News

VIDEO: The U.S. War in Afghanistan Is Now 16 Years Old. Trump Has No Plans to End It

by Phyllis Bennis – Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. On October 7, 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The war is now 16 years old — and that’s not even counting the decade of U.S. intervention in the country during the Cold War. Donald Trump once advocated the “speedy withdrawal” of U.S. troops from that country. As president, however, he’s gone in the opposite direction, demanding the U.S. must now “fight to win.” As Phyllis Bennis, director of the IPS New Internationalism project, explains in this short video, Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. He’s not said how many new troops he’ll send or how long they’ll be deployed. Worse still, civilian casualties in multiple U.S. wars have been on the rise since he took office — by 67 percent...

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Hackers Broke Into U.S. Voting Systems in Minutes. Now They’re Helping Prevent Attacks

by Kira Lerner – “Our voting systems are not secure.” This July, eight months after Russians targeted U.S. election systems, hackers gathered at a conference in Las Vegas to prove just how vulnerable our system is to interference. In a matter of minutes, hackers were able to break into and gain remote control of voting machines, changing votes and potentially shutting down the system. “These machines were pretty easy to hack,” Jeff Moss, founder the world’s largest hacker conference, DEFCON, said Tuesday. Hackers with very little prior knowledge and limited resources were able to expose personal voter information and undermine the integrity of every piece of equipment they attempted to breach. Now, using that information, those hackers are teaming up with U.S. governors to try to make U.S. election systems more immune to interference. DEFCON, the National Governors Association, the Atlantic Council, and other academics released a report Tuesday finding that “our voting systems are not secure”...

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Trump’s Health Department Declares That Life Begins at Conception

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – Trump and his health department said they’d promote a faith-based, anti-choice agenda. They’re delivering. The Trump administration has repeatedly delivered on a campaign promise to the religious right that he’d prioritize a faith-based, anti-choice agenda. The latest evidence comes in the form of the draft strategic plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which defines life as “beginning at conception.” The draft was released two weeks ago, before HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned, and it outlines the priorities of the agency and its governing offices. As Dr. Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the San Francisco Bay Area, pointed out, HHS went beyond the normative promise from conservatives to promote faith-based partnerships, and declared that the life of each human begins at conception. “It’s concerning because HHS isn’t just a theoretical group that writes think pieces no one reads,” Dr. Gunter told ThinkProgress. “We are replacing...

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Salt Lake Police Fire Cop Who Arrested Nurse Over Blood Draw

by Scott Shackford – Body camera footage has consequences. Remember the Salt Lake City cop caught on body camera footage roughly arresting a nurse for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient? He’s been fired. His shift commander, who oversaw the encounter and ordered her arrest, has been demoted. The July confrontation between Detective Jeff Payne and University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels was captured by police body cameras. A month later, Wubbels received a copy of the footage from the city and publicly released it to highlight what she believed to be a serious problem of police attempting to intimidate nurses. The video went viral over Labor Day weekend, and the public was outraged. Payne had demanded that Wubbels bring him to a patient to draw blood, but he did not have a warrant and the patient was unconscious and could not consent. The man wasn’t even a suspect in a crime:...

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Carbon Rule Repeal Kicks Off Epic Battle Over Regulating Emissions

by Natasha Geiling – The EPA has finally revealed its proposal for repealing a major climate regulation. After months of speculation and days of teasing the announcement — the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 rule that would have regulated carbon emissions from the electricity sector. “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate.  Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule,”  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a press statement. At least two state attorneys general said Tuesday they would sue to protect the rule. Pruitt’s proposal is merely the first step in repealing the rule, which had previously been put on hold by the Supreme Court while opponents and supporters of the rule argued over its legality in the D.C. Circuit Court....

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The Evil That Guns Do

by Michael Winship – The firearms lobby suggests that because morality can’t be legislated, the evil of gun violence can only be controlled by… more guns. In the United States, you will hear madmen insist that: 59 dead and 500 injured in Las Vegas are the price of freedom. 49 dead and 58 wounded in Orlando, Florida, are the price of freedom. 27 dead and 2 injured in Newtown, Connecticut, are the price of freedom. And so it goes. This truly is insanity. We can try to deal with that small percentage of the population who collect or own guns for hunting, target shooting or security, but to claim as a constitutional right the possession of firearms intended for nothing less than brutal, gruesome warfare strains credulity. These are killing machines with no purpose other than to maim and destroy. Of course, we’ve said this time and again and will doubtless...

