August 31, 2017

Pentagon admits under-reporting number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. “The discrepancies on the troop counts, which began under former President Barack Obama and continued into the Trump administration, often resulted in the official number being thousands of troops short of the actual troop strength.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement submits request to destroy records on abuse and deaths of detained immigrants. “ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody.”

Homeland Security closely monitoring political events of leftist groups, using white nationalist groups as intelligence sources. “Unlike white supremacists, neither Antifa nor any other anarchist collective has a body count, and they have caused no serious injuries.”

More than 1,000 dead in Asian monsoon flooding. “Heavy rains paralyzed India, Bangladesh and Nepal for the second day Wednesday, as the worst monsoon in years has caused more 1,000 deaths.”

Crosby, Texas evacuated due to threat of chemical plant explosion after back up generators fail. “Volatile chemicals at the plant, which is standing in six feet of water, could catch fire or explode at any moment in coming days, officials said.”

Los Angeles replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. “Several U.S. cities — including Seattle, Albuquerque and Denver — have already replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.”

Labor leader says White House divided between racists and Wall Streeters. “You had one faction that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade, in infrastructure — but they turned out to be racist.”

Trump tweets that the time for talk with North Korea has passed, his secretary of state disagrees. “We are never out of diplomatic solutions.”

U.S. started paying what Trump called “extortion money” to North Korea in 1995, but it was cut off in early 2009 according to fact-checking article. “…since early 2009 the U.S. has provided “virtually no aid to North Korea, though episodically there have been discussions about resuming large-scale food aid”.”

Federal judge rules that man must pay airline $97,817 for flight he disrupted, which returned to airport. “… James August must compensate Hawaiian Airlines for the cost of the fuel, crews, maintenance, landing fees and restocking the aircraft for a replacement flight…”

Right-wing group trying to decertify or reduce membership in public employee unions in order to weaken the Democratic Party is registered as a tax-exempt, public interest 501(c)(3) organization. “Marc Owens, a partner with Loeb & Loeb who worked as an IRS lawyer specializing in charitable tax exemptions, said that the provision was designed for charitable purposes, not for lobbying against public sector unions or for activities to influence the outcome of elections.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights criticizes Trump for attacks on the press. “It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States (has) defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president.”

Google accused of pressuring think-tank to axe Google critics. “We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points,” Slaughter wrote in a separate email to Lynn, imploring him to “just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others.”

Trump proposes cutting corporate tax rate to 15%, an idea which has very little public support. “Virtually no one in the United States believes that taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals should be cut. In one recent Gallup survey, just 9 percent of respondents said corporations paid too much in taxes, while 67 percent said they paid too little…”

Female tech entrepreneurs say they created a fake, male co-founder, and suddenly started getting positive responses to their proposals. “It would take me days to get a response, but ‘Keith’ could not only get a response and a status update, but also be asked if he wanted anything else or if there was anything else that ‘Keith’ needed help with.”

MH370 investigator claims he received death threats after finding plane wreckage in Madagascar, local Malaysian counsel murdered before debris could be handed over. “Under the agreement between the two countries, debris is supposed to be collected by (honorary consul) Zahid Raza and delivered by private courier to Malaysia.”

Autopsy shows Seattle woman who reportedly burglary was shot seven times by police, including twice in the back. “How can someone be shot in the back if they are coming at you with knives?”

Cicero, Illinois settles police shooting lawsuit for $3.1 million after gun found near suspect was discovered to be a police buyback weapon. “…the .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, serial number J515268, that Cook County Judge William Stewart Boyd turned in to the Chicago Police Department to be destroyed…. ended up at the scene of a police shooting in Cicero involving a cop with a troubled disciplinary record.”

Suspect shoots police dog, police shoot suspect. “The suspect was hospitalized after being shot multiple times by police in southern Utah’s Washington County. His name and condition were not immediately released…. the dog is expected to make a full recovery in six weeks.”

U.S. Navy conducts missile test near Hawaii. “The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai with its onboard radar, before intercepting it with SM-6 missiles, the (Missile Defense Agency) said.   North Korean missiles bad! U.S. missiles good!

Colbert, Oklahoma city council sees no need for police chief with ties to white extremist groups to resign. “”They don’t want him to leave because he hasn’t done anything they warrant would be grounds for his dismissal,” (city spokesperson, Jerry) Harrell said.”

Trump did not meet with any hurricane victims while in Texas. “It was a presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.”

