December 29, 2017

President Trump apparently confused about the difference between “weather” and “climate change”. “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”   http://fox6now.com/2017/12/29/president-trump-tweets-that-cold-east-coast-could-use-a-little-bit-of-global-warming/   Can’t wait until Mar-a-Lago is four feet underwater…

Homeland Security grants reportedly fueled massive amount of wasteful spending. “The Keene, New Hampshire, police department justified using federal funds to purchase a BearCat (armored vehicle) because of rowdiness at a local pumpkin festival…. A police department in Washington state used its BearCat to ‘pull over drunk drivers’.”   https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/27/homeland-securitys-multibillion-dollar-comedy-show/

Apple concealed slow-down battery fix from customers. “(Customers) accuse Apple of violating fraud laws by purposely limiting performance without informing iPhone owners that the problems might have been fixed by replacing the device battery. This, they argue, forced them to spend more money to buy new iPhones.”   https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/apple-admits-iphone-slow-down/4179655.html

Federal tax reform causing anger and confusion over property taxes. “Many are desperately trying to prepay their 2018 property taxes in the hopes they’ll be able to deduct those payments on their 2017 federal returns.”   https://www.newsday.com/opinion/editorial/new-federal-tax-law-can-spur-a-reckoning-on-long-island-1.15650601

Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability finds fatal shooting of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones unjustified. “(Officer Robert) Rialmo opened fire and both LeGrier and Jones were killed. Chicago police acknowledged at the time that Jones was shot accidentally.”   http://abc7chicago.com/copa-rules-shooting-of-quintonio-legrier-bettie-jones-was-unjustified/2835289/

Black woman gang raped by six white Alabama men in 1944 dies. “…(Recy) Taylor’s six assailants were never prosecuted.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/recy-taylor-alabama-woman-raped-six-white-men-dies-97-n833336

Russian comedians prank U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. “We’ve been watching (the situation in Binomo) very closely, and I think we will continue to watch that as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea.”   http://www.newsweek.com/nikki-haley-pranked-russian-comedians-poland-763565

Young Israelis protest occupation by refusing military service. “Sixty-three draft age youngsters from around Israel sent a letter Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennet and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot declaring their refusal to enlist in the IDF due to their belief that it serves to oppress the Palestinian people.”   https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5063496,00.html

Few companies likely to take advantage of tax deal to repatriate profits. “The offshore money got a particularly sweet deal under the legislation that President Donald Trump signed right before Christmas: The entire $1.6 trillion (some estimates place it higher than $2 trillion) will incur a onetime U.S. tax of just 15.5 percent on offshore profits invested in liquid assets and 8 percent in harder-to-sell assets like real estate.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-companies-offshore-cash-wont-rush-home/   Beware of headlines claiming firms are taking huge “hits” from tax reform bill! Without this special rate cut they would have paid far, far more tax.

Private prison companies to reportedly receive big ‘real estate investment trust’ tax cut. “The companies have argued that by housing inmates for the government, they operate in the same way as any company that charges a tenant rent.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/28/goptaxscam-equals-big-win-investors-mass-incarceration

Gap in pay between U.S. workers and CEOs is reportedly the highest in the world. “CEOs of companies listed in India’s Sensex Index… earn 229 times more than the average worker there, the second-biggest gap worldwide after the U.S.’s ratio of 265, according to a separate Bloomberg ranking.”    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-28/ceos-in-u-s-india-earn-the-most-compared-with-average-workers

UNICEF denounces targeting of children during conflicts. “In conflicts around the world, children have become front-line targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed, and recruited to fight.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/28/un-agency-decries-shocking-scale-attacks-children-conflict-zones

Pharmaceutical firm accused of raising price of cancer drug 1,400% “… lomustine was marketed under the brand name CeeNU by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., which charged about $50 a capsule for the highest dose, before selling the product in 2013. Now, the same capsule costs about $768, after nine price increases by a little-known Miami startup, NextSource, which supplies lomustine in a deal with the drug’s new owner, manufacturer CordenPharma.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/27/simply-price-gouging-cost-cancer-drug-hiked-1400-2013

