March 20, 2018

Uber vehicle in self-driving mode kills pedestrian. “The Tempe Police Department reports the Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred, though the car had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor the technology and retake control in the case of an emergency or imminent crash.”

Senate Democrats “under pressure” not to confirm torture site manager Gina Haspel as CIA director. “(California Senator Diane) Feinstein raised alarms on the left last week by telling reporters that Haspel had been “a good deputy director,” citing a personal dinner with the three-decade agency veteran.”

Cambridge Analytica director tells journalist posing as a potential client how to set a honey trap, take down an opponent with bribes, hide assistance from a foreign consultant. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes.”

400 bomb threats sent to British schools as part of a video gamer dispute. “A report by Sky News says the reports were “spoofed” to look like they were coming from VeltPvP, a Minecraft server site, apparently in an attempt to get the site’s domain suspended.”

Only one of the perpetrators of the My Lai massacre, in which an estimated 500 civilians were slain, was ever punished, by 3 1/2 years of house arrest. “Meanwhile, the government’s unwillingness to prosecute torturers, despite its treaty obligations, shows that it sometimes remains willing to tolerate war criminals as it fights its enemies, and that the public is often oblivious to misbehavior by its soldiers.”

I don’t think “foreign agent” means what you think it means. “A U.S. peace group hosts a public meeting featuring delegates from a Japanese peace group touring the U.S. to talk about nuclear weapons abolition; a wealthy British philanthropist makes a significant contribution to a small U.S. charity doing research and policy advocacy to support Alzheimer’s patients; a D.C. registered lobbyist, bankrolled by the Russian government, meets with members of Congress to lobby for policies that benefit Russia. Guess which one wouldn’t be required to register as a foreign agent?”

New York City police officers accused of brazenly and repeatedly lying in court. “Officer Martinez tapped the bag with his foot and felt something hard, he testified. He opened the bag, leading to the discovery of a Ruger 9-millimeter handgun and the arrest of the woman. But a hallway surveillance camera captured the true story: There’s no laundry bag or gun in sight as Officer Martinez and other investigators question the woman in the doorway and then stride into the apartment.”

ICE accused of detaining asylum seekers to discourage them from staying. “In October 2016, (Ansly) Damus fled violent, political persecution in Haiti…. a judge granted him asylum — not once, but twice…. and yet the U.S. government has put him behind bars.”

Vallejo, California couple to receive $2.5 million after police claimed woman’s abduction was a hoax. “Police realized the couple were telling the truth after a disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney, Matthew Muller, was implicated in another crime and tied to the abduction.”

CLOUD Act would allow the government to receive data on Americans collected by foreign governments, without a warrant. “A judge need not approve the data collection before it is carried out. At no point need probable cause be shown. At no point need a search warrant be obtained.”

Journalist suggests better questions for the next time 60 Minutes interviews Saudi leader. “Is it not a moral outrage for one of the richest countries in the Middle East to be starving the poorest country in the Middle East (Yemen)?

Minnesota bill would outlaw ranked choice voting. “Unlike traditional first-past-the-post voting systems — in which the candidate with the biggest number of votes wins — under ranked-choice voting, voters rank candidates on their ballot instead of voting for just one. If no one gets a majority of votes in the first round, next-preference votes are counted until a candidate gets most of the votes.”   In other words, you could vote for Jill Stein as your first choice, Vermin Supreme as your second choice and Hillary Clinton as your third choice. If no one gets a majority in round one, your Stein vote goes to Supreme. If no one gets a majority in the second round, your Supreme vote goes to Clinton.

FBI tracked Black Lives Matter activist traveling to a protest but claims it doesn’t investigate First Amendment activity. “This is clearly just tracking First Amendment activity and keeping this activity in an intelligence database.”

39% of Americans surveyed said the U.S. succeeded in achieved its goals in Iraq. “There are still American troops in Iraq—seven died last week, bringing the count of U.S. military fatalities in the country since 2003 to 4,540. The death toll for Iraqis has been much more severe; an estimated 200,000 civilians have died violently there over the same time period. The civil war and chaos that the U.S. invasion created resulted in the rise of ISIS.”   Well, if the goal was to keep a war going for more than 15 years so that trillions in tax dollars could be diverted to defense contractors, it worked!


March 20, 2018

March 19, 2018

Vladimir Putin re-elected, Communist Party candidate accuses government of election fraud. “The Communist party’s candidate Pavel Grudinin came a very distant second with around 12 percent. Afterwards, he called it the “filthiest” election in recent times.”   You know it’s got to be bad if a Leninist party complains about unfair elections!

