March 31, 2017

Cisco engineers reportedly leapt into action after Wikileaks revealed intelligence community hacking of their hardware. “Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.”

Former CIA analyst says Trump was probably right about “wiretap”. “…we suspect that much more may be learned about the special compartmented surveillance program targeted against top US national leaders if Rep. Nunes doesn’t back down and if Trump doesn’t choose the road most traveled – acquiescence to America’s Deep State actors.”   Names of officials who assembled documents leaked to Nunes are also leaked. “After assembling reports that showed that Trump campaign officials were mentioned or inadvertently monitored by U.S. spy agencies targeting foreign individuals, Cohen took the matter to the top lawyer for the National Security Council, John Eisenberg. The third White House official involved was identified as Michael Ellis, a lawyer who previously worked with Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee but joined the Trump administration as an attorney who reports to Eisenberg.”

Rights group condemns Arkansas’ “ag-gag” law which criminalizes whistle-blowing. “The bill is so sweeping that it would also gag employees who try to expose the abuse of children at a daycare center.”

Elevated section of I-85 in Atlanta collapses. “The fire, which started around 6:30 p.m. ET, broke out near the Buford-Spring Connector. Around 7 p.m. the northbound lanes collapsed.”

March heat wave in India kills 5. “Akola recorded 44.1 degrees Celsius (111 F) and Wardha, Nagpur and Chandrapur have recorded 43 degrees (109 F).”

Venezuelan Supreme Court revokes powers of country’s parliament. “Maduro has essentially ruled Venezuela by decree since late 2015, when his unpopular government was trounced in parliamentary elections and his opponents took control of congress.”

Geneva Film Festival highlights human rights films “Silent War” (rape as a weapon in Syria), “I Am Not Your Negro” (bio of James Baldwin), “500 Years” (genocide against native population of Guatemala) and films by Cambodian director Rithy Panh on Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Some airlines to offer business class customers loaner electronic devices on flights affected by laptop ban. “The specially purchased computers will be available to business-class travelers from next week, Qatar Air said Thursday….  Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said earlier on its website that it will hand out Apple Inc. iPads to its premium guests.”   Another example of how life’s little problems are eased for the business class. Did you know they have showers at airports for business travelers too?

Double-mastectomy rates vary widely across the U.S. “… between 2010 and 2012, among women ages 20 to 44 with cancer in one breast, about 15 percent had both breasts removed in the District of Columbia, compared to about 49 percent in South Dakota.”

Leading cause of illness and disability is depression says World Health Organization. “The current state is that depression is neither being identified nor treated adequately anywhere in the world.”

Sanders discusses “dark money” with investigative journalist. “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday sat down with investigative journalist Jane Mayer to discuss the threat that secretive and undisclosed campaign financing—exemplified by the outsized influence of powerful billionaires like Charles and David Koch—continues to have on U.S. democracy and what should be done to push back.”

Secretary of Education DeVos says education should be like transportation. “DeVos, a vocal advocate for school choice, drew a comparison between consumers picking ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft over a taxi to parents electing to send their kids to private or  charter schools over public schools.”   So is the government going to pay for my rideshare, or do the less affluent still need to take the bus? Will teachers be hired like Uber drivers? Who pays for their classrooms? Where do the profits from public-funded tuition vouchers go?

Pence breaks tie in Senate, allows states to selectively exclude healthcare providers from Title X programs. “The measure repeals an Obama-era rule that blocks states from defunding healthcare providers for political reasons.”

Deaths of pedestrians up 25% since 2010, smartphones suspected. “Researchers said there doesn’t appear to be any other variable besides increased smartphone usage, which can lead to distracted walking and driving, that could explain the spike.”

State Department employees allegedly told not to speak to Secretary of State Tillerson or make eye contact with him. “Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department.”   Being shunned, or is he used to being treated like a pharaoh at Exxon Mobil?

Appeals court rules that revealing disciplinary records of officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold would put officer at risk, union official agrees. “The release of police officers’ personnel files poses a grave safety risk for police officers and their families.”

Former NSA director blames Russian fake news posts for Democratic Party split. “Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group.”   Thanks, I needed a good laugh.

Senate witness tries to link Russian crackdown on cyber spies to U.S. election hacking. “There’s been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. They are dropping dead, even in western countries.”   See “Russian spy purge after suspected leaks to U.S. intelligence” for a more likely explanation.

Kansas Gov. Brownback vetoes Medicaid expansion bill, lawmakers plotting veto override vote. “The veto sparked an immediate debate and attempt to override it in the House, but Democrats and moderate Republicans quickly backed down and tabled the matter, nervous that more time was needed to rally the necessary 84 votes.”

U.S. military officials claim IS is forcing civilians into buildings in Mosul and then intentionally attracting coalition fire. They are even setting off their own explosions at precisely the same time to frame coalition forces. “Armed ISIS fighters forced civilians into a building, killing one who resisted, and then used this building against (Iraqi counter-terrorist forces).”

Tipster claims 500 bodies buried in secret mass grave in Veracruz, Mexico. “…experts have identified only two of the 253 bodies exhumed since searches began in August at the site in the hilly fields known as Colinas de Santa Fe. Those bodies were identified largely because the victims were found with ID cards.”

