May 25, 2017

Human Rights Watch asks Congress not to pass “Back the Blue” law. “This bill does nothing meaningful to protect officers from danger. Instead, it protects police departments from liability, and removes incentives for those departments to monitor themselves and improve the quality of their policing.”

New York Civil Liberties Union sues police over Millions March cell phone disruptions. “The lawsuit comes after members of the group reported a number of suspicious issues with their cellphones while attending protests.”

Millions of Americans will lose their health insurance under Trumpcare says Congressional Budget Office report. “The score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the bill would cut the deficit by $119 billion but result in 23 million people uninsured by 2026.”

AG Session reportedly omitted meetings with Russian ambassador on security clearance form. “The staffer was instructed by the FBI not to list any contacts related to Senate business.”

Trump has “fantastic” meeting with Pope Francis. “…the White House and the Vatican highlighted terrorism, climate change and peace as agenda items covered.”

Reporter allegedly knocked to the ground, has his glasses broken by Republican candidate in Montana. “I’m sick and tired of you guys!”

Trump Organization allegedly says tracking income from foreign sources is “not practical”. “To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”

Republican governor of Vermont vetoes recreational marijuana law. “If Vermont’s bill had not been vetoed, it would have been the first state to legalize recreational marijuana via a legislative body, not a public referendum.”

Guess who’s paying for the border wall? “After making the need for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a central campaign theme, President Trump has asked Congress for just $1.6 billion to start building 74 miles of barriers.”

May 25, 2017

May 24, 2017

Trump EPA transition team leader reportedly tells conservatives that Obama climate change measures being reversed too slowly. “This is an impending disaster for the Trump administration.”

Trump airstrikes in Syria unconstitutional say legislators. “Airstrikes are an act of war. Atrocities in Syria cannot justify departure from Constitution, which vests in Congress power to commence war.”

San Francisco man charged with felony over Facebook comment. “Peralta, a 35-year-old activist and musician, didn’t think twice about the 23 January Facebook thread until two months later, when he learned that police had issued a warrant for his arrest – accusing him of threatening to kill law enforcement.”

Man found not guilty by jury sent to prison by judge anyway for alleged (but apparently unspecified) probation violation in a separate case. “…despite the fact police never recovered the weapon, stolen money, or any other evidence connecting him to the robbery, (the judge) declined to release Mr Chatman, who remains in prison for violating the terms of his first probation order.”

Possible FBI director Joe Lieberman reportedly ok with waterboarding, mass surveillance and detention without trial. “Throughout his career, Lieberman has demonstrated disrespect for constitutional safeguards and a wide, almost authoritarian deference to the federal government’s law-enforcement and military powers.”

Trump budget reportedly cuts an estimated $274 billion from anti-poverty programs over ten years. “The domestic spending cuts would be redirected to a large increase in defense, border security, and immigration enforcement spending.”

CIA told FBI about contacts between Trump campaign and Russia says former CIA director Brennan. “It should be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process.”

Trump reportedly praised Philippine president Duterte for anti-drug campaign which has involved thousands of extrajudicial killings. “President Trump praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in a phone call last month for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem”…”

Fox News retracts Seth Rich/Wikileaks story after threat of legal action. “They need to retract the story or issue an apology or the family will consider other options, including legal, to clear their son’s name and get Fox to do what’s right.”

Chinese student who praised free speech and democracy in University of Maryland commencement speech gets hammered by her government and some Chinese citizens for “bolstering negative Chinese stereotypes”.  “Are speeches made there not examined for evaluation of their potential impact before being given to the public?”   In fact, they probably are, but they are only required to be changed if they offend American sensibilities.

After Flynn refuses to turn over Russia documents to Congress, new subpoenas issued targeting business records. “…a business does not have a right to take the Fifth if it’s a corporation.”

Trump administration ordered to release names of former lobbyists in his administration who were granted waivers from “swamp draining” order. “Trump signed an executive order in January banning executive branch appointees from working on a “particular matter” they lobbied on within the two previous years.”

Justice Department claims Fiat Chrysler used emission test cheating software. “The lawsuit states nearly 104,000 vehicles are “equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices”.”