Trump administration proposes scrapping post-Deepwater Horizon oil drilling safety rules. “The rollback “is literally going back to business as usual,” a former federal official told the (Wall Street) Journal, which obtained the BSEE’s proposal.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/26/bid-save-big-oil-900m-trump-moves-scrap-offshore-drilling-safety-rules

5 1/2 months after Justine Damond shooting, Hennepin County district attorney says he needs more time to decided whether or not to prosecute officer. “The investigation and review of the case will not be rushed.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/28/justine-damond-shooting-prosecutor-delays-decision-mohamed-noor

Mississippi teenager jailed for four years without a trial. “Tyler didn’t fall through any cracks. Mississippi didn’t lose track of him. A review of available records suggests that Mississippi may well have the worst record of any state for prolonged stays in jail for inmates awaiting the most basic psychiatric evaluation.”   https://features.propublica.org/tyler-haire-mississippi/tyler-haire-mississippi-mental-health-evaluations-criminal-justice/

Banned banker reportedly hired by former customer, EPA director Scott Pruitt, to oversee Superfund program. “… Pruitt, who had received loans from Kelly’s bank, apparently didn’t find Kelly’s unfitness to serve in the financial industry as disqualifying his longtime friend from serving as a top official at the EPA.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/28/scott-pruitt-failed-banker-running-epa-superfund-program/

Wall Street’s carried interest tax loophole survived tax reform – surprise! “The loophole allows finance industry titans to avoid paying roughly $2 billion of taxes a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Billionaire Warren Buffett has described the situation as allowing Wall Street executives to pay a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries pay.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/trump-could-have-killed-carried-interest-loophole-now-it-may-be-too-late-2634336

U.N. official describes Saudi Arabian airstrikes on Yemen as “indiscriminate”. “According to the organisation’s human rights office, one of the strikes hit a crowded public market in the Taiz governorate in the country’s south-west, killing 54 civilians and injuring 32 more. Eight children were among those killed.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-civil-war-saudi-arabia-air-strikes-civilian-deaths-one-day-killed-un-united-nations-a8131841.html

As many as 6,000 former IS fighters facing death penalty in Iraq. “The United Nations said last month that Iraq does not have jurisdiction to try Islamic State atrocities and that Iraqi investigators, prosecutors and judges do not have the capability to ensure due process.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iraqs-rapid-fire-trials-send-alleged-isis-members–including-foreigners–to-the-gallows/2017/12/22/b65d903a-e598-11e7-9ec2-518810e7d44d_story.html

Trump administration loosens rules on nursing homes. “Advocates for nursing home residents say the deregulation threatens to roll back years of hard-fought progress in improving care and deterring neglect and mistreatment of elderly residents.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/28/headlines/trump_administration_rolls_back_regulations_for_nursing_homes

Judge claims no rise in crime after she ruled New York City’s stop and frisk policy was unconstitutional. “…the stops dropped by 97 percent as a result of my ruling—so it went down from 700,000 to less than 50,000—with no rise in crime.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/27/meet_the_federal_judge_trump_attacked

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December 29, 2017

December 28, 2017

Man accused of plotting San Francisco terror attack became a suspect solely due to his Facebook activity, reportedly told the FBI informants coaching him that he couldn’t go through with it. “I also don’t think I can do this after all. I’ve reconsidered.”   https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171224/17211038879/fbi-celebrates-taking-down-terrorist-who-told-undercover-agents-he-couldnt-go-through-with-attack.shtml

Cities cracking down on people feeding the homeless. “About 40 cities nationwide had active laws to restrict food sharing as of November 2014, and a few dozen more had attempted such restrictions, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.”   http://www.theolympian.com/news/business/article191556484.html

Financial distress and stress at work dramatically increase risk of heart attack says study. “The odds of myocardial infarction was 5.6 times higher in patients with moderate or severe work stress compared to those with minimal or no stress. Patients with significant financial stress had a 13-fold higher odds of having a myocardial infarction.”   https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/significant-financial-stress-associated-with-13-fold-higher-odds-of-having-a-heart-attack