U.S. reportedly offering more support for Saudi coalition attacks on Yemen as the country teeters “on the brink of famine”. “Now, the U.S. wants to… become more involved, particularly in an offensive that the Emiratis, the UAE, who are part of the Saudi-led coalition, are looking to launch on the Red Sea Coast, particularly on the port of Hodeidah, which is a vital supply line for northern Yemen, which is the most densely populated part of the country, which relies heavily on that route for the import of food.”

Kurdish voters reportedly stabbed outside Turkish embassy in Brussels, Belgium. “During Thursday’s incident, three Kurds were stabbed by pro-government supporters as they went to cast their ballot, while more were injured as the Belgian police intervened.”

March 31, 2017

March 30, 2017

Members of Congress who voted to revoke FCC privacy rules for internet service providers reportedly received campaign donations from internet service providers. “…here is a list of the lawmakers who voted to betray you, and how much money they received from the telecom industry in their most recent election cycle.”

Rights group says unconstitutional presidential power to imprison citizens accused of “terrorism” without a trial urgently needs to be revoked. “Sections 1021 and 1022 (of the 2012 NDAA) authorized President Obama, and now authorize President Trump, to order the arrest and indefinite detention–without charge or trial–of anyone labeled a “suspected terrorist” or “belligerent”.

Federal judge blocks Trump travel ban until issue is decided in court. “Watson’s order Wednesday blocks Trump’s travel ban until the state lawsuit works its way through the courts.”

Britain formally informs E.U. of its intention to exit. “Britain has officially launched the Brexit process, triggering Article 50 and starting a two-year countdown before the country drops out of the European Union.”

Mexican state prosecutor arrested at border on drug trafficking charges. “The attorney general of the western Mexican state of Nayarit was in a federal jail in San Diego on Wednesday night on charges of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth, according to court documents.”

Christie aides sentenced to 18 and 24 months in connection with “Bridgegate” scandal. “The sentencing of two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for creating traffic jams at the busiest bridge in the U.S. for political revenge may not prevent the scandal from hanging over the Republican’s final year in office.”

State Department employee accused of concealing gifts from Chinese agents. “The Justice Department said that between 2011 and 2016, agents for the People’s Republic of China gave Claiborne’s family tens of thousands of dollars in gifts…, including cash, electronics, trips, an apartment and tuition at a Chinese fashion school.”

Undocumented immigrant shows her tax return in social media video, challenges President Trump to do the same. “A 2016 study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants pay nearly $12 billion a year in state and local taxes.”   They also have federal income tax withheld from their paychecks, but rarely file for refunds.

EPA refuses to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos aka Lorsban.  “”The chance to prevent brain damage in children was a low bar for most of Scott Pruitt’s predecessors, but it apparently just wasn’t persuasive enough for an administrator who isn’t sure if banning lead from gasoline was a good idea.”

Senate investigating election hacking. “Warner and Burr both stressed the importance of exposing the activity of Russian hackers, which Warner said included reports of “upwards of 1,000 paid Internet trolls” who spread false negative stories about Clinton.”

Trump tax plan “a tax paradise for himself and other very rich people”. “Under his plan, those in Trump’s personal sub-class of ultra-rich business owners would get an even more lavish break– a tax rate of just 15%.”

U.S. becoming increasingly involved in multiple conflicts. “Two months after the inauguration of President Trump, indications are mounting that the United States military is deepening its involvement in a string of complex wars in the Middle East that lack clear endgames.”

“People’s Summit” to be held in Chicago from June 9-11. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will headline a major progressive conference later this spring that aims to galvanize the resistance to President Donald Trump into a larger movement for a just world.”

Nuclear contractor Westinghouse, reportedly $9.8 billion in debt, files for bankruptcy. “… it is unclear whether the company will be able to complete any of its projects, which in the United States are about three years late and billions over budget.”

George W. Bush on Trump inauguration speech: “That was some weird shit.”

Oregon man’s home vandalized after he is mistake him for a Muslim. “”I’m not Muslim. I just grow a beard.”

GOP candidate reportedly comes up with novel explanations for global warming. “… the earth moves closer to the sun every year–you know the rotation of the earth,” Wagner said. “We’re moving closer to the sun.” and “We have more people,” he said. “You know, humans have warm bodies. So is heat coming off?”

Interior Secretary allegedly hints that border wall will be built on Mexican side of the Rio Grande River. “We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

Furloughed Fox commentator Napolitano says he still believes GCHQ spied on Trump at request of the Obama administration. “Napolitano, the news network’s senior judicial analyst, defended his March 14 report, saying his “sources stand by it”.”

Senator says he’s waited 5 weeks for reply from Homeland Security to his letter on phone searches at borders. “The senator wrote that the searches not only violate civil liberties but could reduce international business travel or force companies to outfit employees with “burner” laptops and mobile devices, “which some firms already use when employees visit nations like China”.”

Estimated 600 migrant deaths crossing Mediterranean so far this year. “Migrant arrivals to Italy are up more than 50 percent this year on the same period of last year.”

Privacy activist will try to buy internet browsing histories of GOP politicians who voted to revoke privacy rules. “Once the law is signed by President Trump, geolocation data along with browsing history data will again be on the market for ISPs. That means a company with dedication and resources could likely, with a reasonable degree of certainty, pinpoint Blackburn, Pai, Ryan, or anyone they seek to take down based on their browsing data and IP address alone.”

Amnesty International claims professor in United Arab Emirates sentenced to 10 years for political tweets. “By imposing this ludicrous sentence in response to his peaceful tweets, the authorities have left no room for doubt: those who dare to speak their minds freely in the UAE today risk grave punishment.”

