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The San Antonio Spurs Defeated the Miami Heat 104-87, on Sunday June 15, 2014 for Their Their Fifth N.B.A. Title -  Winning the Series Four Games to One

2014 NBA Champion: San Antonio over The Miami Heats Photo_Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Martin Kaymer won his First the United States Open Golf Championship by 8 in Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C   on Sunday June 15, 2014

U.S. Open Golf 2014 Champion: Martin KaymerPhoto_Dough Mills/The New York Times

Kaymer finished with a 69 at Pinehurst No. 2 for a 72-hole total of nine-under-par 271. He ended the tournament eight strokes ahead of Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler, who each shot a final-round 72.

King Beat Rangers in Game 5, 3-2, in Double Overtime to Win the Stanley Cup

2014 Stanley Cup
Photo_AP

Sunday June 8, 2014: Rafael Nadal won the French Open in Paris -
He Finished The Final in 4 Sets to Win a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 victory  over Novak Djokovic

Rafael NadalPhoto_AP

Maria Sharapova of Russia won her second French Open on Saturday June 7th with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4, victory against Simona Halep of Romania.
Maria Sharapova
Photo_Kenzo Tribouillard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series Championship 
The game was not only magical, it was special. This was the first World Series the Sox won at home with all their fans in attendance in 96 years. 
We have play-by-play photos in our Photo Gallery. 

Celebration after the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series
The Seattle Seahawks won  the XLVIII Superbowl in a blowout against the Denver Broncos: 
43 - 8 at the MetLife Stadium across the New York border in New Jersey.


Superbowl XLVIII Champions: The Seattle Seahawks

 
The XXII Olympics Winter Games - 2014 -Sochi, Russia
[Last Updated Thursday February 13, 2014]
U.S. Sweeps Olympics Medals in Freestyle Skiing Competition 
 Men Slopestyle

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Games - US Men swept the Ski Slopestyle Medals
Men's ski slopestyle gold medal winner Joss Christensen of the United States, center, celebrates on the podium with his teammates Gus Kenworthy, left, silver, and Nicholas Goepper, bronze, right, during a flower ceremony at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. 


86th Academy Awards - 2014 Oscar Night - Hollywood, CA    

Top: Monica Almeida/The New York Times; bottom Jason Merritt/Getty Images; right Mike Blake/Reuters

Photo Credit: Top: Monica Almeida/The New York Times; bottom Jason Merritt/Getty Images; right Mike Blake/Reuters

  
  

Breaking News 









Cartoon: Open-Carry
Judge Declared California's Tenure Laws Unconstitutional
St. Antonio Mayor to Become Secretary of HUD
GM Fined $35 Millions for Lapses in Ignition-Switch
Videos: India Vote - Turkey's Mining Disaster
The Debate over The Minimum Wages by my.democrats.org
COMICS: The "hillbilly"
18-Year Old Ramarley Graham Killed by NYPD Officer
Senate Republicans Defeated Bill to Raise the Minimum Wage
Devastating US Supreme Court Decisions in News & Analysis
The 118th Boston Marathon
Moms Demand Action on Guns in America
Comics: The Scandal Machine
No News on the Mystery of Lost Malaysia Flight MH370
Vladimir Putin Playing Russian Roulette with Ukraine
Tax Day - April 15,201: Tips & What to Look for 
Report: Russia Withheld Marathon Bomber's Info from the FBI
Connecticut Huskies Won 2014 N.C.A.A. Title against Kentucky
Uconn Women Won Championship Made 2 against Notre Dame 
*2013 In Review*


  
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June 21, 2014

Journalism Accidentally Broke out on Fox News
When Fox News' Megyn Kelly Stole Her Show Plus the Shirt off 
of Former Vice President - Mr WMD Himself - Dick Cheney 
& His Daughter Liz - I Don't Know What I Want To Be
 When I Grow Up - Cheney 

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Megyn Kelly Grills Dick Cheney: 'You Got It Wrong' On Iraq
more at foxnews.com

With Iraq imploding last week, right wingers have come out of the woodwork to criticize President Obama for having withdrawn American troops out of Iraq without leaving a perpetual force behind. Any knowledgeable observer knows that the President refused to leave American service men behind because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Miliki demanded that any American troops left behind in Iraqi be under the command of the Iraqi army and be subjected to Iraqi jurisdiction. President Obama was not about to do that, given the propensity to drop their weapons and run, which the Iraqi army has been known for. Of course, the right wing will criticize the President for just about anything, including being alive, but the audacity of some in that camp, particularly former Vice President Dick Cheney brought those dwellers of the alternate universe to a whole new level with this statement in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by none other than the Dark Vader himself. Cheney stated:

“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
And in his last press conference on Tuesday before leaving his post as the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney was asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

“I wonder if you've had the chance to see this op-ed piece that former vice president Dick Cheney has written in the Wall Street Journal that has a rather critical tone to it toward the White House.  He says, "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," talking about the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East generally.”
Carney’s response: “Which president was he talking about?”

But subsequently, on Tuesday June 17, with his daughter Liz sitting by his side the former Vice President gave an interview to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly who decided to walk right out of the echo chamber to confront Cheney and his daughter over their complaints about the president’s handling of the Iraq situation.

Megyn Kelly: “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.” Kelly then referenced to the editorial written by Dick Cheney in the Wall Street Journal and quoted  a blog post by Paul Waldman in the Washington Post; She said, Waldman wrote: “There is not a single person in America — not Bill Kristol, not Paul Wolfowitz, not Don Rumsfeld, no pundit, not even President Bush himself — who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney.” She then pointed out that Waldman suggests that Cheney is responsible for the mess in Iraq, Kelly invited the former VP to defend himself.

Cheney: “Well, obviously, I disagree. I think we went into Iraq for very good reasons,” Cheney responded. “I think when we left office we had a situation in Iraq that was very positive, we made major progress as a result of a decision President Bush made to go with a surge in ’07 and ’08.”

Again, quoting from the Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, Kelly read, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” before adding, “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.” She then listed a collection of quotes from Cheney claiming Saddam Hussein had WMD’s, stating that America would be greeted as liberators, saying the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes. She then asked, “Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with almost 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?’

Dick Cheney: “No, I just fundamentally disagree, Reagan — I mean Megyn, ” Cheney responded. “You have to go back and look at the track record. We inherited a situation where there was no doubt in anybody’s mind about the extent of Saddam’s involvement in weapons of mass destruction.”

What we now know for a fact is that Dick Cheney’s people worked in concert with Iraq dissident Ahmed Chalabi to place false information about WMD’s with the New York Times’ Judith Miller whose stories were cited by Cheney as outside evidence of WMD development.
 
As reported by the Daily Kos, “later in the interview Kelly asked the Cheneys if they thought President Obama was “dangerous.” And that is where “Liz Cheney enthusiastically jumped in.”

Liz Cheney: “Yes, I’ll answer that one, Megyn. I think there is no question, I think that he is, uh, unique, in terms of a president who is sitting in the Oval Office, who has made very clear that his desire is to weaken the nation, ”  she said. “And, whether you say it’s his intent or naiveté, you can now look at the results of the policies of the last six years.”
 
