October 20, 2019

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist stabbed while passing out leaflets. “The man suddenly rushed to my friend and slashed (him) in the neck. Then my friend ran away towards this direction. After that he fell down and was stabbed in the abdomen with a knife.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/20/hong-kong-activist-stabbed-handing-out-pro-democracy-leaflets-at-lennon-wall

Bernie Sanders receives endorsements from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Michael Moore, author suggests a Sanders-Warren ticket. “Will pushing in tandem for policies like Medicare for All and student debt forgiveness scandalize the pundit class and alienate some moderate voters? Undoubtedly. But moderates are not the future of the Democratic Party…”   https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/bernie-sanders-scores-aoc-michael-moore-endorsements-clash-warren-inevitable-ncna1068806   Actually, centrists/moderates are likely to be the future of the Democratic Party, because of its deeply entrenched, pro-corporate leadership, which means it’s going to keep losing elections to right-wing fake populists. How about Sanders and Warren running as Greens, after they get cheated out of the Democratic Party’s nomination?

New Orleans Hard Rock hotel collapse survivor arrested for fishing without a license, will be deported. “Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, a native of Honduras, is one of five laborers who filed a lawsuit at Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Friday seeking damages for injuries they said they suffered…. his deportation… was set in motion by an arrest that occurred within 24 hours of his ‘making a statement about the tragic events’ at the collapse site to a Spanish-language news network.”   https://www.nola.com/news/courts/article_4a375132-f1c8-11e9-9a58-d76da7c8e09e.html

An estimated 70,000 California wildfire victims have failed to apply for compensation for lost homes, wages and emotional distress. “A man who said his house in Paradise was destroyed by fire three months after he bought it said he learned through social media that he could recover money from PG&E for his losses.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-fires-70000-victims-may-miss-out-on-payments/

Man reportedly left paralyzed from the waist down after expired license plate traffic stop in Maryland. “NBC Washington identified the man as Demonte Ward-Blake and relatives said he is partially paralyzed from the waist down from injuries to his spinal cord. He also had a broken nose.”   https://wtop.com/prince-georges-county/2019/10/mans-injury-during-arrest-a-horrible-accident-prince-georges-co-police-say/   “When (police) tried to search him, he allegedly struck an officer in the head with his elbow and tried to run away. That’s when one of the officers did a ‘takedown procedure’ to stop him from fleeing…”   https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-Georges-Police-Use-of-Force-Traffic-Stop-563403451.html

King County, Washington authorities seize man’s firearms, citing the state’s ‘red flag’ law, apparently because he admitted belonging to an extremist group during an airport interview that occurred last year. “At the end of 2018, (Kaleb) Cole went on a 25-day trip that took him throughout Eastern Europe…. officials wrote that Mr. Cole identified himself as an Atomwaffen member who had (a) fascist ideology and that he had been carrying the group’s flag.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/us/atomwaffen-kaleb-cole.html   “It wasn’t anything super-secret that we had to tell the judge. It was just: ‘Here’s what this guy’s about, he’s leading other people in practicing and informing a potentially violent cell that would act on their white supremacist views…. So that was enough to the convince this judge that at least temporarily — let’s take a time out. Let’s take these guns out and see what we’ve got here.”   https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-arsenal-seized-neo-nazi-leader-red-flag-law-20191019-bo2ml7mcjfgrjhj5xhkez2n7cy-story.html   I thought ‘red flag’ laws were for situations where a person was strongly suspected of being an imminent threat, based on some kind of actual evidence like making threats or plans to carry out specific acts of violence. But apparently just vague suspicion that someone who is engaged in questionable but lawful behavior is possibly plotting something is sufficient to override their constitutional rights.

Amazon has reportedly spent $1.45 million to influence local elections in Seattle area. “Amazon has donated huge sums to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce PAC. The Amazon-backed PAC is backing challengers against all but one of the three incumbents running for reelection, which has left many predicting that the City Council is going to look a lot different next year.”   https://www.thenation.com/article/seattle-amazon-kshama-sawant/

Police in Azerbaijan round up pro-democracy protesters. “Police detained (Popular Front leader Ali) Kerimli soon after he began walking to the venue of the protest rally in central Baku. More than 80 other protesters were detained after him, a Reuters witness at the scene said.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/azerbaijan-police-detain-protesters-ali-kerimli-popular-front-a9163006.html

Australian news organizations run blacked-out front pages to protest government secrecy laws and police raids on journalists. “The campaign, by the Australia’s Right to Know Coalition, follows raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters and the home of a News Corp journalist in June, the legality of which is being challenged in the high court.”   https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/21/australian-newspapers-black-out-front-pages-to-fight-back-against-secrecy-laws

Fifth day of anti-corruption protests in Lebanon. “Demonstrators took to the streets of most urban centres on Sunday to rail against officials who they say are preventing badly needed reforms that would cut into the pockets of the ruling class, and are instead trying to recoup state revenues by taxing the poor.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/20/lebanons-mass-revolt-against-corruption-and-poverty-continues

Chilean military deployed against protesters. “It marks the first time the army marched through the streets of Santiago, AP noted, since  1990, when the brutal dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who ousted Salvador Allende in a U.S.-backed coup, ended.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/20/so-awful-military-returns-streets-chile-unrest-simmers

Non-profit group Food & Water Watch seeks to educate consumers about the differences between sustainable and industrial agriculture. “Sustainable farmers protect soil by rotating crops and avoiding pesticides and other soil pollutants,” the website explains. However, with industrial operations, “the same crops are often grown on wide expanses of land year after year, leading to loss of soil nutrients.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/18/combat-dishonest-marketing-new-farm-vs-factory-website-contrasts-industrial-and

