May 26, 2016

Death penalty officially abolished in Connecticut. “The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday upheld its landmark ruling declaring the state’s death penalty unconstitutional and abolishing capital punishment.”

Louisiana makes targeting police officers a hate crime. “People convicted of intentionally targeting police officers, firefighters or emergency medical crews will now face stricter penalties — as one would for targeting someone for race… gender… age, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin (or) ancestry.”

Trump reportedly promoting use of fossil fuels as a way to achieve energy independence. “Donald Trump outlined an energy plan he’s calling “America First” on Thursday, using a speech in North Dakota to promote oil, natural gas and coal for the country’s future.”

Labor costs STILL not low enough! Chinese iPhone manufacturer reportedly replacing 60,000 employees with robots. “The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots.”

Leaked secret TISA treaty section would reportedly target public utilities and other “state owned enterprises”. “The documents include a previously unknown annex to the TISA core chapter on “State Owned Enterprises,” which imposes unprecedented restrictions on SOEs and will force majority owned SOEs to operate like private sector businesses.”

Trump and Sanders campaigns reportedly exploring debate. “Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have seemingly agreed to a one-on-one debate ahead of California’s primary on June 7—or, as Politico puts it, “the debate the world has been waiting for”.”

Labor and activists groups launch “Take on Wall Street” campaign. “The big banks are bigger than they were before the 2008 crisis, and CEOs and Wall Street money managers continue to benefit from obscene tax loopholes that cost us billions.”

Senators warn of efforts to expand warrantless National Security Letters to internet activity. ““While this bill does not clearly define ‘electronic communication transaction records’, this term could easily be read to encompass records of whom individuals exchange emails with and when, as well as their login history, IP addresses, and internet browsing history,” Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who voted against the bill, told the Guardian.”

Trump reportedly wins enough delegates to lock up Republican nomination. “Donald Trump notched up his 1,238th committed Republican delegate on Thursday, carrying him across the threshold to clinch the party’s presidential nomination.”

Off-duty Boston cop under investigation after reportedly taking down a pedestrian who objected when the officer failed to yield to him in a crosswalk. “The Boston Police Department did not respond to a request for comment, but confirmed to The Globe that the officer is on the force and that it is reviewing the his actions internally.”

Chris Kyle overstated the number of military awards he received says journalist. “During his 10 years of military service and four deployments, Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, a record confirmed by Navy officials.” In his book “American Sniper”, Kyle claimed he had received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.

Uber has reportedly described itself differently in various lawsuits. “Uber is a traditional employer recruiting employees. Or Uber is a non-employer facilitating the work of independent contractors. Or Uber is a technology company supplying an app to small businesses. It depends on which lawsuit you read.”


May 26, 2016

May 25, 2016

State Department watchdog releases report critical of Hillary Clinton’s private email arrangement. “Even though department policy mandated throughout Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom that day-to-day operations should be conducted via authorized means, the IG report found no evidence that the secretary of state “requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server.””

Protesters and police clash outside Albuquerque Trump rally. “Police told ABC News that they used pepper spray and smoke grenades to control the situation.”

Eleven states sue federal government over transgendered restroom policies. “Eleven states and state officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Obama administration over federal guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities.”

Judge blocks release of entire Daniel Shaver shooting video. “Video released Tuesday shows officers responding to a report of someone pointing a gun from the window of (a Mesa) Arizona hotel, but a judge barred the release of additional footage showing an officer later shooting and killing an unarmed man at the scene.”

Austria elects Green president over far right opponent. “Alexander Van der Bellen, a retired economics professor backed by the Green party, defeated Norbert Hofer, of the anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic Freedom party…”

46% of Americans could not come up with $400 cash in an emergency says Federal Reserve study. “The Fed’s study found that 46% of adults either could not cover a $400 emergency expense or would have to sell something or borrow money to do so.”

Citigroup to pay $425 million settlement in civil case. “Citigroup Inc has agreed to pay $425 million to resolve civil charges that it tried to manipulate foreign exchange and interest rate benchmarks.