Turkish coalition forces take Syrian, Kurdish-majority city of Afrin. “The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says nearly 200,000 people have fled the Afrin region in recent days, and cites witnesses who say intense clashes between Turkish-backed forces and YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters are ongoing.”   British volunteer killed during attack. “Friends of Ms. (Anna) Campbell in Syria told the BBC she was killed by Turkish airstrikes, describing her as a feminist with ‘sincerity and courage’ who wanted to fight for women’s liberation in the Middle East.”   Turkish coalition forces accused of looting the city. “AFP news agency journalists in Afrin also saw rebels break into shops, restaurants and houses, and leave with food, electronic equipment, blankets and other goods. They were then transported out of the city.”

High school staff wanted Nikolas Cruz to undergo involuntary mental health evaluation, but their recommendation was not acted on. “Ex-Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson and two school counselors recommended in September 2016 that the 19-year-old Cruz should forcibly undergo a mental health evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act, documents obtained by the Associated Press show.”

Unclear if Trump’s proposed death penalty for opioid trafficking will apply to doctors and pharmaceutical companies. “The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when appropriate under current law.”

Democratic city councilman apologizes for floating theory that Jews control the weather. “I want to apologize to the Jewish Community and anyone I have offended,” (Washington, D.C.) Councilman Trayon White Sr. (D) said in a statement to The Washington Post.”

Actor claims that United Airlines flight crew cracked jokes about dogs in the overhead storage bins during his flight. “In the wake of the dog’s death, Division Chief Carvana Cloud confirmed in a statement provided to PEOPLE that the Animal Cruelty Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas was partnering with the Animal Cruelty Taskforce to launch an investigation into the dog’s death.”

After fourth Austin bomb blast, authorities have not released the races of the two male victims in their 20s. “(Police Chief Brian) Manley originally suggested they could have been hate crimes since all the victims were black or Hispanic, but now says that investigators aren’t ruling out any possible motive.”

Los Angeles County DA criticized for not charging officer in fatal shooting of unarmed homeless man, Brendon Glenn. “Her decision illustrates how even at a time of intense nationwide scrutiny of police officers and calls to hold them more accountable for using deadly force, it remains extremely rare to prosecute officers for on-duty shootings.”

 Los Angeles neighborhoods banning RV parking street by street to keep away the homeless. “Facing complaints about trash, clogged roads and other hazards, the city has banned them from remaining overnight on street after street, but has often ended up merely moving the problem.”
Bernie Sanders says war is not the answer. “People in…the United States, and all over the world are sick and tired of spending billions and billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, war planes, missiles, bombs, and tanks.”   Then why did you endorse Hillary Clinton instead of running with Jill Stein?
Water protectors stand up to Kinder Morgan and the Canadian government, vow to stop tar sand pipeline. “I’m standing up for Indigenous rights, for clean water, and for a safe, liveable climate and look forward to doing so alongside the ever growing movement against this dangerous pipeline.”
Intelligence agency wants to use your social media photos to find their enemies. “The Finder program seeks to fill in the gaps in photo and video geolocation by developing technologies that build on analysts’ own geolocation skills, taking in images from diverse, publicly available sources to identify elements of terrain or the visible skyline.”
River water in Mosul reportedly contaminated by ‘thousands’ of decaying corpses. “We all drink from this water and it is full of bodies. There are a few here, but if you go up the river, there are a thousand there, even more than that, including children, women and elderly.”   “Data provided by some media outlets and international organizations put the death toll among civilians at 45,000.”
139 protesters calling for release of arrested opposition leaders arrested in Maldives. “Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has extended the state of emergency for 30 days through March 22 after declaring it on Feb. 5 following an order by the Supreme Court for nine opposition leaders to be released.”
Catalan leader accuses European countries of ignoring imprisonment of her colleagues. “Clara Ponsati, an ex-minister in the Catalan government, claimed her former colleagues were being used as ‘hostages’ by Madrid to ‘blackmail’ the movement ‘into surrender’.”
March 19, 2018

March 18, 2018

Chinese leader re-elected unanimously. “The party’s People’s Daily hailed (Jinping) Xi’s unanimous re-election in an editorial on its WeChat account, using language once more associated with Mao Zedong to say he was a ‘leader loved and respected by the people’ and the ‘helmsman of the country’.”

Hacker Adrian Lamo dead at 37. “Lamo, who testified about (then Bradley) Manning’s release of documents to WikiLeaks, was confirmed dead on Friday by authorities in Sedgwick County (Kansas). The coroner’s office has not responded to inquiries about the cause of his death.”

Alabama sheriff reportedly made $750,000 in three years by saving money on feeding prisoners, gets to the keep the difference. “Alabama has a Depression-era law that allows sheriffs to “keep and retain” unspent money from jail food-provision accounts.”   No conflict of interest there!

Five Manhattan doctors charged with receiving huge kickbacks for prescribing opioid nasal spray to patients. “The sordid details were spelled out Friday in a federal indictment charging the quintet with collecting huge sham speaking fees as payback for over-prescribing a highly-addictive fentanyl spray.”