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October 20, 2019

October 19, 2019

State Department investigation finds 38 of its employees guilty of sending classified data to Hillary Clinton’s private email address. “The department said it found a total of 588 violations involving information then or now deemed to be classified but could not assign fault in 497 cases.”   https://www.apnews.com/14b14afc5d8647858489a2cf5385c28d

Boeing emails reveal employees new about problems with 737 MAX flight control system in 2016, FAA demands to know why it was not informed. “In the November 2016 message exchange, (former) 737 chief test pilot Mark Forkner… writes that MCAS is ‘running rampant in the sim on me’, a reference to a flight simulator in which it was being tested at the time. ‘I am levelling off at like 4000 feet, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like crazy. I’m like, WHAT?’ he (wrote).”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/18/boeing-737-max-faa-outraged-over-test-pilot-mcas/4024504002/

Pacific Gas & Electric CEO says it may take a decade until it can provide uninterrupted power to Californians, in order to avoid the risk of sparking wildfires. “Eventually the technology will get us to a point where we don’t need to be doing (preemptive power outages),” he said. “This is probably a 10-year timeline to get to a point where it’s really ratcheted down significantly.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pg-e-fires/california-utility-sees-decade-of-power-cuts-to-avoid-wildfires-idUSKBN1WY00L

Black school security officer fired for telling a black student not to call him a ‘n—–‘. “My understanding of the policy was white staff shouldn’t use the N-word under any circumstances,” Anderson said. “But I had no idea me being called the word and me telling the student not to call me the word would get me fired.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/black-school-officer-was-fired-repeating-racial-slur-used-black-n1068751

Federal judge blocks Florida rule barring former felons with unpaid fines or judgements from voting. “The case will later reach the Florida Supreme Court, which will decide whether ‘all terms of sentence’ means not only terms of imprisonment and supervision but also fines and other obligations imposed as part of a sentence.”   https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/466529-federal-judge-rules-florida-cant-stop-ex-felons-from-voting-over

Hillary Clinton red-baits anti-imperialist Tulsi Gabbard by suggesting one of the Democratic Party presidential candidates is being ‘groomed’ by the Russians, calls 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein ‘totally’ a Russian asset, gets harsh responses. “… Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.”   https://www.newsweek.com/rep-tulsi-gabbard-has-harsh-words-hillary-clinton-you-queen-warmongers-embodiment-1466382   Partial Green Party response: “Much of our 2016 platform — from the (Green New Deal) to Medicare-For-All — has since been adopted by the mainstream! Even now, is fighting for more secure and trustworthy voting machines for Americans as the state of Pennsylvania (controlled by the duopoly [Democrat/Republican] cartel) attempts to renege on the settlement reached by the Stein campaign’s recount lawsuits.”   https://twitter.com/GreenPartyUS/status/1185300540571508736

An estimated 500,000 Catalans march in Barcelona in support of independence referendum prisoners. “Masked protesters confronted officers near the national police headquarters in Barcelona late on Friday, throwing stones and cans at lines of officers in riot gear. Rubbish bins were dragged into the streets and set alight. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon, reports said.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50098268   Hmmm, I think I’ve seen this movie before. That’s it, it looks just like Hong Kong!

Hong Kong protesters hold peaceful, masked demonstration. “Gathering along the city’s subway lines, many demonstrators Friday masqueraded as Winnie the Pooh or Guy Fawkes… Hong Kong’s leader has said the ban on masks… is aimed at deterring radical behavior. But the protesters say they wear them out of fear of retribution and concern that their identities will be shared with China’s massive state security apparatus.”   https://www.foxnews.com/world/hong-kong-protesters-defy-mask-ban

State Department official raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian  gas company gig in 2015, was ignored by unnamed Obama administration White House official. “Mr. Kent, now of the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said he told the official that Hunter Biden’s position could look like a conflict of interest, given his father’s role, and would complicate American efforts to encourage Ukraine to clean up corruption.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/18/us/politics/hunter-biden-ukraine.html

Trump administration held back Puerto Rico hurricane recovery funds. “Puerto Rico has received a third of the roughly $43 billion Congress allocated toward hurricane recovery efforts two years after Maria ravaged the island…. (HUD deputy assistant secretary for community planning and development, David) Woll and (HUD’s chief financial officer, Irv) Dennis defended the delay again Thursday by echoing President Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s remarks that alleged corruption and financial irregularities produced the delay.”   https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/466552-top-trump-admin-officials-say-aid-to-puerto-rico-was-knowingly

British LGBT activists and their supporters tell Chick-fil-A to ‘cluck off’, U.K. shopping center to let lease of its only restaurant in that country to expire. “The Oracle shopping mall said it would not renew Chick-fil-A’s six-month lease, telling the BBC it’s the ‘right thing to do’.”   https://www.newsweek.com/chick-fil-first-uk-restaurant-close-cluck-off-lgbt-pride-1466423

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Marco Rubio, Ron Wyden and Ted Cruz agree – Apple should not have removed the HKMaps app that allowed users to tag the locations of the city’s police officers, just to please the Chinese government. “Over 1,100 applications have been taken down by Apple at the request of the Chinese government, according to the organization GreatFire (whose data was cited in the Congressional letter).”   https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/18/apples-china-stance-makes-for-strange-political-alliances-as-aoc-and-ted-cruz-slam-the-company/   Remember the Waze controversy in the U.S.? “In 2015, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck criticized the application and claimed that its existence could jeopardize the safety of police officers as it is ‘not always in the public’s interest to know where police are operating’.”   https://www.zdnet.com/article/police-demand-google-remove-speed-camera-alerts/

