Mehreen Kasana

Finance Giant BlackRock Faces Activist Heat for Investing in the War Machine

On a dreary Wednesday morning, anti-war protesters gathered in Manhattan to turn up the heat on the world’s most powerful private equity giant, BlackRock. Attendees carried a plethora of signs and chanted a variety of demands, but their main focus was on holding the massive investment company accountable for its controversial activities—mainly investing in the manufacturing of deadly weapons—within the United States as well as around the world. For the progressive anti-war and women-led Code Pink, BlackRock had to cease making a “killing on killing.”

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Clinic Takes Drastic Measures to Defend Patients Against Trump’s ICE Raids

According to a Los Angeles Times report published Friday, a community health clinic is preparing itself for raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The publication spoke with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles and was told that, as part of its administrative procedure, staff are learning how to block ICE officers from entering the clinic by forming human chains in front of the building.

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Kevin Williamson's Ousting From The Atlantic Reveals a Major Hypocrisy in Conservative Media

The media junkies among you may have heard that the Atlantic has fired Kevin D. Williamson, who previously wrote for the National Review. Williamson was best known for his racist, dehumanizing and unhinged screeds about people of color, women and working folks. Yet reading the conservative ire about Williamson’s ousting would make one think an unspeakable war crime has taken place.

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Ex-Fiancée of Former Mitt Romney Staffer Says He Kept Her as a Sex Slave

According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday, Nevada Republican consultant Benjamin Sparks was accused of sex slavery by his ex-fiancée. The 46-year-old woman, who was given anonymity by the Review-Journal, said Sparks kept her bound to his home, beat her and forced her to remain naked at all times, and demanded that she wear a collar.  

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Why Did Mike Pence 'Like' This Tweet Mocking Donald Trump?

What you “like” on Twitter says a good deal about you and your interests. According to two screenshots shared by NPR’s Becky Sullivan on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence liked a tweet dissing Donald Trump on gun control.

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A Shocking Number of American Families Can't Afford Diapers

According to a report published by the Tampa Bay Times, a third of families in the United States can’t afford diapers for their toddlers. The details in the report shed much-needed light on poverty in the United States, especially its oppressive weight on working mothers.

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'Punish a Muslim Day' Is Especially Terrifying For Muslim Women

In March, a sinister leaflet declared a point-based system in which attackers would be rewarded with marks if they assaulted, threw acid on, or "butchered" a Muslim on April 3. The paper circulated first in the United Kingdom where media reports said in addition to online images of the leaflet, four members of Parliament from the Labor Party had received the Islamophobic letter. The leaflet promotes a number of crimes, including bombing a mosque, for “Punish a Muslim Day.” But for Muslim women, such a day—and the potential venom it could bring—is especially terrifying and all too real.

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This Dating App Shared Users’ Highly Sensitive Medical Data - Including HIV Status

Your dating woes are about to get even more complicated if you're on Grindr, which shared sensitive user data with at least two third-party companies, according to an investigative report by BuzzFeed published on Monday. With the help of an external research firm, the report confirmed that Grindr shared user data such as HIV status, locations and email addresses with other parties.

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Here’s What Google and Facebook Know About You - And What You Can Do About It

If you use Google or Facebook, you may have wondered just how much of your personal data these big internet giants have access to. This is a good question to ask in our modern era of Big Data, constant connectivity and rapidly decreasing personal privacy. Some people, like Washington State Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben, even argue that your personal data isn’t really “personal” at all. In other words, you may have unwittingly agreed to give your deepest information to third-party vendors through websites and apps simply by agreeing to their lengthy and frequently skimmed Terms of Service.

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West Virginia’s Most Corrupt Coal CEO Now Seeks Seat in Senate

One of the most loathed businessmen in West Virginia is seeking to win a seat in the Senate. Don Blankenship, who was given the damning title “Dark Lord of Coal Country” by Rolling Stone magazine, is vying to be the Republican Party's pick for the Senate from West Virginia. Yet the coal industry mogul's negligence was blamed for one of the worst coal mining disasters in 40 years.

