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Showing posts from 2017

Trump's Judicial Makeover is White and Far-Right

White Nationalist Groups Are Splitting Over Gay Inclusion

With the recent blowback from Charlottesville, the churning wheel of fascist infighting has once again kicked off, exposing a number of fault lines within white nationalist groups in the US.
One major fault line has emerged over homosexuality: While fascist and white nationalist movements have historically condemned queerness, many in the self-described "alt-right" wanted to dash this image...read more.

Comedian's sharp criticism detours Republican U.S. healthcare drive

The latest Republican drive to replace Obamacare was detoured on Wednesday by popular comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s biting criticism of the proposal and accusation that one of its chief sponsors “lied right to my face” about it, while President Donald Trump embraced the bill.
Kimmel, who in May became an unexpected player in the U.S. healthcare debate after...read more.

At U.N., Trump's tough talk opens door for Macron's diplomacy

French President Emmanuel Macron cast himself as the antithesis of Donald Trump at the United Nations on Tuesday, a position that could enable him to play the honest broker in international conflicts.
A few hours after the U.S. president pugnaciously defended his unilateralist America First doctrine and launched scathing verbal attacks on North Korea and Iran, Macron took to the same stage to advance a diametrically opposed stance.  Read more.

Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose

Polls show a growing number of Americans are warming up to the idea of single-payer health care. Whether that's a reaction to the repeal-and-replace bills proposed by congressional Republicans or to the failure of the Affordable Care Act to get us to universal coverage (or even reduce medical costs in a meaningful way) is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is that most of us have lost faith in private health insurers and want the government to do more in health care.  Read more.

Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose

Polls show a growing number of Americans are warming up to the idea of single-payer health care. Whether that's a reaction to the repeal-and-replace bills proposed by congressional Republicans or to the failure of the Affordable Care Act to get us to universal coverage (or even reduce medical costs in a meaningful way) is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is that most of us have lost faith in private health insurers and want the government to do more in health care.  Read more.

GOP Retries ACA Repeal as Single-Payer Surges

Women's Narratives - The Real Cost of Selling Weapons

Remembering the day the Eritrean press died

People who haven't experienced Eritrea's descent into totalitarianism first hand cannot truly understand what daily life looks like there. Even the infamous labels associated with the country - such as "most censored" country on Earth or the bottom-ranked nation on the Press Freedom Index for 10 consecutive years - do not help understand Eritrea's day-to-day reality.  Read more.

After Failing to Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall Street Speeches

Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the "well trod and well paid" Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party's credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry's control over the American healthcare system.  Read more.

Desperate Yemenis sell organs to survive

The scars from Adnan Ali's recent kidney surgery are fading, but his emotional pain lingers.
Ali - who is unemployed, divorced and in his early thirties - recently found himself facing a stark choice. He could either sign up to fight with the Houthi rebels on the front lines of the war in Yemen, seek work in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, or sell his organs.  Read more.

U.S. judge sides against Trump in fight over 'sanctuary cities'

A federal judge on Friday barred the U.S. Justice Department from denying public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities in retaliation for limiting cooperation with the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber was in response to a legal challenge brought by...read more.

Investigators' Knives Out for Equifax After Massive Data Breach

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) became the first economic regulator to formally announce an investigation into Equifax's handling of a cyber intrusion that left more than 100 million Americans vulnerable to identity theft.
An FTC spokesman confirmed the probe one day after dozens of lawmakers urged the agency and other government bodies to look into the...read more.

Justice Department Drops Investigation into the Death of Freddie Gray

Former Nuclear Inspector: Calling North Korea Nuclear-Capable is a 'Gross Exaggeration'

The Racial Wealth Gap Is Leading to An Almost-Nonexistent Middle Class

A new study finds that if the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed, the median wealth for black Americans will fall to $0 by 2053, with Latino Americans reaching the same median wealth two decades later.
According to the report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now, the wealth gap between people of color and their...read more.

After Hurrican Harvey, Texas Left With Toxic Soup of Sewage, Spilled Fuel, Pesticides, and More

Following reports that refineries and petrochemical plants released millions of pounds of pollutants because of Hurricane Harvey, which battered Southeast Texas last month, test results published on Monday by the New York Times confirmed concerns that "Houston's floodwaters are tainted with toxins."
The storm's unprecedented "1,000-year flood," triggered by record rainfall generated by the...read more.

Artist Donates BP Prize Money to Greenpeace

We  can’t stop looking at human faces. Can’t stop being interested in ourselves, our species. The BP Portrait Award, whose annual exhibition of winners and strong contenders can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery until 24 September, is full of humanity. It is, perhaps, the most humanist art prize in the world, an art award that specifically celebrates the painted human image and looks for modern heirs to the profoundly compassionate tradition of portraiture that includes Rembrandt, Velázquez and Lucian Freud.  Read more.

