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

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