FCC net neutrality battle heats up with Comcast “cease and desist” order against “If companies like Comcast are funding this type of illegal activity (the posting of fake public comments on the FCC’s website), their customers and the general public deserve to know about it,” the website says. “If they’re not funding it, they should condemn these fake comments and tell the FCC to disregard them.”

Federal appeals court allows mass surveillance lawsuit against NSA to proceed. “Wikimedia has plausibly alleged that its communications travel all of the roads that a communication can take, and that the NSA seizes all of the communications along at least one of those roads.”

23 anti-corruption protesters arrested at Pennsylvania capitol. “Pennsylvania is one of only 10 states that does not have any limitations on gifts to public officials.”

Trump secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross finds absence of protesters in Saudi Arabia “fascinating”. “Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Center for Middle East Policy, told CNBC afterwards that Saudi Arabia is among the “most repressive” of free speech in the Middle East…”


May 24, 2017

May 21, 2017

Georgia residents say they were jailed because cop THOUGHT they had used marijuana. “Okay, so when I do a drug test, I’ll be free to go, correct?” “You’re going to jail, ma’am. Okay? I don’t have a magical drug test that I can give you right now.”

Trump signs $109 billion military deal with Saudis. “Ultimately, the two sides were able to reach an agreement on a weapons package that amounts to nearly $110 billion in tanks, fighter jets, combat ships and the THAAD missile defense system, according to the White House.”

Homeland Security-bound Sheriff Clarke accused of failing to note direct quotations in his masters thesis. “In each of the 47 instances, Clarke appears to have attributed sources in footnotes but failed to use quotation marks around language that was lifted verbatim or partially verbatim.”

Several former CIA agents tell New York Times reporter (!) that China killed off the agency’s Chinese informants. “It is not clear whether the CIA was hacked or whether a mole helped the Chinese to identify the (sources), officials told the paper.”

CIA was reportedly working to develop tech suspected to have been used in Michael Hastings crash according to Wikileaks files. “The trove of secret information, which allegedly comes from the CIA’s Cyber Intelligence Center, suggests US spies have explored hacking into vehicles remotely to carry out “undetectable assassinations”.

Man wanted for tampering with drug test fatally shot after license plate reader tips off police. “Boak ignored their commands, police said, driving the truck into an officer and pinning him against another vehicle.”

Man claims police broke his jaw after argument over signing release papers. “Police said Johnson was taken to Heritage Valley Beaver hospital for treatment of the injuries he suffered at the police station.”

Two men sue Trenton, New Jersey police department over excessive force in separate incidents. “To justify the unconstitutional misconduct, the Trenton Police Department charged Derry with multiple charges which were baseless and false,” Whalen wrote. “For example, they charged him with weapons offenses, even though Dwayne had no weapon and no weapon was found at the scene.”

Additional Exxon subpoenas issued in climate change coverup case. “Investigators have taken depositions of company executives and issued additional subpoenas to determine whether the company may have destroyed evidence connected to an alias email used by former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.”

Department of Justice orders non-profit legal assistance group to stop helping immigrants. “The letter demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum-advisory program.”

Why Trump went to Saudi Arabia: Saudis to invest billions in U.S., shoring up Trump’s re-election prospects. “Prince Salman walked Trump through the Powerpoint slideshow (Booz Allen Hamilton) prepared, outlining a plan to invest at least $200 billion in American infrastructure and open up new business opportunities for U.S. companies inside the kingdom.”

May 21, 2017

May 20, 2017

Philippine president says Chinese leader threatened war over South China Sea oil.

Sweden drops Assange rape investigation. “The announcement means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012.”

Trump allegedly told Russian diplomats that firing of “crazy” FBI director relieved pressure of election investigation. “I’m not under investigation.”

Fighters escort airliner after altercation with passenger. “A pair of Hawaii Air National Guard fighter jets were sent to escort an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Friday after a disturbance was reported on the flight.”   …because if it had been a hijacking and the plane had been heading towards a major city, they might have had to shoot it down? Or because when the guy saw the escorts he would give up and sit down?