Trump declares parts of Somalia areas of “active hostilities”. “President Donald Trump granted the U.S. military more flexibility in conducting operations in Somalia on Wednesday, declaring the country a “war zone” and easing restrictions that protect civilians.”


March 30, 2017

March 29, 2017

Trump signs executive order to roll back “Clean Power Plan” signed by Obama to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets.   U.S. joins Syria, Uzbekistan and Nicaragua as only countries to reject the Paris agreement.

Trump promises to create jobs mining “really clean coal”. “While it’s true that in pilot schemes up to 90% of carbon has been removed from fossil fuel emissions, the technology is super, super expensive.”

Mother upset by invasive, 2 minute TSA pat-down of her son at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. “In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.”   I tried to watch the mother’s video of the search, which she posted on Facebook, four times. After about 30 seconds it stopped playing each time. Suspicious. Was this search really routine, or was it used as a means of “punishing” a difficult citizen, through her child?

House passes bill allowing internet service providers to sell your web browsing data, bill now goes to Trump for likely signature. “The vote overturned rules passed in October by the Federal Communications Commission that tightened limits on what internet service providers (ISPs) could do with their users’ data.”   More details on what this will reportedly allow.

Democratic Party allegedly photoshops picture from demonstration to remove socialist party slogan from sign. “Although the PSL poster seen in the DNC tweet retained the line “Trump is the symptom” from the original, it omitted the next two lines: “Capitalism is the disease” and “Socialism is the cure”.”

Homeland Security’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program to focus only on Muslims, would ignore more dangerous white supremacist groups. “The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.”

California charges anti-abortion activists with 15 felonies for undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”   Journalists, animal cruelty activists and anti-corporate film-makers beware! Of course this doesn’t apply to law enforcement agencies.

Former hedge fund manager whose clients were burned in Madoff ponzi scheme falls from Manhattan luxury hotel. “The father-of-two financier, who was married to his second wife, plummeted 20 floors before hitting a fourth floor terrace, according to the NYPD, and died at the scene.”

Republicans bat down attempts to force Trump to release his tax returns. “At a sometimes fiery 2-1/2-hour hearing that careened from lawmaker concerns over political corruption and national security to privacy rights and tax accounting, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 24-16 along party lines to oppose a Democratic resolution that sought the release of 10 years of Trump’s tax returns to the House of Representatives.”

Manafort Cyprus bank accounts reportedly closed after bank investigation. “Manafort… was associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies on Cyprus, dating back to 2007, the sources said. At least one of those companies was used to receive millions of dollars from a billionaire Putin ally, according to court documents.”

Jared Kushner allegedly met with head of sanctioned Russian state bank. “VEB is a state-owned Russian corporation formed in 2007 that is closely tied to the Russian government. Its chairman is appointed by the Russian president. The Russian prime minister is chairman of the bank supervisory board.”

100 year-old woman evicted by San Francisco sheriff’s office dies. “It was clear all along that this woman was not going to survive this eviction.”

App that tracks U.S. drone strikes rejected by Apple for 13th time.  “Five years ago I made a simple iPhone app. It would send you a push notification every time a U.S. drone strike was reported in the news. Apple rejected the app… calling it “excessively objectionable or crude content”.”

Bernie Sanders blasts overtime as average workweek hits 47 hours. “Millions of Americans today are overworked, underpaid and under enormous stress…. And here we are, 100 years (after the labor battles that won a 40 hour week), living in the most technologically advanced economy in human history, and we still don’t have a 40-hour workweek!”

ICE agents who shot Chicago man may have raided wrong home, man’s daughter says no one at the home is undocumented and the family has lived there for 30 years. “They didn’t say anything. They just came in and pointed pistols in our faces.”

Police union leaders in Chicago reportedly laughed nervously when Trump asks them to find out which cops didn’t vote for him. “Who are they? Who are they? Find out who they are, please, and let us know.”

Investigators say Manafort’s cash purchases of homes through shell companies, followed by large loans being taken out on the properties, “raises yellow flags”.  “…experts explained that money launderers often purchase properties in cash through shell companies, and then take out “clean” money against those real estate investments through bank loans.”

Some of Trump’s business associates in Russia allegedly have links to organized crime. “The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.”


March 29, 2017

March 28, 2017

Nunes allegedly got info on intelligence community Trump surveillance from White House source. “The new revelation that the information actually came from a meeting held on the grounds of the White House intensified questions about what prompted Mr. Nunes to make the claim about the intelligence gathering, and who gave him the information.”

U.S. ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley says U.S. opposes ban on nuclear weapons, will boycott negotiations, implies other countries don’t understand the risks. “Do they really understand the threats that we have?”   Japan will also boycott U.N. nuclear disarmament talks. “More than 30 other countries have announced plans to skip the negotiations, including Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, in 1945.”

Amnesty International warns U.S. coalition on civilian deaths in Mosul. “Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.”

Constitutional rights group sues government for information on suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices at borders. “The indiscriminate search of Americans’ electronic devices at the border raises serious constitutional questions… Subjecting that information to unfettered government scrutiny invades the core of individual privacy and threatens free inquiry and expression.”   and “These searches are extremely intrusive and government agents shouldn’t be conducting them without cause.”

