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Political news, mostly from the United States, including: all three branches, campaigns, policy, outside influences, and real-world consequences.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Sees a “Russia Connection” Lurking Around Every Corner

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One day after her network joined the rest of corporate media in cheering for President Trump’s missile attack on Syria, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was back to regular business: seeing Russian collaboration with Trump at work.

-via The Intercept

Free Public College Has Arrived in New York — With Some Big Catches

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to waive tuition fees for some New Yorkers at any two or four-year state college, first covered in the Voice in February, has survived the state budget brawl — but it comes with some unexpected and alarming caveats.

-via Village Voice

5 Of The Wildest Details In Report On Alabama Guv’s Efforts To Hide Affair

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Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) may finally be giving up. reported that the governor, for whom impeachment hearings started Monday, is expected to step down this week over his elaborate efforts to conceal an alleged affair with a former aide that investigators say misappropriated state resources and ran afoul of ethics laws.

Bentley’s lawyers are now reportedly trying to ease his departure from the governor’s mansion. Sources told that those attorneys are engaged in negotiations to allow Bentley to resign from office and plead to lesser charges.

-via Talking Points Memo

Trump’s Secret Service Sued for Visitor Logs

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A coalition of transparency advocacy groups filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to compel President Trump’s protective detail to turn over the names of individuals that he is meeting.

The scope of the FOIA action includes visitor names and the dates they met with the President at the White House and at other Trump residences: Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and Trump Tower in New York.

-via The District Sentinel

Chap Trap House, Episode 98 – Gorka II: The Gorkaning feat. Alex Pareene & James Adomian (4/9/17)

The international supervillain Sebastian Gorka (James Adomian) calls into the show again, recently hampered by a conspiracy exposing him as a member of the Hungarian fascist Vitézi Rend. Will it stop his plans to push out all other top Trump advisers and achieve global domination?

Then we talk to Alex Pareene about Trump’s Syria strikes, the media’s massive, pathetic war chubby, and his piece this week about the rightwing grift that has overtaken its creators and unraveled reality.

Alex’s piece:

-via Chap Trap House

Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein

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Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist.

-via Monthly Review

A Town Forgotten

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The decline of Cairo is a version of a familiar story in the US. It is a story of brutal, dramatic, and often predatory economic changes. It is a story of technological progress that hasn’t served everyone. It is the story of crass materialism that has hollowed out much of America and left many folks feeling empty. It is the story of an ugly racism that makes the changes fall heaviest on minorities. It is a story of entire communities discarded, the residents then told to “just move.”

-via Medium by Chris Arnade

Central American Children Try to Convince Courts They Need Protection

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Ultimately, between April 2014 and August 2015, more than 102,000 unaccompanied children were detained at the border, and their fates haunted Luiselli to such an extent that on her return to New York, she started volunteering as an interpreter for children facing deportation in federal immigration court. She has written a new book about her experience, “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay In Forty Questions,” and it couldn’t be more timely.

-via The Intercept

UK to ‘scale down’ climate change and illegal wildlife measures to bring in post-Brexit trade, secret documents reveal

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The UK Government plans to water down regulations surrounding climate change and illegal wildlife trading in an effort to help secure post-Brexit trade, civil service documents have reportedly revealed.

Tim Hitchens, the director general of economic and consular affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), will say in a speech later this month that the UK must change its focus to carry out Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision of the country as a “great, global trading nation”.

-via The Independent

Meet the Nebraskans Who Could Stop Keystone XL (Again)

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Thanks to a State Department-issued presidential permit, Donald Trump has formally brought the Keystone XL pipeline back from the dead, a move he claims will lead to a “new era of American energy policy.” What Trump may not have factored in is the obstacle posed to that pipeline by the residents of a state that voted overwhelmingly for him in November: Nebraska.

-via In These Times

 Too Many of Trump’s Liberal Critics Are Praising His Strike on Syria

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It shouldn’t be surprising, but it is to me nonetheless: Plenty of liberals who’ve long criticized Donald Trump as unfit to be president are praising his strike on Syrian airfields.

On CNN’s New Day Thursday, global analyst Fareed Zakaria declared, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States” last night. To his credit, Zakaria has previously called Trump a “bullshit artist” and said, “He has gotten the presidency by bullshitting.” But Zakaria apparently thinks firing missiles make one presidential.