May 25, 2016

May 24, 2016

TSA chief reportedly replaced as Congress debates bonuses, performance, retaliation against employees. “The Transportation Security Administration’s head of security has been ousted amid an uproar over long lines at airport security checkpoints and intense scrutiny over bonus payments.”

Officer in Freddie Gray homicide acquitted of all charges. “The acquittal Monday of a police officer charged in the arrest of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody last year, immediately renewed questions of whether any of the six police officers charged in the case would be convicted in connection with his death.”

Dominio’s payroll software shorted employee paychecks says New York’s attorney general. “The lawsuit alleges that PULSE routinely miscalculated workers’ gross wages, and that these mistakes led to workers being shorted on their paychecks.”

Clinton backs out of California debate. “The San Francisco Chronicle, which had offered to co-host a debate in the state, described Clinton’s decision as a “broken promise” while a spokesperson for Fox News, which had hoped to produce the event, said the network was “disappointed that Secretary Clinton has declined our debate invitation, especially given that the race is still contested and she had previously agreed to a final debate before the California primary.””

Government employees who report abuses often victims of retaliation says official. “Pentagon officials tasked with protecting whistleblowers have lied under oath, illegally destroyed documents, and gone out of their way to ruin people’s careers and lives for attempting to raise concerns about government abuses of power, according to a high-ranking Department of Defense (DoD) official, John Crane, who went public with his story on Sunday.”

Homeland Security reportedly inks deal with Israeli firm that claims it can identify potential terrorists through facial images. “The company said its technology also can be used to identify everything from great poker players to extroverts, pedophiles, geniuses and white collar-criminals.”

Women in Texas reportedly resorting to “do-it-yourself” abortions after clinic closings. “Restrictive laws took hold in Texas in 2013, forcing so many clinic closings that fewer than 20 remain to serve 5.4 million women of reproductive age.”

Appeals court throws out $1.3 billion Bank of America penalty. “The federal court ruling overturned an October 2013 jury verdict that Countrywide’s sale of bad loans to mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac constituted fraud.”

Brazil’s new government reportedly seeking to derail Petrobras corruption scandal. “The two-year judicial investigation into systematic bribes for contracts with the state-run oil giant Petrobras has implicated dozens of top politicians. These include Jucá, as well as six other ministers among the 23-person cabinet named by acting president Michel Temer.”

Rights group estimates 60,000 have died in Assad regime’s prisons since 2011 Syrian uprising. “No fewer than 60,000 detainees were martyred… either as a result of direct bodily torture, or denial of food and medicine” SOHR said in a written statement on Saturday.”

Coalition with right wing party sowing “seeds of fascism” in Israel say critics. ““What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements,” Ehud Barak, Israel’s most decorated soldier and a former defense minister following his spell as head of government, told Channel 10 TV.

Most of the world’s internet users face restrictions on what they can access. “The Internet is as much a tool for control, surveillance and commercial considerations as it is for empowerment.”


May 24, 2016

May 22, 2016

Russia reportedly concerned about U.S. tanks on its border. “”We regard this ongoing ‘exploration’ of Georgia’s territory by NATO forces as a provocative step aimed at escalating the military and political situation in the South Caucasus,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.”

Honolulu to pay settlement to lesbian couple arrested by police officer. “Two vacationing lesbians who accused a Honolulu police officer of harassing them for kissing at a grocery store have won an $80,000 settlement from the city, their attorney said on Friday.

U.S. corporations hording almost $1.7 trillion in cash, 2/3rds of it overseas. “An estimated $1.2tn of cash was held overseas at the end of 2015 – about 72% of the $1.68tn cash stockpile, Moody’s said.”

Chicago offers to admit there is a police department “code of silence” in whistle-blower case. “The lawsuit was brought by two officers who say the department retaliated against them for cooperating with the FBI in an investigation into a narcotics team that was demanding protection money from drug dealers.”