Someone is making a killing in futures markets, and some suspect it’s because of insider information. “In the last 10 minutes of trading on Friday, August 23, as the markets were roiling in the face of more bad trade news, someone bought 386,000 September e-minis. Three days later, Trump lied about getting a call from China to restart the trade talks, and the S&P 500 index shot up nearly 80 points. The potential profit on the trade was more than $1.5 billion.”   https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/10/the-mystery-of-the-trump-chaos-trades

Tax software lobbyists accused of blocking IRS program that would have made filing income tax returns online truly free and easier. “(Intuit’s) allies in the Senate have again advanced an appropriations bill that would bar the IRS from developing its own tax filing system.”   https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-turbotax-20-year-fight-to-stop-americans-from-filing-their-taxes-for-free

Navy plane suffers $2 million in damage after bird strike destroys one of four engines. “The engine has been replaced, and the aircraft has been returned to service.”   https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/10/17/navys-doomsday-plane-hits-bird-suffers-2m-damages.html

Cuban asylum seeker reportedly commits suicide while in solitary confinement at ICE detention center. “The ACLU of Louisiana condemned the death of Roylán Hernández-Díaz…”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/10/18/headlines/cuban_asylum_seeker_dies_in_solitary_confinement_in_louisiana

Attacks on proposed Medicare-for-All health insurance plan called ‘disingenuous’ by its supporters, for failing to take into account that it would end private insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles. “Moderators in the CNN and New York Times debate repeatedly pressed Elizabeth Warren on whether taxes would increase under Medicare for All. ‘The framing of that question is crazy,’ says Dr. Woolhandler. ‘What really matters is how much a household is paying.'”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/10/16/sanders_warren_medicare_for_all_debate

Progressive Americans can relate to Canada’s disappointment with Barack Obama-endorsed president Justin Trudeau. “Trudeau’s leftwing posturing has been exposed as a sham. His widely hyped tax hike on the richest 1% was actually a giveaway to the next richest 10% of Canadians. His embrace of a carbon tax became a cover for frenzied approval of fossil fuel projects, culminating in his purchase of a C$4.5bn (US$3.45bn) tar sands pipeline. He dispatched heavily armed police to violently dismantle a peaceful blockade of Indigenous land defenders. He made Canada the second largest weapons dealer to the Middle East, arming the Saudi war on Yemen. And he pressured his own justice minister to exempt a well-connected and corrupt engineering giant from a criminal trial.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/18/justin-trudeau-fake-progressive-canada-election

Virginia’s state government planning to go carbon-free. “Under the agreement, Dominion, the state’s largest energy producer, will provide 420 megawatts of power from wind and solar sources – enough to power about 100,000 homes – to state government buildings.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/virginia-governor-touts-landmark-deal-on-solar-and-wind-power/

Amnesty International accuses Turkish forces of war crimes in Syria. “The information gathered provides damning evidence of indiscriminate attacks in residential areas, including attacks on a home, a bakery and a school, carried out by Turkey and allied Syrian armed groups.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/amnesty-accuses-turkey-of-war-crimes-in-syria/

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October 19, 2019

October 18, 2019

Homeless man who plead guilty to cocaine trafficking and was sentenced to 15 years in prison is released after lab results reveal his stash was powdered milk. “Cody Gregg told a judge he entered the plea so he could get out of the Oklahoma County jail.”   https://oklahoman.com/article/5644076/homeless-man-facing-prison-cleared-by-lab-results   You know your jail is a hell hole when a homeless man pleads guilty to a serious crime he did not commit just to go to a state prison instead.

Fort Worth police officer who fatally shot a woman through her window allegedly wasn’t told that it was a wellness check. “For (welfare check) calls, police officers usually knock on someone’s door and wait for an answer. But the mindset of a police officer changes when they hear it’s an ‘open structure’ or ‘open door’ call.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/16/us/police-response-fort-worth-shooting/index.html

Florida cop gets probation for accidentally fatally shooting elderly woman during ‘Citizens Training Academy’ class. “Our family categorically rejects this plea deal. We are devastated — devastated and outraged,” Steven Knowlton told the Herald-Tribune Tuesday night. “The whole time — since 2016 — they told us they had a good case and that they would get a guilty verdict. I guess the good old boy network took over.”   https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20191016/former-punta-gorda-officer-who-shot-and-killed-librarian-wont-go-to-jail

Seattle crane collapse that killed four people blamed on improper disassembly procedure. “We know procedures were broken, but how often, and why? This is a fairly widespread practice of cutting corners, and that’s a concern.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/totally-avoidable-3-firms-fined-deadly-seattle-crane-collapse-n1068466

New York City police officers fatally shoot man fleeing ‘no seat belt’ traffic stop. “The officers determined that the driver, whose name was not released, had three outstanding warrants for failing to pay fines for violations, including one for littering, the police said.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/nyregion/police-bronx-shooting.html

Chicago public school teachers go on strike for higher wages, smaller classes and more counselors. “We need more counselors, we need case managers, we need mental health services to help support our students.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/chicago-teachers-strike-thousands-hit-picket-lines-pay-191017131021676.html