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S.F. 49ers Safety Eric Reid on Pence’s Publicity Stunt: “This is What Systemic Oppression Looks Like.”

by durrati – San Francisco 49s Safety Eric Reid had something to say after his team lost to the Indy Colts in overtime — 26-23 — the game which Vice-President Mike Pence staged a planned publicity stunt walk out on to whine protest players exercising the first amendment rights to protest the extra judicial executions of young black men by bad police officers. Talking to reporters in the locker room Reid said: “My honest reaction: … Does anybody know the last time he’s (Pence) been to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo of him at a Colts game, so with the information I have, the last time he was at a Colts game was three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me. He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what...

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LGBTQ and Abortion Advocates Have Found an Unlikely Champion: The Satanic Temple

by Brianna Acuesta – The Satanic Temple is an organization that is stepping up to help others. Tempers are running high this year, with arguably the most controversial president to date in the White House and the push for equality between a number of groups based on race, gender, and sexual orientation becoming even more heated than usual. Though the usual organizations are taking up the issues and organizing marches, their numbers have increased as support has flared since President Trump first announced his run for office. People say that politics makes strange bedfellows, so it shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that LGBTQ activists and pro-choice groups have found an unlikely ally in their fight for rights. That ally is The Satanic Temple (TST), which, contrary to what your instinct may tell you about people who ‘follow Satan,’ is an ethical group that just wants to lend a hand. “The mission of The Satanic Temple is...

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10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

by Medea Benjamin – On Trump’s wildly false argument that the agreement is not in the country’s national interest. President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact. Here are 10 good reasons why the US should uphold the deal. 1. President Trump’s claim that Iran is not complying with the conditions of the deal is false. Iran is complying,...

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God, Guns … and Russia?

by Susan Grigsby – In 2016, the National Rifle Association (NRA) spent $30.3 million to elect Donald Trump. In addition, according to a report from OpenSecrets Blog and The Trace, they spent $20 million on six Senate races. The total, more than $50 million, represented 96 percent of the lobbying group’s outside spending during the 2016 cycle. The close relationship between the NRA and Donald Trump began in May, when the organization endorsed the candidate earlier than it had ever endorsed a Republican presidential contender. Trump appeared before thousands of people at the NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, where he gleefully accepted the organization’s official support. Perhaps it never occurred to anyone to wonder why the NRA was so quick to endorse Donald Trump, who was not then known to be a fanatic ammosexual interested in interpreting the Second Amendment to allow the average man on the street to own an arsenal of weaponry. According to a report of the early...

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Bolstering Case for Impeachment, Study Concludes Trump ‘Likely Obstructed Justice’

by Jake Johnson – A detailed analysis finds “substantial” evidence to support claims that Trump attempted to undermine an ongoing investigation by firing former FBI director James Comey. In a new study aimed at collecting and analyzing all of the relevant facts surrounding President Donald Trump’s legally questionable conduct in office—particularly his firing of former FBI director James Comey—three lawyers conclude it is “likely” that Trump has obstructed justice, and that whether he is held accountable for his actions “will have significant consequences for the functioning of our democracy.” “We do not yet know all the relevant facts, and any final determination must await further investigation, including by Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” the analysis—authored by Norm Eisen and Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) and Barry Berke of the law firm Kramer Levin—concludes. Nonetheless, the lawyers argue that the facts currently in the public record amount to “substantial...

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‘An Inferno Like You’ve Never Seen’: Deadly Wildfires Ravage California

by Jake Johnson – The “unprecedented” fires, fulfilling predictions of climate scientists, have forced tens of thousands from their homes. More than ten people have been killed, thousands have been left without power, and tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate as more than a dozen wildfires tore through Northern California overnight Monday, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in eight counties. “Presently, these fires continue their path of destruction,” Brown said in a statement late Monday. “Many residents had little time to flee due to the fires’ rapid and erratic rate of spread through the rural terrain. Tragically, these fires have already taken lives and emergency responders anticipate the number of fatalities could grow.” Brown also asked President Donald Trump—who spent his morning tweeting insults at ESPN host Jemele Hill and the NFL—to issue a disaster declaration. At least eighteen total wildfires have been counted, and firefighters have struggled...

