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Thursday, Jan 29th

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Did Chris Christie Go Easy on a Human Trafficker to Bust a Small-Time Pol?

Chris ChristieBeginning in 2003, members of a smuggling ring in Honduras approached girls, some just 14 years of age, and talked them into illegally entering the United States with the promise of waitressing jobs.

After making it over the border, during which time the smugglers allegedly raped some of the girls, they landed in Houston, Texas. They were temporarily held there before making the rest of their journey north to Hudson County, New Jersey.

That’s when the girls learned the truth. They were never going to be waitresses.

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The Senate's 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans

US SenateOn Tuesday, 33 US senators elected in November will be sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden — including 12 who are new to the chamber. The class includes 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats, a big reason why the GOP has a 54-46 majority in the Senate overall.

But here's a crazy fact: those 46 Democrats got more votes than the 54 Republicans across the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections. According to Nathan Nicholson, a researcher at the voting reform advocacy group FairVote, "the 46 Democratic caucus members in the 114th Congress received a total of 67.8 million votes in winning their seats, while the 54 Republican caucus members received 47.1 million votes."

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City emerges as new battleground on voting rights

Votoing rights testedWhen the movie "Urban Cowboy" made this refinery town famous in 1980, the honkytonk Gilley's was booming and wannabe cowpokes from the white Houston suburbs flocked here to drink and dance. Houston was the big city, but Pasadena was for kicks.

Today Pasadena is a mostly working-class Hispanic suburb that looks as hard-ridden in some pockets as the mechanical bull that bucked John Travolta. Gilley's burned down years ago. Now a federal lawsuit accuses the town's white councilmembers of leading a discriminatory plan to turn back the clock.

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Selling 'Peace Groups' on US-Led Wars

American warsSince the anti-war protests on Vietnam, the U.S. government has made "perception management" of the American people a high priority, feeding them a steady diet of propaganda about foreign crises, even getting "peace groups" to buy into "pro-democracy" wars.

"War is peace" double-speak has become commonplace these days. And, the more astute foreign policy journalists and commentators are beginning to realize the extent of how "liberal interventionists" work in sync with neocon warhawks to produce and sustain a perpetual state of U.S. war.

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Jeb Bush resigns from company that cashed in on Obamacare

Jeb BushJeb Bush’s presidential ambitions are looking healthier now that he’s dropped Obamacare.

Bush announced Wednesday he would resign from Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s board of directors, effective Dec. 31.

It’s a significant move because Tenet CEO Trevor Fetter has said Obamacare swelled the ranks of people seeking care at the company’s hospitals, driving revenue and directly profiting Bush, according to The Los Angeles Times.

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U.S. Pays $3.2 Million to American Alan Gross Held Five Years by Cuba

Alan GrossAlan Gross, the American subcontractor freed by Cuba last week as the U.S. moved to normalize relations with the island nation, will receive $3.2 million from the federal government as part of a settlement deal, a USAID official confirmed Wednesday.

Gross was imprisoned for five years, accused of subverting the Cuban government after providing Internet and other communications equipment to the Jewish community in the communist country.

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GOP probe fails to link IRS scandal to White House

Darrell IssaA House Republican investigation faults senior IRS officials in the mistreatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, but could find no link to the White House, according to a report released Tuesday.

The probe isn't over, although investigators have reviewed 1.3 million pages of documents and interviewed 52 officials. The report, however, marks the end of Rep. Darrell Issa's tenure leading the investigation.

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