Deaths and injuries as protesters driven from Baghdad Green Zone, live ammunition reportedly used. “At least four anti-government protesters were killed and 90 injured when security forces ejected them from Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, hospital sources said on Saturday.”

After violent strike, Mexican farm workers in Baja have won pay raises, organized unions. “The agreement, which called for minimum daily wages of 150 to 180 pesos, or $8 to $10 (a day), was shaky from the start. Growers have long resisted boosting pay, saying salaries are higher than other parts of Mexico.”

Clinton may back out of California debate with Sanders. “There are issues of enormous importance facing the people of California and our nation and the people of our largest state deserve to hear the Democratic candidates opinions.”

Democratic Party establishment allegedly opposing single payer healthcare in Colorado. “Pro-Clinton Democrats join Big Pharma and state Republicans in fighting to defeat first-in-the-nation ballot measure for statewide single-payer plan.”

City of Tukwila, Washington reportedly settles lawsuit over violent arrest of dancing suspect. “The city will pay Linson Tara $100,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed after the officers used Tasers, their fists and then a police dog on him while he was being restrained.”

Turkey reportedly removes immunity protections for members of parliament, in prelude to suspected crackdown on dissent. “With 376 voting in favor in the Turkish parliament, a constitutional amendment which strips all members of parliament of their legal immunity has been passed without the need for a public referendum, setting the stage for promised crackdowns against opposition MPs by the Erdogan government.”

Long lines at airports due to mistaken assumption by TSA that Americans would pay to avoid intrusive searches. “… the inability to persuade large numbers of fliers to shell out $85 for five years of convenience is now cited as a major contributor to the monster security lines that have plagued travelers in recent weeks at many U.S. airports, causing hundreds — if not thousands — to miss their flights.”


May 22, 2016

May 21, 2016

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld joins former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on Libertarian presidential ticket. “Add the defection of long-time Republican strategist Mary Matalin, who changed her affiliation to Libertarian a couple of weeks ago, and we may be seeing more of a seismic shift in American politics than even the likes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have provided.”

Kalamazoo shooting defendant reportedly interrupts victim testimony, goes on bizarre rant, and is removed from court. “After he was arrested, Dalton allegedly told detectives that he felt the Uber app on his phone had robbed him of sleep, manifested a “devil” that took over his body, and sounded to indicate who he should kill or not kill… In April, Dalton was found competent to stand trial.”

Bill that would outlaw abortion in Oklahoma is vetoed by governor. “Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill calling for prison terms of up the three years for doctors who performed abortions, saying the legislation would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge, her office said on Friday.”

What better than an “independent subcontractor”? No human at all. Uber reportedly developing a driver-less taxi. “Uber is keen to bring down the cost of its services further and further reduce pick-up times, ambitions it believes it can attain by doing away with the expense and limitation of employing human drivers.”

Video released of handcuffed man being repeatedly tasered by Georgia police until he dies. ““You actually see a man get tortured to death for four minutes,” L. Chris Stewart, the Sherman family’s attorney, told the Daily News, a day after he viewed the horrific video for the first time.”

FBI under pressure from defense attorneys to reveal secret hacking technique used to gather evidence. “Defendants have demanded to see details of the FBI’s network investigative technique (NIT), the agency’s name for the relatively recent hacking tool, in a handful of criminal cases, but the agency has refused to disclose the information.”

Commerce Department says data on who enters the U.S. is not covered under Freedom of Information Act laws because it is sold to companies for about $15,000 for each year of data. “All it would take for the US government to prevent the disclosure of any information would be to place a high price tag on it.”

Researchers say Chinese government employees responsible for huge numbers of social media posts. “Analyzing a trove of leaked government emails, researchers estimate that a legion of internet commenters, employed by the Chinese government, create about 488 million fake social media posts every year.”


