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.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/gop-health-care-plan-hangs-in-balance-as-house-leaders-push-for-thursday-floor-vote/2017/03/23/6e8bf05a-0fbd-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html

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.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/teenager-israel-arrested-jcc-bomb-threats-article-1.3006540

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.   http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/trump-health-care-summit-white-guys   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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/24/republican-healthcare-bill-maternity-benefits-affordable-care-act

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. ”   http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/23/europe/ukraine-former-russian-lawmaker-denis-voronenkov-killed/

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.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-attack-latest-met-police-seven-people-arrested-westminster-parliament-terror-islamist-a7644946.html   “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.”   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39355108   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.”   http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/lone-wolf-london-terrorist-birmingham-12785976   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.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39371209

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.”   http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/23/521305788/state-department-set-to-certify-keystone-xl-pipeline-is-in-national-interest

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.”   http://thehill.com/policy/technology/325410-senate-votes-to-block-internet-privacy-regulations

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.”   http://www.marketwatch.com/story/forget-iphones-many-americans-cant-pay-a-100-medical-bill-2017-03-21

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.”   http://www.livescience.com/58393-cancer-caused-by-random-dna-mistakes.html

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.”   http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/03/23/latest-wikileak-dump-shows-cia-hacking-iphones-2008

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?”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/democrats-new-bill-presses-donald-trump-honor-his-buy-america-campaign-promises

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.”   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-idUSKBN16S1KO

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…”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/world/africa/congo-videos-graves-civilians.html?_r=0

 

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March 24, 2017

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