What Steve Bannon's 60 Minutes Interview Proved

There was gale-force bullshit coming from all points of the compass and nonsense was running at floodtide in the newspapers and on TV this past weekend, a sorry couple of days for elite political journalism. As to the latter, Charlie Rose got a chance to sit down with Steve Bannon, the last heir to House Harkonnen and, despite Rose’s letting Bannon off several hooks, we learned that Steve Bannon is one of those guys who’s read three books and thinks that’s all the books there are, that he’s more than a little batty, and that, as my pal John Fugelsang tweeted this morning, that he continues to look like...read more.

‘Barbuda is literally rubble’: Shocked PM says Irma destroyed 90% of homes on tiny Caribbean island

Houses and infrastructure on Barbuda have been “totally demolished,” Antigua and Barbuda PM told media following a helicopter trip to the Caribbean island. The island of 1,600 residents went radio silent for over twelve hours, causing wild speculations over their fate.
Conflicting reports emerged in the vacuum of information and the absence of direct communication with the island.  Read more.

Intimidating journalists: The death of Suna Venter

As a nine-year-old, Suna Venter used to plead with her mother to let her skip school so she could watch coverage of the first Iraq War on the news.
"She was absolutely fascinated by the people on the fringes of the war, the children especially who were impacted by wars, and fascinated by the fact that this could be publicised, televised and so on," her father, Philip, remembers.  Read more.

Hurricane Irma batters Caribbean as Florida braces for weekend landfall

Monster Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, packing a potentially catastrophic mix of pounding winds, raging surf and rain en route to a possible Florida landfall this weekend.
Irma is expected to become the second powerful storm to thrash the U.S. mainland in as many weeks but its precise trajectory was uncertain. Read more.

How 'Regime Change' Wars Led to Korea Crisis

It is a popular meme in the U.S. media to say that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “crazy” as he undertakes to develop a nuclear bomb and a missile capacity to deliver it, but he is actually working from a cold logic dictated by the U.S. government’s aggressive wars and lack of integrity.
Indeed, the current North Korea crisis, which could end up killing millions of people, can be viewed as a follow-on disaster to President George W. Bush’s Iraq War and President Barack Obama’s Libyan intervention.  Read more.

As Irma Intensifies, "You've Never Experienced a Hurricane Like This"

As the northern Caribbean islands brace for impact and evacuations are ordered in south Florida, Hurricane Irma became one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded on Tuesday afternoon with sustained winds of over 185mph and an intensity that was "redefining the rules" of what a storm in this part of the world could be.  Read more.

German churches are standing with refugees as atonement for past complicity

On a brisk Wednesday evening in early March, a group of people walk towards a small building attached to the Immanuelkirche, an Evangelical church in eastern Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood.
Propped on the wall beside the door is a chalkboard. Scrawled across it and flanked by a pair of fuchsia hearts is a greeting: "Welcome to Meet 'n Eat. Come in!"  Read more.

Immigrant Rights Advocates Blast Trump's Decision to End DACA

Immigrant rights advocates, legal experts, politicians, and others quickly denounced the Tuesday announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as youth to delay deportation and apply for work permits, is being rescinded.  Read more.

Greenland Is Burning: Wildfires and Floods Surge Worldwide

On Sunday, August 27, I went mountain climbing in Olympic National Park, near my home. I noted how warm the day was -- far warmer, even in early morning, than the norm for this time of year. I would learn that evening that across Puget Sound in Seattle, the city had seen temperatures an average of nearly 10 degrees above normal that day.  Read more.

Hamas Looks to Iran, One of its Last Remaining Allies

Teachers Shouldn't Have to Panhandle to Prepare for a New School Year

Back to school! These three simple words used to leave America's public school teachers giddy with anticipation. Now they leave them opening up their wallets and worrying.

The problem? Teachers have been spending out of their own pockets for generations to decorate their classrooms and the like. Now they're having to spend their own money for...read more.

We Should Serve Kids Food in School, Not Shame

For the past several years, reports have surfaced about the "shaming" of students for outstanding school meal debts. These students, often from low-income families, are being publicly humiliated because they have unpaid debt in their school meal accounts. Policies that shame students can include stamping on children's hands or arms, taking their food away and...read more.

Did Monsanto Write Seed Policy in Malawi?