Black counter-protester beaten by white nationalists found non-guilty of assault. “(DeAndre) Harris maintained that he had been swinging at Crews’ flagpole, and ultimately, it was this argument Judge Robert Downer sided with, ruling that the prosecution failed to prove that Harris intended harm to Crews.”

Southwest Airlines allegedly boots family from plane after their frightened, small child acted up before takeoff. “…(the girl’s father) asked the (flight attendant) for a minute to calm her down she walked away and called people to remove him.”

National debt has reportedly increased by $1 trillion so far during Trump administration. “(The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) calculated that with December’s tax cuts and January’s budget-busting spending deal, Mr. Trump has already signed legislation that will add at least $2.4 trillion to the debt in the next decade and, should Congress make those policies permanent, could add as much as $6 trillion.”

Prisoner at San Luis Obispo County Jail in California died after 46 hours in restraining chair. “A video released yesterday has contradicted county officials’ versions of events leading up to (Andrew Holland’s) death in January 2017.”

Turkish forces accused of bombing Syrian hospital. “The humanitarian catastrophe in Syria deepened after an airstrike on a hospital in Afrin left sixteen people dead including two pregnant women, as thousands fled the city.”

Researcher accused of passing Facebook data to political consultants. “All told, the Times says Kogan handed over more than 50 million profiles to Cambridge Analytica, including information from app users’ friends — who had never consented to forgoing their data. Around 30 million of those profiles contained enough information to build psychographic profiles, the newspaper says.”

No mention of climate change in disaster agency’s four-year forecast. “The new (FEMA) document doesn’t mention climate, global warming, sea-level rise, extreme weather, or any other terminology associated with scientific predictions of rising surface temperatures and their effects.”

Texas chemical plant explodes, Trump administration criticized for delaying risk management rules. “In June, Scott Pruitt, the man appointed by Trump to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), delayed implementation of the Chemical Disaster Rule until February 2019.”

Bernie Sanders accuses media of not covering the country’s transition into an oligarchy. “We need to ask the hard questions that the corporate media fails to ask: who owns America, and who has the political power? Why, in the richest country in the history of the world are so many Americans living in poverty?”

Not My Dog. Family who shipped German Shepherd on airline gets Great Dane instead. “United said in a statement that the dogs were somehow put on the wrong flights during a connecting flight in Denver.”

Canadians and Britons accused of meddling in 2016 election and violating federal ban on foreign agents managing campaigns. “It was clear that as a company largely run and staffed by Britons and Canadians, apart from Bannon and Mercer at the top, Cambridge Analytica – which was to go on to work on Donald’s Trump presidential election campaign – had a looming problem.”

Whistle-blower claims Cambridge Analytica’s methods were based on military psychological warfare programs. “When (Christopher Wylie) turned up at SCL’s offices in Mayfair, he had no clue that he was walking into the middle of a nexus of defence and intelligence projects, private contractors and cutting-edge cyberweaponry.”

Congressman Paul Ryan reportedly sold bank shares after 2008 confidential meeting on possible banking crisis. “Public records show that on the same day as the meeting, Ryan sold stock in troubled banks including Wachovia and Citigroup and bought shares in Goldman Sachs…”

Assassinated Brazilian politician, Marielle Franco, was anti-police brutality activist. “Investigators reportedly determined that the bullet casings found at the crime scene had been purchased by the Federal Police in 2006.”   Massive crowd turns out to protest killing. “… tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Rio de Janeiro Thursday to protest the apparent assassination of 38-year-old city council member and human rights activist Marielle Franco.”

Australian man fined for using valid fare chip implanted in his hand instead of actual transit card. “The 34-year-old was convicted, fined $220 and ordered to pay costs of $1,000 for attempting to travel without a ticket.”   “…this is the next evolution… from paper tickets to Opal cards to something which… we don’t have to actually carry… at all.”  He paid his fare but got a huge fine anyway – good work Sydney!

Sacramento County, California deputies accused of accessing bank accounts of elderly woman with dementia, sending her to the Philippines. “… (Rosalie) Achiu’s house was listed for sale, several withdrawals were made from her bank accounts and one deputy opened a joint bank account with Achiu, the attorney said. The deputies also accompanied Achiu to her bank and had it drill out the locks of her safe deposit box.”

District attorney says $10,000 donation from police union during investigation did not influence her decision not to prosecute officers over slaying. “Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley accepted a $10,000 campaign donation from the Fremont police union just months before her office cleared Fremont police officers of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of (unarmed) pregnant teen, Elena Mondragon.”

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review rules that citizens have a right to request the court’s secret findings, but may not actually get them. ACLU spokesperson says, “We look forward to finally being able to make our case that the public has a right to see important court decisions concerning the legality of the government’s expansive surveillance activities.”

Veterans and peace activists travel to Vietnam to mark 50th anniversary of My Lai  (me-lie) massacre. “Some scholars estimate as many as 3.8 million Vietnamese died during the war. Up to 800,000 perished in Cambodia, another 1 million in Laos.”