Trump expresses concern for pain suffered by victims… of country’s tax system. “President Donald Trump was criticized on Tuesday for not showing enough empathy for storm victims when he visited Texas. But during Wednesday’s speech on tax reform, the president seemed passionate about taking care of rich business owners.”

MSNBC “loses connection” with Al Jazeera reporter dissing oil industry during Texas flood coverage. “You can’t make a connection between the oil and gas industry and climate change much clearer… This is something we’ve been warned about for years by climate scientists.”

U.S. bombs highway to block IS withdrawal deal with Lebanon. “… ISIS terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across Syria…” tweeted U.S. envoy.   Killed on the battlefield even after surrendering?

German minister of justice calls for probe into Federal Police blacklisting of journalists from G20 summit. “According to experts cited by (German public broadcaster) ARD, the (Federal Criminal Police Office) illegally archived trivial, outdated and “evidently false” information on alleged wrongdoings of 32 reporters who were subsequently blacklisted from the G20 summit in June.”

Egyptian government accused of sharp increase in extrajudicial executions of its opponents. “In July alone, there were 61 reported extrajudicial killings, more than double the total over the previous six months, according to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom.”

Mainstream media surprising friendly to “security contractor” Erik Prince and his plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan. “The media’s love affair with the Blackwater snake-oil salesman isn’t limited to the New York Times. In the past three months, Prince has published op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal (5/20/17) and USA Today (8/8/17), and been allowed to pitch his services on CNN (8/8/17), Fox News (7/30/17) and NPR (7/24/17).”


August 31, 2017

August 30, 2017

With Arpaio pardon, Trump sends messages to the public (disrespect for the courts), white nationalists (anti-Latino bias) and targets of Mueller investigation (no need to cut deals with prosecutors). “…’law and order’, if the words have any meaning, has to apply to government actors as well. Lawless sheriffs promote disorder, and that’s what Arpaio did to get himself convicted.”

Police union publishes “Blue Racism” video claiming police live in fear and are discriminated against because of prejudice against officers. “The attempts to shut down dissent by smearing those who fight for racial justice and against police brutality have always been shameful. By claiming that such movements are really on par with racism, that police are the real victims, takes this to an extreme level–even for apologists of police brutality.”

30 dead, water still rising in Houston. “Parts of the Houston area set a record for rainfall from a single storm anywhere in the continental United States, with a top reading on Tuesday afternoon, since the storm began, of 51.88 inches.”

Grand jury indicts 15 Turkish security officers for Washington D.C. attack on protesters. “Several of the Turkish security officials face charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.”

University of Tampa professor fired for posting on social media that Texas is reaping bad karma. “Storey told The Washington Post that his intention was to speak about the GOP’s denial of climate change, and he never intended to be offensive.”

Judge dismisses Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit. “The (New York Times) editorial suggested a connection between a map of (rifle scope) targeted electoral districts circulated by Ms. Palin’s political action committee and the 2011 mass shooting by Jared L. Loughner that severely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords.”   The SarahPAC ad in question can be viewed here:

U.S. tests delivery system for what critics claim are “useable” nuclear weapons. “Military experts believe the weapon’s accuracy and variable power reduces the risk of collateral damage and potential widespread civilian casualties.”

Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly issues decree to investigate and prosecute “traitors of the fatherland” who called for U.S. economic sanctions. “Former corrections minister Iris Varela, now a constitutional assembly delegate, received a resounding applause Tuesday when she said… those who betray Venezuela and take advantage of U.S. aggression “will have to be shot”.

Anti-whaling activist accuses Japanese whalers of using “military technology” to avoid interference. “They have real-time satellite coverage of where we are. We cannot close in on them.”

Japan’s finance minister retracts statement that appeared to some to endorse Hitler’s goals. “In 2013, (Aso) came under pressure to resign after suggesting that Japan should follow the Nazis’ example when considering how to change its (anti-militarist) constitution.”

Fox News to stop broadcasting in Britain. “Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.”

Best Buy blames employee error for $42.96 24-packs of bottled water in Houston suburb. “…an employee had mistakenly priced the entire case of water by multiplying the price of a single bottle.”   It could happen!

Uber promises to stop monitoring customers’ movements after they’re dropped off. “Uber was criticized by users and privacy advocates when it announced last year that it would collect location data from riders through its app from the time the trip was requested through five minutes after it ended.”

Energy watchdog groups and local residents want Bay City, Texas nuclear reactors shut down due to flooding. “Our 911 system is down, no emergency services are available, and yet the nuclear reactors are still running.”

