Is RFK Jr. ‘Anti-Vaccine’?

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RFK Jr. at the National Press Club

News that President Trump may tap Robert Kennedy Jr. to head a commission on vaccine safety has not been well-received by the media.

Kennedy is a “conspiracy theorist” wrote the Washington Post; he’s an “Anti-Vaccine Activist” blared the New York Times, which condemned “Kennedy and his fellow travelers”; and on it went.

Kennedy is a leading environmentalist. He’s also the son of the former attorney general and senator, Robert Kennedy; and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy.

Having followed his work for years, I had a difficult time believing he could be on point on so many issues, and completely off-base about vaccines, as media reports suggest. Continue reading

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Like Bulls in a China Shop, Trump and Netanyahu Abandon Two-State Solution

Netanyahu and Trump at a joint news conference Wednesday

Netanyahu and Trump at a joint news conference Wednesday

The bullying and boasting that brought electoral success to Donald Trump may prove disastrous for the Middle East.

Emboldened by Trump’s victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dramatically expanding settlements in occupied territory, in defiance of international law.

Until recently, the U.S. and Israel’s long-stated goal was having Jewish and Palestinian states existing side-by-side. But at a joint news conference at the White House Wednesday, Trump and Netanyahu changed course.

Trump was nonchalant about a two-state versus one-state solution. “I like the one that both parties like,” he said. “If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

“He has no idea what’s going on,” Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour said at a protest outside the White House Wednesday evening.

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Growing Resistance Says No to Betsy DeVos

Photo by Julia Kann

Photo by Julia Kann

It’s going to be a long night for Senate Democrats.

Responding to a growing number of Americans upset at Trump’s pick for education secretary, Democrats are holding the Senate floor throughout the night and into the morning, as they try to convince one more Republican to switch their vote. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a shockingly close confirmation vote for Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos.

Already two Republican senators have bucked President Trump and their party to say they’ll vote against DeVos. The defections – the first for a Trump nominee – come as Senate offices are deluged with calls, emails and visits, overwhelmingly in opposition to DeVos.

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Trump Cabinet Picks Draw Protests

Credit: commondream.org

Credit: commondream.org

“Senators, your duty is clear.” Heads and cell phones turned as James Burch, an organizer from San Francisco, interrupted the confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick for secretary of state. “You must reject Rex Tillerson,” Burch said as he was forcefully removed from the Senate hearing. “The people do not want an oil man as secretary of state.”

Burch was one of many who interrupted the confirmation hearings of both Tillerson and Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general. Many of these activists were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday.

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Heavy Protests Mark Start Of Trump Presidency

588273631700001300fdfd5a-1With homemade signs, banners and even locks and chains, thousands of protesters descended on Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump. In modern times, no one so disliked has ascended to the nation’s highest office. Tens of thousands more are expected to rally today.

During the campaign, Trump played footsie with white supremacists, called for a ban on Muslims and described Latinos as criminals and rapists. Since Trump’s upset victory in November – in which he received nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton – he’s tweeted and attacked, but done little to bring the country together.

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The Fight to Save McMillan Park Isn’t Over

McMillan Park. Photo by Dale Sundstorm

McMillan Park. Photo by Dale Sundstorm

It looked like the David-versus-Goliath fight to save a historic park in the nation’s capital had, after nearly three decades, finally run its course.

On December 7th, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and city officials broke ground on a $720 million development on the 25-acre McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Plant site.

Developers and city officials were eager to take advantage of the green expanse, which filtered the city’s water beneath its surface for 80 years, and turn it into two million square feet of mostly office space and high-end housing, with a six-acre park.

At the groundbreaking Bowser said the pressing question was: “When are they going to do something about that place?” “Now,” she told the assembled crowd before she and other officials grabbed shovels.

But the very next day the project was halted.

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Did the Kochs Bring Us President Trump?

Jane Mayer; David and Charles Koch. Photo: democracy now.org

Jane Mayer; David and Charles Koch. Photo: democracynow.org

Pundits have plenty of reasons for Republicans’ 2016 electoral success, but none may be as explanatory as a book published in January, before a single ballot was cast.

In Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer zeroes in on brothers Charles and David Koch and the secret network they’ve created to push their anti-government zealotry. Their decades of work and billions of dollars help explain the rise of the far Right today.

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Post Buries Scandals of Rhee and Henderson

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Post Metro section, p. B6, Nov. 17, 2016

When it comes to covering education the Washington Post is nothing if not consistent.

For nearly a decade, as Michelle Rhee and then her close friend Kaya Henderson headed up D.C. Public Schools, the Post was their cheerleader. And now, even after the anti-union duo has departed, the Post carries on.

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How Obama’s DNC May Undermine His Legacy

Obama & Wasserman Schultz. Credit: USA Today

Obama & Wasserman Schultz (USA Today)

When President Obama named the chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2011, he didn’t foresee that his selection could lead to the undoing of his signature achievements.

For Obama, the DNC wasn’t a top priority.

And his choice for chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, seemed solid. She was a rising star within the party, and a proven fundraiser.

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Trump Won. CNN Won Bigger.

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cnn.com

Donald Trump has been elected president, but the big winner this election was the media.

It’s hard to see how Trump’s victory could’ve happened without the unprecedented free media he received – nearly $3 billion through April, according to one estimate.

And networks were eager to do it, with the increased viewership he brought.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” CBS president Leslie Moonves said of Trump’s candidacy. “What can I say?… The money’s rolling in, and this is fun.”

While the media at large benefited from increased ratings and clicks from Trump’s run, CNN led the way.

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