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HeadlinesJune 26, 2017

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Republicans Call for Delay of Healthcare Vote as Opposition Grows

Jun 26, 2017

On Capitol Hill, opposition to the Republican healthcare bill is growing, as an increasing number of Republican senators come out against their party’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill is facing criticism both from Republicans who say the bill includes too many cuts to Medicaid, as well as from those who say it doesn’t go far enough to gut the Affordable Care Act. So far, five Republicans currently say they will not support the bill as written: Nevada Senator Dean Heller, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Utah Senator Mike Lee and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who called for the vote on the bill to be postponed.

Sen. Ron Johnson: “There’s no way we should be voting on this next week, no way. There’s no way”—

Chuck Todd: “Are you going to work to stop it?”

Sen. Ron Johnson: “Folks in Wisconsin”—

Chuck Todd: “Are you going to work to stop a vote next week?”

Sen. Ron Johnson: “I have—I have—I have a hard time believing Wisconsin constituents, or even myself, will have enough time to properly evaluate this, for me to vote for a motion to proceed. So I’ve been encouraging leadership, the White House, anybody I can talk to, for quite some time, let’s not rush this process.”

Republicans have been pushing for a vote on the bill this week, ahead of the July 4 recess. The Republican healthcare plan would remove millions of low-income and disabled people from Medicaid, cut subsidies to purchase health insurance, allow states to effectively eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and defund Planned Parenthood for a year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would also give $33 billion in tax cuts to the 400 wealthiest U.S. households. It’s facing opposition not only from some Republican senators, but also from all Senate Democrats, a slew of governors from both parties, the majority of the healthcare industry, hospitals, doctors, nurses, patient advocacy groups, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and even members of the far-right Koch brothers’ political network, who claim the legislation is not sufficiently conservative. Over the weekend, progressive groups held “don’t take our health care” rallies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charleston, West Virginia; and Columbus, Ohio, where Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called the Republicans’ plan “beyond comprehension.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “And while 28 million people are uninsured, this bill will throw an additional 23 million people off of the healthcare they have, raising the total of uninsured in America to over 50 million people. This is literally beyond comprehension, it is unconscionable, and it must not be allowed to happen.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and others are calling for a single-payer healthcare system, also known as “Medicare for All.” A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows support for single payer is growing, with a full third of Americans in favor of a national single-payer system.

However, on Friday, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shelved a proposal to establish a single-payer system across California, saying the bill will not be voted on this year.

WaPo: Obama Knew Putin Was Directly Involved in Election Interference

Jun 26, 2017

The Washington Post is reporting that President Obama received a highly classified “eyes only” letter in August detailing that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign with the objective of defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and helping elect her opponent, now President Donald Trump. The Post investigation is based on interviews with current and former unnamed government officials. The report also chronicles President Obama’s attempts to punish Russia for the alleged interference in the U.S. election, including by imposing sanctions, expelling 35 Russian diplomats, closing two Russian compounds in the U.S., and a covert measure to plant cyberweapons in Russia’s infrastructure.

NYT: Full-Page Report Chronicles Every Lie Trump Told Since Taking Office

Jun 26, 2017

The New York Times printed a full-page report detailing every lie President Trump has told since taking office Friday. The dozens of statements chronicled in the report include Trump lying about his position in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Trump lying about how many times he’s been on the cover of Time magazine, Trump lying about the size of his inauguration crowds and Trump lying about widespread voter fraud that in fact never took place. And those are only the lies Trump told in his first week in office. The report also includes an infographic showing that Trump either lied or issued misleading statements every single day for his first 40 days in office.

Carrier’s Plant Facing Massive Layoffs, Despite Trump’s Promises

Jun 26, 2017

Workers at the Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, are bracing themselves for a massive round of layoffs next month—despite the fact that President Trump had claimed that he had saved the jobs at the plant. As many as 600 workers will be laid off next month. President Trump had also announced a $16 million investment in the plant, allegedly to save jobs. But, in fact, Carrier’s parent company says that money is going to go to factory automation, which will actually reduce the number of jobs at the plant overall.

Meanwhile, car manufacturer Ford has announced it will be moving some of its manufacturing operations to China. This comes after Trump tried to claim credit for Ford’s decision earlier this spring to cancel its plans to build a factory in Mexico, tweeting, “Big announcement by Ford today. Major investment to be made in three Michigan plants. Car companies coming back to U.S. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” In fact, Ford simply decided to outsource the jobs to China.

U.N.: Yemen Facing World’s Worst Cholera Outbreak

Jun 26, 2017

The United Nations says Yemen is now facing the world’s worst cholera outbreak, as the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing and naval blockade has devastated the country’s health, water and sewer systems. The World Health Organization says more than 200,000 people in Yemen are infected with cholera; 1,300 people have already died—a quarter of them children.