Houston area chemical plants allegedly released large amounts of toxic smoke while “burning off” chemicals during shut downs. “…there were for hours, really, really strong chemical odors from East Houston all the way to even the downtown area. And this was something that was discussed and talked about on social media, and not talked about, not discussed on the news here in Houston.”

Massachusetts Republican officials discuss designating Black Lives Matter and Antifa as “hate groups”. “Having studied the Holocaust and nazi ideology I have learned that the ideology of hatred isn’t owned by white supremacists, it is shared by other haters such as BLM and antifa.”

Washington motorcyclist posts video of his encounter with an unidentified armed man in street clothes who pointed a gun at him at a stop light. The man then removed the motorcyclist’s wallet from his pocket while holding him at gunpoint. “A veteran detective of King County, Washington, was placed on administrative leave after a video of him drawing a gun on a motorcyclist during a traffic stop surfaced Monday.”

White Georgia legislator warns black former-colleague that something bad could happen to her if she causes to much fuss about Confederate memorials. “I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive. People in (south) Georgia are people of action, not drama.”

ABC journalist tweets that he reported Houston flood victims taking food from a supermarket to police, gets criticized by other Twitter users. “BREAKING NEWS – people surviving natural disaster still need to eat! Even if the store is closed! Details at 11..”

FBI accused of blocking Freedom of Information Act request for details of its investigation into Hillary Clinton email scandal. “It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public’s interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA.”

Christian televangelist predicts civil war if Trump is impeached. “If it happens, there will be a civil war in the United States of America.”

Republican Congressman claims he has upsetting information from Julian Assange about leaked Democratic National Committee emails that he wants to pass on to Trump. “Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said Monday that a “rendezvous” is being set up between him and President Donald Trump to relay information he received from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about the hack of the Democratic National Committee last year.”

Rohingya villages reportedly burning in Myanmar. “The Burmese government should grant access to independent monitors to determine the sources of fires and assess allegations of human rights violations.”


August 30, 2017

August 29, 2017

Overwhelmed by flooding, Houston authorities appeal to public for assistance rescuing hurricane victims. “In the thick of disaster, help doesn’t always come from a helicopter or a rescuer in a uniform.”   Especially when you can’t get through to 911 for hours!

Mexican government offers assistance to Texas hurricane victims. “Mexico offered to help Texas deal with the disaster, “as good neighbors should always do in trying times”. ”

Trump reopens military-to-law enforcement weapons pipeline. “The new plan takes effect immediately and fully rolls back an Obama administration executive order that blocked armored vehicles, large-caliber weapons, ammunition and other heavy equipment from being re-purposed from foreign battlefields to America’s streets.”   Because you never know when you’ll need a fully automatic military rifle for a traffic stop!   “Nearly 5,000 M16 rifles have been distributed (in Ohio alone), including 999 to the Ohio Highway Patrol.”

Sanders issues another threat to introduce single-payer national health insurance legislation in Senate. “Sanders has long argued in favor of a government-run universal healthcare system, commonly referred to as single-payer. It was included in his platform during his 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.”   Will he actually do it this time? Will he submit the same bill that has 117 co-sponsors in the House?   Or is this the bus that Democrats don’t really want to catch?

Joe Arpaio’s lawyers ask federal judge to throw out contempt of court ruling in racial profiling case. “Trump may be taking Arpaio off the hook for jail time, but he can’t change history or erase the measure of justice that the court’s findings represent.”

Trump Organization official allegedly approached Putin administration for assistance getting approval for Trump Tower project in Moscow. “The request came in a mid-January 2016 email from Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s closest business advisers, who asked longtime Putin lieutenant Dmitry Peskov for assistance in reviving a deal that Cohen suggested was languishing.”

Houston megachurch reportedly closed to hurricane victims. “Osteen posted a notice on his website that the church would be shut over the weekend — and it remained closed Monday.”

Texas Republicans want disaster aid after refusing it to others. “When Hurricane Sandy slammed New York, New Jersey, and a number of other states in 2012, Ted Cruz and more than 20 of his fellow Texas Republicans voted against an emergency aid package devoted to the areas devastated by the storm.”

Man who claimed he was stabbed by a black male for having a “fashy” haircut admits he made up the story. “When officers brought Witt in for another interview last week, he admitted that he had lied, police said.”

California congressman allegedly tells Young Republicans why the party is still backing Trump. “He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”

Movie “Detroit” accused of lacking background on city’s riot. “…targeted abuse by an overwhelmingly white police force coupled with concentrated poverty among black residents and systemic public housing discrimination at the time, the city was already sitting on a racial powder keg waiting to explode.”

