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CNN finds modern-day slaves in US

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Thirty Thai men who were “tricked into a life of forced labor” after being promised lucrative jobs in the United States are just one symptom of the problem of modern-day slavery, CNN reported Monday.

According to the State Department, there are as many as 200,000 forced laborers in the US, with some 17,500 arriving every year.

“This is a hidden crime,” Louis C. de Baca, the State Department’s ambassador for human trafficking, told CNN. “The very nature of this crime masks it from us.”

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CNN reported on the case of 30 Thai men, who were promised jobs picking tobacco on North Carolina by a company called Million Express Manpower. The company required the men to pay the equivalent of $11,000 for the necessary visa and transportation.

But when they arrived in the US, they discovered there were no jobs waiting, and their passports were seized. The men “realized they were trapped,” reports CNN’s Sean Callebs.

The men say they were taken to New Orleans, where they were forced to gut a condemned hotel without pay, while living on the premises. They say they had to cook pigeons for food.

“Some of the men were so stressed out they seemed suicidal,” one of the men told CNN.

The men eventually won a lawsuit against the company, which did not respond to the allegations against it.

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The case of the 30 Thai men is somewhat unusual, as human trafficking often focuses on women and children. The Guardian recently reported on the problem of women and teenage girls being trafficked to the United States for sex and servitude:

In one recent incident a 16-year-old Mexican girl was found to have been trafficked across the US border. Doctors noticed the heavily pregnant girl showed clear signs of physical abuse when she was brought into a hospital in Dayton to give birth. The police were called but the couple who had brought her had already fled. When the girl’s story emerged, it became clear she had been kept against her will in the nearby city of Springfield and used for labour and sex. “I thought slavery ended a few centuries ago. But here it is alive and well,” said Springfield’s sheriff, Gene Kelly.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently launched a 14-city pilot project, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” to combat human trafficking. The project involves setting up billboards across the city with an 800 number that victims of human trafficking can call to get help.

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This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Nov. 30, 2009.



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Watergate’s John Dean thinks Trump wrote part of his legal team’s brief — because it’s so terrible

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Former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, John Dean, explained that the legal brief out of President Donald Trump's White House was so bad that it had to have been dictated by Trump himself.

Saturday evening, Trump's legal team, chaired by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, filed their own form of a legal brief that responded to the case filed by Democrats ahead of Tuesday's impeachment trial.

The document called the proceedings “constitutionally invalid” and claims House Democrats are staging a “dangerous attack” with a “brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election.”

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WATCH: Prince Harry explains why he and Meghan are leaving the royal family — but promises ‘a life of service’

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Prince Harry posted a video from an HIV/AIDS fundraiser his mother once supported, where he explained his methodology for leaving his profile role as a royal.

"I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear," said Harry.

He went on to say that he doesn't intend to walk away and he certainly won't walk away from his causes and interests. "We intend to live a life of service."

In the speech, he thanked those who took him under their wing in the absence of his mother

"I hope you can understand that it's what it had come to," he said for why their family intends to step back.

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‘You cannot expect anything but fascism’: Pedagogy theorist on how Trump ‘legitimated a culture of lying, cruelty and a collapse of social responsibility’

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The impeachment of Donald Trump appears to be a crisis without a history, at least a history that illuminates, not just comparisons with other presidential impeachments, but a history that provides historical lessons regarding its relationship to a previous age of tyranny that ushered in horrors associated with a fascist politics in the 1930s.  In the age of Trump, history is now used to divert and elude the most serious questions to be raised about the impeachment crisis. The legacy of earlier presidential impeachments, which include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, provide a comparative historical context for analysis and criticism. And while Trump’s impeachment is often defined as a more serious constitutional crisis given his attempt to use the power of the presidency to advance his personal political agenda, it is a crisis that willfully ignores the conditions that gave rise to Trump’s presidency along with its recurring pattern of authoritarian behavior, policies, and practices.  One result is that the impeachment process with its abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage treats Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act, rather than as a political action that is symptomatic of a long legacy of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

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