Meanwhile, in more news on Yemen, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for records on U.S. involvement in a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where dozens of people, including children, have reportedly been forcibly detained, tortured and interrogated. The Associated Press reports U.S. military officials have participated in interrogations in detention centers where torture is routine and extreme.

Iraqi Civilians Continue to Flee Fighting in Mosul

Jun 26, 2017

In Iraq, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces continue the battle to seize control of the city of Mosul from ISIS. Residents say at least five members of the same family were killed on Sunday in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike. Thousands continued to flee Mosul over the weekend. This is Fatima Mohammed.

Fatima Mohammed: “The house was bombed and collapsed as she was inside. We were neighbors. She came out running and yelling, and she said that her mom was buried under the rubble. I took her and washed her face, and I went out carrying a white banner, but no one came to my help. We were exhausted, hungry and thirsty.”


Two More Journalists Die After Mine Explosion in Mosul

Jun 26, 2017

Meanwhile, two more journalists have died from injuries sustained when a mine exploded in Mosul: Swiss journalist Véronique Robert and French video journalist Stéphane Villeneuve. The explosion immediately killed Iraqi journalist Bakhtiar Haddad.

Report: U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Killed 700 Civilians in Raqqa, Syria

Jun 26, 2017

In Syria, U.S.-backed troops captured a district of western Raqqa from ISIS over the weekend. The local journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reports U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed at least five civilians on Saturday in Raqqa: a man named Khalil Al Sharabi, along with his wife, as well as another man named Khalil al-Bari, his wife and one of their sons. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have killed nearly 700 civilians in and around Raqqa since the campaign to take control of the city began in March.

Meanwhile, critics are warning that the United States is quietly expanding its military role in Syria, with an increasing number of strikes against the Syrian government. The U.S. has shot down at least one Syrian government plane and two Iranian-made drones this month. The dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Vali Nasr, warns, “We are sleepwalking into a much broader military mandate, without saying what we plan to do afterward.”


50,000 Protesters Form Human Chain to Demand Belgium Close Nuclear Reactors

Jun 26, 2017

As many as 50,000 protesters formed a human chain that stretched across parts of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands on Sunday to demand Belgium shut down two nuclear reactors. The reactors are more than 30 years old and have been temporarily shut down twice in recent years after cracks were discovered in the core tanks.

Pakistan: 150 Killed in Fuel Tanker Explosion

Jun 26, 2017

In Pakistan, more than 150 people were killed when a fuel tanker exploded on Sunday in Bahawalpur in the eastern province of Punjab. The majority of those killed were nearby residents who had gathered to collect the fuel spilling out of the tanker, which had crashed on the side of the road. Another 100 people were wounded in the explosion.


Colombia: 13 Killed in Mine Explosion

Jun 26, 2017

In Colombia, at least 13 people have died in a mine explosion in the town of Cucunubá in central Colombia on Friday. Government officials say the mine was not permitted and lacked safety equipment.


2nd Mistrial Declared in Murder Case of Fmr. Officer Ray Tensing

Jun 26, 2017

Back in the United States, the second mistrial has been declared in the murder case of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who shot African American Samuel DuBose in the head after pulling him over for having a missing front license plate in 2015. Tensing was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a Confederate battle flag under his uniform when he killed DuBose. This is the second time a jury has deadlocked on Tensing’s case.

It comes after prosecutors failed to win convictions in two other high-profile cases of police killing civilians. In Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter for killing African-American motorist Philando Castile. In Milwaukee, police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown was acquitted of charges of reckless homicide for shooting and killing 23-year-old African American Sylville Smith.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, a grand jury has indicted police officer Christopher Hess on charges of aggravated assault for killing 21-year-old Genevive Dawes in January after he fired 13 shots into her car through the passenger side window. Dawes was pregnant at the time she was killed by Officer Hess.

Chelsea Manning & Gavin Grimm Celebrate at NYC Pride Parade

Jun 26, 2017

Thousands of people marched in Pride celebrations across the U.S. and the world over the weekend. In New York City, formerly imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning celebrated her first Pride as a free woman, riding in a red convertible with the American Civil Liberties Union alongside transgender teenager Gavin Grimm, who has sued his local Virginia school district for the right to use the bathroom that matches his gender identity.

MA: 98-Year-Old Activist Frances Crowe Arrested Blockading Pipeline

Jun 26, 2017

And in western Massachusetts, 98-year-old activist Frances Crowe and seven others were arrested blockading construction of a Kinder Morgan gas pipeline in the Otis State Forest on Saturday. Activists helped push Crowe to the construction site in her wheelchair, where they then held a mock funeral for fossil fuels. Crowe is a longtime peace and antinuclear activist. This is her third arrest since she turned 90 years old. When asked on Saturday how many times she’d been arrested throughout her lifetime, Francis Crowe answered, “Not Enough.”

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