Houston police union reportedly makes an appeal for donations – for its own members. “Hundreds of officers lost everything in this flood and have yet to go home. If you can help please make a donation.”

Press accused of downplaying climate change angle during Hurricane Harvey coverage. “…every time we act as if an unprecedented weather event is hitting us out of the blue, as some sort of Act of God that no one foresaw, reporters are making a highly political decision.”

Big Pharma accused of setting up shell company to hide its links to astroturf group opposing drug price restrictions. “To oppose Issue 2, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the biggest trade organization in the U.S. representing major drug companies, created a political action committee on May 1 called Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue.”

Chicago police officer found guilty of civil rights violations for shooting fleeing car thieves. “Although Officer Proano said he feared for his life and the lives of the passengers in the vehicle, the dashboard camera video does not show any threats to Officer Proano or the passengers.”   Shooting occurs at about 2:05 in video.

Trump allegedly fired long-time rally organizer after Phoenix speech venue failed to fill up fast enough. “Although the crowd looked thin when Trump arrived at about 6:30 p.m., rallygoers filled in the space while Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Alveda King, Franklin Graham and Pence delivered introductory speeches.”

Houston’s lack of zoning regulations likely contributed to flooding. “In less-free cities, the jackbooted thugs in the zoning department impose limits on the amount of impervious cover in a development.”

Trump business partner reportedly bragged about getting Russian government support for Trump campaign. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Air Force accepting bids for $2.5 billion in nuclear arsenal upgrades. “Andrew C. Weber, who was an assistant defense secretary and the director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, an interagency body that oversees the nation’s arsenal, argued that (the stealthy, nuclear cruise missile program) was unneeded, unaffordable and provocative.”

Israel’s prime minister vows that Jewish settlers will never leave occupied West Bank. “We are here to stay, forever.”

Illegal immigrants fear seeking flood assistance on eve of new state law allowing police to verify immigration status. “Hurricane Harvey has threatened the safety of immigrants in Texas who are afraid to evacuate to shelters or approach authorities to seek help, in part because of a new law set to go into effect Friday that allows police in Texas to ask people they detain for their immigration status.”

European cooperation agency urges Trump to stop vilifying the press. “The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is urging U.S. President Donald Trump to stop his attacks on the press, saying they “degrade” the essential role of the media in a democracy.”

August 29, 2017

August 28, 2017

Oklahoma police chief accused of running extremist websites claims he is a victim of identity theft. “With a banner that reads “The Voice of Blood and Honour,” an international coalition of racist skinhead gangs, ISD Records features artists like The Klansmen and album titles including ‘Hitler was Right’.”

One arrested, another sought in beating of anti-racist protester at Charlottesville, Virginia alt-right event. “Daniel Borden, 18, is one of several people believed to have beaten DeAndre Harris in a parking garage, a spokesman for the Charlottesville Police Department told NBC29 in Charlottesville.”

Antifa activists attack anti-Marxist protesters, journalists at Berkeley alt-right event. “By the time the confrontations wound down in mid-afternoon, police had arrested 13 people, including one for assault with a deadly weapon.”

Officers, stationed about 50 feet away, claim they did not hear or see gunshot during Charlottesville protest. “Richard Wilson Preston, 52, was arrested following the release of a video, filmed by the ACLU of Virginia…”

France’s centrist President Macron’s approval rating falls to 40%. “Social media commentators and political opponents criticized the president after it emerged he spent 26,000 euros ($31,000) on makeup during his first 100 days in office and his office also backed down on plans to give his wife a formal, paid role after a public backlash.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating falls to 34% and 37% in different polls, lowest ever for a president during first year in office. “Most presidents begin with a honeymoon period and then go down from that, and Trump had no honeymoon.”   “No honeymoon” implies that his approval rate was low right from the beginning. If that is the case, it seems more than a little odd that such an unpopular person could have been fairly elected.

White House official responsible for promoting positive stories about the Trump administration looking for a new job. “Andy Hemming, the White House director of rapid response, reportedly worked 17-hour days finding positive news about the administration and sending it to reporters, television personalities, and other influencers.”

Too big to bail? Houston’s mayor did not order evacuation. “When you combine Houston and Harris county, you literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road.”

About 1/3 of Venezuelans only eating one or two meals a day. “The pangs of hunger are felt through the corridors of its major businesses, behind the microphone on radio shows, in hospitals where malnutrition is climbing sharply and already claiming lives, and at schools where children faint and teachers skip classes to queue for food.”