Kelly pounced: What do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?’
But then, it appeared that Fox News producers alerted Kelly that she has stepped out of the alternate reality. So, she fell back in line and accommodated the Cheneys in their campaign of lies, distortion, and revisionist history
 

 
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June 20, 2014

The 5 Men Who were Convicted in Their Teens in 1989 and Were Later Exonerated in The Central Park Jogger  Rape Case Have Settled Their LawSuit against New York City for $40 Million Dollars

The Central Park 5 - Wrongful ConvicitionPhoto_New York Times

On April 19, 1989, 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili was violently assaulted while jogging in the park. She was raped and beaten almost to death. As reported by the New York Times, " The initial story of the crime, as told by the police and prosecutors, was that a band of young people, part of a larger gang that rampaged through Central Park, had mercilessly beaten and sexually assaulted the jogger. And the story quickly exploded into the public psyche, fanned by politicians and sensational news reports that served to inflame racial tensions." 5 Black and Hispanic juveniles were arrested and convicted in a second trial in 1990 for the crime and spent the next 12 years in prison.

In December 2002, an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, found DNA and other evidence that the woman had been raped and beaten not by the five teenagers but by another man, Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer who had confessed to acting alone in the attack. Concluding that the new evidence could have changed the original verdict, Mr. Morgenthau’s office joined a defense motion asking that the convictions be vacated. The defense motion was granted by the court. All 5 men convictions were vacated, and the men were ordered released from prison after serving 12 years of a life sentence. At the time of the incident, the teens ages ranged between 14 and 16 years old. They were released in 2002. 

However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg fought the lawsuit bitterly and refused to pay the men any restitution for the many years they spent in prison and the loss of their  youth years, Mayor Bloomberg insisting on fighting the men's lawsuit through appeals in court. the lawsuit had accused the city’s police and prosecutors of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive the men of their civil rights in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park. The conviction of all three men were later overturned when a party who requested anonymity confessed to having committed the crime. The men all three of them Black and Hispanic had maintained over the years that they were innocent of the crime.

Crime - Punishment & Injustice: The Central Park 5
From left: Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr., Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise in 2012 outside a theater before the New York premiere of “The Central Park Five
Photo_ Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Many Years later, Ms. Meili revealed her identity and wrote a book, “I Am the Central Park Jogger.” During their hearings, the men acknowledged being in the park as part of a group of teenagers, some of whom committed assaults unrelated to the attack on Ms. Meili who was left with no memory, and some of the men who reached their adulthood in prison expressed regret for the events.

President Obama's Statement on the Civil War between Sunni - Shiites, and Kurds in Iraq



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President Obama Speaks on the Situation in Iraq
President Obama delivers a statement from the White House Press Briefing Room on the situation in Iraq, and the steps the U.S. is taking in response, June 19, 2014.

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June 16, 2014

From around the Web

Ted Bundy's & Militia Supporter Standoff against the Federal Government: The BLM
                                           Photo: Google_Images
                                    The Enemy within
Ted BundyU.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Taking Steps & Planning                                To Combat Homegrown Terrorists
                  Believe Threats May Be Imminent
                                    
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."
Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions..."
...
...Twitter posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised."
Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington "seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate," along with their "characteristics and consequences." 

The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.
Last year, the DoD's Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine 'Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?' which, however, conflates peaceful activists with "supporters of political violence" who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on "armed militancy" themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:

"In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but about supporters of political violence."
(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)The piece concludes (and, in between, it explains how virtually all social activists--both violent and non-violent--are targeted in this effort) by noting that there are, "a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks."
...James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price's concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the "study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements," he said, including how "to counteract grassroots movements."
Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

Here's the Guardian's one-paragraph bio on author Nafeez Ahmed...
Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.

"Make no mistake about this story, it's as much--if not moreso--about domestic social activism as it is about international social activism. You simply must read the whole piece!I'm sure Kossack joe shickspack will have more on this in tonight's edition of Evening Blues."

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PUBLISHED: Thursday June 12, 2014 - The Guardian: Nafeez Ahmen

REPUBLISHED BY THE DAILY KOS

REPUBLISHED BY CREATELINKUSA.COM WITHOUT EDIT


Rancher Bundi and the U.S. Malitia
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June 14, 2014

Iraq Fell into Chaos


ISIS: Islamic Sate of Iraq & SyriaAfter more than 4000 dead American soldiers, over 32,000 gravely injured, 100,000 plus dead Iraqis, and over 3 Trillion dollars in a war that lasted 10 years, Iraq has fallen into chaos and in the hands of Islamic militants who have overrun the major cities and are reported to be marching on Baghdad, the country's capital. Last week, the international press coverage filled up with pictures out of Iraq showing militants in control of major parts of the country. On Friday, a Saudi intelligence official told CNN's chief foreign correspondent, Nic Robertson, that Sunni tribal leaders have lined up in support of radical Islamists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. As the violence escalated with car bombs killing dozens of people and Iraq military reportedly fleeing leaving their uniforms and weapons behind, the militants were reported to have captured armored vehicles and humvees left behind by the U.S. military and seized as much as 400 million dollars, NBC Richard Engle reported, as residents fled Mosul in droves. The militants were said to have captured Mosoul, the country's second-largest city.

Iraqi Militants March on BhagdadThree explosions hit Shiite areas in the capital city Friday evening, killing one person and wounding 20 people, police told CNN. Called a war of choice launched under false pretense and outright lies about former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possession of "weapons of mass destruction," President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq has cost America in blood and depleted the American treasury. The war failed to produce the expected spread of democracy in the Middle East, and has resulted instead in the ethnic conflicts and the breakup of the country under the American government hand-picked leader, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki who has reportedly engaged in the systematic oppression of the Sunni minority in Iraq. Today, Iraq is facing a civil war with the Islamic group taking over most of northern Iraq, while the Kurds has seized Kirkuk where Iraq's biggest oil field is located. The Shiites who make up the majority of the population of Iraq have taken over most of Baghdad since the U.S. invasion in 2003 and the subsequent troop withdrawal last year. 

When President Obama ordered the withdrawal of American troops last year, al Malaki refused to sign a security agreement that would have kept a contingent of non-combat U.S. troops in Iraq. Instead, al Malaki demanded that any remaining U.S. troops fall under the command and legal jurisdiction of Iraq. President Obama refused, and as a result pulled all U.S. troops out of the country. CNN is reporting that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush into the Persian Gulf from the North Arabian Sea. The Guardian is reporting that Iran and the United States may work together to help in the defense of Iraq.

On Friday, Mr. Obama said in a press conference, “This poses a danger to Iraq and its people and, given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well,” Mr. Obama said of the offensive now threatening Baghdad. “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options.” In an apparent effort to lower expectations, the president said, "the planning would take “several days” to make sure any airstrikes were effective. “People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight,” he continued. “We want to make sure that we have good eyes on the situation there. We want to make sure that we’ve gathered all the intelligence that’s necessary so that if in fact I do direct and order any actions there, that they’re targeted, they’re precise and they’re going to have an effect,” President Obama added.