White House asks for $999 million to build 62 miles of Mexico border wall. “According to various estimates, the (entire) wall may cost anything between from $12 billion to over $20 billion, CNN reported.”   Leader of Senate Democrats says there’s no rush to fund Trump’s border wall. “…let’s give the president a chance to get Mexico to pay (for) it. Isn’t that what he told everybody, that we weren’t going to pay (for) it?”

Number of white Americans in prison reportedly up from 41.9% of inmate population in 2000 to 48.3% currently, even though the white population of the country fell from 70.9% to 61.6% of the total during the same period. “It’s… reasonable to speculate that the race and education-specific trends noted by Case and Deaton — increased alcohol and opioid addiction in particular — are related to those within the jail system.”

He’s back! House Republican leader Ryan pledges to continue the crusade against Obamacare. “We’re not going to just all of a sudden abandon health care and move on to the rest. We are going to move on with rest of our agenda, keep that on track, while we work the health care problem.”

Use of facial recognition technology much more widespread than most people realize, few limits on law enforcement according to Congressional testimony. “I’m frankly appalled,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.). “I wasn’t informed when my driver’s license was renewed my photograph was going to be in a repository that could be searched by law enforcement across the country.”

ICE agents reportedly shoot Chicago man during raid. “My dad doesn’t have any guns… He just opened the door and they just shot him.”–on-NW-Side-Police-417181913.html

Organizers of 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests  charged. “The message is strong. Carrie Lam said she wanted to mend the society, but the message we got today is prosecution.”

Calls between lawyers and their imprisoned clients reportedly recorded by Leavenworth prison officials and phone service contractor, recordings found in possession of prosecutors. “At least 700 attorneys are believed to have been recorded without their knowledge, the investigator’s report submitted to a federal court said.”


March 28, 2017

March 27, 2017

Mass arrests at anti-Putin protests in Russia. “…the rally’s organizers and independent monitors claimed that some 20,000 showed up and at least 880 people were detained in the capital alone by heavily armed, baton-wielding riot police officers.”   Outrageous! It’s only a matter of time until the Russian police start shooting people…

U.S. State Department condemns mass arrests of protesters in Russia. “Detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers, and journalists is an affront to core democratic values.”   America will not tolerate mass arrests of protesters, human rights observers and journalists by militarized police! In other countries.

Teen blogger who received asylum in U.S. after being jailed for YouTube video rants in Singapore was held longer by U.S. immigration than by his own government. “The US Department of Homeland Security had opposed Yee’s asylum application, saying the Singapore government had legitimately prosecuted Yee.”

Democrats still in denial? Joe Biden regrets not running for president. “I had planned on running for president and although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won.”   Sorry Joe, only one person in the race could have defeated The Trumpster, and your party wouldn’t even let him be Hillary’s vice president. Sad!

Leader of France’s far-right “National Front” party says sanctions on Russia should be lifted. “Russian President Vladimir Putin held an unprecedented meeting with French presidential contender Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin Friday, hours after the National Front leader had urged a joint fight against terrorism and an end to European Union sanctions against his country.”

Teens wearing leotards/leggings/yoga pants barred from boarding United flight, another child passenger allowed to board after putting on a dress. “We want people to be comfortable when they travel as long as its neat and in good taste for that environment.”   Terrorists now using spandex to bring down planes?

Scuffles erupt at pro-Trump rallies around the country between supporters and protesters, some arrested.

Woman reportedly arrested for third time for trying to enter White House grounds. “A woman was arrested early Sunday after scaling a fence near the White House — the third time she has been taken into custody near the presidential residence in less than a week, the Secret Service said.”–for-the-third-time/2017/03/26/cf624dde-1260-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html   Trump has groupies? Must be the hairstyle.

Republican senator tells constituents to “bring it on” when he is up for election in 2020. “…he told voters that their boos and anger weren’t persuading him to change his positions.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers reportedly arrested 26 parolees in Fort Worth as they reported for community service. “These individuals were following the law by showing up to do their community service. In the act of doing the right thing they were rounded up like cattle.”

Wikileaks disputes Apple’s claims that it fixed vulnerabilities exploited by CIA. “EFI [Extensible Firmware Interface] is a systemic problem, not a zero-day [vulnerability in software or hardware that can be exploited to hack systems and is often later patched.]”

Trump spends weekend at Trump National Golf Club in “meetings”. “It was not immediately clear from pool reports who the president was planning to meet with.”

Sanders to introduce single-payer health insurance bill. “The Vermont senator said Sunday that he was willing to work with both Democrats and Republicans to provide “insurance for all,” two days after the GOP leadership’s American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor to avoid a legislative defeat.”

Iraqi VP calls Mosul siege a “humanitarian catastrophe”. ““The recent high death toll among civilians inside the Old City forced us to halt operations to review our plans,” a Federal Police spokesman said.”

Jewish groups protest lobbying organization that supports Israeli “settlers”. “The activists, who oppose AIPAC’s support for the policies of the current Israeli government on the settlements, carried signs and chanted calls to end the occupation.”

Some media outlets accused of going after black VICTIM of white supremacist stabbing by detailing his previous offenses, tacking on unrelated story about attack on New York City police by black suspect from Baltimore. “The reader is provided with no indication of (the suspect’s) criminal record, or whether there was any attempt to find it out, but somehow the rap sheet of the murder victim was primed and ready to go.”


March 27, 2017

March 26, 2017

Anti-corruption protest held in Russia, arrests reported. “Thousands came out on Moscow’s central Tverskaya street for the unsanctioned protests and were met by a heavy police presence, which began detaining demonstrators en masse around 30 minutes after the rallies began.”

