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Texas State Board Of Education Votes To Removes Hillary Clinton from the History Curriculum

September 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Texas officials might be about to mess with the school curriculum yet again.

According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, the Texas State Board of Education on Friday issued a preliminary vote to sharply cut back the social studies curriculum in the state.

One major change is the elimination of required teaching about Hillary Clinton:

As part of an effort to “streamline” the social studies curriculum in Texas, the State Board of Education voted on Friday to change what students in every grade are required to learn in the classroom. They approved the removal of several historical figures, including Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller.

Hillary Clinton has been a significant figure in recent U.S. history even before she became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. She was also highly instrumental in both domestic legislation and foreign affairs as a First Lady, senator, and secretary of State, advancing the cause of equal rights on the world stage and shaping policy on everything from health care, to family leave, to violence against women, to the cleanup of New York City after the 9/11 attacks.

For their part, the Texas Board of Education asserts that they are simply following the advice of the workgroup, which ranked Clinton and other deleted historical figures against a rubric to determine whether they are “essential” to learning about history, as part of an effort to ensure kids do not have to memorize too many names and dates.

Curiously, however, this rubric gave perfect scores to local members of the Texas Legislature.

Additionally, the board is refusing to make several other changes to the curriculum recommended by experts for elimination, including the deletion of references to “Judeo-Christian values,” and the alleged influence of Moses on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Also recommended for deletion but still kept in by the board: references to the “heroism” of defenders of the Alamo, which is problematic because those men were fighting, in part, for the right to practice slavery.

Decisions made by the Texas Board of Education often spill over into the rest …read more


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Michael Cohen's Friends Say He's Been Talking to Robert Mueller: Report

September 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Trump's former personal lawyer is apparently in contact with the special counsel's office.

According to a report in Vanity Fair, President Donald Trump's former attorney and fixed Michael Cohen is now allegedly in talks with special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

Anonymous sources close to Cohen have reportedly said that it is “common knowledge” he is speaking to Mueller's prosecutors, and suggested that he resents how Trump has left him to dry in his own legal troubles, while not suffering any repercussions for his own misconduct:

It is a remarkable reversal from a year ago, when Cohen told me he would take a bullet for the president. But Cohen has now been squeezed financially, emotionally, and legally in a way he could not have imagined. Since last month, his primary concern has been his family—what a prison sentence could mean for them, and what his financial situation will look like, given his mounting legal bills and lack of income. He had expressed to friends that he was willing to share what he knows, both because he wants to be on the right side of history, and to spare them. As one longtime friend of Cohen’s put it to me, “He doesn’t feel he needs to go out of his way to protect Trump anymore, particularly because Trump has gone out of his way to hurt Michael.” Earlier this week, Cohen and his attorney sat down with New York state tax-department officials, who subpoenaed him last month as part of their inquiry into the Trump Foundation.

According to people close to him, Cohen closely watched the White House’s reaction to his allocution in court last month. He listened as Trump railed against anyone who makes a plea deal, telling Fox News that cooperating with the government “almost ought to be outlawed.” And he has bristled at the feeling that he has taken the fall for a man who has refused to take any responsibility or face any consequence himself. In conversations with Mueller’s team, he is making good on what he told ABC earlier this summer: that his loyalty to Trump is …read more


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When Women Took Up Arms to Fight in Mexico's Revolution

September 14, 2018 in History

By Maura Hohman

Las soldaderas took on a range of roles from providing domestic support to dressing as men and leading troops into combat.

A group of rebel women and girls wearing traditional dress practice their shooting skills for the Mexican Revolution in 1911.

The Mexican Revolution rose out of a struggle for civil liberties and land and would eventually topple the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and begin a new age for Mexico. The war, which started in 1910, was, at its core, one of the first social revolutions and women—as well as men—were driven to fight. For many women, the conflict also offered a moment to break from traditional female roles.

“Women saw it as a way to get out of oppressive circumstances,” says William Beezley, a history professor at the University of Arizona.

Women were searching for an opportunity to better their lives, Beezley explains, and were able to take part because the forces fighting within the civil war were unstructured and decentralized. The more organized the army, the smaller the role of women in battle.