2014 World Cup Opened in Brazil

World Cup 2014: Game 1 - Brazi v. Croatia
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The 2014 World Cup Opened in Brazil on Thursday June 12, 2014. The New York Times reported that the day marked Valentine's Day or its equivalent for Brazilians. However, in the months and days preceding the most popular world wide event known as soccer in the United States --but which the rest of the world's population refers to as football-- millions of Brazilians have been protesting government waste and corruption, as well as economic injustice. Media reports from the international press have described violent clashes between thousands of riot police and protesters, and it has been reported that Brazilian police have opened fire on demonstrators killing dozens of people. The day began with riot police using tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters near a downtown subway station, in what promises to be an on-going situation showing the Cup over the next month, although the upheaval did not stop this major sport event from opening as scheduled.

Brazilian player Neymar scored the first of his two goals with a shot that bounced in off the post. It was Brazil’s 3-1 over Croatia. The tournament's first game closed in controversy with a referee’s decision in favor of Brazil, prompting the Croatia coach to accuse the referee, Japanese Yuichi Nishimura, of favoring the home team.



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June 11, 2014

Top House Republican - Majority Leader Eric Cantor - Defeated in Virginia Primary

House Majority Leader - Eric Cantor of VirginiaJust before 8:30 PM last night, the Associated Press called the Virginia primary elections for Dave Brat, a Richmond-area college professor. Mr. Brat defeated House majority leader, Eric Cantor, for the 7th district seat in Virginia. He run to the right of Cantor who was expected to win the night by a sizable margin. A tea party candidate, Dave Brat had forced the majority leader to run to right as a hard-liner on the issues, particularly on the issue of immigration. Pundits and politicians alike were stunned by the unlikely defeat of Eric Cantor who was reported to be in Washington DC attending fundraisers during the day.

Some have ascribed Mr. Cantor's loss to being out of touch with his constituents back home. However, it is largely believed that the tea party agenda had prevailed for the challenger who ran on dismantling the president's health care reform law, defaulting on the debt ceiling, and replacing immigration reform with mass deportation. Most political commentators have misread the signs foreshadowing Cantor's defeat, when at a district convention last month in Henrico County, Mr. Cantor’s home base, conservatives ousted one of his loyalists as chairman while he looked on.



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June 10, 2014
News Alert - Flash News - Developing NewsLos Angeles Superior Court Judge Declared California Teacher Tenure & Seniority Laws Unconstitutional


The New York Times has reported that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education, a decision that hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired.“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”;The ruling, which declared the laws governing how teachers are hired and fired in California to be unconstitutional, is likely to set off a slew of legal fights here and in other states, where many education reform advocates are eager to change similar laws. The ruling brings a close to the first chapter of the case, Vergara v. California, but both sides have made it clear that they plan to appeal any decision that goes against them to the State Supreme Court.

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May 17, 2014

Breaking News
From 

The New York Times
St. Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to 
Become Part of Obama's Cabinet Secretaries

President Obama intends to choose Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio as the secretary of housing and urban development in a cabinet reshuffling, according to Democrats informed about the plans.Mr. Castro, who has often been mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate for the Democrats, would take the place of Shaun Donovan, who would move to head the Office of Management and Budget. That job is being vacated by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, whom Mr. Obama has nominated as secretary of health and human services.Mr. Castro, 39, won national attention as the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and he and his twin brother, Representative Joaquin Castro, have become popular speakers on the party’s fund-raising circuit.

The U.S. Government Fined GM 35 Million Dollars
 for Defective Ignition Switch 

General Motors will pay $35 million in a civil settlement with the federal government over its failure to report in a timely manner a defective ignition switch in 2.6 million smaller cars, the Department of Transportation announced on Friday. In addition, the automaker agreed to make changes to its internal safety practices, the department said in a statement.

The faulty ignition switch, in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars, was prone to turn off, shutting the engine and disabling the air bags. G.M., which was first alerted to the problem more than a decade ago, has linked the defect to 13 deaths.“Safety is our top priority, and today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.


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What India's Vote Means | Times Minute 5/16/14 | The New York Times
As Narendra Modi swept into power as prime minister-elect Friday, a look at what India's vote means.Produced by: Christian RomanIn this video:Congress Party Concedes Defeat as India Backs Mo...

Turkey's Mining Disaster

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Turkey's Mine Disaster | Times Minute 5/14/14 | The New York Times
A mining disaster in Turkey kills hundreds. Also on the Minute, Ras Baraka is Newark's new Mayor and an acclaimed Swedish director is found dead.Produced by: Mona El-Naggar,In this video:Mor...

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May 14, 2014

Play This Game of Extreme Right Wing Politics
The Minimum Wage Debate & Republicans' Opposition
When Extreme Right Wingers Become 
Their Party's Voices of Moderation


The Minimum Wage Debate & Republicans' Opposition
Play This Game of Extreme Right Wing Politics

Play This Game of Extreme Right Wing Politics

When Extreme Right Wingers Become Their Party's Voices of Moderation

In Support of my.democrats.org

We received this visual of the debate over the minimum wage by subscription. We are republishing on this site in support of the issue and the need to raise the minimum wage from $7.35 where it stands now and has remained stagnant for more than a decade to the $10.10 proposed by President Obama. The minimum wage would have now been at $10.50 if it had been indexed with inflation in the past decade.



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MON MAY 12, 2014 AT 06:50 AM PDT


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ORIGINALLY POSTED TO  ON MON MAY 12, 2014 AT 06:50 AM PDT. ALSO REPUBLISHED BY DAILY KOS.COM



NEW YORK POLICE OFFICER RICHARD HASTE'S KILLING OF UNARMED & FRIGHTENED 18 YEAR OLD RAMARLEY GRAHAM

18 YEAR OLD RAMARLEY GRAHAM MURDERED BY NYPD OFFICER - WE NEED JUSTICE
Two years ago, plainclothes NYPD Officer Richard Haste stalked and gunned down Ramarley Graham, a frightened, unarmed, and nonviolent 18-year old who was attempting to flush marijuana down the toilet in his Bronx home.

Bronx County District Attorney Robert Johnson's office convened a Grand Jury which voted to indict Officer Haste, but a judge threw out the indictment, citing prosecutorial error. A second Grand Jury refused to re-indict Haste.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a duty to protect our community against racial profiling and deadly police violence, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so. But the DOJ will only pursue this case if enough of us raise our voices and demonstrate a groundswell of national outrage.


In February of 2012, surveillance cameras from a neighboring home clearly captured Officer Haste and several other plainclothes officers — who were working undercover as part of the NYPD street narcotics unit — chasing Ramarley into his home. Violating the police rules of conduct, Haste violently kicked in the door and entered without a search warrant.
For more than a decade, the NYPD has relied heavily on the discriminatory Stop and Frisk practice, relentlessly subjecting Black and brown New Yorkers to racial profiling, constant harassment, violence, and suspicionless street searches.

Ramarley was one of at least 21 people killed by the NYPD in 2012, a year when the number of Stop and Frisk searches of young Black men nearly eclipsed the entire city's population of young Black men. Racially biased and unconstitutional policies like these lead to blanket suspicions of entire communities, unlawful arrests, and a culture of impunity which endangers young lives like Ramarley's.