Mass arrests at anti-government protests in Belarus. “Demonstrators tried to march down one of the major streets in Minsk, but were blocked by police who began arresting them, along with journalists covering the protest.”

Hong Kong “election committee” chooses territory’s new leader, pro-democracy protesters object. “Outside the waterfront-facing Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where members of the election committee had cast their ballots for two hours earlier that morning, protesters rallied against the decision and the fact that they did not have any votes in this election.”

Thousands protest “Brexit” in London. “The Brexit vote has caused a deep schism within British politics, but May is determined to press ahead with plans to quit the EU.”

Self-driving Uber vehicle crashes in Tempe, Arizona. “”There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision,” (police) spokeswoman Josie Montenegro said.”

54 disabled protesters, most in wheelchairs, arrested at Capitol. “Members of the group ADAPT, which organizes disability rights activists, were protesting against the American Health Care Act currently being debated in Congress and proposed cuts to Medicaid.”   So do the police have a lift van to transport people in wheelchairs to jail?

Appeals court rules that deputy who knocked on man’s door and then shot him was justified because the man was holding a gun – the officer was looking for a suspect in the neighborhood. “(The deputy) failed to identify himself as a law enforcement officer at any point. He had no warrant and no reason to suspect that Scott or his girlfriend had committed a crime. He did not attempt to engage with Scott at all after he opened the door; he simply shot him dead.”

Bill would make Trump log his visitors when staying at his resorts. “Amid reports Saturday that President Donald Trump would spend his afternoon “holding meetings” at a golf course he owns in Virginia, grassroots support is growing for a new bill introduced late this week that would force the president to provide visitor logs for Trump-owned properties where he conducts official government business.”

Los Angeles police reportedly fatally shoot man fleeing area where gunshots had been heard. “They tried to stop the person and a shooting occurred, the statement read….  Additional details about the incident were not immediately available.”

Estimated amount of oil spilled by North Dakota pipeline triples to 530,000 gallons. “The site of the spill is roughly 150 miles from Cannon Ball, where protesters aligned with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline for months.”

“Retail apocalypse” as thousands of shops close. “More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.”

1.1 million defaulted on their student loans in 2016, raising the total number of student loan borrowers in default to 4.2 million. “Despite a booming stock market and falling unemployment, student loan borrowers in today’s economy are still struggling.”

Watch out! Obamacare is exploding! “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that Obamacare was “exploding” after Republican lawmakers shelved legislation that would have dismantled the healthcare law. ”

Palm Beach County Republican Party reportedly rents Mar-a-Lago ballroom for $150,000, Melania Trump makes an appearance.

Israeli troops accused of detaining 8 year-old. “B’Tselem, which posted the video, said the soldiers led Sufian Abu Hitah around the neighborhood to identify other boys whom they suspected of having thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at a nearby Jewish settlement.”,7340,L-4940064,00.html

14 Chicago police officers reportedly escaped punishment for misconduct because police officials “forgot”. “Guilty, but forgotten, the officers and their cases languished in a sort of disciplinary purgatory as officials failed to ensure that the punishments were meted out.”

Video allegedly shows Israeli police officer beating Palestinian truck driver. “The video shows the officer headbutting, slapping, kicking and punching the man, before turning to attack a pair of men seeking to restrain him.”

March 26, 2017

March 25, 2017

Republicans botch Obamacare repeal and replace, dealmaker-in-chief fails to close the deal, many breathe a sigh of relief at not losing their health insurance. “Thwarted by two factions of fellow Republicans, from the center and far right, House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama’s health care law, the GOP’s No. 1 target in the new Trump administration, will remain in place “for the foreseeable future”.”   Best headline: “The Art of the Fail: How Trump’s health care bill died”

Freelance journalist describes mass arrest at Trump inauguration. “They know what they’re doing,” accused Chris Aulerich, 29, who said he was a prison guard while serving in the Marines. He speculated that officers would open the doors (of the police van) only upon reaching a legal limit. “Their first words are gonna be, ‘Wow, it’s hot in here.'”…. “”Come on!” (a detainee) shouted. “What are they trying to do, kill us?!?”…. And then the rear door opened. “Damn,” the officer remarked. “It’s hot in here.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes reportedly refusing to disclose his source on Trump surveillance claim to other members of the committee. “Nunes on Wednesday that he had seen reports that suggest that agencies had collected intel on members of Trump’s transition team through routine surveillance of foreign targets.”

Due to current mass surveillance practices, communications of Trump campaign and administration officials almost certainly collected says activist. “… if the FBI decided to investigate you, even informally, it would, as a matter of routine practice,search through all of its collected information, including databases stuffed with information collected under Section 702, for you, any American, and anyone else in the world — without a warrant to collect initially or one to search it specifically for you.”

Philadelphia state house special election will be subject of election fraud investigation, winning Democratic Party write-in candidate reportedly received 73.5% of the vote. “Some of the issues the Task Force is investigating include the use and placement of candidate write-in stamps, electioneering inside the polling place, illegal voter assistance, and individuals writing on posted sample ballots.”

Two demonstrations in D.C. in April to call for action on climate change. March for Science, April 22nd   and   People’s Climate Movement March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate, April 29th

D.C. police say 501 girls have gone missing so far in 2017. “What the community is alarmed about — we had a 10-year-old girl missing the other day, but there was no amber alert… We just feel like, you know, if this was a white person or from another neighborhood, there would be more alarm about it.”