“Minnesota Protocol” for law enforcement and war crimes investigations has been updated and continues to be widely used  – outside the U.S. “(Project director Stuart) Maslen says technology has changed, but the purpose of the guidelines has not. It is to protect individuals against abuse of human rights.”   http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-12-27/human-rights-racial-justice/mn-protocol-adopted-worldwide-but-not-in-us/a60784-1

Los Angeles public school students being subjected to random searches, which are conducted daily at most schools. “The (randomly) chosen students, Kevin among them, were taken to a nearby office, he said, where they were instructed to open their backpacks slowly to allow administrators to look inside. The administrators used sticks to move items around, he said. They also waved the metal-detector wands up and down the students’ bodies.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-random-searches-school-20171226-htmlstory.html

Broward County, Florida voter registration records are a mess, and include some of the country’s oldest voters, include one 131 year old. “During much of the past decade, Broward has had more voters listed on its registration rolls than there are citizens eligible to vote in the county. In 2016, there were an estimated 61,000 more registrants on the rolls than eligible voters living in Broward.”   https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2017/1103/Securing-the-vote-Could-Henny-Nelson-age-131-help-Russia-rig-an-election

Suspected Guatemalan war criminal arrested after 25 years of living openly in the U.S. “(Juan Samayoa Cabrera’s) detention raises questions about the priorities of immigration enforcers and the presence of other accused war criminals living in US.”   https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2017/1127/After-25-years-in-US-alleged-war-criminal-may-finally-face-justice-at-home

Russia alleges U.S. is re-purposing former IS fighters. “(General Valery) Gerasimov told the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper on Wednesday that the United States was training up fighters who were former Islamic State militants but who now call themselves the New Syrian Army or use other names.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-usa/russia-accuses-u-s-of-training-former-islamic-state-fighters-in-syria-idUSKBN1EL0KZ

Myanmar refuses to release journalists covering Rohingya massacre story. “The journalists, U Wa Lone, 31, and U Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were arrested while reporting on Rakhine State, where Myanmar’s military has taken part in a campaign of killings, rape and arson that has sent more than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/world/asia/myanmar-reuters-journalists.html

Rich got much richer in 2017. “The richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017, more than four times last year’s gain, as stock markets shrugged off economic, social and political divisions to reach record highs.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-27/world-s-wealthiest-gain-1-trillion-in-17-on-market-exuberance

Korean government reportedly had secret negotiations with Japan over “comfort women” settlement. “Among the talks kept in secret, Japan told Seoul to refrain from supporting relevant civic groups disagreeing with the deal and to stop using the phrase ‘sexual slavery’.”   http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20171227000797

December 28, 2017

December 26, 2017

Trump saves America from “War on Christmas”. “In recent weeks, (Trump) has told cheering crowds it is safe to say “Merry Christmas” once again.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/12/22/thank-you-trump-commerical/978155001/   But will he pardon all the political prisoners who were jailed under the Obama administration for saying “Merry Christmas”?

White House predicts $4,000 to $9,000 wage increase per household due to tax reform bill, a few employees are actually getting $1,000 of that. “Corporate CEOs have made clear that the massive tax giveaways in the Republican plan will not be passed on to workers but to rich investors.”   https://slate.com/business/2017/12/at-and-ts-usd1-000-christmas-bonus-doesnt-show-the-tax-bill-will-raise-worker-wages.html

Santa Barbara, California agency has set up night time parking lots for people living in their vehicles. “Cassie Roach, the program coordinator, said 40% of the clients are employed, 35% are seniors and 30% are disabled.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-safe-parking-20171224-story.html

Vice employees report rampant sexual harassment. “Many of the 100 other current and former Vice employees interviewed by the Times agreed that sexual misconduct — including unwanted kissing, groping, lewd remarks, and propositions for sex — at the company was widespread for years and that top executives did little about it.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/vice-employees-settled-four-lawsuits-sexual-harassment-misconduct-2017-12