The killing of unarmed young Black men who pose no threat to officers or public safety — like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell — highlights the long history of brutality and violence perpetrated by the NYPD against members of our community. In 1999, officers fired 41 shots at Diallo, killing him in his Bronx apartment, and in 2006, police fired 50 shots at Bell, killing him on his wedding day in Queens. In both of these horrifying cases, the district attorney’s office was unable to secure a guilty verdict. And some of the officers involved in these deadly altercations were allowed to remain on the police force with their gun-carrying privileges restored.

State and local prosecutors regularly collaborate with police officers and this close relationship inhibits them from thoroughly investigating and prosecuting law enforcement involved in wrongdoing. After the Bronx County District Attorney’s office failed to re-indict Officer Haste, the DOJ and United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that they would review the case to determine whether Ramarley’s civil rights were violated. It's time for federal officials to take action.

Thanks and Peace,
--Matt, Rashad, Arisha, Jamar, Aimée and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
April 16th, 2014
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.
 
References

1. "Will There Be Justice for NYPD Victim Ramarley Graham?," The Nation, 08-21-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3418?t=9&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
2. "Grand Jury Decides Not to Charge Officer Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Youth in Bronx," NY Times, 08-13-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3406?t=11&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
3. "Obama cracks down on abuses by big-city police departments," Salon, 05-30-11
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3408?t=13&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
4. "Video of NYPD Breaking into Ramarley Graham's Home Prior to Murdering Him," Daily Kos, 02-06-12
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3419?t=15&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
5. "Stop-and-Frisk Didn't Make New York Safer," The Atlantic, 03-26-14
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3410?t=17&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
6. See reference 1.
7. "Analysis Finds Racial Disparities, Ineffectiveness in NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Program; Links Tactic to Soaring Marijuana Arrest Rate," NYCLU, 05-22-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3414?t=19&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
8. "Diallo’s Mother Asks Why Officer Who Shot at Her Son Will Get Gun Back," NY Times, 10-02-12
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3415?t=21&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
9. See reference 9.
10. "Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States," Human Rights Watch, Accessed 04-12-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3420?t=23&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG
11. "Federal Government Will Review Ramarley Graham Shooting," Wall Street Journal, 08-13-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3417?t=25&akid=3355.1748306.h6PZZG

REPRINTED IN SUPPORT OF Ramarley Graham


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May 2, 2014


Senate Republicans Filibustered Bill 
to Raise the Minimum Wage


By a vote of 54 to 42, Wednesday, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Soon after the bill was defeated in the Senate, President Obama said, “If there’s any good news here, it’s that Republicans in Congress don’t get the last word on this issue, or any issue,” calling on voters to punish Republicans at the poll in the mid-term elections come this November.

the Republican-led filibuster prevented the minimum wage bill from moving forward to a full debate in the Senate. Only one Republican,   Bob Corker of Tennessee, voted with the Democrats in support of the measure. Following the Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, said “This is a moral issue. It’s not who’s going to vote for whom. It’s about whether or not it is right that people who are working 40 hours a week get a fair shot at being able to provide for their families.”
Democrats immediately announced their intent to bring up the bill again when they had the Republican support to break a filibuster, and gain the 60 votes necessary to pass the bill in the Senate. The minimum wage is currently at $7.25, too low for many working families to live on.

The minimum wage has been a part of a big national debate around economic fairness and upward mobility. Democrats point out that the government would save billions of dollars over time, if the working poor could earn an adequate living wage to meet their basic needs and support their children without relying on the government for subsidy in the form of food stamp and other public aid. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll poll, 62% of Americans agree that the minimum wage should be increased to at least $10.10 an hour. Several states have already raised their minimum wage to $10.00 and others are in the process to do so. 13 states have already raised their minimum wage, with Washington State paying workers the highest minimum wage at $9.32 an hour. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 28 million Americans would benefit from a raise in the minimum; this number represent mostly women and families with dependent children.


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April 25, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Chipping Away at Civil Rights Laws 
& Anti-Discriminatory Policies
Voting Rights – Affirmative Action
 & ACA_State Medicaid Exemption

2014 US SUPREME COURT JUSTICESU.S. Supreme Court Justices_Photo:nationalrightolife.org

READ THE IMPACT OF THE 2000 (THE FAMOUS FLORIDA HANGING CHAD ELECTION BALLOT COUNT MESS) 
AND THE  2004 GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ON THE SUPREME COURT- WITH ULTRA CONSERVATIVE BUSH-APPOINTED JUSTICES MOVING BACKWARD WITH THE REPUBLICANS AND TEA PARTY MEMBERS TO RETURN TO EVERYTHING AMERICA HAS DECIDED NOT TO BE IN THE PAST 60 PLUS YEARS
READ THE ARTICLE IN VIEWS & ANALYSIS BELOW

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April 21, 2014


The Boston Marathon - 1 Year Later
On Monday - Patriot Day - A Massachusetts Holiday
A Moment of Silence Was Observed at 8:45 A.A. in Honor of
Last Year’s Victims of the Marathon Bombing
2014 Boston Marathon WinnerOne year after the Marathon bombing, 39 year old American Meb Keflezighi of Kenyan origin won the 26.2 mile course in 2 hours 8 minutes 37 seconds. 36,000 athletes -- 9,000 more than previous years - entered this world class and oldest marathon. An estimated 1 millions spectators gathered to cheer on the runners and twice as many law enforcement personnel patrolled the course. Keflezighi is the first American man to win the race since Greg Meyer in 1983. Past 1983, the Marathon has been dominated by Kenyans and Ethiopians who won 24 of 30 Boston Marathons. Each winner receives $150,000, but Keflezighi said that the victory was worth far more than the amount written on the congratulatory check, the New York Times reported. 

Wheelchair Winner - Boston Marathon 2014USA's Tatyana McFadden Won the Women Wheelchair Division: Photo_theepochitimes.com
Woman Winner - Boston Marathon 2014

Kenyan Rita Jeptoo defended her women’s title, winning the race for the third time and setting a course record of 2:18:57. The women started the race first at 9:30 A.M, at least an hour ahead of the men.


 
Moveon.org has released an interview with Shannon Watts, head of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—which is essentially the Mothers Against Drunk Driving of gun violence. She's a mother of five, a force-of-nature communicator, and the NRA's worst nightmare. 

Moms Demand Action on Guns in America



From the Daily Kos: Kos_Scan_Squad_teaser
The Scandal Machine

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO COMICS ON THU APR 17, 2014 AT 02:50 PM PDT. ALSO REPUBLISHED BY THE DAILY KOS.
Comics: Tea Party Republican and Fox News Scandal BrewersRepublished by Createlinkusa.com on subscription



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April 13, 2014

THE WORLD LOST A JUMBO JET WITH 239 PEOPLE ABOARD AND THE MOST POWERFUL GOVERNMENTS ON EARTH HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED FOR 38 Days

Last Known Photograph of the Boeing 777
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Disappears into the Thin Air on March 8, 2014, 38 Days Late over 26 Countries with 13 Aircrafts and 16 Vessels Have but Widened the Search Area as Reported Black Box Pings Fizzle

Australian Ocean Shield & the SHS Echo
 
The Boeing 777 with 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard, including an 18 year veteran pilot assisted by a younger co-pilot went missing over the Indian Ocean en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Since then, there has been no sighting of any part of the airplane or signs of the passengers. The disappearance of Flight 370 not only took the world by surprise and now stands by far as the biggest mystery in the history of aviation; it also exposes some serious flaws in aviation security.

