We are just one incident away from further loss of civil liberties

As we are all repeatedly told, the loss of even one American life as a result of an attack that can be blamed on ‘terrorists’ (i.e., Muslims) that entered the US somehow or an undocumented immigrant is an awful tragedy, unlike the losses of hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of worthless foreigners at the hands of the US military. Of course, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans due to gun violence and lack of adequate health care and social services are considered acts of god that we can do nothing about.
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Trump’s “big, beautiful” wall with Mexico takes shape

The US Customs and Border Protection agency has posted guidelines for people to make proposals for building the wall across the US-Mexico border, the “big, beautiful” magical wall that is going to stop all drugs, crime, and terrorist attacks in the US and make America great again, so that it is well worth gutting programs like providing meals to shut-in seniors to pay for it.
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Republicans really, really hate poor people

It is no surprise that Republicans love the rich and want to make them richer. So do the Democrats for that matter. What separates the two is that Democrats at least try to mask that deep love by offering crumbs to the poor and the middle class. While Republicans in the past tried, at least faintheartedly, to act as if they too cared for the less well off, now that they control the White House and both houses of Congress, they don’t even try and with Paul Ryan’s health care proposal and Trump’s proposed budget, the mask has really come off, revealing the ugliness beneath.
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Why making accommodations for discrimination is problematic

Some of you may recall the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, who refused to accept a gay couple’s order to make floral arrangements at their wedding because of her religious objections to same-sex marriages. She said that she felt that if she were to accept the order, that would be tantamount to her endorsing such marriages.
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Film review: 13th (2016)

I recently watched the powerful Netflix documentary 13th that deals with the scandal of mass incarceration in America. Directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay (who also directed Selma), it is a searing indictment of the war on black people that has been conducted by the criminal justice system. The numbers are staggering. With just 5% of the world’s population, the US has 25% of the prison population. 2.3 million people are locked up and in addition another 3.5 million are either on probation or on parole, meaning that about 2.5% of the entire US population is on the wrong side of the law.
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Oh, boo hoo!

Former governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina vigorously pushed through the infamous bathroom bill HB2 in his state that banned transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponded to their gender presentation. That triggered a nationwide backlash, with organizations canceling events in that state. He then narrowly lost his re-election to a Democrat, which meant that he had to find other work. Now he is whining that people are being mean to him because of his actions while governor and that it is hurting his job prospects.
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The Republican health care proposal

The replacement plan for the existing Affordable Care Act, called the American Health Care Act, has been rolled out by Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives. It is abundantly clear that it is an assault on the poor that the main winners are the rich, particularly the very, very rich. This plan has enabled Ryan to finally unleash his inner Ayn Rand, of whom he is an ardent devotee and his love for whom he has tried to conceal up to now.
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US war crimes in Yemen continue

Iona Craig has a horrifying account of the deadly carnage that was recently unleashed on the Yemeni village of Al Ghayiil due to a botched raid by US forces. According to reports, the target of the attack, a senior al Qaeda official, escaped. The media here has largely focused on the death of a US Navy Seal whose widow was used as an applause line during Donald Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress. As usual, Trump has tried to have it both ways, falsely claiming that the raid was a success because of the valuable intelligence received and thus he should get credit for it, while blaming the soldier’s death on the false claim that the planning for the raid was approved by president Obama before he left office. Of course, mutually contradictory claims do not faze the administration of a pathological liar.
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