August 5, 2017

Kern County, California district attorney drops “charges” against small, 19 year-old girl attacked with a police dog after being mistaken by Bakersfield officers for an adult man with a goatee and a machete.   Video is here (I was unable to watch the last 42 seconds due to Facebook technical issues):   The officers involved will not be facing any charges either, says DA.

South Korean intelligence agency tampered with country’s 2012 election to help conservative candidate win. “The in-house investigators at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said the agency had hired internet experts to try to sway public opinion through social media postings.”

Rights groups call for more transparency for private prisons. “The Private Prison Information Act of 2017 (S.1728) would strengthen accountability and oversight by requiring for-profit prisons under contract with federal agencies to comply with the same Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements as their government-operated counterparts.”

Hundreds of fired police officers have gotten their jobs back. “To investigate how often fired officers were returned to their jobs, The (Washington) Post filed open records requests with the nation’s 55 largest municipal and county police forces. Thirty-seven departments complied with the request…”

Long-time backer of warrantless surveillance programs worried about unmasking of politicians. ““We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information,” Nunes wrote in the letter to Coats.”

Trump administration officials say limits may be imposed on press when reporting leaked information. “Journalists were alarmed Friday after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice was revisiting guidelines for handling media subpoenas in leak investigations and said there needed to be limits on press freedom.”

U.S. officially informs U.N. that it intends to withdraw from Paris Climate Accord. “Trump announced in June that the U.S. will leave the agreement.”   Meanwhile… “The high in Portland, Oregon, topped 103 F on Wednesday, a new daily record. Temperatures in Seattle hit into the 90s, more than 10 degrees above normal for this time of year.”

Federal appeals court strikes down sentences of mercenaries implicated in “Bagdad’s Bloody Sunday”. “A federal appeals court on Friday threw out lengthy prison sentences of three former operatives for private mercenary firm Blackwater Worldwide—and ordered a retrial for a fourth operative who had received a life sentence—for their roles in the notorious 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, which left 14 unarmed Iraqis dead and another 17 wounded.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz allegedly fought to withhold IT staffer’s computer from Capitol Hill police. “She told (the Sun-Sentinel) she has now allowed police to examine the laptop; on July 19th Fox News reported that she had been blocking the review for months due to “speech and debate clause” issues but was now open to “negotiating” over access.”

Washington Post and New York Times reporters showed little interest in meeting between Bill Clinton and then-attorney general Lynch during Hillary Clinton investigation. “Mark Lander, a reporter for the Times, is seen in one June 30 email reaching out to a DOJ official to say he’s “been pressed into service to write about the questions being raised” by the meeting.”

Kushner Companies accused of improperly offering U.S. visas in return for investments. “Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, discussed her connection to Trump at a marketing event in Beijing in May, where potential investors were informed they could receive visas and potentially green cards for themselves and their families if they invested $500,000 in one of Kushner Companies’ projects.”

Tar sand pipeline companies responsible for hundreds of hazardous leaks says Greenpeace. “Since 2010… the three companies “have seen 373 hazardous liquid spills from their U.S. pipeline networks,” releasing a total of “63,221 barrels of hazardous liquids”—including thousands of barrels of diluted bitumen, which is is more difficult to remove from water than conventional crude oil because it sinks.”

Eight year-old suffocates four months after drinking boiling water on a dare. “According to doctors, the boiling water burned her throat and mouth. Kiari underwent a tracheotomy, which left her deaf and with chronic respiratory problems.”   Most of the stories in the news seem to be suggesting this is the result of parental neglect rather than medical malpractice. This is the only story I found that names the hospital.

Martin Shkreli, who became famous after hiking drug prices, reportedly found guilty of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions, and maybe they found one or two broomsticks, but at the end of the day, we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges.”

Banks making billions on overdraft fees, mostly from the poorest Americans. “The (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) found that a huge share of fees (80%) come from a very small portion of people with little money who frequently overdraft, and that those borrowers are essentially using overdraft as a very expensive short-term loan to regularly cover a temporary lack of cash.”   It’s like a reverse-Robin Hood scheme – taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

Did an NRA spokesperson just threaten the New York Times with sexual assault? “In conjunction with the hashtag #ClenchedFistofTruth, confusion spread through Twitter like wildfire, as many had misheard Loesch as having said “We’re going to fist The New York Times,” which was thought to be a reference to a sexual act.”

Stock market bubble poised to pop says analyst. “It won’t be your average correction. It’s going to be something a little more meaningful.”

Trump has taken almost twice as many vacations days as Obama, but falls far short of George W. Bush. “As President Trump departed for Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Friday for a 17-day working vacation, it will mark his fifth visit to that golf club and his 13th vacation-like trip since he took office.”   “Now watch this drive.”

Democratic Socialists of American claims it now has 25,000 dues-paying members. “…shortly before the November election, the organization had between 7,000 to 8,000 members. On November 9, they started seeing supporters of Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and others flooding into DSA.”

Green Party’s presidential candidate Jill Stein denies any contacts with Trump campaign. “I had no secret meetings, rendezvous… it’s just like so preposterous…. I find it really interesting that there is such an effort, a consistent effort, to try to demonize me and the Green Party.”

Steve Bannon still reportedly participating in National Security Council meetings, despite being removed. ““Bannon and Gorka have recently become a more regular and outspoken presence at meetings led by McMaster and his team on Afghanistan, the Middle East and the administration’s national security strategy,” The (Washington) Post reported.”

U.S. boots on the ground in Yemen. “A day after the US was reported to have participated in an anti al-Qaeda offensive in southern Shabwa Province of Yemen, the Pentagon is confirming that a “small number” of US ground troops have been deployed into Yemen for an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) force.”

Mainstream media accused of running “perseverance porn” stories. “One particularly vulgar example was CBS News (12/16/16) referring to an “inspiring” African-American kid who had to work at his fast food job with an arm sling and a neck brace after a car accident.”   Do you have what it takes to succeed, snowflake?

U.S. unnecessarily militarizing Mexican border claims journalist. “They’ve portrayed these (illegal) immigrants as criminals, as terrorists, as gang members, when the U.S. Border Patrol statistics actually prove that over 99 percent of all undocumented immigrants have no criminal record.”

August 5, 2017

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