Turkey-back militias and Kurdish leftists still fighting in northern Syria, despite ceasefire deal. “NBC News staff could both see and hear mortars, grenades, machine-gun and rifle fire in Ras al-Ain — although it remains unclear who was responsible.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/fighting-continues-turkey-syria-border-despite-u-s-led-cease-n1068516

Trump administration’s ambassador to the E.U. accused of spending $1 million in government funds on home improvements. “The work on the ambassador’s home on the outskirts of Brussels includes more than $400,000 in kitchen renovations, nearly $30,000 for a new sound system and $95,000 for an outdoor ‘living pod’ with a pergola and electric heating, LED lighting strips and a remote-control system, government procurement records show.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/amid-impeachment-probe-gordon-sondland-is-overseeing-a-renovation-of-his-residence-that-has-cost-1-million-in-taxpayer-money/2019/10/16/d0eece92-ef86-11e9-bb7e-d2026ee0c199_story.html   Pergola: An open-sided, outdoor structure to provide shade, using a lattice, vines or fabric on top.

Bags of contaminated soil and plant waste from Fukushima nuclear reactor explosion clean-up reportedly washed away into river during typhoon.  “Officials said that as Hagibis-triggered rainfall caused rivers to flood, bags filled with debris collected during the Fukushima decontamination efforts were swept into the Furumichi River after the facility was flooded, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Sunday.”   https://www.theepochtimes.com/fukushima-nuclear-waste-bags-swept-away-during-typhoon-hagibis-reports_3118678.html

London-based Syrian Observatory NGO estimates current casualty figures in northern Syria conflict. “A Turkish offensive into northeast Syria has led to the death of 224 from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and 183 Turkish-backed rebels after the first eight days of fighting, the Syrian Observatory reported on Thursday. The fighting has also led to 72 civilian deaths…”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria-security-turkey-toll/observatory-224-sdf-soldiers-183-turkish-backed-rebels-killed-in-syria-clashes-idUKKBN1WW2DS

Up to 200,000 Syrians displaced by Turkish invasion, refugees reportedly lack access to sufficient water. “The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are still operating in the northeast where (the) ICRC now estimates that 170,000 to 200,000 people are displaced.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria-security-turkey-aid/aid-agencies-struggle-in-northeast-syria-with-water-shortages-idUKKBN1WW1VV

Turkish-backed forces under suspicion of using white phosphorus munitions on civilians. “White phosphorus… is used legally in combat as a smokescreen in daytime and as an incendiary to light up an area at night. But it is illegal to use it against civilians, because it causes serious and exceptionally painful burns on contact with skin.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/18/un-investigates-turkey-alleged-use-of-white-phosphorus-in-syria

Only 2% of New Zealand’s firearms have been voluntarily turned in by the country’s residents after mosque shootings. “There are an estimated 1.5 million guns in the country…. More than 29,000 firearms have been collected so far, according to statistics provided on the police website.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/zealand-plans-armed-police-patrols-christchurch-attack-191018011626645.html

Iraqi citizen journalist arrested. “Masked security agents stormed the apartment of a prominent Iraqi blogger in Baghdad early Thursday and detained him, apparently over his coverage of anti-government protests, a member of (Shujaa al-Khafaji’s) family said.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/iraqi-blogger-outspoken-countrys-corruption-141813587.html

Libyan religious extremists attempting to impose strict rules on secular citizens by raiding cafes serving unmarried couples. “The cafe raids showed that armed groups could still act with impunity in Tripoli, said a women’s rights activist, who asked not to be named for fear her comments would be politicised.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-libya-security-islamists/gunmen-raid-cafes-in-libya-capital-to-curb-social-freedoms-idUKKBN1WW2BF

Progressive think tank proposes paying for national health insurance scheme by cutting military spending. “Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it…. While we can’t un-spend that $4.9 trillion, imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/17/researchers-detail-how-slashing-pentagon-budget-could-pay-medicare-all-while

Medicare for All activists stopped by Capitol police while trying to deliver petition with 2.2 million signatures to members of Congress. “The petition delivery hit a brief snag when members of the coalition—representing nurses, physicians, and consumers across the U.S.—were stopped by a Capitol police officer who said the public is not allowed to ‘deliver’ items to members of Congress. “Does that mean that lobbyists can no longer provide any materials to offices, too?” asked activist Maria Langholz.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/15/despite-obstruction-capitol-police-progressive-groups-deliver-22-million-petitions

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October 18, 2019

October 17, 2019

President Trump makes stuff up during press briefing. “Speaking in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump claimed that US soldiers are ‘not in harm’s way’ as Turkey advances into northeastern Syria, that American troops there will return to the US and that the Kurds who fought for and alongside the US to defeat ISIS ‘are much safer now’. None of those claims are true.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/16/politics/trump-turkey-kurds-false-claims/index.html

Trump Organization accused of giving different financial data to lenders and property tax authorities. “For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017.”   https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-inc-podcast-never-before-seen-trump-tax-documents-show-major-inconsistencies

Barack Obama endorses Justin ‘Pipeline’ Trudeau in Canada’s election, critics call it ‘foreign interference’. “(Prof. Drew) Fagan says he cannot think of a president or former president endorsing a Canadian candidate, although President Clinton did give a forceful speech against Quebec separatism in Ottawa in 1995.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50074603

Hong Kong human rights activist says he was beaten with hammers by armed gang. “Jimmy Sham was left bleeding on the street and has been hospitalised with head injuries. Even in the context of increasing attacks on activists, this incident is shocking in its brutality.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50073583