An estimated 1 million students participate in walk out to protest gun violence. “In a historic day of action, more than a million students from over 3,000 schools walked out of classes to protest gun violence on Wednesday.”

Lawsuit alleges Escambia County, Florida deputies used excessive force when they tasered mentally ill man repeatedly during arrest, leading to his death. “(Cody) Healey then went into cardiac arrest and was taken to Baptist Hospital, where he was put on life support in the Intensive Care Unit.”

Lawsuit claims Mississippi man was shot three times during police chase, mauled by dog because officers mistakenly assumed he was trying to evade a police “checkpoint”. “Deputies started their pursuit because they believed (Robert) Salley was avoiding the roadblock.”

Yankton, South Dakota police officer accused of injuring several citizens during encounters over minor violations. “‘He threw me into the brick wall and tackled me to the ground.’… Collin Bertram was cited for underage drinking.”


March 18, 2018

March 16, 2018

Member of House Intelligence committee says she can’t talk about post 9/11 assassination program involving Blackwater. “Yeah, I can’t—I really can’t, I don’t think even at this point, tell.”

Senate passes bill to roll back Dodd-Frank restrictions on major banks. “I urge my colleagues to ask themselves — whose side are we on? The side of special interests and Wall Street, or taxpayers and homeowners and students and workers?”

Toys R Us reportedly seeking permission to sell off its inventory. “Toys ‘R’ Us said on Thursday it is seeking approval to liquidate inventory in its 735 U.S. stores, which debtors anticipate will close by the end of this year.”

Democratic candidate wins tight special election for Pennsylvania’s vacant seat in Congress. “(Conor) Lamb, for all his fresh-faced charm, ran and won as a Trump Democrat – a flashback to the “Republican Lite” candidacies the Democrats specialized in during the Clinton ’90s and ’00s.”

Muslim groups suspect incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being a hater. “After the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Pompeo — then a member of Congress — falsely accused American Muslim organizations of not condemning terrorism. Despite a steady stream of such condemnations since the Sept. 11 attacks — including many in the hours after the Boston attacks — Pompeo accused American Muslims of being ‘potentially complicit’.”

Supporters of incoming CIA director Gina Haspel using the “Nuremberg defense” to justify her participation in torture program. “She was following orders.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says “konnichiwa” to third generation Japanese-American congresswoman, before responding during hearing to concerns about defunding of internment camp history programs. “The phrase ― which, let’s remember, (Colleen) Hanabusa’s grandfather imprisoned on Oahu was a U.S. citizen ― means “good afternoon” or “good day” in Japanese.”

Court orders release of Parkland, Florida high school shooting video. “(Deputy Scot) Peterson stood by the building for about 26 minutes.”

Comedian who ordered Trump merchandise discovers most of it is made overseas in low wage countries or is unlabelled. “…he was a little surprised when he came across two products that didn’t have nation of origin labels at all, because when (Jimmy) Kimmel looked at import law, it said that ‘failure to properly report product origin can result in substantial penalties’.”   If I were a betting man, I’d bet those unmarked items were made in a Muslim-majority country, like Indonesia or Bangladesh.

Jealous girlfriend accused of attacking sleeping boyfriend with sword. “On March 3, the 30-year-old reportedly taped a samurai sword underneath the couple’s bed and waited for Lovell to fall asleep. The enraged girlfriend then began to hack at her boyfriend in the dark.”

New Miami pedestrian bridge collapses. “It stretched 174 feet and weighed 960 tons, according to the release, and was built using what are called “Accelerated Bridge Construction” methods being worked on at the university.”   A 960 ton pedestrian bridge? This must be a typo.

Trump mangles story about Japanese ‘bowling ball’ test on imported cars. “When he said, ‘If the hood dents, then the car doesn’t qualify’, that would be a test of the strength of the hood. In contrast, the test is all about a person’s head and the force it has to absorb in (a pedestrian strike) accident.”   In other words, if the hood is too rigid it could kill the pedestrian, so the bigger the dent the better.

Biggest operator of U.S. radio stations files for bankruptcy. “IHeart, with about 850 radio stations and 17,000 employees worldwide, filed for Chapter 11 protection Wednesday in Houston, a move that allows iHeart to keep operating while it tries to cement its turnaround plan.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticizes Wells Fargo CEO’s pay raise. “The firm announced this week that it paid Sloan $17.4 million for 2017, a 36 percent increase from a year earlier.”

Parent company of grocery store chain Winn-Dixie to file for bankruptcy. “Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, said it’s restructuring to save $500 million, but will be forced to file bankruptcy and close 94 stores.”

Federal appeals court throws out law requiring investment and insurance brokers to act in the best interests of their clients. “In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said the fiduciary rule bears the hallmarks of “unreasonableness” and constitutes an arbitrary and capricious exercise of administrative power.”   “The lawsuit stems from a challenge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and eight other business and financial groups brought against the rule.”

