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Tuesday, January 27 2015

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Op-Ed
 

Bill Scher: You Think Sarah Palin Is Incoherent? Listen To Jeb Bush.

Many people are having a good laugh watching Sarah Palin’s unintentionally hilarious speech to a conservative gathering in Iowa over the weekend. But Palin is never going to get anywhere near the White House.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco Friday, someone else gave a painfully incoherent speech. And since the speaker really could end up in the White House, it’s actually worth your attention.

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Robert Reich: Wall Street's Threat to the American Middle Class

Presidential aspirants in both parties are talking about saving the middle class. But the middle class can’t be saved unless Wall Street is tamed.

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James Zogby: Boehner/Netanyahu: "So Smart, They're Stupid"

When I was growing up, I remember a saying that was used to describe the behavior of persons who were so cocky that they did really dumb things -- "He's so smart, he's stupid."

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Luke Brinker: 5 of Sarah Palin's most insane and incoherent moments
Full story: Salon.com

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Supreme Court Housing Decision Could Put our Financial Well-Being at Risk

The Supreme Court appears poised to continue its systematic assault on our core civil rights laws. After gutting the Voting Rights Act just two years ago, the court set its sights on our country's fair housing laws when it heard oral arguments today in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project. As with the voting rights decision, a decision limiting the scope of the housing laws would ignore the will of Congress and undermine basic principles of racial equality. But there is even more at stake in the fair housing case, because the wrong decision would reduce economic opportunities for working families and raise the risk of another financial crisis.

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LeeAnn Hall: The minimum wage shouldn't force workers to live in poverty

On New Year’s Day, 20 states raised their minimum wages. That leaves a lot of states that aren’t increasing the minimum wage — along with the federal government.

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John Feffer: Fighting for Europe's Soul

In the first Crusade, armed Christians set out to “liberate” Jerusalem from Muslim rule. In addition to slaughtering thousands of Muslims between 1096 and 1099, the crusaders also launched pogroms against Jews, pagans, and even other Christians.

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Frank Sharry: Steve King Provides the Real Republican Response on Immigration

This Saturday, leading Republican presidential contenders will travel to Iowa to attend anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King’s “Freedom Summit.” As the Des Moines Register previews, the event is “already pegged by the campaign-industrial complex as the kickoff to Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.” As an earlier Register piece characterized, King is aiming to use the event “to extend [his] footprint as kingmaker.”

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Sevren Gourley: 5 Ways Citizens United Has Screwed Over Our Democracy

Five years after the Supreme Court handed down Citizens United, the decision continues to have a widespread impact on the state, federal, and even international level. As evidenced by the record spending 2014 mid-term elections, the unchecked influence of corporate and business interests through super PAC (Political Action Committee) donations has significantly altered the operation of American politics.

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Fred Wertheimer: Supreme Court's 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United has wreaked havoc on our democracy

Five years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United, a 5 to 4 decision that has wreaked havoc on our democracy.

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Will Durst: The Return of Satire

Decades after being dismissed by George S. Kaufman as a genre that "closes on Saturday night," satire, like the measles and mumps, is making a comeback. And in many quarters, remains the most feared of the three conditions.

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Andy Rowell: Just Say No to KXL, Mr. President

As Americans listen to their President tonight give his sixth annual State of the Union address, many people will be eagerly awaiting to see if he says anything about what has become one of the biggest political headaches of his Administration: the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline which will transport dirty tar sands from Canada to the US.

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Jim Hightower: The Pentagon's mad scientists have a God-like goal of "creating" new food

Armed with hefty grants from the Pentagon, squads of food technologists are on a mission to supplant nature with a great leap forward into the Brave New World of synthetic foodstuffs.

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Robert Reich: The New Compassionate Conservatism and Trickle-Down Economics

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are zeroing in on inequality as America’s fundamental economic problem.

Bush’s new Political Action Committee, called “The Right to Rise,” declares “the income gap is real” but that “only conservative principles can solve it.”

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Jill Richardson: The War on Hen-Pecking

Chickens had plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Day. Supposedly.

After a long wait, California’s 2008 ballot measure to improve conditions for laying hens finally went into effect. Instead of living in cramped cages that give each bird less room than a sheet of paper, the birds are going to get enough space to lie down, stand up, stretch their wings, or turn around.

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Robert Redford: Why Keystone XL Is the Wrong Choice for America

The new Republican majority in Congress wants to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. President Obama announced he will veto bills that bypass the official review of Keystone XL.

