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Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Put Burden of Costs of Malheur Occupation on Armed Militia, Not Oregonians

Today, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) announced introduction of legislation that will help assuage some of the financial hardship borne by state and local taxpayers in protecting the community while armed militants occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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New USDA Standards for Poultry Will Improve Food Safety but Still Leave Consumers Vulnerable

Members of the Safe Food Coalition today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s release of final standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground poultry and poultry parts. According to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, the new standards will help prevent 50,000 illnesses annually. The Coalition also called on USDA to build on these standards by taking a tougher stance overall on the presence of drug-resistant Salmonella in food, and to conduct a thorough review of its microbial sampling methods to ensure that industry processing techniques do not hamper the agency's ability to detect Salmonella.

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Study: Americans are 10 times more likely to die from firearms than citizens of other developed countries

Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in the United States and the scope of the problem is often difficult to illustrate. A new study published in The American Journal of Medicine lays out the risk in concrete terms. When compared to 22 other high-income nations, Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than their counterparts in the developed world. Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. and, while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher.

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Warren: Fix Rigged Justice System, Reject GOP Proposals to Shield Corporate Criminals From Prosecution

In remarks on the Senate floor this morning, Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system of justice for corporate lawbreakers and raised concerns about two Republican proposals that would make this system even worse.

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Release of Internal Documents Shows Greed Driving Shkreli’s Push for Drug Price Hike

Following today’s release by the House Oversight Committee of astonishing internal documents revealing the greed behind former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli’s decision to increase by 5,000 percent the cost of the life-saving drug Daraprim, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued the following statement:

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Smirking drug CEO Martin Shkreli antagonizes lawmakers after pleading the Fifth (VIDEO)
Full story: The Hill

Obama administration to sign Pacific trade deal, undermining climate policy

Today, Mchael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the trade ministers of 11 other Asia-Pacific countries will sign the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement in Auckland, New Zealand. The TPP will deregulate protections for peoples and environments and force governments to pay corporations and wealthy investors for the cost of complying with environmental and public interest safeguards.

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Grazing Fees Still a Sweetheart Deal for Private Industry, Agencies Abashed at Having to Raise It

Amid significant recent controversy over the national public lands grazing program, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service announced today the 2016 fee for grazing livestock on public allotments. At a mere $2.11 per cow/calf pair (AUM), it is clear that the government plans to keep up the heavy subsidies for this extractive industry. Despite this ongoing giveaway, it appears this year that the agencies are trying to lay low about the fee increase and have declined to issue a press advisory announcing this year's rates, unlike previous years when the announcement was made public in January.

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“Families Not Felons?” DACA Recipient Deported After Obama Administration Refuses to Follow Its Own Stated Policy

Earlier this week, the Obama Administration deported a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite the government earlier having approved her DACA application and granted her “advanced parole” request to travel to and from Mexico. The case of Lesly Sophia Cortez-Martinez is a troubling example of the Obama Administration not living up to its own stated immigration enforcement policies, and one executive branch agency refusing to honor the stated communications and commitment of another executive branch agency.

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Lawsuit Challenges Wildlife Services' Authority to Kill Wolves in Oregon

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the authority of the federal wildlife-killing program Wildlife Services to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. The legal challenge, filed by the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of four conservation groups, with Cascadia Wildlands representing itself, comes weeks after a federal court ruled that Wildlife Services’ controversial wolf killing program in Washington is illegal.

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Groups Sue EPA and Call on the Agency to Remove “Free Pass to Pollute” from National Standards for Oil Refineries

Community and environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit on Feb. 1, 2016, against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charging the agency with allowing unlawful regulatory loopholes that will expose communities to unnecessary levels of cancer-causing pollution. Eleven groups also filed a petition urging EPA to take formal reconsideration action to remove the problems in the Final Rule that were added after the comment period closed. The following is a statement from these groups.

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Non-Discrimination Bill Dead in Indiana Senate

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that SB 344 will not advance in the Indiana Senate. Although it was previously scheduled for a second hearing today, according to the bill’s author, the legislation will not be considered and will therefore fail to meet the required deadline this year. The deeply flawed legislation was a failed attempt to address the damning evidence that continues to emerge from the destruction caused to Indiana’s economy by Gov. Pence’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) last year, but the Senate had every opportunity to amend the bill to provide real protections for LGBT Hoosiers.

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Stanford report shows that U.S. performs poorly on poverty and inequality measures

The United States is dead last on many poverty and inequality outcomes when compared with other well-to-do countries, according to a new report by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

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Public Interest Organizations Support Greater Campaign Finance Disclosures by Fossil Fuel Industry

Today, several public interest organizations as well as former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.) urged (PDF) the U.S. Senate to approve an amendment to the energy bill that would require greater campaign finance disclosure by the fossil fuel industry.