Some soldaderas, as women in the Mexican Revolution became known, played traditional roles as nurses or wives, others took up arms. Perhaps the least visible soldaderas were the women who assumed male identities to fight—not because societal restrictions explicitly forced them to but because of personal choice.

“It might’ve been easier in the mind of some women,” says Beezley about the decision of some to take on male disguise, “but each woman chose for herself.”

The majority of soldaderas were women who traveled with their husbands or other male family members to provide domestic help as the men fought.

“There were no commissaries for the troops, so women often followed their men,” says Gilbert Joseph, a history professor at Yale University. “They’d sustain them through the struggle by cooking, keeping them company at night around the campfire. They were nurses, lovers and camp followers.”

Perhaps the best known soldaderas were those revolutionary fighters who, dressed in a long peasant skirt, large straw hat and cross-bullet belt, showed as much valor as any man. As Joseph says, “These images are very much etched into the popular consciousness.”

The soldaderas who donned male clothing and took male names often did so to protect themselves from sexual violence and high-ranking officials who resented women warriors or saw them as freaks, says Pablo Piccato, a professor of Latin American history at Columbia …read more


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Why Paul Manafort's Plea Deal Could Pose a Serious Threat to Mike Pence

September 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Noor Al-Sibai, Raw Story

Charles Pierce argues the vice president should be “sweating” after hearing the news.

Paul Manafort’s plea deal may affect Vice President Mike Pence because of the former campaign chairman’s role in making him Donald Trump’s running mate.

Esquire‘s Charles Pierce wrote that with Manafort’s guilty plea and cooperation deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, Pence “has one foot in the barrel now, too.”

The indicted former campaign chairman, according to reporting from CBS News in late October of 2016, was the person who moved the ex-Indiana governor into the role of Donald Trump’s running mate.

According to that report, Trump had initially picked former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) as his running mate, but Manafort “had another idea in mind.”

The ex-campaign chair reportedly lied to Trump and said his plane had “mechanical problems” on July 12 so that he would have to say in Indianapolis, where he arranged a breakfast between the candidate and the governor. According to a source who spoke to CBS at the time, Trump was “swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch” and “agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day.”

Pierce noted that Manafort “didn’t do much in the short time he managed” the Trump campaign beyond “softening the Republican Party’s stance on Russian thuggery in the Ukraine, and maneuvering Mike Pence into the vice presidency.”

You can read the entire analysis via Esquire.

Related Stories

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The Ruthless Determination of Mitch McConnell: Here Are 5 Times the Top Republican Sought Victory at Any Cost

September 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The Senate majority leader has wielded power like few others before him have.

If Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, some of the credit in the Republican Party will go to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who has shown himself to be a fierce, vindictive partisan who puts party over principle time and time again. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be a lifetime appointment; regardless, McConnell has no interest in giving President Trump’s nominee an adequate vetting—he is determined to ram the nomination through the Senate as quickly as possible. This type of behavior is nothing new for the Kentucky Republican, who has refused to give even an inch in the Trump era. And how well Democratic Senate candidates do or don’t perform in the 2018 midterms could either give McConnell more power in the Senate or reduce his power in the Senate. Certainly, there’s nothing McConnell would hate more than hearing Democrat Chuck Schumer described as “Senate Majority Leader Schumer” in 2019.

Here are five examples of McConnell’s win-at-any-cost mentality.

1. McConnell Refused to Hold Hearings on Judge Merrick Garland’s Nomination

President Barack Obama obviously wasn’t looking for the next Earl Warren when, on March 16, 2016, he nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court. Garland was a decidedly centrist pick on Obama’s part. But McConnell didn’t want to see a centrist or an Obama nominee fill what had been the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, and McConnell did something unprecedented when he refused to even consider Garland. McConnell declared that with 2016 being a presidential election year, it would be inappropriate to give Garland any hearings in the Senate. McConnell’s contempt for Obama was so deep that the High Court seat remained vacant for over a year, and McConnell even bragged about it when, during a speech he Kentucky, he declared, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’”

2. McConnell Rammed Neil Gorsuch’s Confirmation Through the Senate as Quickly as Possible

McConnell has two …read more


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The 2008 Crash: What Happened to All That Money?