Former CIA director claims Mike Flynn discussed possibility of handing over Turkish opposition leader to Erdogan regime. “Woolsey told the paper that he arrived in the middle of the conversation, but said the basic idea was a “covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away”.”

Alex Jones retracts “Pizzagate” child sex ring story. “Jones, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, offered no comment or apology to Clinton or Podesta for outlandish statements about their alleged involvement in the abuse of hundreds of children.”

Poll shows public wants less military spending and security, more spending on education. “The gaps between the public’s proposed budget and the Trump administration’s budget are quite substantial,” said survey director Steven Kull of the University of Maryland, “especially when it comes to military spending.”

Comedian from Singapore granted asylum in the U.S. after jail term. “He was accused of hurting the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians in the multi-ethnic city-state; Yee is an atheist. However, many of his blog and social media posts criticized Singapore’s leaders.”

Derailed Amtrak train sideswipes commuter train at Penn Station, no one injured. “As (the Acela Express) listed, it scraped the side of a New Jersey Transit train that was coming into the station…”

As death rates plummet for white Europeans, Canadians and Australians, death rates for white Americans remain steady after slight dip in late 1990s. “Fifteen years ago, middle-aged whites in the United States were neck and neck with their German counterparts. Now, middle-aged white Americans are 45 percent more likely to die than middle-aged Germans.”

Supporters of “Medicare for all” national health insurance plan urge Democrats to go on the offensive after Trumpcare fail. “For all the improvements under the ACA, primarily the expansion of Medicaid and crackdown on some insurance abuses, the ACA still left 28 million without health coverage, and millions more struggling with un-payable medical bills and escalating out of pocket costs.”

Trump’s son Eric says he will give his father quarterly updates on the family’s business interests, which the president has allegedly failed to completely divest himself of.   “This of course makes no difference for conflict of interest purposes because it is his ownership of the businesses that creates conflicts of interest, regardless of who manages them.”

Louisiana deputy found guilty of manslaughter in death of six year-old boy. “Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father, Christopher Few, had his hands raised inside his vehicle while the two deputies collectively fired 18 shots.”

Poll shows 53% of Americans now oppose oil drilling on federal land. “The results marked the first time since the research organization began posing the question in 2012 that the percentage opposed to opening public lands for drilling outnumbered those who favored it…”

Baltimore’s mayor blocks $15/hr. minimum wage after passage by city council. “The measure would (have boosted) pay for about 100,000 workers, or 27 percent of the city’s workforce…”


March 25, 2017

March 24, 2017

Trump tells Republicans to pass Obamacare replacement bill or forget it. Press secretary Spicer: “At the end of the day, this is the only train leaving the station that’s going to repeal Obamacare”. Unidentified Republican congressman: “Burn the ships!” “…invoking the command that Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, gave his men upon landing in Mexico in 1519.”

Israeli-American teenager arrested in connection with bomb threats against American Jewish groups. ““He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, referring to the scores of anonymous calls phoned into Jewish community centers.”

Trump and House Freedom Caucus discuss Obamacare replacement bill. “A major question in the final negotiations? Whether or not maternity care and mammograms should be considered “essential” treatments covered by all health insurance policies under the Republican proposal.” All of the people making this decision were apparently middle-aged and elderly white men.   Insurance rates for women would skyrocket if insurance companies are allowed to sell plans that do not cover childbirth. “A repeal of the essential (insurance)  benefits would allow insurance carriers to once again sell two separate plans, with premiums up to 70% higher for women purchasing maternity coverage… (women) could face out-of-pocket costs of around $15,000 if they were to become pregnant and give birth without coverage.”

Another opponent of President Putin assassinated. “Voronenkov becomes the latest in a string of Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who were killed or injured in mysterious circumstances. ”

BBC World News reporter brags about British police state, tells viewers that authorities will use information from the city’s video cameras and license plate readers to track the movements of the Westminster attacker prior to the incident, collect DNA samples from his car to see who else had been inside it (they must have a fairly large DNA database for this to be useful), and arrest the man’s associates. Unfortunately, I can’t source this on the internet, but I did find this: “The Metropolitan Police’s top anti-terror officer confirmed police had searched six addresses and made seven arrests, and the Met later released a tweet to say they had made an eighth arrest…. They have been working right through the night, looking into his background, and how he got hold of the vehicle, where the vehicle has been in the last day or two, and who may, or may not, have helped him.”   “Ten people were arrested and several addresses raided in London and Birmingham in connection with the attack…. Five properties were still being searched and 16 searches had already concluded, Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said. He said 2,700 items were seized overnight, including “massive amounts” of computer data.”   But the guy is being described as a “lone wolf” with no known ties to terrorist groups. “It is still our belief, which continues to be borne out by our investigation, that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism.”   This story also includes an interesting (fictional?) detail – police were apparently unable to find out where he had obtained the vehicle (because there are no records in England that link license plate numbers to vehicle owners?), but an observant car rental agency employee helped them out! “An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the license plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities.” British prime minister Theresa May also gave multiple stirring speeches proclaiming that Britain would not be cowed, or be bullied into giving up its freedom and democracy, by a lone crazy man with a rental car and two knives.

Former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta accuses FBI of glaring double standard. “FBI Director James Comey announced a new development in the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server days before the election, but remained silent about an ongoing investigation over links between Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow.”