Police shooting of pregnant, unarmed 16 year old in Hayward, California receiving little press coverage. “The undercover officers were dressed in plain clothes and armed with AR-15 rifles when they ambushed the car of teenagers.”

New Hampshire state trooper cleared in fatal shooting of fleeing suspect shot in the back. “(Trooper) O’Toole told investigators that (Jesse) Champney repeatedly said he had a gun and would shoot him and refused O’Toole’s demands to stop during the foot chase.”

Supreme Court accused of making up its own legal doctrine on police immunity. “One provision (of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) said that ‘any person’ who acts ‘under color of any law’ and who deprives someone of ‘any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution shall be liable to the party injured’. It includes no exceptions and gives no officials immunity.”

Attorneys at Chicago double police shooting trial accuse paramedic of changing his testimony. “It’s not until (DiGiovanni) had conferred with the city’s lawyers that the bodies started moving outside.”

Protesters demand that Elgin, Illinois officials release video of fatal police shooting. “Police said (Decynthia) Clements, 34, had a knife and was shot early Monday by Lt. Christian Jensen after an hour-long standoff that came after she fled from a traffic stop.”

Jury clears Zion, Illinois police officer who shot fleeing, teenage suspect twice in the back. “Andrew Stroth, one of the family’s lawyers, said (Justus) Howell’s relatives were ‘devastated’ by the verdict. He said that surveillance video of the shooting ‘speaks for itself’.”

Anti-abortion group makes huge donation to Democrat facing primary challenge. “Now that progressive primary challenger Marie Newman is ‘within striking distance’ of ousting Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois’s 3rd District, a right-wing group that typically backs Republicans has made a ‘six-figure investment’ in a ‘last-minute push’ to bolster the anti-choice incumbent.”

Oklahoma to move to new method of executing prisoners after drug companies cut off access to execution drugs. “According to the Independent, the American Veterinary Medical Association has deemed the use of nitrogen gas as unacceptable for euthanizing animals, and has said it would take several minutes for a 70-pound animal to die if the gas was administered.”

U.S. falls to 18th in ‘happiness’ ranking. “The World Happiness Report ranks countries according to per capita GDP, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption levels.”

Elizabeth Warren introduces bill that would jail bankers. “Today, I introduced the Ending Too Big to Jail Act, which would help make sure big bank executives are hauled out of their corner offices in handcuffs the next time they break the law.”   If you trick a convenience store clerk into giving you $10 too much in change you would probably go to jail, so why not bankers who cheat?

Facebook has reportedly hidden a web page that touted the site’s power to influence the outcomes of elections. “Facebook’s (campaign on behalf of) Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott ‘used link ads and video ads to boost Hispanic voter turnout in their candidate’s successful bid for a second term, resulting in a 22% increase in Hispanic support and the majority of the Cuban vote’. Facebook’s work with the Scottish National Party, a political party in the U.K., was described as ‘triggering a landslide’.”

Ford recalls more than 1.3 million vehicles over faulty steering wheels. “The Dearborn, Michigan company said it was ‘issuing a safety recall in North America for approximately 1.3 million 2014-18 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles for potentially loose steering wheel bolts that could result in a steering wheel detaching from the steering column’.”

Canadian journalist suggests Trump may have fabricated the entire meeting with Justin Trudeau that he referred to in a recent speech. “The Canadians are unsure what meeting Trump’s referring to…. (the) anecdote (about the trade deficit) from Trump most resembles a chat they may have had by phone.”

Spanish government digs hole deeper, raids offices of Catalan regional government. “Spanish police searched the seat of the Catalan regional government in Barcelona on Thursday as part of an investigation into how last year’s banned independence referendum was funded.”

U.S. movie rating system flags gun carnage but not gun violence. “When comparing the PG-13 theatrical release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) to the R-rated ‘Ultimate Edition’, both feature the same kind of violence, but only the latter shows the blood spray and human suffering that results, including shots of blood being smeared on walls, clouds of blood after people are shot, and blood spraying on the wall after a character is hit with an assault rifle. Screenrant described the Ultimate Edition as being ‘a bit more realistic’ because of its inclusion of human suffering after the gunfire.”

House “School Safety” bill does not contain any gun control measures. “The protests came as the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill authorizing $50 million in grants to schools for safety protocols and training.”

Turkish forces encircle city of Afrin in Syria, cut off city’s water supply. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish YPG militia, known as the People’s Protection Units, who control Afrin.”


March 16, 2018

March 14, 2018

New CIA director accused of running ‘black site’ in Thailand where prisoners were tortured, and of then destroying evidence.  “Had President Obama prosecuted (Gina) Haspel and other CIA torturers at the time, she would have gone to prison. But Obama, in his quaint timid way, said he wanted to look forward, not back.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired with a tweet. “Tillerson said Trump had called him around noon Tuesday from Air Force One, while en route to California — several hours after the president had publicly announced Tillerson’s firing on Twitter.”   Trump keeping it classy, as always.