Some free apps upload all of your contact information. “As soon as you log into the application, it transmits all of your email and phone contacts…”

EPA drops out of Climate Leadership program. “The announcement comes as climate change skeptics in President Donald Trump’s administration dismantle solutions imposed by President Barack Obama’s administration to decrease humans’ carbon footprint.”

Atlanta-area elementary school students take a field trip to a gun range, get to handle weapons. “(The private school’s owner) claims that the goal of the visit to Hi-Caliber Firearms was to enrich learning about such historical figures as Annie Oakley and Davy Crockett, which is part of Georgia’s required curriculum.”

An estimated 1,000 protest in Moscow against government restrictions on internet. “The demonstration – between Pushkinskaya subway station and Sakharov Prospekt – was staged on Sunday against online censorship and demanded the “exoneration of Russians prosecuted for posting content online”.”

Black teens struck by truck in Louisiana, get cited for not wearing reflective clothing, truck driver walks. “According to the police report, the three young men were along the roadside in Evangeline Parish earlier in the week when they struck by the truck on side of the road in an area that has no sidewalks.”

Federal judge rules that police need a warrant to use fake cell phone towers to locate suspects, unless it’s an emergency. “Though Ellis was not known to be the shooter, he was believed to be a suspect in possession of firearms,” Judge Hamilton continued. “The need to prevent escape by a suspect presented exigent circumstances here.”

Zapatistas reportedly shift strategies, enter electoral politics. “Political radicalism today has to be pacifist because the public, social and economic life in Mexico has been stained with blood for far too long.”

Trump supporter and long-time Republican activist Roger Stone claims impeaching Trump would lead to civil war. “Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence—an insurrection—in this country like you have never seen.”

Trump sends out multiple tweets on Hurricane Harvey, fails to mention deaths or explain why Houston not evacuated. “HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible. Thanks!”

Houston 911 operators received 56,000 emergency calls in 24 hours. “Just after 1 a.m., a woman in the Ellington neighborhood said on Twitter that she had two children with her, and “The water is swallowing us up. Please send help. 911 is not responding!!!!!!”

Dade County, Georgia deputy takes down mother of arrested woman. “The two argued, and Geddie grabbed her wrist and pulled her into a ditch.”

Lawsuit alleges Palm Beach county, Florida jail staff used excessive force when four deputies and a nurse subdued a prisoner. “The nurse noticed (Timothy) Dillon turned “blue,” according to the suit. Dillon had a seizure, went into a coma and was eventually resuscitated.”–law/new-suit-alleges-pbso-deputies-nurse-used-excessive-force-inmate/qnGJAhvlie6AOMTQUt5QCK/   Lawsuit claims the prisoner suffered severe brain injury and neurological damage.

Judge dismisses fraud lawsuit against Democratic Party which claimed the DNC helped Clinton win the nomination. “Bruce Spiva, the defense attorney for the DNC, argued successfully that this fraud lawsuit should be dismissed on the grounds that the Committee is under no legal obligation to provide real party primaries…”

Green Party gears up to fight for ballot access in 28 states. “North Carolina is going to be especially difficult because it has one of the HIGHEST signature requirements to get Green candidates on the ballot – 94,000 verified, legitimate signatures have to be turned in.”   Guess how many signatures the Democratic and Republican parties need to collect to appear on the ballot?

August 28, 2017

August 26, 2017

Trump pardons Arpaio. “President Donald Trump spared former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio the prospect of serving jail time in granting the first pardon of his turbulent tenure, wiping away the lawman’s recent federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols that focused on Latinos.”

German government shuts down popular left-wing website. “The site was closed for “sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, adding that the operation of the site was now “a criminal offense”.”   The site appears to be back up, hosted in another country now?   Wikipedia article on the “Streisand effect”:

Sebastian Gorka, accused by some of bias against Muslims, leaves Trump administration. “Gorka… has repeatedly downplayed the threat of right-wing extremism in the US, including the threat from white supremacist hate groups like those whose rally led to deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia two weeks ago.”

Illegal immigrants may not evacuate hurricane zone due to Border Patrol roadblocks. “Border Patrol checkpoints up to 100 miles north of the border are a fact of life for thousands of undocumented immigrants and their families in the Rio Grande Valley.”   U.S. citizens are also required to stop and submit to questioning at these roadblocks.

Former left-of-center Thai prime minister flees country to avoid political trial. “Overthrown (by the military) in 2014, Yingluck had faced up to 10 years in prison if found guilty (of fraud in rice subsidy scheme for farmers).”