Jury rules that editor of Sandy Hook ‘conspiracy theory’ book must pay father of shooting victim $450,000 for accusing him of disseminating a bogus death certificate, because it only differed slightly from the official death certificate. “(James) Fetzer — a professor emeritus of philosophy from the University of Minnesota Duluth and prolific conspiracy theorist on a range of events — claims the Sandy Hook massacre never happened but was instead an event staged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of an Obama administration effort to enact tighter gun restrictions.”   https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/crime-and-courts/4725518-Jury-awards-Sandy-Hook-father-450000-for-defamation-by-former-Duluth-man   Fetzer says news stories identifying him as the ‘author’ of the book are inaccurate. “We did not author the book but edited the book, NOBODY DIED AT SANDY HOOK (2015), which has thirteen contributors…. Six of the thirteen are current or retired PhD. professors…”   https://jamesfetzer.org/2018/12/fake-news-about-false-flag-lawsuit-ap-reporter-caught-falsifying-story/   Fetzer had argued in his response to the lawsuit that he and his co-defendants should not be held liable for defamation because their investigation into the Sandy Hook incident was motivated by a desire to uncover the truth, and was not carried out ‘with willful or reckless disregard for the truth’. “The publications complained of were in any event true and, if mistaken in any respect, they were written in good faith and were and still are for good cause believed to be true.”  https://jamesfetzer.org/2019/01/the-sandy-hook-pozner-v-fetzer-lawsuit-for-dummies/   What happened when this plaintiff sued Sandy Hook researcher Wolfgang Halbig? “On Aug. 22, 2017, the court ordered Leonard Pozner to appear in person for his deposition, and permitted it to be videotaped (Doc. 86).  It granted Pozner a delay of three months based on ‘medical evidence’ that he was unable to attend until November 15, 2017.  On Nov. 13, 2017, two days before the deposition was supposed to take place Pozner dismissed the lawsuit (Doc. 92).”   https://memoryholeblog.org/2018/09/06/sandy-hook-parent-lenny-pozner-a-deep-state-cyberpuppet/

Democratic congressman from Maryland, Elijah Cummings, dies at 68. “In 1996, he won the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that Kweisi Mfume (D) vacated to become NAACP president. Mr. Cummings eventually served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and as ranking Democrat and then chairman of what became the House Oversight and Reform Committee.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/17/elijah-cummings-dies-baltimore/

U.S. and Turkey agree to 120 hour ceasefire in northern Syria, Kurdish SDF to withdraw from border zone. “Our team is already working with YPG personnel in the safe zone for an orderly withdrawal outside the 20-mile mark…”   https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/vice-president-mike-pence-seeks-syria-ceasefire-turkey/story?id=66345538

Israel reportedly planning to evict tens of thousands of Bedouins from their villages. “Last January, plans were unveiled for the urgent and forcible eviction of nearly 40,000 Bedouin from their homes in unrecognized villages under the guise of ‘economic development’ projects.”   https://original.antiwar.com/cook/2019/10/16/israel-prepares-to-turn-bedouin-citizens-into-refugees-in-their-own-country/

Iraq charges some officers and soldiers for shooting protesters. “The news comes several days before the publication of a government investigation into the deadly violence during protests that left more than 100 dead and over 6,000 wounded.”   https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/10/16/iraq-arrests-dozens-of-security-officers-over-protester-killings

24 charged in Turkey for criticizing invasion of Syria. “The suspects had been accused of ‘provoking the public to hatred and animosity’ and ‘carrying out propaganda for a terrorist organization’.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria-security-turkey-arrest/turkey-arrests-24-over-criticism-of-syria-offensive-news-agency-idUKKBN1WV17N

Next year’s G7 Summit to be held at Donald Trump’s Miami area resort. “The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters the the administration selected Trump’s resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in various other US states. ‘Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,’ he said at a news briefing.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/17/g7-trump-miami-doral-resort-venue-next-summit   No, really! This is not satire.

Lawsuit seeks to force Indiana to replace its voting machines. “The complaint specifically targets the paperless system that uses direct-recording electronic, or DRE, machines, which do not have a ‘voter-verified paper audit trail’ providing a viewable record that a ballot was counted accurately.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/hoosiers-sue-to-replace-paperless-indiana-voting-machines/   I’m more worried about our own government or political parties stealing elections than foreign governments! Whose idea was it to buy these kinds of machines, the Russians?

New York’s Supreme Court rules that charter school teachers need to be real teachers. “…the new system meant that teachers at SUNY-run charter schools would not even need a bachelor’s degree, let alone a master’s degree — a significant departure from the standards set for public (schools) by the state Education Department and Board of Regents. While public school teachers are required to complete more than 70 semester hours of field experience, SUNY’s standards sought just 40 clock hours.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/court-nixes-watered-down-standards-for-charter-school-teachers/

Iditarod officials and PETA to meet over annual dog sled race. “By PETA’s count, more than 150 dogs have died in the race, including one this year. Five dogs connected with the 2017 race also died.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/iditarod-changes-tack-will-meet-with-animal-welfare-leader/

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October 17, 2019

October 16, 2019

Russian troops reportedly positioned between Turkish and Syrian forces in northern Syria, trapped U.S. special forces called on SDF for help as Turkish-backed forces closed in. “(Russian envoy, Alexander) Lavrentiev said earlier on Tuesday that Russia would not allow clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces.”   https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/russia-moves-to-prevent-conflict-between-turkish-army-and-assad-regime-in-syria-1.924217

Pro-democracy Hong Kong legislators shout down city’s leader during speech. “Carrie Lam – Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader who has been the target of protesters’ ire for nearly five months – spoke only briefly before protesting lawmakers forced her to step away from the podium. About 20 minutes later, she returned and resumed her speech, only to be shouted down a second time.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/10/16/770529522/hong-kongs-leader-driven-out-of-legislature-by-raucous-pro-democracy-lawmakers

Authorities in Helena, Montana thought someone had placed an IED at an elementary school. They didn’t. “The device, believed to have come from a construction site, was a plastic bottle wrapped in black tape that was full of washers, nuts and bolts, and a fluid that wasn’t flammable, the sheriff said.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/improvised-explosive-device-detonates-montana-elementary-school-injured/story?id=66288799   Muslims! Russians! Antifa! Mexicans! Liberals! Homosexuals! Journalists! All working together, to attack elementary schools with explosives!