Video of fatal 2014 courtroom shooting of defendant finally released. “Authorities have identified the U.S. marshal only as Jane Doe. An FBI investigation found the shooting was legally justified.”

Hillary Clinton tells audience in India that many of the women who voted for Trump did so because they were pressured to by men. “At another point in the talk, Clinton, whose campaign slogan was “Stronger Together,” said that the reasons married white women voted for Trump was due to ‘ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should’.”   Maybe where Hillary lives the men get to peek over the curtains at the polls?

ICE spokesman quits over inflated agency estimates of the number of fugitives who escaped Oakland raids. “We were never going to pick up that many (800) people.”

Armed teacher accidentally fires pistol in class, injuring three. “”I think a lot of questions on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students.”

Science teacher accused of feeding sick puppy to snapping turtle. “Police told FOX13 the dog was alive when it allegedly was presented as a meal for the turtle.”   I remember dissecting live frogs, pinned to a board, in biology class, one frog for each pair of students.

Dog dies after flight attendant allegedly ordered passenger to stow it in overhead bin. “Eventually, the pet owner, whom United declined to name, complied with the flight attendant.”   We all know what happens to airline passengers who don’t comply with the instructions of flight attendants.

Family of Seth Rich sues Fox News over stories that he leaked Democratic National Committee emails. “Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Fox, Zimmerman, and Butowsky created a “smear campaign” against the family and manipulated Rich’s parents by inducing them to hire Rod Wheeler, an independent investigator Fox used to back up its claim, to help solve their son’s murder.”

Trump administration accused of concealing data from the public, such as worker safety statistics. “Trump administration officials seem eager to dish off the record about the daily drama of a dysfunctional White House,” Alan Zibel, research director for Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project, said in a statement. “But they routinely suppress far more consequential information about how Trump’s dangerous worker safety, public health, and environmental policies will impact Americans.”

New Zealand’s deputy head of mission in the U.S. is apparently worried about the possibility of a progress challenge to the Democratic Party establishment. “A Sanders-Warren ticket could win big in 2020,” declared the headline. “No it couldn’t,” responded Beresford in a tweet that was later deleted. “Please get your shit together or we will all die.”

Military commander tells Congress he has no idea what Saudi aircraft are doing after U.S. refuels them. ““General Votel, does CENTCOM track the purpose of the missions it is refueling? In other words, where a U.S.-refueled aircraft is going, what targets it strikes, and the result of the mission?” (Senator Elizabeth) Warren asked. “Senator, we do not,” Votel replied.”

Review of the movie “The Young Karl Marx”. “Raoul Peck, then, can’t really take credit for making Marx sexy again. Capitalism and all its attendant horrors did that for him. What he, Marx, and Engels offer are a few prescriptions for today’s young socialists looking to challenge capitalism: better theory, more practice, and maybe even a few wild parties along the way.”

11% of Disneyland workers surveyed say they were homeless part of last year. “Among ‘cast members’ who’ve worked more than 15 years, 52 percent don’t make above $15 an hour, and 67 percent ‘can’t afford to pay their monthly bills’.”

Company tracks customer returns for retail giants. “The Retail Equation has information on customer returns that date as far back as 2004.”

Atomwaffen, an American neo-Nazi group, is armed, dangerous and plotting a race war. “Just how many people belong to Atomwaffen is unknown. The ex-member told ProPublica that the group has enlisted about 80 members across the country, many of whom joined after the deadly events in Charlottesville last summer.”

Farm workers on hunger strike to get Wendy’s to buy its produce from worker friendly farms. “In New York City, dozens of farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers are in the middle of a five-day fast outside the Manhattan office of Nelson Peltz, the board chair and largest shareholder of Wendy’s.”


March 14, 2018

March 13, 2018

TSA allegedly searching electronic devices of airline passengers taking domestic flights. “The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed a lawsuit against the TSA on Monday demanding that the government disclose its policies for searching the computers and cellphones of domestic travelers, arguing that anecdotal accounts have raised concerns about potential privacy invasions.”

Video of another encounter between military jets and UFO released. “The (Department of Defense) has not identified any of the mystery aircraft, leading some to believe that they could be extraterrestrial technology manned by alien visitors.”   Sorry guys, but after the Phoenix Lights and the testimony of government insiders about decades of sightings and contacts, the cat is already out of the bag. Now we want to know about communication, how long its been going on and what they’ve been telling you.

Exposure to lead may be causing heart disease. “…the new study found that even minute levels of lead substantially increase the risk of death, especially from heart disease.”

Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee says no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign and Russians. “And the GOP-led investigation also discovered ‘problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media’.”

