That time when Clinton refused to drop out of the race because Obama could be assassinated

Image: Raw Story


Call me sentimental but I’m a sucker for anniversaries. Take, for example, May 23 2008, when then Senator Hillary Clinton was asked if she was going to drop out of the primary race, given the Senator Barack Obama’s lead in delegates. During an interview with the editorial board of the South Dakota newspaper The Argus Leader Clinton expressed frustration with the way she was being pressured to suspend her campaign. I should add that I don’t find this part of her response inappropriate:

I don’t know I don’t know I find it curious because it is unprecedented in history. I don’t understand it and between my opponent and his camp and some in the media, there has been this urgency to end this and you know historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery.

But things took a turn for the worse when the editorial board asked, “You don’t buy the party unity argument?” to which she responded:

I don’t, because again, I’ve been around long enough. You know my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere around the middle of June. We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. Um you know I just I don’t understand it. There’s lots of speculation about why it is

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Shocker: Bundy Bros Discover That Jail Inmates Have Fewer Freedoms

The Bundy brothers alleged that they have little access to their legal teams, “insufficient accommodations for religious practice,” and are “being denied access to materials and resources reasonably required to defend their respective cases.”

“Despite being presumed innocent, these defendants are treated as harshly and the same as convicted felons with whom they are commingled and housed,” they alleged.

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Wasted: America and the ‘War on Drugs’

The 45-year “War on Drugs” has drastically increased the US prison population, swallowed up trillions of dollars and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across Central and South America, while coming no closer to stamping out dangerous narcotics.
President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971, calling drug abuse “America’s public enemy number one” and citing addiction rates of US troops returning from the Vietnam War. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created in 1973. Since then, the drug war has seen covert and overt US interventions in places ranging from Mexico to Colombia, including the 1989 invasion of Panama.

In the US, the drug war translated into skyrocketing incarceration rates. South of the border, however, it has been a real war, leaving a trail of devastation, corruption, impunity and death. For example, Mexico’s own drug war, launched in 2006 with US backing, resulted in at least 120,000 deaths by 2013.

The enemy is us
“Our government is more addicted to drug money than they are to drugs now,” Celerino Castillo, former DEA agent turned whistleblower, told RT. “If we worked to stop drug trafficking today, our banking system would collapse.”

In just one example, US law enforcement allowed over 2,000 weapons to reach the Mexican drug cartels, in a covert operation – dubbed “Fast and Furious” – intended to catch drug lords. Only a third of the weapons were ever recovered, however.

“When I found out about it, the fact that our country was complicit in sleeping with the enemy, I was in denial,” Castillo said. “At the end of the day, I found out that we were the enemy.”

He accuses Washington of cutting deals with the Colombian cartels – including the kingpin, Pablo Escobar, killed by Colombian authorities in 1993 – that allowed the production and importation of cocaine and enabled the 1980s crack epidemic.

Mexico and its Central American neighbors continue to see record homicide rates and corruption associated with the drug war. While the US government is starting to reform drug sentencing laws and drug policies, the 45-year drug war shows no signs of ending any time soon.

“The drug war itself is just an umbrella for this horrible cocktail of disaster that’s happening in Latin America,” RT correspondent Manuel Rapalo said, citing the experience of Honduras, where drug cartels used the 2009 US-backed coup to capture local governments and other public offices.

“The end result is impunity, corruption, record homicide rates. Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rate outside of a war zone in the entire world. These are all issues directly related to the drug war,” Rapalo said.

The Ayotzinapa 43
In addition to the direct casualties, the policies driving the “War on Drugs” have a more far-reaching effect – one that weakens civil government institutions, leading to systematic human rights abuses.

One of the most notable examples is the case of 43 student protesters from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Iguala, Mexico, who disappeared on September 26, 2014. According to the Mexican government, the students were killed by the local crime syndicate, “Guerreros Unidos,” and their remains were burned at a local garbage dump.

An independent probe by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, however, pointed to a possible cover-up by the local authorities, and even complicity by the Mexican federal government in the students’ disappearance.

“It’s truly shocking the scale of human rights violations that are going on, but because of the continued impunity and continued reluctance of the international community to take action, this is the state that we are witnessing right now,” human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, told RT.

Many human rights advocates are calling for the end to the US financing of the Merida Initiative, a bilateral agreement between the US and Mexico on drug trafficking, organized crime, and money laundering. Critics say the initiative only serves to codify human rights abuses.

“Just since 2008, the US has provided upwards of 2.5 billion dollars aid to Mexico in military and various other types of aid through the Merida initiative and other programs,” said Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director of Project South. “We believe that the aid needs to be totally suspended, in light of all the various forms of human rights violations against migrants, students, teachers, indigenous communities, activists and dissidents that we have documented, and the evidence and testimony that was presented to us.”

More than a year after the students were reported missing, some of the parents still hope to see them again.

“If my son or any of his classmates sees this message or video, I want to tell you that you’re not alone, that we’re looking for you,” said Antonio Tizapa, father of one of the students. “It’s not only the 43 families, but thousands and thousands of people are looking for you. And we’re demanding from the Mexican government to return you to us.”

From RT

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DNC Chairwoman on Thin Ice


Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is on increasingly thin ice as she risks losing key support to stay in her job.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s leading supporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as “part of the problem.” She said the Florida congresswoman is playing a “starring role” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July, which is unusual for someone in her position.