Wife of American spy, who hit and killed a motorcyclist while driving on the wrong side of the road in England, finally apologizes to his family. “My opinion on Anne Sacoolas now wanting to come forward and say sorry – to be perfectly honest, yes it’s the start of some closure for our family. Having said that, as it’s nearly seven weeks now since we lost our boy, sorry just doesn’t cut it.”   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/13/harry-dunn-parents-reject-apology-anne-sacoolas-fly-united-states/

YouTube says video of Trump killing his political opponents and media critics is ‘fictional violence’, so it does not violate the company’s rules. “As YouTube’s policies state, context is crucial for whether videos are deemed violent enough to be in violation of the rules.”   https://nypost.com/2019/10/15/youtube-says-video-of-fake-trump-shooting-media-doesnt-violate-rules/   But YouTube’s policies also state that ‘YouTube is not a home for glorifying violence or promoting hate’. YouTube is apparently assuming that the video was not intended to glorify or provoke acts of hate or violence against journalists or Trump opponents. Why they are assuming this is unclear.

Most Americans support opening Medicare to anyone who wants it, but oppose having one national health insurance plan. “Fifty-six percent of Americans think providing access to affordable health care coverage for all Americans is the responsibility of the federal government, and two-thirds favor the creation of a national, government-administered health insurance plan similar to Medicare that would be available to all Americans….. Six in 10 would want it to compete with private health insurance as a choice for those who want it, rather than replace all private insurance.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2020-polls-national-health-care-plan-favored-by-most-americans-cbs-news-poll-finds/   But there is a problem with this approach, namely that most of the sick people are going to end up on Medicare, because they will be priced out of private health insurance if insurance companies are allowed to offer lower rates to healthier customers and higher rates to older, sicker people. Young and healthy people will be attracted to cheap, no-frills private health insurance, since they rarely need to use it, while the sick and old will be pushed onto Medicare, which means for-profit health insurance companies will become even more profitable. It will be another example of privatizing profits while socializing losses. Secondly, Medicare pays health care providers less than private insurance, so some doctors are already refusing to treat Medicare patients, which means a ‘Medicare as a public option’ system would to lead to a two-tier health care system, where patients with Medicare will have to struggle to find doctors because doctors will have the luxury of turning them away so they can focus on making more money by only treating patients with private health insurance.

Dept. of Agriculture proposes logging untouched areas of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. “By seeking to weaken the Roadless Rule’s protections, the Forest Service is prioritizing one forest use — harmful logging — over mitigating climate change, protecting wildlife habitat, and offering unmatched sight-seeing and recreation opportunities found only in southeast Alaska.”    https://www.npr.org/2019/10/15/770410803/trump-administration-moves-to-expand-logging-in-nations-largest-national-forest   “The Tongass National Forest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America.”

Survey of college students reveals that 26% of undergraduate women say they have experienced non-consensual sexual contact by force or inability to consent. “…most students who said they were victimized didn’t report the incident to police or any campus resource.”   https://www.newsweek.com/association-american-universities-president-sexual-misconduct-survey-college-campus-1465360

Animals rights group releases undercover video of lab that intentionally poisons animals to measure toxicity of drugs and chemicals. “The horrific effects include vomiting, internal bleeding, respiratory distress, fever, weight loss, lethargy, skin problems, organ failure and even death.”   https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/secret-video-shot-inside-german-20584332

LeBron James criticizes Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey for tweeting support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, instantly becomes an object of protester wrath. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”   https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/27852132/protesters-trample-burn-lebron-james-jerseys-hong-kong

The Egyptian real estate developer who launched a protest movement. “With Egyptians struggling under a flagging economy and austerity measures implemented by the government, (Mohamed) Ali’s tales of lavish palaces built for (President) Sisi using public funds were met with widespread anger.”   https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-mohamed-ali-secrets-egypt-sisi-interview

CNN accused of sidelining Bernie Sanders during Tuesday’s presidential candidate debate. “It’s well documented that Sanders’ media coverage never matches his popular support, and last night’s debate was a very clear example of the phenomenon in action.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/16/elizabeth-warren-bernie-sanders-democratic-debate

An economic downturn could result in trillions in bad corporate debt. “Our conclusion is sobering: debt owed by firms unable to cover interest expenses with earnings, which we call corporate debt at risk, could rise to $19tn. That is almost 40% of total corporate debt in the economies we studied.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/16/global-economy-faces-19tn-corporate-debt-timebomb-warns-imf   Another round of ‘too big to fail’ government bail-outs?

