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Monday, July 6 2015

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Robert Reich: Overtime: Finally a Break for the Middle Class (VIDEO)

The U.S. Department of Labor just proposed raising the overtime threshold – what you can be paid and still qualify to be paid “time-and-a-half” beyond 40 hours per week – from $23,600 a year to $50,400.

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John Kirakou: Why Won't Greece Take a Deal?

Greece is in dire straits. As a Greek American, it hurts to watch.

Without emergency loans from its European partners, Greece will default on its debts and likely be forced out of the Eurozone. That means tougher times ahead for Greece, Europe, and international financial markets.

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Olivia Alperstein: Flagging Hate Speech

I’ve spent my whole life in the Northeast, but I have Southern roots. My late grandfather came from a long line of sharecroppers who toiled in the fields of Decatur, Georgia for generations. Their history of hardship was common in the South.

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Ross Eisenbrey: What the New Proposed Overtime Rules Mean for Workers

In 2014, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update the threshold under which all workers are eligible for overtime pay. Today, the Department of Labor announced that it will raise the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440 by 2016. The threshold will also be indexed, guaranteeing that the law’s important protections will not be diminished by inflation.

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Maribel Hastings: The Republican Party: A Political Relic?

Whatever your view of same-sex marriage, a right finally recognized by the country’s highest court last Friday, the ruling highlighted the discomfort of a Republican party that has not kept pace with social and demographic changes that are occurring in our country at a rapid pace.

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NBC statement regarding Donald Trump

At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.

Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.

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Brennan Center: Supreme Court's Arizona Redistricting Ruling a Major Victory for Voters

In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission.

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Nan Aron: Supreme Court majority endorses barbarism of death penalty

Today, the Supreme Court endorsed the barbarism of the death penalty by allowing states to kill prisoners with a drug protocol that Justice Kagan aptly described as “burning alive, from the inside.” Oklahoma has already botched one execution using this protocol, and now the Court has opened the door for more, in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Botched executions, by their very nature, are cruel and unusual.

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Matt Kennard: White supremacists in the military want a race war. They must not fight America's wars
Full story: The Guardian UK


Human Rights Campaign: With Sweeping New Ruling, Marriage Equality Must Begin in All 50 States

In a historic 5-4 ruling, today the Supreme Court of the United States found bans on marriage equality to be unconstitutional—and that the fundamental right to marriage is a fundamental right for all. The majority’s opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, represents a clear mandate for governors, state attorneys general and officials everywhere to cease their attempts to uphold these discriminatory statutes.

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Robert Greenstein: Health Reform Here to Stay; Time for States to Fully Implement

Today's strong, clear Supreme Court decision confirms what was widely understood during the debate around the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): health reform provides subsidies for consumers in all states. The decision will let millions of Americans retain their marketplace coverage, allowing health reform's many achievements to stand: historic progress in reducing ranks of the uninsured, important market reforms and protections for consumers, and the ACA's likely contribution to a slower rate of growth for health care costs.

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Thomas Waite: What cli-fi can do to save the planet

Global warming is casting meteorological horrors across not only the planet, but in literature as well. For more than a half-century novelists have made mayhem of Earth by peering at it through the lens of climate change.

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Maribel Hastings: Immigration Reform: The Log in the Republican Eye

I wonder if Republicans, especially Hispanic Republicans, who say they support immigration reform believe they can avoid the enormous responsibility of their party for hindering reform through legislation. They don’t cooperate in a bipartisan manner; and if legislation advances, like it did in 2013, they block it. Confronted with Republican legislative inaction, President Barack Obama issued immigration executive orders in 2014, which they branded as unconstitutional and froze in the courts.

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Alexis Agathocleous, Rachel Meeropol: Ending the Torture of Solitary Confinement

It is well-known that the United States incarcerates more people than any other country. While the US makes up only 5% of the global population, it holds a quarter of the world's prisoners. The US’s record on solitary confinement is just as egregious. There are approximately 80,000 people in solitary confinement on any given day across the country. Particularly vulnerable populations, such as people with mental illness, juveniles, pregnant women, LGBTI people, and immigrants in detention, are routinely and disproportionately held in solitary confinement.