“Doomsday” seed vault flooded by melting permafrost. “The vault was built in a mountain on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, 800 miles away from the North Pole.”

Federal appeals court rules that drone hobbyists don’t have to register their toys with the government. “Kavanaugh wrote that the FAA’s rule violates Section 336 of the (FAA Modernization and Reform Act), which states that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.”

Real Salem “witch hunt” resulted in 20 executions. “When it was all over, 141 suspects, both men and women, were tried as witches. Nineteen were executed by hanging. One was pressed to death by heavy stones. Several more perished in harsh prisons.”   Ah, the good old days, when America was a fundamentalist Christian nation!

Legal experts say arms sales to Saudi Arabia likely illegal due to huge civilian casualties in Yemen. “Continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia ― and specifically of arms used in airstrikes ― should not be presumed to be permissible…”

Department of Education plans to go back to previous student loan servicing monopoly. “ACS Education Services was once the sole company charged with managing the government’s education loan portfolio, a role that critics of the company said led to widespread failures in customer service and loan consolidations.”

Researchers suspect Fiat Chrysler installed emissions test cheating software on some of its diesel vehicles. “Academic researchers on both sides of the Atlantic said separately this week that they had found that Fiat Chrysler’s diesel vehicles had suspiciously high pollution levels and that there was evidence the company had used a so-called defeat device, software intended to allow a vehicle to pass official emissions tests but to pollute more when driven on the highway.”

Air conditioning becoming more common in Seattle, Washington apartments. “As Seattle summers keep getting hotter and hotter, a once-unthinkable perk for renters here has become more commonplace: air conditioning.”

U.S. has embarrassingly high rate of deaths due to medically preventable causes say researchers. “The U.S. was tied with Estonia and Montenegro, far below other wealthy nations such as Norway, Canada, and Australia, in the study’s ranking of 195 countries.”

U.S. wages not rising despite low official unemployment rates. “Standard economic theory tells us that wage growth and unemployment are intimately linked. Wage growth slows when the unemployment rate rises and increases when the unemployment rate falls.”

Special Operations Command reportedly submits urgent request for 350 tube launched kamikaze drones. “The company bills the device as a “miniature flying lethal missile (that) can be operated manually or autonomously”.”

Jared Kushner is reportedly “person of interest” in Russia investigation. “White House officials have previously acknowledged contacts between Russian officials and Mr Kushner, as well as with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.”

Busload of Mexican federal police officers robbed in Morelos. “A statement late Thursday says the officers did not resist in order to avoid injuries or loss of life.”

20,000 refugees after gun battles in Central African Republic. “At least 20 people have been killed and several dozen wounded since the unrest in Bria began on Tuesday, said U.N. mission spokesman Herve Verhoosel.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi worried about Justice Department control of Trump special counsel. “I’m concerned that Director Mueller will still be subject to the supervision of the Trump-appointed leadership at the Justice Department.”

Reporter claims he was grabbed by FCC bodyguards after asking FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly a question. “… two FCC security guards reportedly pinned Donnelly against the wall until O’Rielly had passed.”


May 20, 2017

May 19, 2017

Trump calls investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia a “witch hunt”, denies asking Comey to drop Flynn investigation. “U.S. President Donald Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday after days of political tumult, denied asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser and decried a “witch hunt” against him.”

Members of Trump team met with Russians 18 times during campaign but failed to disclose it. “Reuters reported on Thursday that Flynn and other Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race.”

Tulsa police officer who shot unarmed man with his hands up is found not guilty. “A jury has acquitted Tulsa police Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who killed unarmed motorist Terence Crutcher in an encounter that was captured on video by a police helicopter last September.”

Roger Ailes, Fox News founder, dead at 77. “He took ideological and partisan talking points and called it ‘news.’ That is the brilliance and the detriment of how Ailes has impacted the news industry.”

Hundreds of Tesla factory workers have reportedly been taken away in ambulances. “Before the company reduced the average time of a workday in October 2016, workers said they routinely worked 12-hour shifts, six days a week.”