Keystone XL pipeline gets State Department approval. “We greatly appreciate President Trump’s Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.”

Senate reverses internet data privacy measure. “With today’s vote, Senate Republicans have just made it easier for American’s sensitive information about their health, finances and families to be used, shared, and sold to the highest bidder without their permission.”

37% of Americans say they could not come up with $100 for an unexpected medical emergency. “Health savings accounts, which accompany high-deductible health plans, are a key part of Republican plans for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.”

Random mutations due to DNA copying errors, not heredity or environmental factors, are responsible for most cancers say researchers. “For example, skin cells have a baseline level of mutations due to random mistakes, and exposure to ultraviolet light can add even more mutations, leading to cancer.”

Wikileaks: CIA has been messing with iPhones ever since they were launched. “Named ‘Dark Matter’, the latest release shows that that CIA has been infecting iPhones since shortly after the product’s launch in June 2007, and in some cases “interdicted mail orders and other shipments” to open, infect, and resend devices leaving the United States.”

Democrat challenges Trump to honor his “Buy American” slogan. “The choice for the Republican establishment in Washington is clear: Do you stand with American manufacturers and workers or do you support spending taxpayer dollars on Chinese and Russian steel for American water infrastructure projects?”

Estimated “thousands” of civilian casualties during Mosul offensive. “No precise toll of civilian casualties has been given but a prominent Iraqi politician said last week that the number could be as high as 3,500 dead since the attack on western Mosul started in mid-February.”

Troops in Democratic Republic of Congo accused of shooting civilians. “The emergence on Monday of several videos that appear to show uniformed soldiers shooting Congolese civilians has added urgency to calls for an international investigation of recently discovered mass graves…”


March 24, 2017

March 23, 2017

Trump administration communications “incidentally monitored” by intelligence services after election claims House Intelligence Committee chairman. “Mr Nunes said the incidental collection was legal but his main concern was that people involved had been unmasked in the reports.”

White supremacist upset about inter-racial relationships allegedly stabbed random black man to death. “White supremacist James Jackson, 28, wanted maximum exposure for his crime, telling investigators he rode 200 miles on a bus from Baltimore because New York is the “media capital of the world”.”

Supreme Court unanimously rejects Neil Gorsuch decision that public schools need only provide a minimal level of education to disabled students. ““I was bound by circuit precedent,” Gorsuch told the (confirmation hearing) committee.”

Unnamed government sources claim Russian agents and Trump associates may have coordinated release of hacked information about Clinton. “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN.”

Senate reduces time employers must keep workplace injury records from five years to six months. “Former OSHA officials say that doesn’t provide enough time to identify recurring problems with particular employers or industries.”

Women accused Border Protection agent of sexual assault. “ACLU attorneys said federal authorities so far have not pursued criminal charges against the officer and they do not know if any disciplinary action was taken.”

Kentucky becomes second state to pass “Blue Lives Matter” law classifying attacks on police as hate crimes. “Using hate crimes laws that have historically been developed to give protection to people of color from distinct forms of violence motivated by prejudice, including police violence, is a particularly disconnected and non-responsive policy choice.”

Defense Secretary asks Senate for $30 billion increase in defense spending.

Secret Service reportedly requested an additional $60 million for Trump security. “Nearly half of the additional money, $26.8 million, would pay to protect President Donald Trump’s family and private home in New York’s Trump Tower, the documents show, while $33 million would be spent on travel costs…”

Exxon Mobil says it deleted many of Tillerson’s “Wayne Tracker” emails since they were not labelled as “personal”. “Tillerson was the only (employee) who used a secondary account, and ExxonMobil is aware of no email account, other than the Wayne Tracker account, for which this issue has arisen.”

17,000 AT&T employees strike in California and Nevada, union claims the company “has shown disrespect to the bargaining process by changing the work assignments of workers without bargaining as required by federal law.”

Researchers say white working class in U.S. is struggling and dying young as drug overdoses, alcohol-related liver disease and suicide surge. “Ultimately, we see our story as about the collapse of the white, high-school-educated working class after its heyday in the early 1970s, and the pathologies that accompany that decline.”   Could this have something to do with, oh, I don’t know, free trade and de-industrialization of the economy?

Use of facial recognition software raising privacy concerns. “In the future, will you call the police if, seconds after seeing you, an officer’s body camera will scan your face and search it against various government databases?”

Qualified immunity case, which will test the 007-like permission police officers have to use deadly force, even when they are in the wrong, could have big impact on policing, 2nd and 4th amendment rights. “…given that about 36 percent of U.S. households own a gun, even if we assume that just 1 in 100 police raids target the wrong house or are based on bad information, that works out to 180 to 360 gun owners… who are wrongly raided by police each year…. that’s a lot of incidents in which things could go horribly wrong.”

Lawyers for terror suspects ask for investigation into government spying. “Defense lawyers want the judge to order prosecutors to find out if any U.S. intelligence agencies have been listening in on their meetings with their clients, phone calls and conversations, or reading their email.”

Gorsuch reportedly involved in George W. Bush administration work-around to evade torture ban. “In their interpretation, the president could lawfully override statutes in which he decided Congress had impermissibly encroached upon wartime authorities that the Constitution exclusively assigned to him.”

An estimated 465,000 dead in six years of civil war in Syria, another 145,000 reportedly missing. “The international community is now focusing on the fight with ISIS. But the revolution in Syria did not start about ISIS, it started with Syrian people whose democracy was repressed.”