For weeks, authorities from Malaysia, Australia, and China have reported either spotting large pieces of objects in the ocean or picking up pigging from what they believe could have been the Black Box, which holds all of the flight data and could shed light on the fate of the Aircraft. With no pings from its black boxes detected for nearly a week, search operations for missing Malaysian Airline Flight 370 broadened and intensified Sunday, with more than two dozen ships and aircraft scouring the southern Indian Ocean for signs of debris.

Malaysian Officials during Daily Briefing on the Search for Flight 370
Briefing by Malaysian Officials to Update the Search for Flight 370Photo_jokpeme.com

Waiting Family Members Are in Agony
Photo_Credit: Express.co.uk
Flight 370 Waiting Family Members Are in AgonyFollowing speculations, hypotheses, theories, extrapolations, and plain guessing, authorities have now widened the search area to cover about 22,200 square miles, an area almost double the search area that they focused on only last week. Meanwhile, frustration is mounting among authorities, government officials, and families of the missing alike. The search area is now focused about 1,400 miles northwest of Perth, Australia in what may be yet the most intense and costliest aviation disaster in history.

"No one should underestimate the difficulties of the task still ahead of us,'' said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott."I don't want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month. There's a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left,'' the Prime Minister concluded. As of Tuesday April 8, no new electronic pings have been detected, which raise questions about any chances of tracing the location of the Aircraft since the battery in the Black Box has a lifetime of thirty days.


BACK TO THE FUTURE: RUSSIA'S VLADIMIR PUTIN MOON-DANCING

 Ukraine in Turmoil – Russia’s Vladimir Putin Playing Russian Roulette - Suspected by International Community of Fomenting Unrest & Violence 
to Gain more Territory after Annexing Crimea
 less than 1 Month ago
 
Tension intensified in Kiev today, the capital of Ukraine, after gunmen seized government building and demanded a referendum to rejoin Russia. The international consensus is that Russian’s President Vladimir is behind the unrest in a bid to move further into Ukraine after sending a massive number of troops on the eastern Ukraine border. A deadly firefight erupted today between Ukrainian Special Forces and pro-Russian gunmen to end a week of intensifying tensions. Officials in Kiev decried what they see as a blatant and deliberate attempt by Putin to stoke violence as a pretext for a full-scale invasion.

The Ukraine/Russia RegionEarly last week, Pro-Russian demonstrators overwhelmed police to seize local government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and demand a referendum on having the region become part of Russia, as happened in Crimea last month. In Lugansk, pro-Russian protesters force their way in to occupy a building belonging to Ukraine's SBU Security Services. They demand their comrades arrested days earlier be released.

In Kharkiv, the main eastern city, clashes erupt between more than 2,000 pro-Russian protesters who take over the offices of the regional governor and nationalists loyal to Kiev. Pro-Russian groups occupying the offices in Kharkiv were made to leave the building. However, those occupying government buildings in Donetsk declared an independent republic and took over SBU buildings. Washington calls on Russian President Vladimir Putin to cease "destabilising" Ukraine.
On Monday April 8, Russia warned Ukrainian authorities to abandon preparations to have their security forces intervene in the east, saying it risks sparking civil war. In a day of clashes in Kharkiv, Ukrainian security officials arrest 70 pro-Russian militants throwing petrol bombs at the local government building. One of the pro-Russian leaders in Donetsk declares an interim local government.

Russian Special Forces
The Independent.co.uk
Russian Special Forces in the Ukraine
Pro-Russian militants in Lugansk occupying the SBU building dug in, despite the rising risk of an assault to dislodge them, and gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and ski masks took over the police station and the security services building in the town of Slaviansk, 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Donetsk. There, pro-Russian militants seized the police headquarters without any resistance.

As of today, April 13, Ukrainian Special Forces had launched an unsuccessful assault to try to dislodge the pro-Russian gunmen from the Slaviansk police station. One Ukrainian Special Forces officer was killed in the firefight and five are wounded. Russia requested an emergency meeting with the UN Security Council for this week. And so far, the United States and European powers are left with no more options than to impose economic sanctions on Russia, as an armed conflict between the US its European allies against Russia is simply not an option, even though providing weapons to Ukraine could be in the cards.



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April 12, 2014

TAX DAY FOR INDIVIDUAL AND SMALL BUSINESS DEADLINE IS APRIL 15
TAX FILING DEADLINE FOR CORPORATIONS AND LLC WAS MARCH 15, 2014
 
HERE ARE SOME TIPS & STRATEGIES FOR FILLING
YOUR INDIVIDUAL AND BUSINESS TAXES
 
FILLING OPTIONS
 
Remember that you can file your taxes online or off-line. If you are not comfortable with numbers or working with tax software on a computer, go to any tax filing office, or a CPC. If you are a business, a CPA may be your best option.
 
The tax- filing deadline for individual income tax, those filing as sole-proprietor (individual business owner) and the self-employed is for 2014 is Tuesday April 15, 2014. This includes filing the 1040 or 1040A plus Schedule C.  For businesses that are incorporated, thus are considered corporations, and Limited Liability Corporations (LLV), which elects corporate tax treatment the due date for filing was March 15. If a corporation elected to file an extension, the due date is now September 15. For sole proprietors that elect to file and extension the due date will be October 15.
 
Most people who expect a refund files their taxed very early, typically as soon as the IRS begins accepting taxes, sometimes after January 15. If you intend to mail your taxes and you are a late filer, your taxes must be post-dated by the post office by midnight on April 15, 2014. In cities and town around the countries, at least one or more post offices will remain opened until midnight on April 15. Libraries around the country also continue to carry tax forms for people who prefer to do their taxes themselves manually.
 
The next thing you need to consider is whether or not you are filing an individual US Income tax, or Married Filing Jointly, or Married Filing Separately, keeping in mind that if one spouse itemizes, the other spouse ‘s standard deduction becomes 0, even though that spouse should itemize as well.
 
There are as many as 3900 different deductions. Draw down notes as to not forget all the traditional tax breaks.
Tax Day Filing FormsAVOID PROBLEMS BY REVIEWING YOUR FILING FOR COMMON MISTAKES  Report all of your income to the IRS 
 
STANDARD & TRADITIONAL TAX BREAK AND DEDUCTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS
·         Personal exemption
·         The earned income credit, (Starts at the age of 24)
·         Child tax credit
·         Dependent Care, such as day care, summer camp, school transportation, babysitting, and parents’ and grant-parents care
·         The Life-time Learning America  $6500 for some and $3500 for other
·         Saver’s Credit (IRA  and other contributions to pension funds)
·         Medical Deduction for seniors 65 and over can range from $7500 to 100% of medical expenses
·         Adoption Credit
·         Mortgage Interest Deductions, also real property taxes and insurance deductions.
·         Home improvement expenses
·         Student loan up to $2500 in interest paid on qualified student loans (This deduction begins to fade out if adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 filing single or $125,000 filing jointly. It faces out completely when AGI reaches $75,000 for filing single and $155,000 filing jointly).
·         Charitable Donations (by cash or check)
·         First Time Home buyers
·         Manufacturer’s Energy Efficiency Appliance Credit
·         Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit (IRC 30-D)
 
Review each deduction carefully to make sure you qualify and you are not missing out.