Edward Snowden wants you to be safe. “If you leave your laptop at home or at an office or in a hotel room, you can place your Haven phone on top of the laptop, and when Haven detects motion, light, or movement — essentially, anything that might be someone messing with your stuff — it logs what happened.”   https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/23/16812834/edward-snowden-haven-guardian-project-laptop-phone

Court rules that voter fraud commission must let all its commissioners participate in the group’s activities. “In the Court’s view, (the commissioner’s) assertion that he will be unable to fully participate without the information contained in relevant documents that the Commission has not shared with the public has merit.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/22/trump-voter-fraud-committee-democrat-access-318433

Russia bars opposition candidate from presidential election. “The Central Electoral Commission has said Mr. Navalny was ineligible because of a corruption conviction, which he says is politically motivated.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42479909

Third state government bans Down Syndrome abortions. “American women choose to terminate pregnancies 50% to 85% of the time after receiving a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome, according to a study published in 2012 in the medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/22/down-syndrome-abortion-ban/976846001/

Julian Assange’s Twitter account deactivated, reactivated. “WikiLeaks founder and notorious Ecuadorian embassy resident Julian Assange has seemingly deleted his Twitter account, throwing his supporters into a frenzy of speculation on Christmas Day.”   http://mashable.com/2017/12/25/julian-assange-delete-twitter-account/   Navy accidentally tweeted only Assange’s name on the same day. “The inadvertent tweet was sent during routine monitoring of trending topics.”   http://www.newsweek.com/julian-assange-twitter-navy-tweet-wikileaks-758685

Chinese anti-corruption activist known as ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’ sentenced to 8 years in prison. “The activist, whose real name is Wu Gan, became renowned among rights advocates for helping organize boisterous protests outside courthouses and government offices to support plaintiffs and defendants who accused officials of abusing their power.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/25/world/asia/china-wu-gan-sentence.html

Turkey refuses to release journalists held for 14 months. “A Turkish judge ordered four prominent journalists and senior staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper to remain in jail for at least two more months during their trial on Monday, accused of supporting the organizers of last year’s failed coup.”   https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/turkey/1.831205

United Airlines accused of downgrading passenger, giving her first class seat to Congresswoman. “Passenger Jean-Marie Simon, a 63-year-old teacher from Washington, D.C., claims the airline showed preference towards Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and threatened to remove her from her Dec. 18 flight after snapping a photo of the Houston Democrat in her seat.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/united-airlines-woman-lawmaker-seat-article-1.3720332

Corporate employees apparently swept up in Seattle area prostitution sting. “Among the emails, which were obtained through a public records request to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, were 67 sent from Microsoft employee email accounts, 63 from Amazon accounts and dozens more from companies like Boeing, T-Mobile, Oracle and local Seattle tech firms.”   https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/25/amazon-microsoft-employees-sex-trafficking-sting/

“Gaming disorder” to be added to World Health Organization disease manual. “This change will officially recognise addiction to video games, allowing doctors to use it as a diagnosis for treatment.”   https://www.lowyat.net/2017/151254/officially-recognise-gaming-addiction-mental-illness/

Trump to Mar-a-Lago members: “You all just got a lot richer.”   https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/12/you-all-just-got-a-lot-richer-trump-tells-friends-at-mar-a-lago-after-signing-tax-overhaul

Small Connecticut town of Enfield reportedly paid out $792,500 in excessive force settlements. “Spinella, who represented all 10 people who sued the police department, said the settlements should serve as a “spark” for changes including improving the internal affairs process, a better review of citizen complaints when they come in and a better screening of potential police officers.”   http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-enfield-matthew-worden-lawsuits-settlements-public-20171222-story.html

Trump accused of spending almost 1/3 of his first year in office at his resort properties. “The Wall Street Journal  found  that the president has spent more than 100 days at one of his properties, including more than a month each at his golf course in New Jersey and at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/25/trump-has-spent-more-three-months-year-his-properties-adding-ethics-concerns