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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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Ellsberg, In Upcoming Book, Warns of Nuclear Dangers in the Era of Trump

by Greg Mitchell – As the Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons receives Nobel Peace Prize, author Greg Mitchell reviews a new book reflecting on the history of nuclear weapons and the growing threat posed by them today. For most people, Daniel Ellsberg is known mainly for — or only for — the Pentagon Papers he leaked in 1971. And that’s plenty. It set in motion a landmark First Amendment case and led to shifts in public opinion that helped quicken the US withdrawal from Vietnam and the end to that war. Ellsberg was back in the public eye recently in relation to the epic 10-part PBS series on Vietnam, which included a lengthy segment on the Pentagon Papers — but his absence from the series as an interview subject drew criticism. Coming up: a movie drama on the Papers directed by Steven Spielberg. But, for me, the name Ellsberg does not immediately...

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Iranian President: ‘Entire World Will Condemn America’ if Trump Kills Nuclear Deal

by Jake Johnson – “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps.” Amid reports that President Donald Trump is planning to decertify the Iran nuclear accord sometime this coming week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that any attempt to undermine the deal will earn the United States condemnation from “the entire world.” “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps,” Rouhani said in an address to students at Tehran University. “If the United States violates , the entire world will condemn America, not Iran.” Right-wing hawks within and outside of the Trump administration have for months urged the president to scrap the accord, which he repeatedly slammed on the campaign trail. Critics have argued that withdrawing from the deal would represent an embrace of “war over peace.” “If one seeks war, Trump’s decision makes...

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Why We Need Sanctuary Cities

by Robert Reich – California lawmakers have just passed “sanctuary state” legislation – the first state since Oregon, which 30 years ago passed a law preventing state agencies from targeting undocumented immigrants solely because of their illegal status. Other states should follow California’s and Oregon’s lead. Since January, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration authorities to target “public safety” threats, federal arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased by over 37 percent. California is home to an estimated 2.3 million unauthorized immigrants. California’s law limits the authority of state and local law enforcers to communicate with federal immigration authorities, and prevents officers from questioning or holding people depending on their immigration status or immigration violations. But it still allows federal immigration authorities to enter county jails to question immigrants, and allow police and sheriffs to share information on people who have been convicted of serious crimes. This is a fair balance. Sanctuary...

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Woman Who Was Shot in L.V. Meets the Man Who Saved Her. “Look At Me. I’m Not Going to Leave You!”

by Tevye – What do you say to a person that risks their life to save yours? Or if it was you mother, sister or wife? When mere words are so inadequate. Justin Uhart was making a few bucks as a festival bartender. When the shooting started, he stayed. His ROTC training kicked-in. He told people standing there stunned to “Get the f— out and run! This is real! Get out!” A security-guard was shot through the head and fell on him. He assessed those on the ground, discerning who was twitching in their death throes, which he saw all to many of, and who needed help. Jan Lambourne is from a small town in Manitoba, Canada…in Las Vegas for the first time. She had gone to all three nights of the festival when the bullets started popping. “I don’t know if that’s fireworks,” she told her friend. And than the searing pain as she...

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Tainted Honey: Bee-Poisoning Pesticides Found Globally

by Jessica Corbett – Lead researcher says there were “relatively few places where we did not find any” samples contaminated with neonics known to harm bees. Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators. “What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination,” the study’s lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were “relatively few places where we did not find any” contaminated samples. For the study, published in the journal Science, Mitchell’s team of researchers examined nearly 200 samples for the five most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics. They found: in North America, 86 percent of samples from contained one or more neonicotinoid; in Asia, 80 percent; in Europe (where there is...

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Corker: Virtually All Senate Republicans Know Trump is a Liability. Impeachment Coming?

by Karen Wehrstein – This morning the New York Times quotes Republican Senator Bob Corker saying that Trump’s insane shooting-off-at-the-mouth on foreign policy could start WWIII, that Trump needs constant babysitting by staff to contain him, and that almost every Republican senator knows damn well how volatile and dangerous he is.  (Emphases mine): In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.” “He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” … Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview. There’s a run-down...

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Mike Pence Spent a Million Dollars to Watch One Minute of a Football Game—and You Paid for it

by Mark Sumner – Just last week, four actual American soldiers died in Niger, in an attack likely organized by the regional branch of al Qaeda. If you were unaware of these deaths, or even that there were Americans on the ground in Niger — where the United States is helping to train government forces to fight terrorist incursions — that’s understandable. Because among the things at the top of Donald Trump’s list of important events, actual soldiers actually dying … doesn’t count. Instead, Trump has focused on athletes leading a peaceful protest against the ongoing killing of African-Americans by police, and the failure of the justice system to hold these police responsible for their actions. By portraying a pose usually reserved for honoring an injured player as a sign of disrespect toward the flag, the nation, and the military, Trump has created a fresh racial injustice to heap on top of the original. In service of this...

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