May 21, 2016

May 20, 2016

San Francisco’s police chief resigns after unarmed car theft suspect fatally shot during arrest. “The San Francisco Police Department is under intense scrutiny following the fatal shooting of Mario Woods in December and the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora in April, as well as two recent scandals involving racist text messages exchanged among officers.”

Grand jury says Oklahoma’s death penalty process is deficient. “The missteps described by the grand jury include a pharmacist ordering the wrong drug for executions, multiple state employees failing to notice or tell anyone about the mix-up and a high-ranking official in the governor’s office urging others to carry out an execution even with the incorrect drug.”

Oklahoma legislatures passes bill that would make performing an abortion a felony. “According to the language of the bill, anyone who is found to have performed an abortion – except in instances to save the life of the mother – will be found guilty of a felony and can receive up to three years in prison.” The bill needs the governor’s signature to become law.

Trump delegate reportedly indicted for ammunition and firearms violations, investigators claim to have found child pornography while searching his computer. “Hundreds of illegal weapons, including machine guns, were found inside a bunker below the garage in (Caleb) Bailey’s home, a U.S. official briefed on the investigation said.”

Federal judge upholds Virginia’s voter ID law requiring approved photo ID to vote. “But key to the judge’s decision to uphold the law was a provision allowing residents who lack IDs to obtain them for free without having to provide a birth certificate.”

Reading, Pennsylvania police officer charged after video shows him punching motorist accused of parking without using turn signal. “Cintron-Garcia’s car… did have the right turn signal on at the time, according to surveillance video from the incident obtained by ABC News today.”

Elizabeth Warren says on-demand employees should have the right to organize. ““Full-time, part-time, temp workers, gig workers, contract workers, you bet, those who provide the labor should have the right to bargain as a group with whoever controls the terms of their work, and they should be protected from retaliation or discrimination for doing so,” she added.”

Federal agency says pipeline company negligent in 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill. “A pipeline company responsible for spilling more than 120,000 gallons of oil on the California coast failed to prevent corrosion in its pipes, detect the rupture or respond swiftly as crude streamed toward the ocean, federal regulators said Thursday.”

Google and French government face off in “right to be forgotten” dispute. “The (French government) has argued that expanding the reach of the “right to be forgotten” program to all Google domains, no matter where or how they’re accessed, is the only way to fully protect the rights and privacy of European citizens.”

NFL agrees to return money it was paid for allowing patriotic events to be staged at games. “Flake and McCain, both Republicans, revealed in November that the Pentagon had (paid) up to $6.8 million… to both professional and college sports teams to allow rah-rah patriotic displays and performance at games.”

Chelsea Manning to appeal conviction. “”It’s very disturbing that the law forbade Manning from mounting a defense that took into account the public interest in any of her disclosures,” said ACLU staff attorney Esha Bhandari in a press statement.”

Greenpeace activists protest at BP sponsored “Sunken Cities” exhibit. “We’re here today taking a stand because of the irony of an oil company sponsoring an exhibition whose name practically spells out impacts of climate change,” Greenpeace UK says. “What were they thinking?”

Some California law enforcement groups want to keep marijuana illegal. “The (anti-legalization campaign’s) funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization.”

Clinton wins Kentucky Democratic primary by a hair. “With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton was leading by 46.8 percent to Sanders’s 46.3 percent.”

Oklahoma legislators reportedly introduce “emergency” bathroom bill to prevent transgendered people from using the wrong one. “It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.”

Pope says exploitation of workers is a mortal sin. “Human traffickers and unjust business owners who become wealthy by exploiting others for cheap labor commit a mortal sin, Pope Francis has said at his morning Mass.”

Lawsuit reportedly alleges police detective offered to help sexual assault victim if she would agree to be filmed in a “nude cat-fight”. “…the lawsuit claims she was told to engage in naked fights with another woman, “as there was a group of men in the area who liked to watch women participate in nude, videotaped fistfights.””

Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich urges fellow Sanders supports to back Clinton if she wins the nomination, reportedly gets a lot of push-back from his fans. “Real progressives fight Clintonism with the same fervor as they oppose Republicans.”