Congressional panel finds that Republican tax cuts won’t even come close to paying for themselves. “(The Joint Committee on Taxation)… found that, even after accounting for economic growth, the tax bill President Donald Trump just signed into law Friday will add $1.1 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/22/analysis-congresss-official-scorekeeper-shows-final-gop-tax-bill-comes-nowhere-close

Jeff Sessions clears local courts to reimpose huge fines on low-level offenders. “Civil rights advocates accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “turning back the clock” on criminal justice reforms after the Department of Justice rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected low-income defendants from being forced to pay gratuitous fees to local courts.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/22/horrifying-step-backwards-sessions-retracts-guidance-designed-end-abuse-poor-courts

Trump lets the cat out of the bag as he touts his “middle class” tax cut bill. “Corporations are literally going wild over this, I think even beyond my expectations.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/22/corporations-are-literally-going-wild-says-trump-he-signs-tax-bill-most-americans

“Kremlin troll” who Washington Post accuses of being part of a “disinformation campaign” was reporting the same stories as U.S. media. “There’s no denying the emails that Julian Assange has picked up from inside the Democratic Party are real.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/kremlin-trolls-burned-across-the-internet-as-washington-debated-options/2017/12/23/e7b9dc92-e403-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html

As Congress moved forward with huge “job creating” corporate tax break, AT&T laid off hundreds of employees. “About 600 workers across a variety of positions, from retail sales clerks to satellite technicians, were notified of the layoffs last week, according to sources close to the situation.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-att-layoffs-20171222-story.html

Bible verses for Republicans boldly celebrating Christmas. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/he-who-oppresses-the-poor-taunts-his-maker-heres-9-bible-verses-to-tweet-at-trump-and-paul-ryan-this-christmas/

 

December 26, 2017

December 23, 2017

U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands caught lying to the press – twice. “The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has denied saying that there are “no go” areas in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are being set on fire because of radical Islam.”   http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/12/new-us-ambassador-calls-his-no-go-areas-in-the-netherlands-claim-fake-news/   He then denies ever saying that reports of such a statement by him are “fake news”, but video shows he actually made both statements.

Trump administration wants to sell anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. “The sale of anti-tank missiles, which could possibly include the U.S. made Javelin system, would likely provoke a strong reaction from Russia that could threaten to derail Trump’s calls for better relations with Moscow.”   http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/sources-trump-expected-announce-approval-plan-sell-anti/story?id=51957745

Putin accuses U.S. of basing cruise missiles in Romania. “Putin, speaking during Friday’s meeting with the top military brass, alleged that the U.S. missile defense sites in Romania containing interceptor missiles could also house ground-to-ground intermediate-range cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.”   http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/22/putin-accuses-us-violating-cold-war-era-nuclear-pact.html

Saudi dissidents accuse social media sites of censorship. “We don’t know if Twitter is helping the Saudi regime or if some hackers have the ability to do such a thing, but we have questions.”   http://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-crack-down-social-media-dissent-754257

Warrantless surveillance threatens Fourth Amendment liberties of Americans. “Today’s electronic surveillance does not leave muddy boot prints in our foyers, but the principle that there should be reasonable limits on the government’s power to intrude upon the private lives of citizens remains.”   https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/12/21/how_to_balance_civil_liberties_with_safety.html

Texas deputies accidentally kill 6 year-old boy after opening fire on unarmed, female car theft suspect standing on porch of mobile home. “Four deputies fired at the woman, (Bexar County Sheriff Javier) Salazar said.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-boy-age-6-killed-deputy-involved-shooting-days-christmas-n832166

Appeals court rules Trump administration does not have authority to ban visitors with strong U.S. ties. The justices ruled that the government’s Muslim ban “should be barred from impacting issuance of visas to foreigners who have a bona fide tie to the U.S., such as an American relative or a concrete connection to an employer or university in the U.S.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/22/trump-travel-ban-appeal-block-317892