Department of the Treasurer



                                        


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April 10, 2014


NEARLY ONE YEAR AFTER THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING THE US INSPECTOR GENERAL REVEALED THAT THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT WITHHELD INFORMATION FROM THE FBI


Next Tuesday, April 15, 2014, will mark the first year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. The massacre took the country by surprise and shut down the Metropolitan Boston area for 24 hours while police and the FBI searched and finally confronted the two people responsible before the week was over.  Today, the New York Times has reported that the Russian government withheld information from the F.B.I. about one of the two brothers suspected in the bombing. According to news reports, the Russian government had significant information concerning  the older brother Tamerlan Tsarney two years before the attack, and a review by the inspector general’s revealed how federal agencies could have thwarted the bombing had this information been made available to the  FBI.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Photo_csmonitor.com
The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing SuspectsBased on news reports, initial investigation by F.B.I. agents in Boston, the Russians ignored several requests for additional information following an initial investigation into the background and a trip to Russia by Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The new inspector general’s report found that it was only after the bombing occurred last April that the Russians shared with the F.B.I. the additional intelligence, including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Mr. Tsarnaev and his mother in which they discussed Islamic jihad. Over 230 people were injured in the bombing, three people died, including eight year old Martin Richard, 29 year old Krystle Campbell and a Chinese national. Days later the two brothers shot and killed Officer Sean Collier a Cambridge MIT Campus Police, while he sits in his police vehicle. The two brothers then hijacked a vehicle heading to Watertown, and after the driver escaped while one pumped gasoline in a gas station, the brothers engaged Watertown police in a fire fight, which lasted all night and during which the older brother was killed and the other escaped, triggering a manhunt that lasted all the following the day and caused Boston area residents to shelter in place under a State emergency order. The younger brother, DzhokharTsarnaev has since being held in federal prison awaiting trial and could receive the death penalty.

CONNECTICUT WINS N.C.A.A. THE 2014 TITLE

N.C.A.A. College Basketball - Connecticut Won the Title in 2014Shabazz Napier led the Huskies with 22 points: Image Credit_Getty Images

Connecticut won its second N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title in four years with a 60-54 victory over Kentucky on Monday. The school was banned from participation in the tournament in 2013 and was forced to sit out the season due to poor academic performance and a low graduation rate among its athletes.
 
 
U-CONN WOMEN DEFEATED FIERCE RIVAL NOTRE DAME 79-58 TO WIN THE N.C.A.A. CHAMPIONSHIP GIVING TUESDAY – GIVING THE SCHOOLS BOTH TITLES THIS YEAR

2014 N.C.A.A. College ChampionshipUConn Moriah Jefferson and Notre Dame Kayla McBride: Photo_AP
 
Connecticut women’s basketball team defeated Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday, handing the school both titles in the N.C.A.A. tournament this year. Geno Auriemma climbed a ladder and sniped a bit of the net following the game, to celebrate the title, which secured him the top spot and placed him above Pat Summit in Tennessee and only title fewer than John Wooden of U.C.L.A., the New York Times reported.stand above everyone in women’s basketball.


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In this section, we will analyze important news and offer our own views and opinion on the issues of the day. We will approach those issues from angles that may not be covered by the larger news media. We encourage and appreciate your feedback.

  

  April 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Chipping Away at Civil Rights Laws
& Anti-Discriminatory Policies
Voting Rights – Affirmative Action
 & ACA_State Medicaid Exemption


US. Supreme Court Justices - The Roberts' CourtThe Roberts' Court_Photo: werunandride.com

On Tuesday April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court upheld a Michigan voter initiative that banned racial preferences in admissions to the state’s public universities.

In an opinion written for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy stated, “This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved; It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court’s precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters.” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

"Segregation today - Segregation Tomorrow - Segregation Forever"
Alabama Governor George Wallace (1963 Inaugural Address)
Governor challenging the attempts of the federal government to enforce laws prohibiting segregation in Alabama's public schools and other institutions. 


SEPARATE BUT EQUAL!

In an passionate dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor read the dissent of the minority from the bench. She said the initiative put minorities to a burden not faced by other applicants to college. “The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat,” she wrote. “But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the dissent.

 On June 25, 2013 in  Shelby County v. Holder,  [570 U.S. (2013)  a landmarkUnited States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Section 5] , the Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that Section 4(b) is unconstitutional “because the coverage formula is based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs,” and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination. “Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

The Court did not strike down Section 5, but without Section 4(b), no jurisdiction will be subject to Section 5 preclearance unless Congress enacts a new coverage formula requiring certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices. The section essentially determined which states must receive clearance from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before they made minor changes to voting procedures, like moving a polling place, or major ones, like redrawing electoral districts. This decision by the High Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
 
In the 10 months after the Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, five states have tightened access to voting. From Texas to Virginia, state and local governments have taken steps to require voter identification, eliminate same-day registration, and to limit voting hours and locations.


2012 Elections Voting LineThe law had applied to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. But the chances that the current Congress could reach agreement on where federal oversight is required are small, most analysts say.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion. Justice Ginsburg was joined in dissent by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.  
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg summarized her dissent from the bench: She cited the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and said his legacy and the nation’s commitment to justice had been “disserved by today’s decision.” She said the focus of the Voting Rights Act had properly changed from “first-generation barriers to ballot access” to “second-generation barriers” like racial gerrymandering and laws requiring at-large voting in places with a sizable black minority. She said the law had been effective in thwarting such efforts.

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court [in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius]  upheld the constitutionality of the ACA's individual mandate as an exercise of Congress's taxing power. However, the Court held that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA's Medicaid expansion under penalty of losing their current Medicaid funding.

The Affordable Care ActOn March 31, 2014, open enrollment for the first year of the ACA's healthcare exchange marketplace ended, exceeding the goal of 7 million enrollees.

The President and White House Staff react to the House of Representatives passing the bill on March 21, 2010.
The ACA includes numerous provisions that take effect between 2010 and 2020. Policies issued before 2010 are exempted by a grandfather clause from many of the changes to insurance standards, but they must comply by certain provisions, most of which took effect on January 1, 2014. They include:
·         Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions, and                   guaranteed same premium for people of the same age living in the same geographic location without regard to                 gender
·         An individual mandate requiring all individuals not covered by an employer sponsored health                                             planMedicaidMedicare or other public insurance programs to secure an approved private-insurance policy or pay           a penalty
·         Individuals with financial hardship and members of a recognized religious sect exempted from penalty by                         the Internal Revenue Service.
·         The law provides for subsidies for low income individuals to help them comply with the mandate.
·         Health insurance exchanges operate as a new avenue by which individuals and small businesses in every state can             compare policies and buy insurance (with a government subsidy if eligible).
·          For plans starting in 2015, the proposed enrollment period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015.
·         Medicaid eligibility is expanded to include individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty             level, including adults without disabilities and without dependent children.
·         Businesses which employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees will pay a           tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee's healthcare through tax deductions or other                 means. This is commonly known as the employer mandate.
·         Following the Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius, several states with legislatures or governorship controlled             by Republicans opted to reject the expanded Medicaid coverage. While well over half of the nation’s uninsured                 population lives in those states.