VW engineer sentenced to 40 months in prison for role in emissions cheating scandal. “(Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark) Chutkow acknowledged that Liang was not the mastermind of the scheme and that there are “other, high level officials” in Germany whom American authorities have not been able so far to bring to justice.”

Bernie Sanders is still America’s most popular politician. “More than any other option available to them, a majority of the people in the United States of America prefer the socialist—the one who calls for Medicare for All, tuition-free college, higher taxes on the wealthy, a speedy transition to renewable energy to fight climate change, and an end to the corporate takeover of democracy—most of all.”   But to be honest, Sanders is not really a socialist; he’s a social democrat. There is nothing in his platform about nationalizing America’s corporations or turning them into worker coops, etc.

78% of American workers say they would be in trouble if they missed a paycheck, 71% are in debt. “Thirty-eight percent of employees said they sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, 17 percent said they usually do and 23 percent said they always do.”

South Carolina’s governor cuts off Medicaid payments to health care providers that also offer abortions. “The exact language of McMaster’s executive order bans government money from “any physician or professional medical practice affiliated with an abortion clinic and operating concurrently with and in the same physical, geographic location or footprint as an abortion clinic”.”

Right-wing rally in San Francisco cancelled after their opponents lay “minefield” at the planned site. “… Tuffy Tuffington, who launched the Facebook event “Leave your dog poop on Crissy Field,” told the Guardian: “It seemed like a little bit of civil disobedience where we didn’t have to engage with them face to face.”

Deputy Chief of Staff at Department of Homeland Security was reportedly involved in botched Hurricane Katrina response. “Despite the clear warnings before landfall that Katrina would be catastrophic, the President and the White House staff were not sufficiently engaged and failed to initiate a sufficiently strong and proactive response.”

United Airlines customer claims he was sexually harassed by reservation agent. “The worker allegedly told Dicks during the call that his last name was “controversial” but that “he liked it”. He also asked him if he “was alone” and “what he would do to the agent if they were alone together”.

U.S. and Somali forces accused of executing Somalian civilians. “The farmers were killed “one by one” after soldiers stormed into Barire village early Friday, the deputy governor of Lower Shabelle region, Ali Nur Mohamed, told reporters in the capital, Mogadishu, as victims’ bloodied bodies were on display…. Three children aged 8 to 10 and a woman were among the dead, the deputy governor said.”

U.S. rejects U.N. call for pause in Raqqa bombing to allow civilians to escape. “… (U.S.) Special Envoy Brett McGurk (insisted) that the war against ISIS is going very well, and that the “number one thing that we have to do to” to help civilians in Raqqa is continue the war and defeat ISIS outright.”

Saudi bombing attacks continue to kill civilians in Yemen. “For the second time this week, Saudi warplanes have conducted airstrikes against the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, hitting residential buildings and killing a substantial number of civilians.”

Detroit men file excessive force lawsuit against officers. “According to the lawsuit, police arrested Jackson and, after treatment at a hospital, jailed him for three days, threatening a charge of felony resisting arrest. But the charge was never filed and he was released.”

64 year-old Oklahoma man with cane sues after being tasered by police officer, who he had summoned. “Estep suffered cuts to his elbows and injuries to his stomach where the taser hit. His attorney also said Estep had to have surgery on his left hip and shoulder.”

Man drives into group of protesters in St. Louis, injures three. “Police said the three people suffered minor injuries Wednesday night during a candlelight vigil and protest in honor of Kenny “Kiwi” Herring, who was fatally shot by officers Tuesday after allegedly stabbing one of them.”

Man wanted for parole violation was unarmed when shot by Troy, New York police. “(Dahmeek) McDonald, who was wanted for an alleged parole violation, was shot twice in the shoulder and face by Troy police officer Jarrod Iler, a five-year veteran of the force, during a traffic stop on Eighth Street at Rensselaer Street around 6:40 p.m. (on) Aug. 15.”



August 26, 2017

August 25, 2017

Why it’s a bad idea to ban Nazis from the internet. “All of the major technology companies publish transparency reports documenting the many efforts made by governments around the world to require the companies to take down their customer’s speech.”

Colorful history of the guy with the “Blacks for Trump” sign. “(Michael Symonette) told WLS on Wednesday that the Cherokee (tribe) formed the KKK, citing the pointed hats affiliated with Klansmen are “teepees and they were hiding under it”.”

12% of Bernie Sanders supporters ended up voting for Trump. “(Brian) Schaffner’s numbers show that after a bitter Democratic primary, more than 1 in 10 of those who voted in the primaries for the very progressive Sanders ended up voting for the Republican in the general election, rather than for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.”