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Cassandra Stubbs and Anna Arceneaux: Oklahoma Plays Torture Roulette With Lethal Injection

The logical response to Clayton Lockett's bloody, pain-filled, unconstitutional execution in Oklahoma eight months ago would be to prevent such torture from happening again. But Oklahoma has another idea for its first execution since Lockett's. Instead of learning from its mistakes, the state will administer midazolam, the same drug used in Lockett's horribly botched execution.

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Lisa Dodson: We don't fight poverty anymore: Almost half of US children live in or near poverty

Fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson spoke of war on poverty and pursuit of a great society. He talked about investing in education and employment and about eliminating social exclusion that comes with poverty.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: Pipeline to Nowhere

When Maria van der Hoeven summed up the 20-year outlook for global energy investment in London last year, she identified a couple of daunting challenges.

The amount of money required by 2035 is a staggering $48 trillion, the International Energy Agency chief and former Dutch economy minister said. And it’s not clear how many of those trillions of dollars will power climate-friendly options.

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Marielena Hincapié: GOP-led House Vote Is Nothing More Than a Partisan Attack on Immigrants

In a mostly party-line vote, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved measures that would dismantle President Obama’s immigration initiatives going back three years — initiatives that help children, keep families together, assist spouses of U.S. military personnel, and provide humanitarian relief.

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Earthjustice Statement on President Obama's Goal to Reduce Oil and Gas Methane Pollution

This morning, as part of a series of executive actions by the Obama Administration to combat climate change, the White House announced a goal of reducing the oil and gas industry’s waste of methane, the primary component of natural gas, by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. The Administration also unveiled a plan to work towards that goal, including methane air pollution standards for new equipment, voluntary measures and informal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance. However, the plan does not include methane standards for existing equipment.

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Norman Solomon | Sterling Trial Opens in Security-State Matrix

When the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got underway Tuesday in Northern Virginia, prospective jurors made routine references to “three-letter agencies” and alphabet-soup categories of security clearances. In an area where vast partnerships between intelligence agencies and private contractors saturate everyday life, the jury pool was bound to please the prosecution.

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Sierra Club: EPA to regulate methane from oil and gas production

Reducing methane in the atmosphere is necessary to address the unchecked climate pollution caused by the dramatic growth of oil and gas production in the United States. This expansion is driven by dangerous techniques, including fracking, which the Sierra Club opposes because they pollute our air and water and hold us back from clean energy prosperity. We cannot afford to wait: regulating methane directly is a critical step, but EPA and BLM must act quickly to reduce methane emissions from all new and existing sources of methane pollution in the oil and gas sector, including the transmission and distribution of natural gas.

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CEPR's Dean Baker: Democrats' Plan for Financial Transactions Tax Would Bring Financial Markets into 21st Century

Representative Chris Van Hollen’s proposal for a financial transactions tax, a key part of the new tax plan that he revealed this morning, is a move towards establishing a 21st century structure for financial markets. In the last four decades there has been an enormous reduction in the cost of financial transactions due to the development of computers and information technology. This has led to an explosion in trading volume. Much of this trading volume serves no purpose from the standpoint of the productive economy, yet it generates enormous incomes for the financial industry.

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Kate Desormeau: Why is Immigration & Customs Enforcement Still Fighting For Its Runaway Detainer Regime?

Ada Morales, a long-time resident of Rhode Island, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1995. Yet in 2009, when she was arrested by Rhode Island authorities for an unrelated state charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an immigration hold, or "detainer," against her. Explaining that an "investigation had been initiated" to determine her immigration status, ICE asked the Rhode Island authorities to keep her in jail even after her local custody ended.

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Khalil Bendib: Bullets and bombs can never silence the voices of laughter and friendship

As a political cartoonist who happens to be both American and Muslim, I often find myself at the intersection of media curiosity: Muslim, with all the stereotypical notions attached to that, but also a freedom-loving artist and a humorist.

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Glenn Greenwald: In Solidarity With a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons
Full story: First Look


Susan Mizner: Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Apply to Cops?

Many people recognize the names Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, African-American men, and a child, killed by the police.

Less well known are the names Milton Hall, James Boyd, Ezell Ford, Kajieme Powell, and Tanisha Anderson.

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Andy Rowell: KXL is "like two bald men fighting over a comb"

As the political squabbling over Keystone XL continues to dominate the political landscape in Washington, yesterday the Senate energy committee voted 13-9 in favor of a bill that would force construction of the controversial pipeline.

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HRC Thanks Barbara Boxer For Outstanding Service and Commitment to LGBT Equality

In light of today’s news that U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will retire at the end of her current term, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is highlighting her outstanding service, commitment to LGBT equality and support for fairness for all Americans.

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