As many as ten poisoned with botulism after eating nachos from gas station. “From the preliminary testing of the cheese, it was positive for botulism,” said Dr. Oliva Kasirye, a health inspector with the Sacramento County Public Health Department, who has been part of the on-going investigation.”

Legislators seeks details on Trump’s foreign income. “Senate Democrats said President Donald Trump’s company could be “effectively a pass-through for income” that violates the Constitution’s two Emoluments Clauses, and demanded that the Trump Organization hand over details about its operations since its chief took office.”

Elizabeth Warren tries to pin down Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on pledge to restore firewall between commercial and investment banking. “When asked repeatedly “what does it mean to be in favor of 21st century Glass-Steagall if it doesn’t mean breaking apart” banks, Mnuchin responded that it’s “actually a complicated question” and said he’s “happy to follow up and discuss” with Warren at a later date.”

Yale dean placed on leave over “white trash” restaurant review. “To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!”

Household debt reaches record high. “After increasing for 11 straight quarters, aggregate household debt toppled the previous peak in 2008, reaching a total of $12.73 trillion in the first three months of 2017, according to a quarterly report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

Former tech CEO gets 15 days after reportedly sending his partner to the hospital several times. “The alleged beatings were so brutal, Rastogi was hospitalized several times, including an ER visit when she was eight months pregnant with their child.”

Aaron Hernandez cited 70 times for disciplinary offenses while in prison. “I spoke to him the night before (his suicide) and he was so, you know, ‘Daddy’s going to be home’…”

U.S. airstrike hits Syrian government allied forces after threatening U.S. allies. “The Syrian forces, in several vehicles including at least one tank, were near the Jordanian border and deemed a threat to coalition partners on the ground, a Pentagon official said.”

President Erdogan reportedly oversaw attack on D.C. protesters. “… Ferad says that the words “dalın diyor, Servet abi dalın diyor” can be heard coming from the presidential guard just after Erdogan is seen speaking with his bodyguard. That translates to “he says attack brother Servet, he says attack.””

Judge in El Salvador reopens Archbishop Romero murder case. “Romero, then archbishop of San Salvador, was shot dead in 1980 by a right-wing death squad as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.”

Colombian human rights groups asks International Criminal Court for investigation of Chiquita executives implicated in funding of paramilitary group. “Declassified documents obtained recently by the National Security Archive through a freedom of information request for the first time name 14 Chiquita executives involved in the scandal.”


May 19, 2017

May 18, 2017

D.C. police show extreme restraint, let Turkish government employees run wild during attack on protesters. “Video appeared to show Erdogan’s bodyguards hitting and kicking protesters and pulling out guns as D.C. police tried to intervene.”

Justice Department appoints special counsel in Trump campaign investigation. “Congressional Republicans and Democrats praised the Justice Department’s decision to appoint Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia in the 2016 campaign — sparking a rare moment of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill over a politically charged issue.”

Trump decides to keep “worst deal ever” with Iran. “Mr Trump… criticised the terms of the deal made by Mr Obama – at one point claiming his “number one priority” if elected would be “to dismantle the disastrous deal”.”

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says he’s accepted position as an assistant secretary of Homeland Security. “Seven workers at the county jail he oversees are at the center of a criminal investigation into the dehydration death last year 38-year-old Terrill Thomas, an inmate who prosecutors say was deprived of water as punishment.”

Chelsea Manning released from prison after serving seven years of a 35 year sentence for leaking Iraq video, diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. “Among the material Manning leaked was a 2007 gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staffers.”   As well a van driver who tried to assist the wounded. “A 2007 military investigation had cleared everyone involved of wrongdoing, and the military claimed it had no knowledge of how the two children got injured.”

VW engineers reportedly sought approval from company executives for emissions cheating software. “…internal company emails and memos, which were reviewed by The New York Times, indicate that engineers wanted approval from top managers to deploy the illegal software almost from the beginning, with regular status reports noting that high-level signoff was necessary.”

House bill would give state “fusion centers” access to more information on Americans. “That the bill is considered “non-controversial” by the House leadership is a testament to how little regard they have for the Fourth Amendment rights of the citizens they were elected to represent.”