Reports of large numbers of civilian casualties in Mosul. “…houses are really close together and so you can have a case where an ISIS sniper is on a house and the Americans are dropping bombs on the house and killing everybody inside including families that are cowering in the basement…”

Head of House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in election reportedly briefs Trump on investigation. “Chairman Nunes is deeply compromised, and he cannot possibly lead an honest investigation.”

U.S. troops reportedly dropped behind IS front lines. “The Syrian Democratic Forces said the US airlifted several Marines and SDF fighters by helicopter into Islamic State-held territory, capturing four villages, and cutting the main artery running between the terrorist group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa and the western countryside.”

Agriculture agent calls great plains wildfires “our Hurricane Katrina”, says federal government response has been weak and hampered by bureaucracy. “The governors of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have declared emergencies, and members of Congress from the affected states have toured the damaged area and promised help.”

Book claims New Zealand troops and U.S. helicopters killed Afghan villagers in 2010 raid. “(Hit and Run) says New Zealand SAS troopers, backed by US helicopters and Afghan commandos, raided two villages but that ultimately 21 people were killed and wounded, none of whom were insurgents and most of whom were women and children.”

Julian Assange claims CIA hacking tools represent only 1% of leaked CIA material. “We have only published one percent of the material; 99 percent of the material is still to go.”

Judge rules that forcing man to decrypt his hard drives does not violate his 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination, suspect will continue to be held indefinitely until he complies. “…the authorities said they already know there’s child porn on the drives, so Rawls’ constitutional rights aren’t compromised.”

EPA accused of withhold study claiming herbicide ingredient glyphosate is not carcinogenic. “…when the lawsuit was submitted earlier this month, it had been over 205 days since the request and the EPA had neither submitted any documents nor made a determination on the request.”   It’s been almost two years since I filed a FOIA request with the State Department for information on the unnamed American who died after being arrested by Tokyo police. I have yet to receive any information. English language news media refused to touch the story when I reached out to them after the incident was reported by the Japanese press.

Lawyer who sued Trump administration over immigration policies reportedly detained at airport. “…(my) passport was scanned through the CBP system, clearly confirming my identify and that that passport was issued by the U.S. Passport Agency in New York….  another CBP officer (escorted) me to a separate security room, where my vetting continued and where I was asked to produce additional proof of identity so that they can confirm who I was.”

March 23, 2017

March 22, 2017

Company of former Trump campaign manager accused of receiving $750,000 from pro-Russian Ukrainian party disguised as computer invoice. “(Ukrainian) lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko published a 2009 invoice purportedly signed by Manafort that shows a $750,000 payment for 501 computers to a company called Davis Manafort. The money came from a Belize-registered offshore company via a bank in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.”

Sharp drop in calls for police assistance from Los Angeles undocumented alien community says police chief. “Reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence among Los Angeles’ Latino population have plummeted since the beginning of the year, amid fears that immigrants in the country illegally could face deportation if they interact with police or appear in court, the city’s police chief said Tuesday.”

Some Republican lawmakers are suddenly concerned about warrantless surveillance after Trump supporters are caught up in it. Nunes: “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.”

NSA officials deny city-wide electronic dragnet deployed during Salt Lake City Olympics. “The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, was the first to report in 2013 that the NSA and FBI “monitored the content of all email and text communications in the Salt Lake City area,” around the 2002 Games.”

Nominee for Washington D.C. police chief position accused of overseeing excessive use of force during inauguration demonstrations. “On January 20, 2017, MPD indiscriminately assaulted and illegally arrested a large group including peaceful demonstrators, legal observers, journalists, passersby, and others.”

Lawyer for the late Sergei Magnitsky reportedly seriously injured in fall from fourth floor of building. “…Mr Gorokhov was due to appear in an appeals court in Moscow on Wednesday to contest its refusal to investigate allegations of organised crime.”

First “black site” prisoner to appear in court. “The judge in the Sept. 11 war crimes case has agreed to hear testimony next week from forever prisoner Abu Zubaydah, the guinea pig in the CIA’s post- 9/11 interrogation program who has never been charged with a crime and never been allowed to speak in public.”

Sears and Kmart may fold without cash infusion says owner. “Our historical operating results indicate substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Dakota Access pipeline reportedly vandalized. “Someone used a torch to cut open a piece of the 1,172-mile oil pipeline on March 13 or earlier in Iowa’s Mahaska County…. There was a similar complaint on March 17 about a section in South Dakota’s Lincoln County…”

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, reportedly pitched scheme to influence U.S. on behalf of Putin. “Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government…”

Michigan sued over plan to reimburse private schools for meeting state health and safety standards. “Our state constitution specifically bans this type of budget action, and we simply cannot allow it.”

Former chairman of Colorado Republican Party  reportedly charged with voter fraud. “According to the criminal complaint,  Curtis tampered with a 2016 General Election mail-in ballot, signing his wife’s name, which led to the forgery charge.”

White Florida court official allegedly posted on Facebook that black prosecutor who refused to ask for the death penalty for a suspect “should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree.”

Trump’s attorneys reportedly sent “cease and desist” letter to 17 year-old who designed website where people can attack pictures of Trump with cats. “… I think it’s, pardon my French, f%$#ing outrageous that the president of the United States has his team scouring the internet for sites like mine to send out cease and desists and legal action claims if we don’t shut down.”


March 22, 2017