Winston Churchill’s hidden past as an imperialist war criminal. “In Afghanistan, Churchill declared that the Pashtuns ‘needed to recognise the superiority of [the British] race’ and that ‘all who resist will be killed without quarter’.”

House Homeland Security bill would allow the president to send Secret Service agents into polling places. “History has shown that the presence of law enforcement at the polls has the effect of chilling voter turnout, especially among minority communities.”

The drug dealers Trump will not be going after. “Purdue spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1990s convincing doctors and patients that OxyContin should be used for chronic pain rather than for acute, temporary pain that a patient might have after surgery, or for end-of-life care.”

U.S. by far the world’s biggest arms dealer. “New research completed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that the global arms trade rose by about 10 percent from 2013 to 2017, during which the U.S. increased its sales by about 25 percent and accounted for about a third of global weapons exports.”

Web founder says reforms are needed. “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms. This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared.”

Japan’s ruling conservative party embroiled in corruption scandal. “The finance ministry admitted on Monday that it had altered official documents surrounding the decision to provide an 85% discount on the appraised value of the land (to be used for a conservative school project favored by the first lady).”

New book exposes details of Israel’s assassination program, claims country has carried out almost 2,000 targeted killings. “…the U.S., Israel, Russia, North Korea, and many other members of the community of nations continue to murder their opponents without having to account for it.”

Politicians may be partially responsible for hate crimes against U.S. Muslims. “If spikes in anti-Muslim activity only occurred due to terrorism, we would expect to see more incidents following high-profile attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing and Charlie Hebdo, but we didn’t. What we do have are folks running for elected office who are using megaphones to talk about how dangerous Muslims are.”

White House press secretary calls poisoning of former Russian spy in England an “indiscriminate” attack. “The use of a highly dangerous nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible.”

Government compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests is low according to investigators. “People who asked for records under the Freedom of Information Act received censored files or nothing in 78 percent of 823,222 requests, a record over the past decade.”,-withholding-gov’t-files    I’ve been waiting for three years now to find out the identity of an American who went into a coma and died after his 2015 arrest by Tokyo police, and the details of the incident, which was not reported on by U.S. media. “The (State) Department currently has a backlog of approximately 11,000 cases.” Oh, and they didn’t receive my second request for all agency correspondence regarding my original request.

Hawaiian government says no records kept of of activities or communications of state’s top officials during false missile attack alert except for emails. “We are not aware of any state agency that maintains the governor’s office cell/office phone records, instant messages or text messages.”

U.N. accuses Honduras of using excessive force against protesters after contested election. “The security forces shot dead at least 16 people, including two women and two children, out of at least 23 people known to have died during the protests, the U.N. human rights office said in a report.”   Compare news coverage with coverage of election violence in Venezuela.

Myanmar’s government accused of building military bases on land taken from Rohingya refugees. “Security forces have bulldozed houses and started constructing at least three new security facilities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, said Amnesty International’s Remaking Rakhine State report, which was published on Monday.”


March 13, 2018

March 11, 2018

Trump tells crowd it may be time to start killing drug dealers, Democrats are blocking his appointments (just like Obama’s!) and his election was “one of the greatest nights in the history of television”. “I think (capital punishment for drug crimes) is a discussion we have to start thinking about. I don’t know if we’re ready — I don’t know if this country’s ready for it.”   Maybe Rodrigo Duterte is one of his new hires?

Steve Bannon tells right-wing party congress in France not be be ashamed of being racists. “Let them call you racists…. Wear it as a badge of honor.”

Afghanistan veteran kills three at veteran counseling non-profit in California. “(Albert Wong) joined the active-duty Army in 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 for a year.”

Oklahoma teachers’ union threatens state-wide strike. “Earlier this week, (the Oklahoma Education Association) announced April 23 as the statewide teacher walkout date, but moved it up to April 2 just one day later in response to pushback within its own membership and nonmember teachers.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin suggests minority groups in Russia may have been responsible for U.S. election hacking. “Maybe they’re not even Russians. Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship.”

Oakland coffee shop says “no cop” policy is to protect its customers. “Controversy erupted after Hasta Muerte Coffee in Oakland, Calif. refused to serve a Latino police sergeant citing its policy of ‘asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves’.”

Florida passes bill to ban child marriages. “(Sherry) Johnson was 9 when she was raped by a church deacon, 10 when she gave birth and 11 when she married the man. Johnson said her church pressured her mother to consent to the marriage and a judge approved it.”

ICE agents snatch California mom off the sidewalk in front of her traumatized daughters. “She is being held on suspicion of being in the country illegally.”   Video is here (if you don’t mind Google running javascript on your computer):

Special educators say students like Nikolas Cruz are not receiving needed counseling and treatment. “Experts say many schools are poorly trained at dealing with students with behavioral disabilities and mental illnesses, and they often focus more on disciplining students than providing them help.”