“I think this will all get worked out over time,” she said. “The role of the DNC chair is always a supportive role, not a starring role, and I think that, because of what has occurred, it’s hard for her to avoid a starring role.”

She went on: “Everyone’s talking about how do we land this plan and when will the plane land and how bumpy will the landing be. And so …the DNC and its role is part of that discussion.”

Wasserman Schultz is at the center of the ongoing war between Clinton and Sanders after she criticized the Vermont senator on CNN last week. Wasserman Schultz said Sanders’ tepid response to chaos sparked by his supporters at the Nevada State Democratic Convention was “anything but acceptable” and compared it to a Donald Trump campaign event.

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Nuclear threats in US worse than previously known — study

Conflicting with a prior industry study, a new analysis claims 96 nuclear facilities in the US are less safe than reported, citing risks such as terrorism and sabotage. The study says there remain lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Neglect of the risks posed by used reactor fuel, or spent nuclear fuel, contained in 96 above ground, aquamarine pools could cost the US economy $700 billion, cause cancer in tens of thousands of people as well as compel the relocation of some 3.5 million people from an area larger than New Jersey, a study released May 20 finds.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s study, ‘Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of US Nuclear Plants,’ is the second installment of a two-part study ordered by Congress on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. It not only cites, but also outright challenges a 2014 study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the US industry’s regulator and enforcer of safety standards.

The spent fuel, The Academies’ study recommends, is safer in dry casks rather than pools, because of the risk of leaks, drawing water away from the irradiated nuclear rods. An accident, terrorist attack or malicious employee all pose greater dangers to the pools, the study says.

Aside from calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to offer a better evaluation of the health risks posed, The Academies study conducted by 17 engineers, nuclear physicists and other scientists demands the commission fulfill a 10-year-old promise to put together an impartial review of the surveillance and security policies on spent nuclear fuel.

“Even with the recommendations that the Academies’ board has put together,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Scott Burnell responded, “we continue to conclude that spent fuel is being stored safely and securely in the US.”

“Nothing in the report causes immediate concern,” Burnell added, although the commission is planning a more formal follow-up later this year, according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Congress felt compelled to fund the study on Japan’s natural-turned-nuclear disaster to help prevent a similar accident from occurring in the US. On March 11, 2011, the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima was thrashed by an earthquake and tsunami, leaving three reactors without power or coolants, which resulted in their radioactive cores melting down.

Pure luck kept the disaster from becoming even worse, The Acadamies found. Instead of Daiichi’s highly radioactive rods being exposed to oxygen, which would have sent over 13 million people packing from as far as 177 miles south in Tokyo, a leak happened to be situated between a fuel rod pool and a reactor core, which sent just enough coolant to keep the vulnerable rods from rising above the water. In the end, 470,000 people were evacuated and the still ongoing cleanup is estimated to cost about $93 billion.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2014 study put the highest odds of an earthquake happening near spent fuel storage at one in 10 million years, boasting that “spent fuel pools are likely to withstand severe earthquakes without leaking,” while the odds of a terrorist attack or internal subversion were deemed incalculable and left out of any risk assessment.

Calling that cost-benefit analysis “deeply flawed,” The Academies panel member Frank von Hippel, also an emeritus professor and senior research physicist at Princeton University, complained that the commission’s study also left out the impact on property contamination in a 50-mile radius of an accident, tourism rates and the economy, The Center for Public Integrity reported.

The new analysis also calls for new officially designated risk assessments of safety and financial impacts at the federal level as well as what improvements aboveground dry casks may bring compared to pools. The latter is estimated to cost upwards of $4 billion by the industry.

From RT

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‘Blue Lives Matter’: Louisiana to become first US state to make attacks on police hate crime

Attacking a police officer might soon become a hate crime in Louisiana as the state is going to enact the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bill. The governor is expected to sign it into law, the first ever of its kind in the US.
Passed by both the House and the Senate, HB 953 expands the state’s hate-crime law to include law enforcement officers, firefighters and medical first responders.

In many states, including in Louisiana, there are laws covering bias-motivated crimes against people based on their skin color, nationality, gender, disability or religion. Relatively recently, sexual orientation and gender identity have also been added to some lists of protected categories.

“If you’re going to have an extensive hate crime statute then we need to protect those that are out there protecting us on a daily basis,” Rep. Lance Harris, who introduced the bill, told CNN.

Under the bill, anyone convicted of a hate-motivated felony against an officer may face up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years of prison, while a misdemeanor hate crime against an officer comes with a maximum $500 fine and six-month prison sentence.

The bill takes its unofficial name from Black Lives Matter, a movement widely protesting police brutality across the US. However, it mirrors the problem, since the bill was inspired by the death of Darren Goforth, a Texas sheriff’s deputy who was shot “execution-style” in an ambush in August 2015.

It is now awaiting the signature of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who has expressed his support for the measure.

“The members of the law enforcement community deserve these protections, and I look forward to signing this bill into law,” the governor said in a statement, stressing his “greatest respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day.”

Edwards, a “son and brother of a sheriff” himself, could sign the bill into law as early as this week, according to Talking Points Memo.

However, the “Blue Live Matter” bill has also drawn some criticism from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, which argues that it is unnecessary to equal hate crimes and attacks on police.

“Proving the bias intent for a hate crime for law enforcement or first responders is very different than proving it for someone who is Jewish or gay or black,” the ADL’s South Central regional director, Allison Padilla-Goodman, told the Advocate earlier.

From RT

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