‘Panama Papers’ law firm asks court to block Netflix film. “In a US lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca say The Laundromat, in which they are respectively played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, portrays them as ‘ruthless uncaring lawyers who are involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and/or other criminal conduct’ and ask the court to stop it from being screened.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/16/panama-papers-law-firm-mossack-fonseca-sues-netflix-over-the-laundromat

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October 16, 2019

October 15, 2019

Census Bureau requests driver’s license and public assistance records from states. “After the Supreme Court ruling (against including a citizenship question on the census), Mr. Trump signed an executive order in July requiring the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, to collect records on citizenship from federal agencies and increase efforts ‘to obtain State administrative records concerning citizenship’.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/census-bureau-asks-states-for-licenses-that-typically-include-citizenship-data/   Apparently, non-citizens tend to live in ‘blue’ states, so excluding non-citizens from the official census totals would boost the number of representatives from ‘red’ states, since representation is apportioned based on population. As the country becomes more racially diverse and progressive, and as reactionary, old white people die off, the Republican Party is becoming desperate.

Fifth week of protests in Haiti as opposition calls for the country’s president to step down. “Business groups, church leaders and human rights organizations also have joined the call for Moïse to step down amid anger over corruption, inflation and scarcity of basic goods including fuel.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article236193303.html

Thousands of angry Catalans, upset with harsh prison terms for independence referendum organizers, attempt to occupy Barcelona’s airport, 53 reportedly injured in violent clashes with police, 108 flights cancelled. “Police also clashed with angry crowds late Monday night in downtown Barcelona. They used batons and sounds similar to the firing (of) projectiles were heard.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/protests-in-spain-today-at-least-37-injured-flights-canceled-in-barcelona-as-activists-clash-with-police-2019-10-14/

Government of Ecuador cancels austerity measures to end protests. “The protests began after the government announced an end to fuel subsidies as part of public spending cuts agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a loan.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-50038126

India ends 70 days of cell phone blackout in Kashmir, residents get billed for days with no service. “Mobile internet and broadband remained suspended on Tuesday, as well as phones using prepaid SIM cards.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/15/asia/kashmir-cellphone-intl-hnk-scli/index.html

Family of British tourists separated, jailed and shipped across the U.S. after accidentally crossing U.S. – Canadian border. “The memory of our little baby having to sleep on a dirty floor of a cell will haunt us forever.”   https://nypost.com/2019/10/14/british-family-jailed-after-mistakenly-crossing-canadian-border-into-us/

Auto industry analysts claim that union labor is only about 5% of the cost of a GM vehicle. “The people close to (UAW-GM) talks said GM wants to lower its labor costs mostly by changing its workforce composition. That means hiring more temporary workers, which is strongly at odds with what the union wants.”   https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/general-motors/2019/10/03/gm-strike-uaw-auto-workers-mexico/3846417002/

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden says company will continue to invest in new fossil fuel projects because the switch to non-carbon energy sources will take decades. ‘Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-shell-climate-exclusive/exclusive-no-choice-but-to-invest-in-oil-shell-ceo-says-idUSKBN1WT2JL   The world also demands illegal drugs, private jets and cutting down rain forests, but that doesn’t mean the world should get them.

On October 15, 1969, millions of Americans marched to end the Vietnam war, but direct U.S. military involvement lasted another four years. “Moratorium Day involved mass protests across the US. Religious services, rallies and meetings were held, aiming to bring the war to an end.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49893239?

For-profit hospital chains also trying to kill ‘Medicare For All’. “…corporate records highlight the integral role that the for-profit hospital industry has played in drumming up opposition to health care reforms.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/10/15/medicare-for-all-hospital-tenet/

Edward Snowden explains why some governments want to make the internet LESS safe. “The true explanation for why the US, UK and Australian governments want to do away with end-to-end encryption is less about public safety than it is about power: E2EE gives control to individuals and the devices they use to send, receive and encrypt communications, not to the companies and carriers that route them…. this shift jeopardizes… nations’ ability to spy on populations (on a) mass scale…”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/15/encryption-lose-privacy-us-uk-australia-facebook

Indigenous rights activist surround Alcatraz – in canoes. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic act of resistance that launched the modern era of indigenous rights.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/gallery/2019/oct/14/native-american-canoes-circle-alcatraz-to-honor-50-years-since-occupation-in-pictures

London police attempt to ban further Extinction Rebellion protests in London, fail. “Despite the ban, XR protests continued on Tuesday as civil liberty groups and MPs condemned the police strategy.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/15/extinction-rebellion-protest-ban-chilling-assault-on-civil-rights

Russian police raid offices and homes of Alexei Navalny’s pro-democracy group. “Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that searches were under way at (Anti-Corruption Foundation) offices in 30 Russian regions, as well as at residences of the group’s regional employees.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/15/mass-raids-target-russian-opposition-leader-alexei-navalny

Democratic Party presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg disses Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for ‘pocket change’ small donor fundraising. “Odd thing to say when you were out-raised by ‘pocket change’ over the last quarter.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/14/democrats-head-debate-stage-buttigieg-attacks-warren-and-sanders-who-have-outearned

Peace activists protest George W. Bush art event at the Kennedy Center. “(Medea) Benjamin and Ariel Gold, (Code Pink’s) national co-director, also focused their attention on the fact that one of the country’s largest weapons manufacturers, Boeing, sponsored the exhibit at the Kennedy Center.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/14/no-artwash-bushs-crimes-says-codepink-protest-exhibit-former-presidents-paintings

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October 15, 2019

October 14, 2019

Syrian government troops to deploy to border with Turkey, filling vacuum left by withdrawal of U.S. troops. “An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government — whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty — for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression.”   https://www.foxnews.com/world/kurdish-forces-announce-deal-with-damascus-after-us-pullout