Spanish prime minister rejects talks after election win by Catalan separatist parties. “The Spanish government sent in thousands of police to shut down the (October independence) referendum, and officers were seen pulling elderly voters by the hair from polling stations and firing rubber bullets at relatively calm protesters.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/22/europe/spain-catalonia-election-rajoy-intl/index.html

Trump sets record for fewest press conferences with a total of one. “He often answers questions from reporters in the “pool,” a rotation of reporters who follow the president’s movements and send the information out to the rest of the press corps. But that is different than a formal press conference…”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/22/trump-held-only-one-press-conference-year-his-predecessors-had-way-more/976675001/

 

December 23, 2017

December 22, 2017

FBI will release report on Las Vegas shooting sometime before October 2018, still no apparent motive or links to terror groups. “When asked to clarify the current order of events, (Special Agent in Charge Aaron) Rouse refused.”   https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/fbi-chief-says-report-on-las-vegas-shooting-expected-by-anniversary/

U.N. General Assembly condemns U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital 128 – 9. “On Tuesday, Haley had tweeted that ‘the U.S. will be taking names’ of the countries that vote to support the resolution and that Trump had asked her to report back on the nations ‘who voted against us’.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/defying-u-s-financial-threats-u-n-votes-condemn-trump-n831906   I hope she had enough paper! Countries voting with the U.S.: Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo.   https://www.sbs.com.au/news/128-countries-reject-trump-s-jerusalem-move-as-australia-abstains-from-un-vote

Justice Department opens investigation into Clinton involvement with Uranium One deal. “At issue is a 2010 transaction in which the Obama Administration allowed the sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia’s state atomic energy company…. some of the people associated with the deal contributed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. And Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a Moscow speech by a Russian investment bank with links to the transaction.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/prosecutors-ask-fbi-agents-info-uranium-one-deal-n831436

Jury acquits first six J20 protesters. “Today’s verdict reaffirms two central constitutional principles of our democracy: First, that dissent is not a crime, and second, that our justice system does not permit guilt by association.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/21/572654087/jury-finds-first-batch-of-inauguration-protesters-not-guilty-of-riot-charges

Judge dismisses Trump “emoluments” lawsuits which claimed the President is benefiting from, and possibly being influenced by, foreign money flowing to his businesses. “If Congress determines that an infringement has occurred, it is up to Congress to decide whether to challenge or acquiesce to Defendant’s conduct.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/21/judge-dismisses-suits-emoluments-312610

Catalonians elect pro-independence majority after Spanish government disrupted independence referendum with police violence. “The pro-independence parties took 70 of the 135 seats in the regional parliament, retaining their overall majority.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/21/europe/catalonia-election-lister-analysis-intl/index.html

American cities are busing or flying their homeless to other cities. “Using public record laws, the Guardian obtained data from 16 cities and counties that give homeless people free bus tickets to live elsewhere.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/dec/20/bussed-out-america-moves-homeless-people-country-study

President Trump will reportedly be paying up to $15 million less in taxes per year thanks to Republican tax bill. “…analysis by a leading Washington think tank, the Center for American Progress (CAP), finds that changes to business rules will save Trump roughly $11 million to $15 million per year, while an amendment to the estate tax – the tax on the transfer of an estate of a deceased person – would potentially save his heirs $4.5 million.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/20/trump-tax-bill-savings-analysis

L.A. Times editorial calls Trump “a reckless con man”. “We must vigorously protest the president’s craven actions, but above all we need to acknowledge that what ultimately matters is not what a foreign power did to America, but what America did to itself.”   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-dorfman-reckoning-trump-election-20171217-story.html

Senate investigators probe minor party presidential candidate debate broadcast by Russian-controlled network. “Stein, and the organizers of the debates, are defending the matter, however, saying that the debates were held to give third party candidates at least some access to the voters, and RT was chosen to reach the largest audience they could get.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/12/21/under-fbi-probe-jill-stein-defends-rt-sponsored-debate/   So imagine Putin bans some candidates from a televised debate in Russia in the run-up to elections there, and that these excluded candidates then decided to participate in a debate broadcasted by CNN, for example. Would that be evidence of U.S. tampering with the Russian election?