Tech companies will soon be monitoring you with the other kind of cookies. “Imagine if your supermarket watched you as closely as Facebook or Google does.”

Brazil opens huge area of the Amazon to mining. “The area, covering 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles), straddles the northern states of Amapa and Para, and is thought to be rich in gold, and other minerals.”

Florida firsts: White prisoner executed for killing a black victim was killed using a homemade “drug cocktail” recipe. “Mark Asay was put to death Thursday evening for two murders in 1987, the first time in the state’s history a white man was executed for killing a black man.”

Refugees violently evicted from square in Rome. “The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, which has had a medical team in the square since Aug. 19, said 13 refugees were treated for injuries, and five of them were sent to the hospital by ambulance, after the police action (on) Aug. 24.”

Movies “Whose Streets?” and “Crown Heights” examine the relationship between law enforcement and the black community.  “Whose Streets?” is a documentary about the Ferguson, Missouri anti-police brutality protests and Crown Heights tells “the story of Collin Warner — a young man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a man he’d never met…”

Judge orders website hosting company to turn over data on visitors to anti-Trump website, company’s lawyer protests. “Providing the information outright to the government for the government to review and identify who the individuals are and what they said in relation to political expression, speech and exercising their right of association is entirely problematic.”

Every county in the U.S. will have at least one Obamacare health insurance provider. “…smaller insurers like Centene and CareSource saw a business opportunity when larger companies like Anthem and Humana fled the exchanges.”

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (and his stylish wife) reportedly viewed solar eclipse during their government jet “day trip”. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did watch Monday’s total solar eclipse from the top of Fort Knox, a near-optimal place to see the astronomical event, but his viewing was planned around “official government travel,” according to a report late Thursday evening.”

Second Trump campaign official allegedly involved in effort to set up meeting between Trump campaign and Putin. “The aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now President Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin, the sources said.”

India Supreme Court ruling that privacy is a fundamental constitutional right may disrupt country’s biometric national ID card project. “The government will now have to convince the court that forcing citizens to give their fingerprints and a scan of their iris is not a violation of privacy.”

Study supports allegations that Exxon Mobil withheld information about climate change. “The study confirmed findings from 2015 reports by InsideClimate News and The Los Angeles Times, which claimed the company had long known about the risks of climate change but publicly denied them…”

Philippine teen suspected of drug activity allegedly shot from behind while kneeling. “Several police commanders relieved of… duty over the student’s killing told a Senate inquiry on Thursday that delos Santos was not the target of their operation, and (that) his links to (drugs) were known to them only the day after his death.”

Iowa to award $208 million in corporate welfare to Apple for data center. “Critics questioned the wisdom and fairness of giving such tax breaks to one of the world’s richest companies.”

None of the states with the highest levels of income inequality between black and white families are located in the South. “These are the five states with the highest level of inequality between white and black residents: 1. Wisconsin,
2. Minnesota, 3. South Dakota, 4. Illinois, 5. Iowa”

Kansas election officials accused of discarding extremely disproportional number of ballots, confirming online registrations which were never processed. “Kansas’s 13,717 rejected ballots even topped the 13,461 from Florida, which has about seven times as many residents.”

Top priority in NAFTA negotiations should be workers, not corporate profits. “This time around, workers in all three countries need truly enforceable provisions that protect their right to organize, work in safe environments and earn livable wages.”

Journalist accuses military of evading his FOIA request after they tell him they are unable to find the documents he requested, but later admit they did finally find them – but they burned them. “It seems to me that the SOCOM (anti-Kony) leaflets are not just ‘interesting’ documents,” (an expert) explained, “but that they would likely also qualify as permanent federal records of enduring historical value.”

Republican senator calls environmental groups “special interests”. “Ballot initiatives that would ban hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) — we have to make it very clear that that is not in the interest of Colorado. When it comes to policies that are trying to be enacted by interests — well-funded interests — from New York or Los Angeles in local municipalities, that we make it clear that this is what’s happening.”

CIA allegedly “installed” fake software on the computers of other federal agencies and extracted data from their systems. “ExpressLane records all data collected by the CIA partner and saves it to a thumb drive, which the CIA technicians can then use to compare to the shared database to see if the organization is holding back any information.”

Mainstream media stories on Trump’s Afghanistan plan fail to mention Afghan war casualties. “In dozens of write-ups, recaps and reports on Trump’s “major” Afghan War speech, almost no outlets took time out to note the plight or condition of the people the US is nominally there to save.”

Senate Intelligence Committee labels Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service”. “The language in the bill suggesting that the U.S. government has some unstated course of action against ‘non-state hostile intelligence services’ is… troubling.”