Map of the Uninsured Due to States Opting Out of the Medicaid Program & The ACA Marketplace

Map of the Uninsured by State
·         Officials in several states have decided to oppose those elements of the ACA over which they have discretion. As of this month, 24 States have refused to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance marketplace, effectively blocking coverage to over 5 million Americans. DailyBriefing.com lists those states as including:
·         Alabama - Gov. Robert Bentley (R
·         Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell (R)
·         Florida: Gov. Rick Scott (R)
·         Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal (R)
·         Idaho: Gov. Butch Otter (R)
·         Indiana: Gov. Mike Pence (R)
·         Kansas: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) 
·         LouisianGov. Bobby Jindal (R)
·         Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) 
·         Mississippi: Republican Legislature
·         Montana: Republican Legislature
·         Nebraska: Gov. Dave Heineman (R)
·         North Carolina: Gov. Pat McRory (R)
·         Oklahoma: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) 
·          South Carolina: Gov. Nikki Haley (R)
·         South Dakota: Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R)
·         Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam (R)
·         Texas: Gov. Rick Perry (R)
·         Virginia: Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) 
·         Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker (R) 
·          Wyoming: Gov. Matthew Mead (R)
 
Republicans in the US Congress have voted 55 times to repeal the law, and in September 2013, they shut down the government for nearly 3 weeks in an effort to dismantle the law and prevent its implementation. Some states have actively engaged in efforts to pass laws forbidding any state or local official in their jurisdiction to participate in helping to implement the law in any way. Republican politicians have gone as far as to discourage the advertisement of benefits that citizens can derive from the law, as well as to discourage enrollment. 


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 January 1, 2014

2013 Year in Review

2013 Year in Review - News - views and Headlines


January: President Barack Obama got sworn in for a historic second term after a brutal 2 billion dollar campaign against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate and Tea Party House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

February: It was the deadliest storm in modern Philippine history, and one of the strongest ever recorded. Typhoon Haiyan plowed through the country's midsection on Nov. 8, with winds of more than 150 miles an hour. The storm killed more than 6,000 people and displaced more than three million. President Benigno Aquino III estimated the cost of the damage—including 550,000 homes—at nearly $13 billion. The worst-hit area is mainly agricultural. Government economic managers have said the damage could lower growth, although reconstruction spending should temper the storm's effects on the economy.

Also in February:  Christopher Dorner, an ex-police officer, is named a suspect wanted in connection with shootings that occurred throughout Southern California within a week period. In those shootings, three people died, including a police officer and an assistant women's basketball coach at California State University, Fullerton, and several others were wounded. Dorner was later killed after taking refuge in a house in the mountains and taking the homeowners hostage.

March: 76-year old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires became Pope Francis, succeeding Pope Benedict XVI who stepped down two weeks earlier, citing declining health—the first pontiff in more than six centuries to resign from a position traditionally held until death. Pope Francis of the Jesuit Order has amazed the world and brought back a billion Catholics to the Catholic Church through his return to the basic and fundamental principal of Christianity: caring for the poor and the less fortunate, and “love your neighbor as you love yourself for the love of God.”

April: 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his 19 year brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, bombed the Boston Marathon killing 3 people and wounding 260. Day later, the brother killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and started a standoff with Watertown police in a chase that started in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The hunt for the surviving 19 year old Tuft University student shut down and paralyzed Metropolitan Boston for over 24 hours.

May: Under the leadership of the bipartisan so-called “gang of eight,” led by Tea Party Cuban-American Florida Senator,Marco Rubio, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary approves immigration reform legislation that would give citizenship to millions living in the country illegally. At the time, Rubio was regarded as a rising star in the Republican Party – the man likely to fix Republicans’ electoral deficit among Latinos. However, within days, Rubio was forced to distance himself from his own plan when he came under attack from conservative groups and Tea Party faithful. Rubio who was considered a sure bet to run as a candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries quickly fell from grace and was side swept by Tea Party hardliners the Junior Senators from Texas and Kentucky, respectively Ted Cruz who led the government shutdown with the help of 80 Tea Party House Republicans and  Senate Libertarian Rand Paul.

June: 29-year old former NSA contractor and data analysts released top-secret documents to the UK newspaper, The Guardian and the Washington Post, unleashing outrage and disbelief in the massive National Security Agency data-swooping program on American citizens and foreigners. The leak revealed the government’s reach into private telephone, internet, and financial records access by internet into the systems of major service providers, including AT&T, Verizon,Sprint, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others. Snowden later released thousand more pages of classified documents, some showing illegal practices by the NSA and the monitoring of telephone activities of at least 19 foreign Heads of States, including France and Germany.

Also in June: the Republican majority legislature in Texas passed one of the most restrictive laws banning most abortions and passing regulations which would have made impossible for doctors and clinics to provide abortion services in the State. When the legislature attempted to pass the law in just before midnight at the end of the legislative period, Texas Democratic Senator Wendy Davis mounted an 13- hour filibuster. The filibuster rules in the Texas legislature are strict and forbid members to get off topics, lean on the podium, and even from drinking water. When a Senate colleague tried to provide Mss. Davis with a back support, the Senate Republican Chair declared that she had violated the rules and ordered her to terminate the filibuster By that time, words had gotten out on social media and thousands of people spontaneously showed up and filled the galleries of the capitol, chairing and chanting for her to be allowed to continue. When she was finally forced off the floor just 1 minute before midnight, the Republicans tried to rush the bill through and passed it. However, the record later showed that they had voted for the bill 2 minutes after midnight when the legislative session had already expired, which would have made the bill illegal. That forced the Republicans to pull out the bill. but in July, Texas governor Rick Perry called a special session of the legislature and the bill was passed. Democrats are a small minority in the Texas legislature.

July: A Seminole County Florida Jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Reactions around the country was swift as people marched in several cities around the country to protest the verdict from coast to coast.

August: The Islamic politics and cultural website, Islamic Invitation Turkey released a video, they said, showed that the Syrian government had launched a chemical attack near Damascus, the capital of Syria. The international press reported stories about the attack, but the evidence began to indicate that the chemical attack, which killed 1500 civilians, including 400 children, was ordered and carried out by the military forces of Syrian’s President Bashar Al Assad.  President Obama threatened military action against Syria. However, several days later, news broke that Secretary of State John Kerry, brand new on the job, had reached a diplomatic agreement with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin to monitor the destruction of Syria’s entire chemical weapon under the close supervision of the United Nations’ Weapons Inspectors.

