. The most extensive denial came from national security advisor General H.R. McMaster. “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false,” he said. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.” One reason the denial is difficult to completely buy is because it is so precisely worded. McMcaster does not actually deny the core of the initial report in The Washington...

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How I Always Win the Abortion Argument

by SemDem – This past Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the deceptively named “Tennessee Infants Protection Act,” a bill that does nothing for infants but prohibits physicians from performing abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Tennessee Republicans blocked all efforts from Democrats to include exceptions for incest, mental health, or even rape. (After all, if a woman is raped, GOP lawmakers say it must be God’s will.) The “pro-life” movement has never been about “life,” it has, and always will, be about control. Control over a woman’s reproduction—taken from the individual and given to GOP legislators, like Republican Billy Long.  The entire movement has been a scam from its inception: it all began with a single disingenuous conference call to come up with ways to gin up support for segregationist Bible colleges. Up until that point, churches didn’t have any problem with it. Why should they? The Bible says nothing about it. Even though abortion was practiced way back in...

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As Trump’s Poll Numbers Fall, Republicans are Eyeing the Exits—but Still Afraid to Act

by Mark Sumner – While the United States has bounced through the pinball machine of scandals both big and bigger— including a national security adviser ousted for connections to Russia and an FBI director fired for looking into connections to Russia—one of the consistent factors has been Republican cowardice. No matter if Trump was showing off the nuclear football at Mar-a-Lago or inviting murderous autocratic dictators to the White House, you could always count on House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to deliver a round of ringing silence or soupy support. Because, until now at least, Republicans have weighed their odds and decided that going along with Trump was their best route to the GOP holy grail: tax breaks for billionaires. After all, a few randomly fired missiles, a threat of nuclear war here, a little wrecking of national policy in exchange for some ego boost (or building permits, or trademarks,...

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Trump Nixes Nixon: Where Watergate Goes to Die

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – Let’s you and I take a moment to square a few dented circles before we get so far down the rabbit hole that we start seeing invisible cats smiling at us in the dark. The corporate “news” media loves to create false narratives if doing so allows them to avoid working for a living, and the current “This is just like Watergate!” milieu we are enduring after the firing of FBI Director James Comey is a perfect example of the phenomenon. This is nothing like Watergate; it is its own pan-dimensional thing and must be dealt with on its own very specific terms, lest we veer off into a gibberish festival where potato is Fred because a vest has no sleeves. Nail this to your wall and festoon it with bunting: James Comey is no Archibald Cox. Archie Cox was a...

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We’re Demanding Records on Comey’s Dismissal. Here’s Why

by Patrick Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project – The ACLU on Monday submitted a request to the Department of Justice and the FBI asking for the release of all documents relating to President Donald Trump’s decision to remove FBI Director James Comey from office. The cloud of uncertainty swirling over Comey’s dismissal, along with indications that the president may have gravely abused his power, demands a public accounting. At the time of his dismissal, FBI Director Comey was responsible for overseeing an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. According to initial White House statements — by most accounts hastily assembled with little coordination — the president dismissed Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The two, we learned, had prepared a pair of memoranda asserting...

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‘Comey Memo’: Trump Impeachment Could Rest on Obstruction of Justice

by Jon Queally – “Donald Trump wanted to stop the FBI investigation, which is the definition of obstruction of justice,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders. The possible existence of memorandum penned by former FBI Director James Comey in the immediate wake of a dinner he had with President Donald Trump earlier this year is being treated Tuesday night as an explosive development if its version of events, specifically that the president asked the chief of the bureau to drop the investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn, is verified. “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. First reported by the New York Times, the memo—which journalist Michael S. Schmidt did not see himself but which a source, identified as a “one of Mr. Comey’s associates,” read aloud selected portions—is Comey’s account of the dinner meeting with Trump just a day after Flynn’s resignation in...

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Rev. Barber: America Needs a New Poor People’s Campaign

by William J. Barber, II – The future of our democracy depends on us completing the work of a Third Reconstruction. In a spectacle of religious hypocrisy last week, preachers who say so much about what God says so little — and so little about what God says so much — stood in the Rose Garden as a backdrop for President Donald Trump’s executive order on “religious liberty.” As they celebrated this administration’s willingness to let them use religious freedom as an excuse to force their “values” on someone else, Trump pointed to the legacy of the African-American church as an example of faith in public life. In every con, there’s a grain of truth, whether the person who is speaking knows it or now. I know the prophetic African American church tradition that grew up on the edges of plantations and spoke clearly for the first time into this nation’s public life when Harriet...

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Rollback of Environmental Rules Will Fail to Bring Back Coal, Report Says

by Mark Hand – ‘Responsible policymakers should be honest about what’s going on in the coal sector.’ “Can Coal Make a Comeback?” asks a new report by Columbia University researchers. Spoiler alert: In its first few pages, the report states that President Donald Trump will almost certainly fail to bring jobs back to coal country or dramatically boost coal production. Rolling back environmental regulations, as the Trump administration frantically sought to do during its first 100 days, will not “materially improve” economic conditions in the nation’s coal communities, according to the report. During Trump’s presidential campaign, he repeatedly vowed to end a “war on coal” allegedly waged by the Obama administration. But as long as natural gas prices remain at or near current levels, U.S. coal consumption will continue to decline despite the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Obama-era regulations, the report says. “Responsible policymakers should be honest about what’s going...

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The End of Trump

by Robert Reich – The question is no longer whether there are grounds to impeach Donald Trump. It is when enough Republicans will put their loyalty to America ahead of their loyalty to their party. Trump’s statements last week about his firing of former FBI director James Comey provide ample evidence that Trump engaged in an obstruction of justice – a major charge in impeachment proceedings brought against Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. It’s worth recalling that the illegality underlying Nixon’s impeachment was a burglary at the Watergate complex, while the illegality underlying Clinton’s was lying to a grand jury about sex with an intern in the White House. Trump’s obstruction is potentially far more serious. It involves an investigation about whether Trump or his aides colluded with Russia in rigging a presidential election – the most direct assault on American democracy in history, Last Thursday, in an interview with...

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What Kind of FBI Do We Want After Comey?

by Richard Eskow – The firing of James Comey as Director of the FBI gives the nation more evidence of Donald Trump’s lack of fitness for the presidency. Whatever you thought of Comey, his removal showed the nation that Trump is impulsive, vindictive, and given to abuses of power. But it’s also important to reflect right now on some of the more fundamental issues raised by Comey’s firing. Why do we have a federal police agency? How should its mission be defined? And, what kind of person should run it? The Birth of the FBI First, some background. President Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte created the “Special Agents Force,” the forerunner to the FBI, in 1908, to enforce federal law. Both Roosevelt and Bonaparte were progressives who believed that government positions should not be exploited for partisan political purposes. Before this force was assembled, the only...

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Trump Escalates Attack on Healthcare, Women With Rebranded and Expanded Global Gag Rule

by Andrea Germanos – “The Global Gag Rule doesn’t protect lives; it destroys them.” President Donald Trump spent part of his first Monday in office following in the footsteps of other Republican presidents by reinstating the Global Gag Rule, officially known as the Mexico City Policy. The Reagan-era rule bars U.S. aid from going to international NGOs that offer abortion services or even provide information about it as an option—even when they use non-U.S. funds to do so. It’s been criticized for devastating not only reproductive healthcare services but primary healthcare services as well, as clinics, faced with budget shortfalls, are forced to cut back or shut down completely. And it was made clear, from that January memorandum, that Trump’s order would mark an expansion of the rule, as it directed the Secretary of State “to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance...

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