Trump complains about bad press. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”   Have they claimed you’re not really a U.S. citizen? That you’re a Muslim? A socialist? That you’re going to round up your opponents in detention camps? Allow the country to be occupied by U.N. troops? Set up “death panels” to decide who gets health care?

Oil company allegedly made $7.2 million in donations to Colorado political groups in run up to 2016 elections, politicians blocked laws to make public locations of wells and pipelines and to keep oil and gas wells away from schools. “Accidents happen with these, and it just doesn’t make any sense to put something that can explode a couple hundred feet away from a playground.”

Companies can take huge tax deductions for government fines and settlements. “Of the ten biggest settlements announced by the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Health and Human Services between 2012 and 2014, $48 billion of the $80 billion those companies forked over was eligible for tax deduction, according to a 2015 study by the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group.”

7 year-old special education student in Texas reportedly hit with baton, tasered and handcuffed by police after his detention at elementary school.

Israel reportedly demolishes Bedouin village for 113th time. “The villagers return and rebuild after each demolition.”

Israel was reportedly source of classified intelligence Trump shared with Russians. “The New York Times has reported that Israel was the source of highly classified intelligence that President Trump reportedly disclosed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House last week.”

May 18, 2017

May 17, 2017

Unnamed “federal investigator” also claims that Seth Rich leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks. ““I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection.”

Comey reportedly claimed in memo that Trump asked him to drop Flynn/Russia investigation. “I hope you can let this go.”

Anti-Erdogan protesters reportedly bloodied by his supporters during protest outside Turkish embassy in Washington. “They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey.”

New Jersey police officers reportedly paid a median salary of $105,000 a year. “Englewood, for instance, has a median household income of $75,074. Englewood cops, however, were paid a median salary of almost twice that amount –$142,561.”

Cruise ship condos give multi-millionaires a place to escape to. “… every one of the 165 luxury apartments on board — worth between $3 million for a studio and $15 million for a three-bedroom pad — are owned by residents who must have a net worth of $10 million. At least.”

Coal executive who served a year in prison on misdemeanor charge after mine explosion killed 29 asks Trump to spare other coal executives from a similar fate. “Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship has asked President Donald Trump to resist attempts in Congress to enhance criminal penalties for coal executives who violate mine safety and health standards.”

Trump allegedly asked Comey to charge journalists who publish classified information. “Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.”

Facebook ads key to Trump and Brexit wins. “Those in charge of the digital campaigns for Donald Trump’s Republican Party and the political consultant behind Leave EU’s referendum strategy are clear the social network was decisive in both wins.”

Self-administered abortion pills after on-line doctor screening found safe for 90% of women who responded to survey. “The researchers said less than 10 percent reported symptoms of a potentially serious complication like very heavy bleeding, fever or persistent pain, comparable to the rates for women who seek medical abortions at clinics where abortion is legal.”

Britain’s Labour Party unveils its new “For the many, not the few” program. “The manifesto includes pledges to raise taxes on the wealthy, nationalize public services, build affordable housing, invest in education, and, in what became a viral crowd favorite, install free WiFi on trains.”

Trump counter-terrorism official reportedly wants to hide transcript of Trump’s discussion with Russians. “For the purpose of transparency, the White House should share a transcript of the meeting with the House and Senate intelligence committees.”

FBI agents reportedly made fake documentary about Bundy family in order to collect evidence. “The story of the FBI’s fake documentary crew, revealed in more than 100 hours of video and audio recordings obtained by The Intercept, offers an unprecedented window into how federal law enforcement agents impersonate journalists to gain access to criminal suspects.”

Christian group holds banquet at Trump International Hotel the day after VP Pence speaks to their group. “Summit organizers told The Intercept that “800-plus” people attended the dinner.”

Artist projects “Pay Trump Bribes Here” on the side of Trump International Hotel. “Bell’s efforts lasted around 10 minutes before a security guard walked up to his van and stood in front of his projector…”

Congresswoman demands classified briefings “so that Congress can at least know as much as Russian leaders”.

Death toll in Venezuelan protests climbs to 42. “Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks, angry about food shortages, a medical crisis and soaring inflation.”


May 17, 2017