Record temperatures hit 124 degrees F in India. “Phalodi in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur on Thursday sizzled at 51 degrees celsius — the highest temperature recorded in the country since 1956.”

Philadelphia denies permit for anti-poverty demonstration. “A group of anti-poverty activists is vowing to march through downtown Philadelphia when the Democratic National Convention is in town, even though the city has denied its application for a permit to do so.” The First Amendment doesn’t say anything about needing a permit, does it?

May 20, 2016

May 19, 2016

Suzuki Motors admits improper gas mileage testing. “President Toshihiro Suzuki said the automaker will revamp the testing course and that the improper method was used starting around 2010.”

Venezuela claims U.S. AWACS surveillance plane violated its airspace on May 11th and May 13th. “The Boeing 707 E-3 Sentry, better known as AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), is used by the U.S. to monitor communications but the Pentagon has not responded to President Maduro’s allegations.”

Woman arrested after car accident dies in Texas jail after she was allegedly refused medical treatment. “”I called the jail several times and requested for them to take her to a real hospital and they wouldn’t do so,” (her sister) told the news organization.”

Donald Trump reportedly profited handsomely from investments in companies that send jobs abroad, hire foreign workers on H1B visas. “According to Trump’s personal disclosure forms, released Wednesday, he earned between $150,000 and $1.1 million in the past year from investments in companies that he has publicly attacked.”

New York City police reportedly fire nine shots at homeless man with pocket-knife, killing him, after dispute over beer sale. “A 45-year-old woman in the busy intersection…was grazed by a bullet. Officials initially said the woman…had been arguing with the man and was slashed.”–379935371.html

Class action lawsuit filed in Flint, Michigan water scandal. “The civil lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, accused city and state officials and two engineering firms hired to evaluate water quality of failing to detect the problems or properly treat the water.

American companies allegedly using low-wage workers from overseas who enter the country on tourist or B1 visas. ““We have concluded that there is widespread abuse of the B1 visa in the Bay Area,” said Michael Eastwood, assistant district director of the San Jose area office of the U.S. Department of Labor.”

Chicago police officer charged in beating of handcuffed hospital patient. “Prosecutors said Gause is seen on hospital surveillance footage shoving the handcuffed detainee into an observation room and then punching him in the face several times.”

Victims of sexual assault in the military allegedly often discharged. ““For far too many years, the service members and veterans who have survived military sexual trauma have been re-victimized by improper discharges and an ineffective and discriminatory claims-review process,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the senior Democrat on the veterans affairs committee, tells TIME.”

Most presidential campaign super PAC donations have come from 100 people/businesses. “A relative handful of donors—a mere 100 individuals and businesses—are providing an extraordinary amount of money—more than 60 percent of the $430.8 million given to presidential super PACs so far.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) challenges “blank check” for middle east wars. “The last four U.S. Presidents have bombed Iraq. Will Congress allow a fifth President the same blank check to continue this open-ended war?”

Sanders wins in Oregon, Kentucky still too close to call. “Bernie Sanders was able to claim his twentieth victory on Tuesday night by winning the Oregon primary while the margin of an “apparent victory” by Hillary Clinton in Kentucky remained so close (just a fraction of 1 percent) that many outlets are still deeming it ‘too close to call’.”

Although it includes graduates of non-Ivy League schools for the first time, Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees is solidly reactionary. “The 11 names on his list are all staunchly right wing, more in the vein of the blatantly partisan Justice Samuel Alito than of the libertarian-leaning iconoclast Justice Antonin Scalia.”

Trump claims everyone misunderstood his statement that women who have abortions should be punished. “I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison,” he said. “I’m saying women punish themselves.”

Sanders supporters claim no chairs thrown at Nevada Democratic convention, supply video. “Some irrelevant man lifts a chair in frustration and the media calls on Bernie to stop preaching violence,” another supporter added. “It’s insane the lengths the establishment will go to stop democracy.”


May 19, 2016