September 14, 2018 in History

By Eric Rauchway

A look at what caused the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on September 15, 2008 in New York City. In afternoon trading the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 500 points as U.S. stocks suffered a steep loss after news of the financial firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The warning signs of an epic and The Money Makers. He teaches at the University of California, Davis, and you can find him on Twitter @rauchway.

History Reads is a weekly series featuring work from Team History, a group of experts and influencers, exploring history’s most fascinating questions.

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World War II-Era Flood Was the Worst in D.C.'s History

September 14, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

While the war raged overseas, soldiers and civilians worked furiously to protect the capital against rising waters.

Aerial view of the Potomac River in October, 1942.

While Allied troops were fighting World War II in the Pacific, the U.S. homefront was defending Washington, D.C. from the worst flood it’d ever seen.

“Spare no effort or expense to protect the Capital,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told officials during the flood of October 1942, according to a Washington Post article. As the waters surged inland from the Potomac River, 800 soldiers and 300 civilians feverishly stuffed sandbags and built a barrier to prevent the flood from reaching downtown federal buildings like the White House.

The flood, which covered the National Mall so thoroughly that the newly-built Jefferson Memorial looked like a little island, would be the worst to ever engulf the nation’s capital, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It also caused the Anacostia River to overflow, submerging the Navy Yard in the Southeast.

U.S Office of Civilian Defense workers testing the depth of flood water in the streets of Washington, D.C.

The over 1,000 soldiers and civilians “raised a half-mile-long, 6-foot sandbag levee on the north bank of the Potomac in six hours,” reported LIFE magazine in 1942. “As the water crept up, inch by inch, bulldozers were thrown into the fight and the entire area around the Navy Building became a scene of fevered activity,” reported The Washington Post at the time.

The flood was brought on by torrential rainfall likely related to a southern tropical storm. In D.C.’s tidal zone, the flood crest was 17.7 feet, nearly a half-foot higher than the crest during D.C.’s second-worst flood in March 1936, according to the National Weather Service.

The 1942 rains didn’t just affect D.C. They also flooded parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. LIFE reported at the time that the flooding “completely isolated” Fredericksburg, Virginia. It drove 1,500 people from their homes, killed more than a dozen people and contaminated the water supply.

Civilian defense workers helping soldiers and firemen to move people driven from their homes by flood water.

In the D.C. area, the flood caused deaths and evacuations as well. John E. Buell, the chief of the Volunteer Fire Department in Bethesda, Maryland—a suburb of D.C.—died while trying to tow a car out of the water. …read more


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How Putin Could Be Planning to Make a Fool Out of Trump — and Throw the United States into Chaos

September 14, 2018 in Blogs

By John Colarusso, The Conversation

Three top Russian officials came to the U.S. capital in January for a mysterious visit.

Like a modern, dark inversion of the fable of the Three Wise Men from the east, the end of last January saw the three heads of Russian intelligence visit their counterparts in Washington.

These were Sergey Naryshkin of the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service (under sanction but allowed in under a special dispensation from State Department), Igor Korobov of the GU (formerly GRU), Russia’s military intelligence agency, and Aleksandr Bortnikov of the FSB, the internal security and intelligence service

These visits, all simultaneous and all short, were unprecedented, their purpose mysterious, their outcome unknown.

Clearly the visit was important, sensitive and not particularly hostile, otherwise they would not have been allowed into the United States. One might imagine that they proffered some sort of co-operation with the Americans that could only be extended from the highest levels of the Russian government, one rank below Vladimir Putin himself.

But what and how? How could they be welcomed after Russia’s unprecedented and extensive meddling in the 2016 election? What they proffered must have been vital, and perhaps even pertinent to that meddling. As a former adviser on Russia to the Bill Clinton White House, I am following my instincts and offering a series of guesses.

Mueller indictments

In February, shortly after the visits, special investigator Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia yielded indictments against 13 Russians at the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, along with three supporting companies, for meddling. The indictments listed names and other details.

In July, just as the U.S. president was preparing to meet with Putin for a summit in Helsinki, Mueller’s team issued 12 more indictments, this time against the GU, listing not merely names, but extensive information about the perpetrators, a sort of “we know who you are and where you live.”