Sri Lankan government blocks social media due to ethnic violence. “These platforms are banned because they were spreading hate speeches and amplifying them.”

Thousands of demonstrators, led by indigenous community, march against oil pipeline plan. “The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would nearly triple the flow of oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the Pacific Coast.”

Costco targets the doomsday prepper market. “The wholesale superstore has rolled out a $6,000 food kit featuring 36,000 servings of food that can feed a family of four for a year, according to its online listing.”   “Packaged discreetly for privacy in shipping.” Wouldn’t want those pesky neighbors to get any ideas. “Sorry, no room in this lifeboat!”

House bill would ease rules on companies hit by data breaches, consumer group cries foul. “This is simply an attempt to set weaker laws as the ceiling for what states can do to protect consumers.”

Slow, expensive, burger-making robot loses job to humans. “In a statement Miso Robotics, which made Flippy, said it was testing the code that controls the robot to ensure that it can cook quickly enough to fulfill orders at peak times.”

Multiple state governments passing or considering gun control legislation. “Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, who faces a tough reelection bid, signed an executive order on Monday for a “red flag” policy that allows relatives or the police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from those showing warning signs of violence. California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington state also have red flag laws and more than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, according to the Associated Press.”

Peace activist Medea Benjamin says Trump’s military parade has a hidden agenda. “…she argued the ‘real cost’ of Trump’s parade is how it ‘ramps up the glorification of militarism, priming the US public for continuing the endless wars we are already in as well as potential new wars. Perhaps Iran? Progressives must oppose the parade, wrapped up as a tribute to veterans, since we know that the best way to show support for veterans is to stop war. And we have to counter it with a massive peace parade’.”

Doctors in Quebec ask government to give their pay increases to nurses, hospital workers. “These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks, and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years.”

Sanders tells Democratic Party not to intervene in primaries. “Having tasted what it feels like to have the Establishment-wing of the Democratic Party put its thumb on the scale when he ran for president in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is telling the congressional campaign arm of the party to stop working against progressive candidates in contested primary races this election season.”

Philippine president accused of putting U.N. special envoy on terror watch list. “The attack against the special rapporteur is taking place in the context of widespread extrajudicial executions and ongoing attacks against voices who are critical of the current government, including human rights defenders.”

“Pharma bro” gets seven year sentence for securities fraud. “Shkreli rose to infamy in 2015 when, as the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he raised the price of Daraprim, a lifesaving drug used by some AIDS patients, from $13.50 per pill to $750.”

Men push back against “toxic masculinity” messaging. “If you’ve always found men such as Weinstein despicable and pathetic, it’s disorienting to find yourself in the same category as him by virtue of also having a penis.”

Elizabeth Warren calls out Senate Democrats who voted to roll back banking regulations. “(The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act is) a cleverly misnamed bill that would peel back regulations on 25 of the 32 largest banks in the country, removing a slew of consumer protections while relaxing stress tests and other reporting requirements for a range of financial institutions that were developed in the aftermath of the Great Recession.”

Mom allegedly threatens school shooting over phone left at reception desk. “If I don’t get my phone back, I’m going to come back and shoot up the school!”

Black mom taken down by Pittsburgh area police officer after she complains about white theater manager calling her children “animals”. “A North Versailles police officer’s actions are being questioned after video of a controversial arrest went viral, gaining more than 1 million views on Facebook.”   You can watch the video here:

ACLU files class action lawsuit on behalf of migrants and asylum seekers separated from their children. “The class action seeks to represent all adult parents in immigration custody who have a minor child separated from them without a hearing to prove the parent is unfit to care for them.”

Trump supporter wins $876 million Pentagon contract. “(Peter Thiel’s) data-mining startup, Palantir Technologies Inc., won a much-contested contract to provide software to the U.S. Army.”

Turkish court says journalist should have been charged with espionage for publishing video of country’s intelligence agents smuggling weapons into Syria. “On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower court should have sentenced (Can) Dundar on espionage-related charges, which carry a 15-20 year sentence, rather than the lesser charge of disclosing confidential information….”

Villagers seek justice after Nigerian air force intervenes in grazing dispute, allegedly killing 78 in air raid. “Residents of the Adamawa villages described being fired upon by a fighter jet and military helicopter as they attempted to flee while, at the same time, hundreds of herdsmen were staging a revenge attack on the communities for earlier killings over grazing rights.”

New York Times tries to make amends for not running obituaries of notable women. “(The list) includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells; the writer, the poet Sylvia Plath; Qiu Jin, who was known as China’s Joan of Arc; the groundbreaking photographer Diane Arbus; the woman who helped engineer the Brooklyn Bridge, Emily Warren Roebling; Charlotte Brontë, who wrote Jane Eyre; Henrietta Lacks, whose (cancer) cells led to a medical revolution; (and) Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer.”


March 11, 2018