Shocking New Scandals Underscore Need for Civilian-Led Policing

ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records Detailing Immigrant Sexual Abuse and Deaths in Its Custody

The openly anti-immigrant agenda of the Trump administration has led to a drastic increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants, and a looming threat of removal for Dreamers who have spent most of their lives in the U.S. Those policies promise only to further tax the country's immigration detention centers, where watchdog groups and detainees frequently report unsafe conditions. The dangers these detainees face are often revealed through careful reviews of records that document violations of immigrants' human and civil rights.  Read more.

Texas official turns down Canada's offer of supplies and manpower to restore electricity, asks for prayers instead

Quebec's Minister of International Relations said her recent conversation with one Texas official ended with a surprising counter-offer.

Minister of International Relations Christine St-Pierre told CBC News she called Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos to express the concern all of Quebec felt for the Lone Star State's struggles in the aftermath of...read more.

The New York Times Gives Ex-Blackwater CEO Erik Prince Free Advertising

Sweatshop Lobbyist Nominated for Deputy Secretary of Labor

Odds are that you haven't heard the name Patrick Pizzella before, but you probably should get to know it. Pizzella is President Donald Trump's nominee for deputy labor secretary, which would make him the second most important man in the Department of Labor.
That's an awfully powerful position for a man who formerly lobbied to maintain sweatshop labor on US territories.  Read more.

Trump’s Hostility to the News Media: Reckless driving or premeditated assault?

On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, held a press conference at his headquarters in Geneva, intending to focus on systematic violations of human rights taking place in Venezuela. This is what the lead UN official for human rights does – calls out governments for serious violations of fundamental rights, conducts high-level fact finding, and encourages countries to meet their international obligations. But he took a detour from one crisis to address another, laying into President Trump’s hostility toward the media and warning that he came close to inciting violence against reporters.  Read more.

Nearly 50,000 Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar

The suffocating smell of charred wood has followed 19-year-old Ahmed for days. On Saturday, a group of armed men set fire to his home village of Ywa Thai Kay. With flames licking his heels and the sound of bullets cutting through the air, Ahmed, who spoke under a pseudonym, was forced to flee his childhood home, desperately clutching his most prized possessions - his English books.  Read more.

Google Is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s Time To Stop Them

About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”
Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.  Read more.

New York Times Slammed for Running 'Advertorial' by Notorious War Profiteer

The New York Times came under fire on Wednesday for running what critics characterized as "uncontested propaganda" in the form of an op-ed by notorious war profiteer and Blackwater founder Erik Prince.
As in his other prominent op-eds that ran recently in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, Prince—the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—pitched his plan to largely privatize the 16-year war in Afghanistan. Many have denounced this for-profit scheme—which would place the war in the hands of an American "viceroy" and private mercenaries—as tantamount to "colonialism."  Read more.

Corporate Tax Cuts Don't Mean More Jobs

A just-released report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) -- a DC think tank providing analysis on peace and economic, racial, and climate justice -- provides evidence that tax cuts for corporations do not necessarily correlate with an increase in jobs. Additionally, increased CEO compensation does not routinely result in increased employment. These are important findings, because the number one rationale that politicians use to justify corporate tax cuts is that the increased business revenue will lead to decreased unemployment.  Read more.

Rightwing alliance plots assault to 'defund and defang' America's unions

Rightwing activists across the US have launched a nationwide campaign to undermine progressive politicians by depriving them of a major source of support and funding – public sector unions.
A network of conservative thinktanks with outposts in all 50 states has embarked on a “breakthrough” campaign designed to strike a “mortal blow” against the American left.  Read more.

LA changes Columbus Day to ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ as statues continue to be destroyed

Los Angeles City has voted to rename the holiday named after Christopher Columbus to commemorate Native Americans. The measure was passed as statues of the 15th-century explorer have been destroyed in recent weeks.
Members of the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day Wednesday. The day will remain a paid holiday for all city employees, but will not be officially renamed until 2019.  Read more.

Texas Racist Voter ID Law Smacked Down

In what is being called a "huge win for voting rights" and a resounding defeat of "Jim Crow-era tactics," a federal judge on Wednesday struck down a major voter ID law passed by the Republican-dominated Texas state legislature on the grounds that it would place a "disproportionate burden" on black and Latino voters. Read more.

Former Trump Adviser Warns of Armed 'Insurrection' If Trump Impeached

As questions swirl about President Donald Trump's mental stability and fitness for office—and with calls for his impeachment again spiking after his repeated embrace of white supremacists—one of the president's former top advisors warned Thursday that the result of Trump's removal would be an "armed" and violent "insurrection."  Read more.