The three American foreign intelligence agencies — the CIA, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) and the National Security Agency — have formidable reach and penetration. But the information put forward in these …read more


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Tax Reform Forces States to Compete with Each Other

September 14, 2018 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

The Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, but
the battle over the legislation is not over. Some high-tax states,
such as New York, have passed schemes to try to get around a
centerpiece of the law, the cap on federal deductions for state and
local taxes. New York governor Andrew Cuomo called the cap “repugnant to this state,
repugnant to the Constitution and the values of the American

The governor is wrong about that, but why is he so outraged?

The cap and other changes under the law have subjected 25 million mainly higher-income households to
the full bite of state and local income, sales, and property taxes.
This is a painful change for high-tax states, and it will magnify
the difference between, say, New York City’s top income-tax
rate of 12.7 percent and Florida’s of 0 percent.

As Cuomo has recognized, higher-income taxpayers will
increasingly “vote with their feet” and move out, which
will hammer some state budgets. The top 1 percent of earners pays
41 percent of state income taxes in New York
and a huge 50 percent in high-tax California.

They no longer can hike
taxes and expect federal deductions to make up part of the

We don’t know how many people the law will prompt to move,
but we can look at past trends to get an idea. Internal Revenue
Service migration data show that 2.8 percent of
households moved between states in 2016, with some states losing
residents and others gaining, on net. The largest loser states were
generally high-tax places such as New York, Illinois, New Jersey,
California, and Connecticut. The largest gainer states were low-
and medium-tax places such as Florida, Texas, Washington, North
Carolina, and Colorado.

Overall, the IRS data show that almost 600,000 people moved, on
net, from the 25 highest-tax states to the 25 lowest-tax states in
that single year. This migration pattern has been ongoing for
years, even before the new tax law intensified the relative pain of
living in high-tax states.

Based on the IRS data, we can calculate the ratio of migration
inflows to outflows for each state. In 2016, New York’s ratio
was 0.65, meaning for every 100 households that left, only 65 moved
in. Florida’s ratio was 1.45, meaning that 145 households
moved in for every 100 that left.

Where are people leaving and where are they going? Of the 25
highest-tax states, 24 of them had net out-migration. Of the 25
lowest-tax states, 17 had net in-migration. Taxes appear to be
steering interstate movers.

High earners are …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How the Vietnam War Empowered the Hippie Movement

September 14, 2018 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

The hippie counterculture reached its height during the war’s escalation, and subsided as the conflict drew to a close.

The 1971 May Day protests against the war in Vietnam.

On March 8, 1965, two battalions of U.S. Marines landed on beaches of Da Nang, marking the first official engagement of American troops in the Vietnam War. Over the next several years, as the United States escalated its ill-fated involvement in that conflict, hundreds of thousands of Americans joined in mass protests across the country, repulsed and outraged by the terrible bloodshed taking place in Southeast Asia. Though the anti-war movement had begun on college campuses at the dawn of the 1960s, more and more people joined in opposition to the war in the latter half of the decade, as television brought images of its atrocities into American homes in a new level of excruciating detail.

The hippie counterculture, which emerged in the late 1960s and grew to include hundreds of thousands of young Americans across the country, reached its height during this period of escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War, and subsided as that conflict drew to a close. But hippies’ rejection of mainstream American culture, and their distinctive brand of rebellion—including their long hair and beards, colorful style, psychedelic drug use, love of rock music and eco-conscious lifestyle—would leave a lasting impact on the nation in the decades to come.

Counterculture Prior to the Vietnam War

In many ways, the hippies of the 1960s descended from an earlier American counterculture: the Beat Generation. This group of young bohemians, most famously including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, made a name for themselves in the 1940s and ‘50s with their rejection of prevailing social norms, including capitalism, consumerism and materialism. Centered in bohemian havens like San Francisco and the East Village of New York City, Beats embraced Eastern religions, experimented with drugs and a looser form of sexuality; their followers became known by the diminutive term “beatniks.”

“What’s significant about [the Beats] is that the movement was very small, it was literary—so it had a claustrophobic quality about it,” explains William Rorabaugh, professor of history at the University of Washington and author of American Hippies (2015). “You weren’t allowed to be in the group unless you were either a friend of or a poet.”

Hippies dancing at a ‘Love-In’ at …read more