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Jim Hightower: What Competing Thanksgiving Tales Share

Thanksgiving is here. Let’s eat!

America’s most food-focused holiday traces its roots back to the abundant feast that Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed together in the fall of 1621.

Only half of the Mayflower Pilgrims who’d arrived at Plymouth Rock the previous December survived their first year in the New World. (It was “new,” of course, only to those undocumented immigrants from England — not the locals).

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Larissa Johnson: The Three F’s of Thanksgiving

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about family, food, and firsts.

The first person in my family to eat a Thanksgiving feast was William Brewster, my 13th great-grandfather. He was also one of the first people to celebrate this tradition at all.

After coming over on the Mayflower with his wife and children, Brewster settled into Plymouth Colony. As the senior elder and the religious leader of the group, he probably blessed this first meal himself.

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Caeleigh MacNeil: In North Dakota, Fracking Could Become Even More Dangerous

The oil and gas industry came to North Dakota promising salvation. They said that the oil and gas locked beneath the state—in the Bakken Shale—could be siphoned out using hydraulic fracturing. It was the new American gold rush.

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Lynn Tramonte: House Vote on Anti-Refugee Bill a Shameful Day -- For Both Parties

This was a shameful day in the U.S. House of Representatives—for both parties. We already knew that Republicans would treat refugees like political footballs, and have little regard for the facts. But we are deeply disappointed by Democrats who capitulated to GOP-fueled xenophobia and voted against core American values.

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Robert Reich: The Perils of Circus Politics

The next president of the United States will confront a virulent jihadist threat, mounting effects of climate change, and an economy becoming ever more unequal.

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David Leopold: America doesn’t turn its back on refugees

This week, we’ve seen politicians launch an ugly, vicious campaign against Syrian refugees. They’ve singled out this group of people for partisan gain. In doing so, they’re ignoring basic humanity.

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Dick Polman: GOP Islamophobia is Back With a Vengeance

What a surprise. In the aftermath of Paris, Republicans have rediscovered one of their favorite illnesses, Islamophobia. Painting with a predictably broad brush, Marco Rubio compares Muslims to Nazis. Donald Trump talks about shuttering mosques. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush want to ban all Syrian refugees who are Muslim, and admit only those who are Christian.

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Donald Kaul: Bombs Won’t Cut It

When Paris suffered attacks that killed 17 last January — at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket — it responded with great class.

Parisians filled the streets, locked arm-in-arm in solidarity against terrorism. Leaders from throughout Europe (but not, alas, President Barack Obama) joined them in a show of support.

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Michel Gabaudan: Refugees Must Not be Defamed

Each country that accepts refugees has the right to ensure proper screening of persons arriving through the resettlement process. Despite what some have claimed these past few days, the U.S. has one of the most thorough, laborious background check systems in place throughout the world. Because of this extensive review by the FBI, Department of Defense, and other agencies, it regularly takes two years or more for a refugee to arrive in the U.S. through the resettlement program. In fact, the acceptance of an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees which President Obama recently announced will bring refugees who have been undergoing vetting for years – some since the Syrian conflict began four years ago.

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Marielena Hincapié: Governors’ Anti-Refugee Position Is Immoral and Unconstitutional

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, France, nearly half of the U.S.’s state governors have declared that Syrian refugees are no longer welcome in their states. Other elected officials have asserted that the U.S. should admit only Christian refugees from Syria. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

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Susannah Sirkin: Governors Who Say They Will Close Doors on Syrian Refugees Pander to Fear and Ignorance

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is appalled by the declarations of the U.S. governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, that they will not allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states.

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Sylvia Fallon: Milkweed alone will not bring back the monarch butterflies (It's the pesticides, stupid)

Working on wildlife conservation policy is often an uphill battle. Federal and state agencies generally want to do the least amount of work possible to help conserve species. But every once in a while an issue comes along that everyone can get behind and there is suddenly an outpouring of support and resources at both the public and private level to address an urgent problem. The concerted (and ongoing) response to whitenose syndrome in bats is one of those examples and the recent efforts around the greater sage grouse is another. We are also now seeing an unprecedented response to the dramatic decline of monarch butterflies due to the loss of milkweed, a native wildflower that is the only food source for monarch caterpillars. From individuals planting milkweed in their backyards and schools, to federal agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Department of Agriculture investing millions of dollars to create additional milkweed habitat - there is an enormous effort underway to restore the population of monarch butterflies by planting pollinator habitat. The response is inspiring and heartening, but there is one major problem: All of the habitat in the world is not going to help the monarchs (or the bees and other pollinators) if it continues to be exposed to toxic pesticides.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline while backing increased oil, gas, and coal production

Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy hits a fork in the Yellow Brick Road? As she stands there stumped, a friendly character who will accompany her to the Emerald Palace pipes up.

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Martha Burk: Bright Ideas from the GOP’s Finest

We’re officially just under a year away from Election Day 2016.

We’ve already been bombarded for months with red-hot anti-tax, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, and anti-poor rhetoric from a fool’s dozen Republican candidates. Can we really take another 12 months of this?