Also in August: Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin struck down New York’s stop-and-frisk “policy” ruling that the New York Police Department tactics of violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city. The ruling effectively killed the program, following the election of New York’s new Mayor Bill De Blasio.  In her ruling, Judge Scheindlin effectively rejected New York Mayor’s Michael Bloomberg and his administration’s argument that the tactics plays a major element in fighting crime in the city. In her ruling, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin found that the Police Department resorted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling” as it increased the number of stops in minority communities. That has led to officers’ routinely stopping “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.” The judge found that patrol officers have used the policy in the past 9 years “to stop innocent people without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing.” Bloomberg tries angrily and desperately to hang onto his racist policy under the pretense of safety, and he woe to pursue this bloody odious legacy through the courts. Ultimately, this scheme will be found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme; for it cannot survive any serious scrutiny by any person of conscience under the IV and the XIV Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Declared a “Day of Rage.” The country descended into chaos and violence, and appeared to be on the verge of a civil war after the military intervened in Egyptians’ second uprising against President Mohammed Morsi and installed interim PM Hazem Beblawi. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood vowed to rise against what they considered a military coup and took to the streets by the thousands in protest. Egypt has been under military rule since, and in a state of turmoil since President Morsi was democratically elected by a majority of Egyptians a year ago in the wake of the Arab Spring, which resulted in the ouster of 30-year military dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The military promised new elections, but has since banned the Muslim Brotherhood from political participation, declaring the party a terrorist organization.

September 1:  North Carolina passed the most extreme voter ID laws with other measures all aimed at preventing targeted groups of voters from casting ballots in the general elections. Those laws targeted Blacks and Hispanics, younger voters, low income and elderly voters by making it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to obtain newly required State ID that the State made almost impossible to obtain based on the very requirements that were put in place to obtain such ID. In addition, many states reduced the number of days for voting, cut down on voting hours, and reduced voting precincts by moving them out of populated areas and increasing them in more rural areas with lower populations. Civil rights groups successfully sued over those voting restrictions and by Election Day, most of those laws were struck down and found unconstitutional by the Courts. In addition, the Justice Department blocked several of those states from putting those laws into effect by using Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to challenge the new laws and protect the voting rights of millions of Americans.

September 5: After her fifth attempt, Diana Nyad did something truly historic, when she completed a swim from Havana, Cuba to the Key West, a voyage she started 35 years ago. The 64-year-old left Havana Saturday and reached the shores of Florida’s Key West on Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2013 just before 2 PM local time after about 53 hours of swimming in shark-infested water. Although looking a bit dazed, with a swollen lip, and covered with sunburn, Nyad swam within feet of the beach before walking onto dry land. She was received by clapping spectators who cheered her on and wanted to take pictures with her.  She was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. CBS reported that she was released from the hospital Monday evening after receiving IV treatment. The record-book swimmer told reporters, "I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team," she said on the beach. "I have to say, I'm a little bit out of it right now," she was reporting saying.

September 28President Obama announced that he spoke on the telephone with the President of Iran, Hassan Ruhani,
 before the Iranian President left New York after he attended and delivered a speech at the United Nations this week. The conversation was said to have lasted 10 to 15 minutes, after which President Obama made the announcement to the White House press without taking questions. The President acknowledged the barriers that exists on the road to forging a diplomatic solution over Iran's nuclear program. However, given that the Iranian Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini gave his green light for President Ruhani to engage in serious diplomatic negotiations with the U.S. to reach a negotiated settlement that would benefit all parties, including the middle East as a whole, by bringing about more stability, and satisfy the United State government, while allowing Iran to continue to pursue a peace civilian nuclear program. This was a breakthrough announcement, considering that the two countries have been in a virtual Cold War and open hostility since 1979, when Iranians revolted and overthrew the American puppet government of the Shah of Iran, took American hostages and returned the Supreme Leader, who was in exile in France, The Ayatollah Khomeini.

October 1: When the clock struck 12:00 last night, the extreme right wing Tea Party Republicans in Congress shut down the federal government. The demand in this hostage-taking: House Republicans want the President of the United State to scrap his own Health Care Law, which was duly passed in both Houses of Congress, upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and ratified voters in two elections. At this time, a small but the most radical faction in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has managed to hold the country hostage and shut down the government. Their leader in name only in the US House, Speaker John Boehner, stumbles and bumbles in front of cameras as if gagged and bound. After two weeks of holding funding for the federal government hostage in an attempt to dismantle the President’s Health Care law, through unworkable legislative maneuver, at midnight last, the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives succeeded in shutting down the federal government.

Also on October 1: The last component of the President’s healthcare law, the open insurance marketplace, was launched and the media, the Republicans, and a small fraction of people who had been covered under sub-standard health insurance plans went into a frenzy over the utter failure of the roll-out due to the abject dysfunction of the website that was built to handle enrollment, healthcare.gov.

October 17, The United States Government re-opened for business after 3 weeks (16 days) of Republican shut down over a failed effort to defund the President’s healthcare law. After resisting putting the Senate bill on the floor of the House without the support of the majority of his Republican Caucus, House Speaker John Boehner (Rep.-Ohio) finally agreed to allow the Senate clean continuing resolution to fund the government to go to the floor of the House for an open democratic vote. The bill was passed with the support of all 200 Democrats in the House; 87 Republicans voted yes, including Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

November:  Historic Typhoon Haiyan stormed through the Philippine at winds of q50 miles an hour. It was the deadliest storm in modern in the history of the country. The storm killed more than 6,000 people and displaced more than three million. A month later, about 101,000 people were still living in government shelters. President Benigno Aquino III estimated the cost of the damage, including 550,000 homes, at about $13 billion.

December: Tea Party House Republican Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray reached a budget agreement passed by both the House and the Senate. The first federal budget to have been enacted in 3 and a half years, paving the way for possible future compromises between the 2 governing parties and signaling a winding down of Republican obstructionism. The passage of the 2013 two-year budget also makes it less likely that Republicans will attempt to shut down the government over the raising of the  country’s debt ceiling comes the deadline to do so on February 15, 2014. The budget deal also replaced the sequester cuts that caused the layoff of thousands of government employees and reduced benefits for food stamps recipients and meals on wheels for seniors. Although the Republicans succeeded in cutting $23 billion dollars out of the SNAP program that helps low-income families feed their children, they were unsuccessful in cutting the $40 billion they were looking to cut or eliminate the program altogether. The Democrats also held the line and prevented the Republicans from cutting Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. However, House Republican Speaker John Boehner adjourned Congress without passing the Senate passed Farm Bill or extending unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million unemployed Americans whose unemployment insurance ended 2 days after Christmas on December 27. Many of the new cuts have been placed squarely on veteran and federal employee pensions.

2013 Year in Review

Extra:

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series.
The Stock Market rose to all-time highs, breaking all records going back 50 years.
Wall Street ended its best year since the 1990’s.
The S&P 500 closed the year at record highs_ 29.6%.
The Dow Jones Industrial climbed to 26.5% ending its best year since 1995.
The Nasdaq climbed to 38.3% - its best year since 2009.
Wall Street and big banks settled with the government in a multi-layer investigation into the fraudulent financial practices that led to the economic crash of 2008, and paid billions of dollars in fines and penalties, but nobody went to prison for defrauding ordinary citizens and causing untold miseries to homeowners and pensioners.
Worker marched and protested low   wages
Hispanics marched to demand immigration reform and a stop to deportation and the break up of families

  
  
      
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