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Black Parkland Shooting Survivors Feel Left Out of the National Gun Debate

After 17 people were killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, students have taken the national gun debate by storm. The primary demand from these young activists is for more legislation on firearm access. But some students feel left out of the movement. Black students who survived the shooting convened Wednesday to make themselves heard and to say that post-Parkland gun debate is ignoring the voices and fears of black Americans.

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Alton Sterling's Death Proves Once Again That Body Cameras Won't Stop Police Brutality

On Tuesday morning, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry declared that no state charges would be filed against the two Baton Rouge police officers who killed Alton Sterling in July 2016. After months of deliberating over visual evidence such as body cameras, Landry said officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II were acting in a "reasonable and justifiable manner" when they shot and killed Sterling two years ago in front of a store where he used to sell CDs. As the slain man’s relatives decry Landry's decision, it’s become distressingly clear once again that body cameras won't fix police brutality.

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Minnesota Lawmaker Compares March For Our Lives Teens to Hitler Youth

As if launching sexist and racist attacks against Parkland student activist Emma Gonzalez over the weekend wasn’t enough, one pro-gun conservative is now bolstering her attack on young activists by likening their demands for gun control to Nazism.

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Corporate Media Coverage Is More Generous to White Killers Than Black Victims

If security concerns for the residents of Austin, Texas, weren't enough, now some are wondering about the lopsided, ineffectual and hypocritical media coverage of the white Austin bomber who killed himself Wednesday.

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Study Shows Our Job Market Actually Punishes Women With Great Grades in College

In a study titled "Punishing Women for Being Smart," the website Inside Higher Ed showed that women with higher grades in college aren't given the same level of preference, responses and attention that their male peers get. The gender disparity is most evident in interview calls, according to the study, as male graduates received offers to discuss job opportunities two times more than female graduates.

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John Bolton Unabashedly Peddles Islamophobic Fake News

Anyone remotely interested in following American foreign policy knows John Bolton has the reputation for being one of the most unrepentant jingoists in modern political history. The Republican politician and lawyer served during George Bush's regime as the American ambassador to the United Nations, and is considered one of the most unhinged hawks in American politics by leading foreign policy analysts. On top of a war-glorifying métier, Bolton chairs the Islamophobic Gatestone Institute, a nonprofit publisher founded by Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald.

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Cambridge Analytica Is Proud That It Swayed and Corrupted Elections Across the Globe

Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm based in the United Kingdom, has been a topic of heated debate in data science for a while. Now the consulting firm has gained a fresh wave of heightened notoriety after one of its previous employees accused the data company of meddling with and manipulating millions of Facebook users’ personal data in the United States—allegedly for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Christopher Wylie, who once worked for the company, told The Guardian in an explosive interview that he inadvertently created former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon's "psychological warfare mindf*** tool” while working at the firm.

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What Mark Zuckerberg Said Years Ago About Facebook Could Haunt Him Amid the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

A 2010 New Yorker profile of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may haunt him now amid Cambridge Analytica news. The profile, written by Jose Antonio Vargas, details a leaked exchange between the Facebook creator and a friend who wasn’t identified.

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We Could Be in Store for a Flood of New Harvey Weinstein Stories

Employees who may have experienced sexual harassment and other forms of workplace abuse at the Weinstein Company will have a chance to speak out now. According to various media reports, the Weinstein Company has filed for bankruptcy and nullified its nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).

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A Private Mercenary Firm Is Making Millions Off Tragedy in Houston, Puerto Rico and Standing Rock

The practice of governments and security firms conducting wide-scale exploitation of major disasters, natural and otherwise, is nothing new. Last week, the Intercept reported on TigerSwan, a mercenary security firm that follows a similar disaster-capitalist model and has attacked the No Dakota Access Pipeline (NoDAPL) movement since 2016, at least. But that’s not all: TigerSwan has also been preying on relief needs in hurricane-hit areas like Houston and Puerto Rico since 2017.

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Why Has Trump Been Silent on the Texas Bombings?

Although there have been three reported bombings in Austin, Texas, the current administration under Donald Trump has issued zero official comments on the incidents. In fact, there's a peculiar silence surrounding the heinous explosions that led to the horrific deaths of three people, all of them people of color. Two of the victims were Black while one was Latina.