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ICE nearly castrates grandfather in detention & now tries to deport him to likely death in Guatemala

Yesterday, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), and the attorneys at the Thomas Rome Law Group filed a complaint with DHS' Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties regarding the extreme medical abuse against 55-year-old Angel Rosa.

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Public Loudly Opposes BLM’s Planned Barbaric Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

Public outrage is rising over a series of inhumane, dangerous and experimental sterilization procedures proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is decrying the proposed experiments, and today announced that, so far, nearly 13,000 citizens have submitted comments to oppose the experiments in response to an alert that the group released last Thursday.

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Lumber Liquidators Inc. Sentenced for Illegal Importation of Hardwood and Related Environmental Crimes

Virginia-based hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. was sentenced today in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, and will pay more than $13 million in criminal fines, community service and forfeited assets related to its illegal importation of hardwood flooring, much of which was manufactured in China from timber that had been illegally logged in far eastern Russia, in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world, announced the Department of Justice.

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12 New York law firms filmed suggesting how to move suspect money into the US & avoid detection

A new investigation from Global Witness (1) has lifted the lid on how suspect funds can enter the U.S., as shown last night on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

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Report: “Immigration Raids: The Real Impact” Documenting 316 Calls for Help in Less Than One Month

Today, United We Dream released “Immigration Raids: The Real Impact” a report summarizing the findings of United We Dream’s Deportation Defense Hotline, which has received 316 calls to report Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity as well as calls for help in the last month. The report documents the first community-driven accounting of ICE activity and shows that the fear sparked by raids is being felt nationwide.

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Anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel to represent anti-abortion activist indicted in Planned Parenthood video investigation

The Liberty Counsel, a virulently anti-LGBT group thrown into the public spotlight after defending Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, announced earlier this week that it would defend Sandra Merritt, 62, in the wake of her indictment in Texas for tampering with a governmental record, a felony that could garner up to 20 years in prison. She was indicted along with fellow anti-abortion activist David Daleiden, 27, the leader of the Center for Medical Progress, an organization linked to anti-abortion extremists. Daleiden was also charged with tampering with a governmental record and a lesser charge related to attempting to purchase human organs.

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New Flint water testing shows lead levels at some homes is too high for filters to handle (VIDEO)
Full story: Click on Detroit

Donald Trump Says He Can't Be Bought. His Record Suggests He Can.
Full story: Huffington Post

Sarah Palin's PAC burning through cash; Alaskan spending money on self, not conservative candidates
Full story: Center for Public Integrity

Brady Campaign, Members of Congress Introduce Bill to Repeal Special Gun Industry Protections

Today Dan Gross, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, joined Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Senator Chris Murphy D-CT) to introduce a bill to end special legal protections for the gun industry and restore justice to victims of gun violence.

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A Fix for Flint: Groups File Federal Lawsuit to Secure Safe Drinking Water in Flint

A coalition of local citizens and national groups filed suit today seeking federal court intervention to secure access to safe drinking water for the people of Flint, Michigan.

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Wounded Warrior Project Accused of Wasting Donor Money
Full story: Military.com

Joint Statement by the FBI and Oregon State Police on Law Enforcement Activity Near Burns, Oregon

At approximately 4:25 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police (OSP) began an enforcement action to bring into custody a number of individuals associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. During that arrest, there were shots fired.

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Self-Proclaimed Anti-Abortion Group Leader Indicted on Felony Charge by Texas Grand Jury

Today, a Houston grand jury indicted David Daleiden, the founder and self-proclaimed leader of the anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, on criminal charges, including one felony charge. The grand jury also cleared Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of all wrongdoing.

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Damning New Evidence Reveals Indiana Lost At Least $60 Million Due To RFRA Fight Last Year

A brand new survey from Visit Indy is set to be released on Thursday that shows Indiana lost as much as $60 million in convention revenue alone because of last year’s disastrous and divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) fight. As reported by the Associated Press late last night, “12 out-of-state groups were surveyed and all said that the state’s controversial religious objections law played a role in their decision to hold their events elsewhere.” The news comes as Indiana lawmakers appear poised to double down on the debacle by considering an even more dangerous and extreme measure tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This new proposal is a “Super RFRA” – Senate Bill 66 – that could allow anyone who claims a religious exemption the right to discriminate against LGBT Hoosiers, visitors, and other minorities.

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270+ Organizations Send Letter Urging President Obama to Offer Temporary Protected Status for Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

More than 270 organizations sent a letter to President Obama this morning asking his administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a form of temporary immigration relief, to undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in light of pervasive violence and environmental disasters that prevent them from safely returning to the region.

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