Amnesty International expresses concern for Raqqa civilians. “Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they were trapped between ISIS militants on one side and the U.S.-led coalition force’s constant barrage of artillery strikes and airstrikes on the other side.”

August 25, 2017

August 23, 2017

Federal agencies resist doing favors for influential Trump supporters. “At one meeting with the president, Trump turned to (Energy Secretary) Perry in front of (coal baron Robert) Murray “and said three times ‘I want this done,'” the coal company owner wrote.”

Pipeline company sues Greenpeace and other environmental groups over Dakota Access pipeline delays. “In the racketeering lawsuit it filed in federal court Tuesday, Energy Transfer Partners alleges these groups inflicted “billions of dollars in damage” with their “criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation” against the pipeline.”

Phoenix police reportedly disperse anti-Trump protesters with tear gas and flash bang grenades.

Crew exhaustion may be factor in Navy collisions. “With the accident coming soon after the freedom of navigation operation, it raised questions ‘whether there is crew fatigue setting in, whether or not the tempo of operations by the US Navy in this region is getting too fast’.”

Jury finds Bundy supporters not guilty at second trial. “The decades-long legal dispute between Cliven Bundy and the government escalated in 2014 when federal agents came to round up his cattle after he refused to renew permits that would have allowed his cattle graze on public lands near his ranch.”

Lottery programmer sentenced to 25 years for rigging lotteries in four states. “Tipton admitted in June to installing code that prompted the computers to produce predictable numbers only on certain days.”

Police report claims member of Kennedy family screamed incoherently, threw himself against a wall and smashed a cabinet of his own glassware when police showed up due to a noise complaint. “The actions of both Matthew Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy had incited this crowd (of party guests) into an angry mob.”   Fiction writing tip – the actions of your characters can be flamboyant and eccentric, but they have to be believable.

Dance the macarena in Saudi Arabia, go to jail. “Saudi police arrested a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing to the “Macarena” at an intersection in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, according to local media reports on Wednesday.”

Iconic New York alternative tabloid TheVillage Voice to end newsprint edition. “The newspaper business has moved online, Mr. Barbey noted, and so has The Voice’s audience, “which expects us to do what we do not just once a week, but every day, across a range of media,” he wrote.”

Seattle cops sue city council member Kshama Sawant for calling police shooting a “brutal murder”. “Seattle First Amendment attorney Bruce E.H. Johnson said he has not seen another lawsuit like it in more than 40 years of practice.”

Protesters demand fraud charges be dropped against Russian director. “(Kirill Serebrennikov), who has used his work to poke fun at the authorities, lashing out at what he sees as the pernicious role of the church and state in Russian society, denies any wrongdoing.”

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says it’s time to face reality in Afghanistan. “The war in Afghanistan has failed.”

Climate activist Bill McKibben says only a dramatic shift to renewable energy can save the planet. “What Medicare for All is to the healthcare debate, or Fight for $15 is to the battle against inequality, 100 percent renewable is to the struggle for the planet’s future.”

Washington Post claims President Trump has lied to the public 1,057 times since taking office. “As the Post notes, he has repeatedly taken credit for cutting the cost of the F-35 fighter jet, an increase in defense spending by NATO member countries, and Ford’s decision to build a plant in Michigan instead of Mexico—though the president had nothing to do with any of these developments.”

More than 1/5th of U.S. parents say they can’t afford to pay cash for their children’s back-to-school supplies. “Karimzad said parents should try to spread things out instead of buying everything at the beginning of the year.”

Republican CNN commentator accuses Trump of “narcissism in midst of tragedy” after his comments on Charlottesville during his speech in Phoenix. “Many mental health professionals have evaluated Trump’s health, and like Navarro, have concluded him to be narcissist.”

Flag manufacturer reports surge in demand for Confederate flags. “Her company has sold an average of 600 to 800 Confederate flags (a year) since 2015, but Kennedy has gotten more than 100 orders in one day since the violent clash two weeks ago.”

San Antonio police department cleared officer caught on video repeatedly punching teenage girl in the face. “Romana Lopez, a police spokeswoman, said on Monday that the department had no further comment about why the officer’s actions were justified.”

Judge denies Guantanamo defense attorneys access to info redacted from 9/11 report. “Attorneys representing the accused 9/11 conspirators argued that evidence of other guilty parties, to include the possible complicity of the government of Saudi Arabia, could be useful to their defense during the guilt or innocence phase of the upcoming trial and, if necessary, during sentencing as well.”


August 23, 2017