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Richard Cohen: Dylann Roof, the Charleston Murders and Hate in the Mainstream

Much has been made of news reports showing that the head of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) – the racist group whose website helped radicalize the suspect in the Charleston church massacre – has donated $65,0000 to Republican candidates, including presidential aspirants Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

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Jim Zogby: Racist hate groups and gun violence are the gravest threats we face today

This week, Americans were shocked by another horrific act of mass murder. In Charleston, South Carolina, a young white man, infected by race hate, walked into the historic Emanuel AME Church, sat for an hour with their evening bible study group, and then took out a gun and murdered nine innocent African American congregants. Our national ailments of racism and gun violence had once again reared their ugly heads, waking us, if only for a moment, from our collective somnolence.

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Will Durst: Red Pope, Green Pope

He gets under their skin like termites in a boathouse. Drives them crazier than Hillary Clinton and Yoko Ono dancing on a gay pride parade float. He's the itch you can't scratch. The thorn in the palm of their paw. The 3-inch scratch on their favorite Ted Nugent album. I'm talking about that hot new Catholic sensation, Pope Frankie.

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Robert Reich: Why Medicare Isn't the Problem; It's the Solution

Again and again the upcoming election you’ll hear conservatives claim that Medicare - the health insurance program for America’s seniors - is running out of money and must be pared back.

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Peter Dykstra: DENY-A-PALOOZA

I’ve never attended any of the annual Heartland Institute gatherings on climate denial, but every year they catch my attention—pretty much in the same way that we all slow down to ogle the wreck at the side of the highway.

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Tom Engelhardt: Our Jihadis and Theirs: The Real (Armed) Dangers of American Life
Full story: Tom Dispatch


Arthur Chu: It's not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males
Full story: Salon.com

Lawrence Brown: This is American terrorism: White supremacy's brutal, centuries-long campaign of violence
Full story: Salon.com

Richard Cohen: Tragedy at Emmanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real

A white man who admires apartheid walks into a black church and kills nine people. According to an eyewitness, he says that he has "to do it" because black people "rape our women" and are "taking over our country." It's an obvious hate crime by someone who feels threatened by our country's changing demographics and the increasing prominence of African Americans in public life.

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Wenonah Hauter: Food & Water Watch Slams House Passage of Fast Track

Today, the Republican leadership rammed undemocratic stand-alone Fast Track legislation, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, through the House of Representatives. This bill puts transnational corporate interests ahead of the American people. Just last week, Congress stood up for its constituents when it voted down a key portion of the Fast Track trade package and stalled the bill’s progress. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama should have accepted the will of the American people rather than resorting to parliamentary chicanery to push their corporate trade agenda.

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Ruben Andersson: Why border controls are now a global game

Ahead of World Refugee Day, anthropologist and author of “Illegality, Inc.”, Ruben Andersson of the London School of Economics looks at how localised migration control efforts have ignored the globalisation of irregular migration routes.

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John Kiriakou: All Hacked Up

I’ve gotten a lot of unwelcome mail from the feds these last few years, like a copy of my indictment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. But this latest delivery was something altogether new.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: Taking Our Sweet Crude Time

After a quarter-century of buzz over global warming, the climate talkers are at it again, doing whatever it is they do. Visitors to the next big climate change summit, in an act of glorious irony, will pack Paris-bound jets flown by Air France — one of the meeting’s big corporate sponsors with deep ties to fossil fuels.

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Ale Saucedo: Jeb Bush Finally Enters 2016 Field As Just Another Member of the Party of Mass Deportation

Today, Jeb Bush officially launches his bid for president at a rally in his hometown of Miami. Outside and inside his event will be hundreds of Dreamers, immigrant families, environmental activists, leaders in the women’s reproductive rights movement, and other allies to corner him on his inconsistent record as “a different kind of Republican.”

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Robert McWhirter: By the Bizarre Logic of Anti-Gay Marriage Zealots, the Supreme Court Should Allow Businesses to Discriminate Against Interracial Couples

The Culture Wars are really over. Most Americans believe gay people should marry, abortion should be legal, contraception readily available. So, what is a lost culture warrior to do?

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Jim Zogby: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions -- A Legitimate and Moral Response to Israeli Policy

The Israeli government response to the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" (BDS) movement has been predictable. Being incapable of engaging in any reasonable form of self-criticism or even self-reflection, Israeli leaders have, instead, turned their wrath on their accusers and their victims.

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