-via The Nation

Tennessee University Fires NPR Reporter After Politicians Complain

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Now Helbert has been fired by the university, after legislators objected to her report and complained that she hadn’t identified herself to them. Helbert has filed a lawsuit in response, while freedom of the press activists have organized rallies and petitions in her defense.

-via Truthout

Arkansas Plans to Execute Seven People This Month, Continuing Long Tradition of Assembly-Line Killing

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On April 17, the state of Arkansas plans to kill Don Davis and Bruce Earl Ward, two men who have been on death row since the early 1990s. Neither has applied for clemency. Both will die on the same gurney, back to back, if all goes according to plan. Executioners will start by injecting them with a sedative called midazolam, never before used by the state, but which is supposed to render them unconscious for the two lethal drugs to follow. No one, apart from a handful of officials, knows where the drugs will come from, or who exactly will do the injecting.

-via The Intercept

Rahm Emanuel’s College Proposal Is Everything Wrong With Democratic Education Policy

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On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new educational proposal: starting with this year’s freshman class, every student in the Chicago public school system will be required to show an acceptance letter from a college, a trade school or apprenticeship, or a branch of the military in order to graduate. “We live in a period of time when you earn what you learn,” Mayor Emanuel said. (Democratic politicians’ attempts at folksiness are always pretty grim.) “We want to make 14th grade universal,” he also said. The proposed measure is almost certainly a publicity stunt which will have little effect in practice.

-via Current Affairs

Boycotting Bill O’Reilly: Over 50 Advertisers Pull Ads on Fox Show over Sexual Harassment Scandal

The number of advertisers boycotting Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program has increased to at least 52, following revelations that he and the network paid out $13 million to settle lawsuits by five women who accuse O’Reilly of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior. Meanwhile, a third Fox News employee has joined a lawsuit charging the network with racial discrimination. The employees claim top executives—including former CEO Roger Ailes.

-Via Democracy Now

Government Agency Nixes Coal Photo on Public Lands Website After Public Outcry

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The Trump administration just got a harsh reminder just how strongly Americans feel about protecting public lands. A few days ago, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees millions acres of public land under the Department of the Interior, swapped its homepage image of a beautiful park to a massive pile of coal at a mine in Wyoming.

-via Earth Justice

America’s Health Care System Forces Citizens To Turn To Crowdfunding To Survive

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In March, Shane Patrick Boyle, founder of Zine Fest Houston, published a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his insulin. He needed $750 to make it through the month. But before the end of March, Boyle died.

According to his cousin, who soon initiated a memorial drive to pay for funeral services, Boyle’s death was a result of an attempt to “stretch out his life saving insulin to make it last longer.”

Boyle is not the first person to use a crowdfunding platform to pay for medical care nor is he the first to die due to the inability to afford insulin or other necessary medication.

-via Shadowproof

 Donald Trump’s Presidency Could Literally Mean the End of Their World

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At the precise moment that Donald Trump was giving his acceptance speech, I was in a room packed with a thousand people in Sydney, Australia, listening to Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, a leading activist from the island state of Kiribati. All day I had been sending e-mails with the subject line “It’s the end of the world.” I suddenly felt embarrassed by the privilege of this hyperbole.

If Trump does what he says and rolls back the (insufficient) climate progress won under Obama, inspiring other nations to do the same, Chi-Fang’s nation and culture will almost surely disappear beneath the waves. Literally, the end of their whole world.

-via The Nation

 Socialism in America Is Closer Than You Think

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In 1970, the great liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith declared that the “Democratic Party must henceforth use the word ‘socialism.’ It describes what is needed.” Like many others, however, Galbraith largely dropped the subject in subsequent years. The response to Bernie Sanders’s insurgent presidential campaign, along with polls showing that large numbers of young people and minorities in America have a positive view of socialism, suggest that this once-forbidden concept may no longer be taboo.

-via The Nation

How Detroit’s EMS response times went from miserable to above average

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When Mike Duggan became the mayor of Detroit in 2014, he made a bold pledge to improve the city’s ambulance response times from a miserable 18 minutes to the national standard of 8 minutes.

It would be no easy task. For decades, Detroit has struggled with ambulance and staff shortages, mismanagement, inadequate training and response times twice the national average. Ambulances were so slow that Detroiters debated whether they should even call 911. 

But that is changing in a radical way.

-via Motor City Muckracker