Charlottesville shrouds divisive Confederate statues in black cloth

To applause from spectators, workers in Charlottesville, Virginia, covered two statues of Confederate generals with black tarpaulins on Wednesday in honor of the woman who was killed during a rally by white nationalists in the liberal-leaning college town.
City councilors voted unanimously to cover the monuments during a raucous council meeting earlier this week where...read more.

Oregon Passed the Country's Most Progressive Reproductive Health Care Policy

The same day Texas took another swing at reproductive rights, Oregon showed the rest of the country what reproductive health legislation can and should look like.
On August 15, Governor Kate Brown (D) signed into law what many are calling the country's most progressive reproductive health care policy, expanding access to...read more.

Secret Safe Injection Site Responds to US Drug Crisis

Blue Is Not A Race (Duh) and You're Not The Damn Victims Here

In a stupefyingly tone-deaf turn of the racial tables, the NYPD's ever-offensive Sergeants Benevolent Association has released a new video claiming that its noble cops are the hapless victims of a "strange form of racism” engulfing the country - a "blue racism" that is “even more racist” than, you know, real racism based on the color of your skin - which FYI you can't take off like a uniform - and the brutal, historic, systemic oppression many have endured because of it. "Our city, state and nation are under severe breaking points," notes a union leader in a Facebook post introducing the video. "Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such division of all people...(and) we too have become the targets of racism." Along with appropriating and misquoting Martin Luther King - for white people, always a bad sign - the video condemns "broad brush attacks, generalizations, and assumptions by college professors" and other heartless elites tha…

Trump's a Racist — Don't Tell Me Otherwise

I have to admit I began loathing Donald Trump the day he accused Barack Obama of being born in Kenya, insinuating he wasn't an American citizen and really was a Muslim.
Here was one of the country's supposedly richest men, who commanded unlimited TV appearances, was the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and was "admired" for his...read more.

Detroit's Urban Farming Revolution

In the early 20th century the American city of Detroit was a booming industrial powerhouse and world leader in car manufacturing, with a population that reached nearly two million people.
But since the major car companies closed their factories, more than a million taxpayers have moved out of Detroit, leaving behind more than...read more.

Native Americans seek to reclaim ancestral land from Brown University

More than 50 members of the Pokanoket Nation and their supporters have set up an encampment in Rhode Island, arguing that the land bequeathed to Brown University was illegally taken from them hundreds of years ago.
Over a dozen tents have been pitched at Po Metacom Camp on Mount Hope, or Potumtuk, a hill overlooking the...read more.

Trump’s betrayal is complete as military-industrial complex continues expansion of power

If one moment stands out as the clearest signal yet of US President Trump turning his back on supporters, it was his announcement this week to re-escalate American military intervention in Afghanistan.

His signature campaign promise of putting “America First” and ending the folly of overseas wars launched by previous administrations was shredded on prime time television when he gave orders for...read more.

BANNON’S BREITBART SLAMS TRUMP FOR AFGHANISTAN “FLIP-FLOP”

Breitbart promised #war, and Monday night, after Donald Trump accepted the advice of the Joint Chiefs and committed the United States to an indefinite engagement in Afghanistan, it delivered. Within minutes of Trump leaving the lectern at Fort Myer, surrounded by men and women in uniform, the site’s infamous all-caps, orange headlines came fast and furious: Read more.

Trump Joins Bush and Obama on Afghanistan War Plan

President Trump formally announced that he would boost American troop levels in Afghanistan, becoming the third consecutive president to do so and reversing a campaign pledge to pull U.S. troops from the country. Trump's opening effort to use an appeal to patriotism to clean up his unforced errors in response to Charlottesville proved to be a poignant—and politically savvy—moment. But Trump's efforts to clearly define victory in Afghanistan fell into the same traps as his predecessors, laying the groundwork for a...read more.

Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots

Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots.
Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous weapons.  Read more.

New York City police show support of Colin Kaepernick

Dozens of current and former New York City police officers, including famed corruption whistleblower Frank Serpico, turned out Saturday at a rally in support of getting free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.
The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.  Read more.

Lawrence Wilkerson: Under Trump, Al Qaeda is Flourishing

Marijuana Becomes a Player in California Politics and It's Putting Its Money on Gavin Newsom

Marijuana is already a multibillion-dollar-a-year business in California, and with recreational sales to adults coming online next year, it's about to get even bigger. Now, the legal pot industry is beginning to throw its weight around in state office-level politics, and it's doing it the old-fashioned way: with a checkbook.  Read more.

Trump Attacks Boston Anti-Racism Demonstrators as 'Anti-Police Agitators'

After declaring during a press conference on Tuesday that there were many "very fine people" in attendance at the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to launch an attack on the thousands of anti-racist demonstrators in Boston, labeling them "anti-police agitators."  Read more.