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After seven years in prison, Chelsea Manning will walk free

Photo: torbakhopper/flickr

In April 2010, a classified U.S. military video was released through the website Wikleaks, recorded from a camera aboard an Apache helicopter. It shows the massacre of civilians on a street in Baghdad, Iraq. The video, which Wikleaks called "Collateral Murder," documented in graphic, grainy black-and-white detail a helicopter gunship attack on July 12, 2007. The helicopter opens fire with machine guns on a group of men, including Reuters news agency photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, Saeed Chmagh. Most of the men are killed instantly. Noor-Eldeen runs away, and the crosshairs follow him, shooting nonstop, until he falls dead.

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Columnists

U.S. Senate should reject Jeff Sessions again, 30 years later

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

The arc of U.S. history is on full display as the peaceful transition of power takes place from the administration of President Barack Obama to that of incoming president-elect Donald Trump. The first African-American president is about to hand the reins of power to the very man who led the racist "birther" campaign to delegitimize his presidency. As Trump continues to shock the world with his middle-of-the-night tweets, the flurry of Senate confirmation hearings exposed the hollow rhetoric of Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp." Among the controversial and divisive cabinet nominees is his pick for attorney general: Jeff Sessions, the junior senator from Alabama.

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Obama has the power to protect undocumented immigrants from Trump's mass deportations

Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr

Donald Trump will soon sweep into the office of the U.S. presidency, buttressed by both houses of Congress firmly in Republican control. A wave of regressive executive orders and legislation are already being prepared to ensure that Trump's first 100 days effectively erase the Obama presidency. Where Trump was once the most prominent "birther," attempting to deny President Barack Obama's legitimacy with a racist campaign accusing him of being born in Kenya, Trump now will wield a pen to legally undermine Obama's legacy. But Barack Obama is still the president of the United States until Jan. 20, and retains the enormous executive powers that the office bestows.

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Donald Trump may have started a new arms race

Image: Wikimedia Commons/United States Department of Defense

President-elect Donald Trump exploded a half-century of U.S. nuclear-arms policy in a single tweet last week: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." With that one vague message, Donald Trump, who hasn't even taken office yet, may have started a new arms race.

Trump's statement set off alarms around the world, necessitating a cadre of his inner circle to flood the airwaves with now-routine attempts to explain what their boss "really meant." On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow confronted former Trump campaign manager and newly appointed Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway about the shocking tweet:

Maddow: "He's saying we're going to expand our nuclear capability."

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North Carolina Republicans provoke political firestorm with attacks on democracy

Photo: twbuckner/Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina Republicans have provoked a political firestorm. First, Gov. Pat McCrory refused to concede his loss for close to a month. Then, under the guise of providing Hurricane Matthew relief money, they convened several back-to-back special sessions, all geared at stripping power from Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper before he takes office. The North Carolina General Assembly has seen mass protests and civil disobedience in defiance of the assembly's middle-of-the-night proceedings. Whereas President Barack Obama is honouring the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power, a fundamental pillar of American democracy, North Carolina Republicans are taking a different path.

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Electoral College may be last salvation to block Trump from taking office

Portrait by John Trumbull/Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump continues to shock the world as he endlessly fires off derogatory, lie-laden tweets and nominates generals and fossil-fuel zealots to his cabinet posts. Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote has climbed to 2.8 million votes, yet Trump retains his lead in electoral votes with 306 to Clinton's 232. The disparity has many questioning the existence of the Electoral College, just as Trump did on election night in 2012, when he mistakenly thought Mitt Romney was winning the popular vote but losing to Barack Obama in the electoral vote count. Trump tweeted, "The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy." Oddly, now, many among those who reject Trump's victory see the Electoral College as the last salvation to block Donald Trump from taking office.

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Water protectors celebrate a major victory at Standing Rock

Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr

The Dakota Access pipeline has been stopped, at least for now. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation and thousands of native and non-native allies won a remarkable and unexpected victory Sunday. Word came down that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had denied a permit for the pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Partners, to drill underneath the Missouri River, and that a full environmental-impact study would be launched. Grassroots organizing, nonviolent direct action and leadership from frontline Indigenous people succeeded in stopping the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile pipeline in its tracks. As water protectors celebrated in the frozen camps, one question loomed: What will happen when Donald Trump takes over the presidency in six short weeks?

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How corporate media failed democracy in the U.S. presidential election

Photo: Phil Roeder/flickr

We hadn't seen Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia since last July, when he watched his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, win the Democratic Party's nomination. Sanders joined the Democracy Now! news hour this week at the historic Philadelphia Free Library for a wide-ranging discussion. "I am deeply concerned about the future of American democracy," Sanders told the enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd. Millions of Americans voted for Sanders in the primaries. He transformed the 2016 U.S.

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Sahrawis face brutal repression in their nonviolent struggle for self-determination

Photo: Western Sahara/Wikimedia Commons

Sultana Khaya's eyes don't match perfectly. One of them is artificial. In 2005, a Moroccan police officer rammed his baton into her eye socket while she was peacefully protesting with fellow college students. He then gouged her eye out with his hand. 
 
Sultana is Sahrawi (Sah-ha-RAH-wee), the Indigenous population native to Western Sahara. Occupied by the Kingdom of Morocco since 1975, Western Sahara is commonly referred to as Africa's last colony. The Sahrawis are in a protracted struggle for self-determination, and face terrible repression by Morocco.
 

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Trump casts shadow over COP 22 as nations discuss climate action

Photo: Friends of the Earth International/flickr

The world is reeling from Donald Trump's election. With each passing day, news of his potential Cabinet and other senior appointments emerges, defining a far-right-wing administration that few could have imagined possible just weeks ago. Protests across the United States continue, day after day, night after night, and have spread internationally. School administrators are making counsellors available to deal with the confusion overwhelming their students, especially immigrant children who fear they or their parents may well be targeted as part of Trump's promised roundup and deportation of 3 million undocumented people.
 

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