Group of almost 400 scientists endorses civil disobedience to achieve action on climate change. “We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-scientists/scientists-endorse-mass-civil-disobedience-to-force-climate-action-idUSKBN1WS01K

Life in a developed market economy: 18-story Hard Rock hotel under construction in New Orleans partially collapses for no apparent reason. “Dramatic video of the incident showed parts of the building crashing into the street as debris billowed into the air.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/person-killed-18-hospital-crane-collapses-hard-rock/story?id=66232002

Video shows President Trump character massacring the media and his political opponents in a church shooting, was allegedly show at a pro-Trump event held at his Doral Miami resort. “One part of the video, the Times said, shows a fake Trump’s head edited onto the body of a man opening fire in the ‘Church of Fake News’ on a group whose faces were edited to appear as a group of Trump critics and news organizations.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/13/politics/trump-fake-video-shooting-media-critics-doral/index.html   At least part of the video can be viewed here (warning: extreme violence):   https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1183554549996503040

China’s president warns adversaries not to interfere in the country’s internal struggles. “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/xi-warns-china-adversaries-crushed-bodies-shattered-bones-191014015858714.html

Catalan separatist leaders sentenced to long prison terms for holding independence referendum. “In 2017, police and protesters clashed in the streets when Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders went ahead with the referendum, which had been ruled illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49974289   Keeping Spain safe from democracy! I guess that peaceful route to Catalan independence has been closed off.

As in Turkey, Hungary’s right-wing ruling party loses mayor’s race in the country’s largest city. “Opposition parties were also projected to win a majority in the Budapest General Assembly with 17 members, compared with 14 delegates from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance and two independents.”   https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/13/hungary-local-elections-opposition-candidate-karacsony-unseats-fidesz-backed-incumbent-in

Nobel Prize for Economics awarded to poverty researchers. “The Academy said the work of (economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer) had shown how the problem of poverty could be tackled by breaking it down into smaller and more precise questions in areas such as education and healthcare, making problems easier to tackle.”   https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/three-share-nobel-prize-in-economics-for-work-to-alleviate-poverty-1.4049794

Mainstream media mostly overlook 18th anniversary of U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. “Just as Afghans born at the war’s start are now coming of age, Americans born at the same time are now old enough to serve.”   https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-war-in-afghanistan-turns-18-and-no-one-notices/

Civil liberties group concerned about proposed ‘National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act’, which would give the government the power to subpoena the internet communications of Americans. “We oppose the expansion of surveillance authorities, including social media monitoring, as well as the expansion of the security infrastructure.”   https://thehill.com/policy/technology/465485-civil-liberties-groups-sound-alarm-over-online-extremism-bill

Moroccan human rights activists targeted with sophisticated Pegasus phone spyware. “Amnesty International identified the targets as activist Maâti Monjib and human rights lawyer Abdessadak El Bouchattaoui.”   https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/10/activists-phones-targeted-by-one-of-the-worlds-most-advanced-espionage-apps/

China and Russia accused of blocking U.N. Security Council statement condemning Turkish invasion of Syria. “The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern over the Turkish military operation and its implications, including humanitarian and security dimensions,” the blocked statement was to say. “They call upon Turkey to halt its military operation and to make full use of diplomatic channels to address its security concerns.”   https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/10/11/russia-china-block-un-text-condemning-turkeys-syria-offensive   Interesting. Perhaps the Russian-backed government of Syria is not disappointed about this opportunity, provided by Turkey, to reassert its authority over Rojava.

71 Palestinian protesters wounded during the 78th Great March of Return. “(Palestinian Centre for Human Right’s) fieldworkers documented 33 injuries with live-bullet wounds; 3 civilians, including 2 children, with critical wounds; and others with wounds in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.”   https://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=13019

Tear gas used by Hong Kong police is being supplied by a U.S. company. “(Pennsylvania-based NonLethal Technologies Inc.), which makes and exports a wide range of riot and crowd control equipment for military and law enforcement agencies, has been in the spotlight ever since it was discovered that Hong Kong police are employing its tear gas canisters to disperse anti-government demonstrations.”   https://sg.news.yahoo.com/u-company-supplying-tear-gas-200418358.html   No surprise there. It’s probably used on pro-democracy protesters at home and around the world.

Canadian police violently subdue Hong Kong pro-democracy activist during clash with supporters of the Chinese government. “Tensions over the Hong Kong protests are high across the Vancouver region, home to 500,000 people of Chinese origin, including 72,000 Hong Kong immigrants and 189,000 from mainland China.”   https://today.line.me/hk/pc/article/Canadian+police+took+down+a+Hong+Kong+protester+Here%E2%80%99s+what+happened-Ppqplj

Soldiers accused of multiple felonies allowed to remain in the Army and even re-enlist after being discharged for ‘adverse reasons’. “The majority of these soldiers still serving in units were (named) in two felony-level cases (1,938). A significant number (429 soldiers), however, are still serving despite three or more cases involving founded felonies.”   https://taskandpurpose.com/army-crime-reenlist   The Army reported cited does not give a figure for the number soldiers accused of committing only one felony. I assume this means it’s an embarrassingly large number.

Next recession will be a second opportunity to press for a Green New Deal. “Never before has so much idle cash accumulated as in the past decade – and never before has circulating capital failed so miserably to invest in human health and habitat. We are long overdue for a Green New Deal.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/14/green-new-deal-banking-business-economic-recession

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October 14, 2019