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Shep Smith Hints at Discord Behind the Scenes at Fox News

When it comes to Fox News, Shep Smith is kind of an outlier on the network. He's debunked conspiracy theories like Uranium One (peddled by colleagues like Sean Hannity) and read out the names of all 25 schools to have experienced shootings since Columbine in 1999, much to the chagrin of his pro-NRA viewers. In February, Smith slammed Donald Trump for doubting the validity of the federal investigation into possible collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

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The New York Times and National Geographic Are Reckoning With Their Sexist and Racist Pasts in Very Different Ways

In the past few weeks, legacy media groups have started engaging in introspective conversations on the complicated—and at times conflicted—nature of their own dispatches. Both the New York Times and National Geographic magazine have issued editorials grappling with their problematic pasts. In the case of the Times, the issue centered on its failure to write obituaries for women and its focus on white men. With National Geographic, race took center stage. But if you juxtapose both statements—that is, National Geographic on race and the New York Times on gender—it is clear that NatGeo is much more willing to admit its flaws than the Times.

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Could Josh Kushner’s Liberal Stance Threaten Brother Jared Kushner's Place in the White House?

You may have missed the Kushner family's surprising connection to the pro-gun control movement. According to an Axios report shared on Sunday, Jared Kushner's brother Josh donated $50,000 to the anti-gun violence March for Our Lives movement.

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5 Reminders Trump Lackey Katrina Pierson Is Completely Unhinged

On Tuesday, Donald Trump's new campaign manager, Brad Parscale, announced that Katrina Pierson would be joining Trump's 2020 presidential campaign as a senior adviser. This isn't Pierson's first stint with the president; in 2016, Pierson worked as a national—and frequently controversial—spokeswoman for Trump's presidential campaign.

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The Pentagon's New Partner for Building Drones Should Make Us All Nervous

On Tuesday, a privacy and security report published by Gizmodo revealed that Google and the Pentagon are collaborating on developing drones. Known as Project Maven, the Department of Defense pilot project involves analyzing, combing through, defining, and categorizing visual data amassed by aerial drones. It wouldn’t be too far off to say the project would function as the Pentagon’s all-seeing eye.

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ICE Is Aggressively Targeting Activists Who Speak Out Against It

According to a report by Rewire News, a Latina activist was detained this week after she visited the Immigration and Customs office in Tucson, Arizona. The report noted that the check-in had been planned and scheduled in advance, but when activist Alejandra Pablos came to the office, she was detained by ICE agents. People close to Pablos point to her activism as the possible reason behind her detention.

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Philippine President Duterte Mimics Trump's Racism and Sexism in Defensive Insults at the U.N.

When it comes to disturbing rhetoric, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to the practice of stunning his viewers with a diverse range of obscenities. Be it misogynist invectives, promising cash prizes for killing rebels or boasting about committing murder, Duterte is notorious for openly uncouth proclamations. Keeping his record of indelicacy alive, Duterte recently attacked human rights officials, including reportedly mocking the race of a black prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

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Student Activists Are Fighting Back Against the Spread of Cops on Campus

As student activists lead an anti-gun violence movement throughout the United States, a small but discernible voice among the youths is calling for removing police officers from campuses. This tense moment in America's political climate has inspired some student activists to make a radically progressive demand, calling for strengthening mental health programs in schools, among other views, instead of flooding school premises with potentially aggressive police officers.

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Ted Cruz Is Worried About the Rise of a Democratic Contender in Texas

Thanks to an interview with CNN's Manu Raju, it’s clear that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is "absolutely" worried about Democrats taking over the southern state in the upcoming midterm elections. The race, which will take place in November of 2018, shows strong signs of a blue takeover of Texas with the help of the rising Democratic candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke from El Paso.

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Is Congress Silencing Interns Who Have Been Sexually Harassed or Abused?

An anonymous former congressional intern told Vox that a confidentiality clause in her nondisclosure agreement might have contributed to her remaining silent about harassment by a superior when she was just 21 years old.

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