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Robert Reich: What I Learned on My Red State Book Tour

I’ve just returned from three weeks in “red” America.

It was ostensibly a book tour but I wanted to talk with conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers.

I intended to put into practice what I tell my students – that the best way to learn is to talk with people who disagree you. I wanted to learn from red America, and hoped they’d also learn a bit from me (and perhaps also buy my book).

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Norman Solomon: The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: “It’s Just the Way It Is”

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration's shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting “national security” whistleblowers, none is more pernicious than the claim that technology is responsible.

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Bill McKibben Responds to News White House Will Reject Keystone XL

President Obama is the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate. That gives him new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight. We're still awfully sad about Keystone south and are well aware that the next president could undo all this, but this is a day of celebration.

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Statement by MSF on the Official Release of the Full Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

MSF remains gravely concerned about the effects that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will have on access to affordable medicines for millions of people, if it is enacted. Today’s official release of the agreed TPP text confirms that the deal will further delay price-lowering generic competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies.

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Richard Kirsch: Paul Ryan vs. the People

Paul Ryan paints himself as a champion of “the people” over “Washington.”

But the “people” the new House speaker defends are corporations. And the “Washington” he attacks is the one that does deliver for real people.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: Trying a Fossil Fiend

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wants the Justice Department to investigate and potentially prosecute ExxonMobil for corporate fraud.

The Vermont senator is alarmed by reports that the energy giant spread doubt about climate change despite knowing since 1977 that global warming was both underway and fueled by its own operations. Bankrolling a disinformation campaign helped stymie climate action and “may have caused public harm,” Sanders said in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

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Robert Reich: On Leaders and Demagogues

Among the current crop of candidates for president of the United States, who exhibits leadership and who doesn’t?

Leadership isn’t just the ability to attract followers. Otherwise some of the worst tyrants in history would be considered great leaders. They weren’t leaders; they were demagogues. There’s a difference.

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Robert Reich: The 4 Big Lies about Immigrants -- and the Truth

Donald Trump has opened the floodgates to lies about immigration. Here are the myths, and the facts.

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Dror Ladin: At Guantanamo, Sometimes Even the Judge is In the Dark

I’m writing from Guantánamo Bay, where pre-trial proceedings in the military commissions prosecution of the 9/11 defendants have restarted after an 18-month delay. It has been a faltering start, to say the least: Within ten minutes of the first hearing, the agenda was derailed. Again.

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Center for Constitutional Rights: Lawmakers’ attempts to keep Guantánamo open for partisan political gain are no excuse for President Obama’s failure to close the prison

Today’s veto is important because it blocks congressional efforts to impose new, strict requirements on transferring our clients from Guantánamo, including many long cleared for release. But lawmakers’ attempts to keep Guantánamo open for partisan political gain are no excuse for President Obama’s failure to close the prison. President Obama has all the power he needs to transfer men out of Guantánamo, ramp up the administrative Periodic Review Board process to clear more men, and bring men into the U.S. for prosecution in federal court. What President Obama lacks is political will. If he doesn’t take bold steps now, he will fail to close Guantánamo, and that will be a central part of his legacy as president.

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Manuel Perez-Rocha: Obama’s Unholy Trade Policy

Pope Francis waxed radical on several big issues in his speech to Congress last September. He condemned the arms trade, called for climate action, and challenged lawmakers to protect the most vulnerable among us.

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Robert Reich: The Morality of a $15 Minimum

Have you noticed how often conservatives who disagree with a policy proposal call it a “job killer?”

They’re especially incensed about proposals to raise the federal minimum wage. They claim it will force employers to lay off workers worth hiring at the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour but not at a higher minimum.

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Earthjustice Statement on Obama Administration Decisions to Cancel Upcoming Arctic Ocean Lease Sales and Deny Arctic Ocean Lease Extensions

Today the Interior Department announced it would cancel upcoming oil and gas lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas scheduled for 2016 and 2017, following Shell’s decision to end for the foreseeable future its oil exploration efforts in the Arctic Ocean. Also today, the agency announced that it had denied requests for extensions of leases currently held by Shell and Statoil in the Arctic Ocean. Those leases are set to expire in 2017 and 2020.

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Robert Reich: Hillary, Bernie, and the Banks

Giant Wall Street banks continue to threaten the wellbeing of millions of Americans, but what to do?

Bernie Sanders says break them up and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act that once separated investment from commercial banking.

Hillary Clinton says charge them a bit more and oversee them more carefully.

Most Republicans say don’t worry.

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Timothy Karr: Your Internet Provider Is Distorting Free Speech

Earlier this year, the Newseum Institute asked 1,000 Americans to name their rights under the First Amendment. A clear majority listed freedom of speech first — before freedom of religion, assembly, and other core civil liberties.

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Jon Kiriakou: The Sad Fate of America’s Whistleblowers

What is it about whistleblowers that the powers that be can’t stand?

When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program, I was derided in many quarters as a traitor. My detractors in the government attacked me for violating my secrecy agreement, even as they ignored the oath we’d all taken to protect and defend the Constitution.

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