More protesters killed and wounded during election protests in Honduras. “The opposition party, the Alliance Against the Dictatorship, as well as the Organization of American States have called for new elections, amid reports of widespread fraud and vote rigging.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/21/headlines/honduras_protesters_killed_amid_crackdown_against_election_demonstrations

U.N. says more than 100 Columbian activists killed in 2017. “Community groups say (indigenous and Afro-Columbian) land defenders are especially targeted for assassination.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/21/headlines/colombia_100_human_rights_activists_killed_in_2017_according_to_un

December 22, 2017

December 21, 2017

9,000 to 11,000 civilians likely killed in battle to retake Mosul. “That’s a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported.”   http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/20/9000-plus-died-in-battle-with-islamic-state-group-for-mosul.html

Lawsuit filed in shooting deaths of fleeing New Mexico suspects. “The driver, Isaac Padilla, was shot dead along with (Martin) Jim, who was in the back seat… Gonzales said no gun was found inside the truck or on either Padilla or Jim.”   http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/family-martin-jim-wrongful-death-lawsuit-fatal-bcso-involved-shooting-deputies-sheriff-bernalillo-county/4714373/

Details emerge on Congressional lawsuit payouts. “In response to a request for information, the Office of Compliance sent a letter Tuesday to the Chairman of the House Administration Committee, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., saying in the last 10 years it awarded $342,225.85 in 15 cases ranging from accusations of sexual harassment, to sexual and racial discrimination.”   http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/congress-details-payouts-sexual-harassment-accusers/story?id=51891212

Mistrial declared in Cliven Bundy stand-off trial. “U.S. District Gloria Navarro found that prosecutors had failed to turn over documents that could be used to support the defense’s case. As NPR’s Kirk Siegler reports, Navarro also noted ‘that the government had erroneously claimed several things, including that there weren’t snipers surveying the Bundy ranch when there were’.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/20/572426023/judge-declares-mistrial-in-conspiracy-case-against-bundys

Facebook employment ads allegedly weeding out older job seekers. “Verizon is among dozens of the nation’s leading employers — including Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Target and Facebook itself — that placed recruitment ads limited to particular age groups, an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times has found.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/companies-use-facebook-to-exclude-older-workers-from-job-ads.html

Life expectancy in the U.S. drops for second year. “Women can now expect to live a full five years longer than men: 81.1 years vs. 76.1 years.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/21/health/us-life-expectancy-study/index.html

Chinese man who interviewed victims of slum destruction arrested. “In the weeks before his detention, Hua (Yong) had uploaded dozens of videos on YouTube and Chinese social media platform WeChat documenting the destruction of migrant neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Beijing.”   http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2124835/chinese-artist-who-documented-migrant-evictions-beijing

Republican tax bill removes Obamacare penalty for going uninsured. “Among the most important (reasons for the penalty) is encouraging healthy people to sign up for coverage, so that insurers can spread the cost of high medical bills broadly and, in the process, keep premiums more manageable.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-sabotage-healthcare_us_5a3a8adbe4b06d1621b1187f?utm_hp_ref=must-reads

Trump hotel in New York renamed. “The Trump SoHo, New York, was rebranded as The Dominick Hotel, Thursday midnight, according to a report by KITV, an ABC-affiliated television station.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/trump-soho-renamed-hotel-dominick-after-business-suffers-under-presidents-brand-2631340

December 21, 2017

December 19, 2017

Senate Russia election tampering investigation targets Green and possibly Libertarian presidential candidates. “Trainor said he believes the committee is primarily interested in Stein’s appearances on RT, ‘vilifying anyone who’s ever appeared on or talked with anyone on the RT network’.”   https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmaloop/the-senates-russia-investigation-is-now-looking-into-jill   Already barred from presidential debates, do the two major parties want them out of the news too?

Trump says he wants to devote more resources to building up America, while also boosting military spending. “Our leaders engaged in nation-building abroad, while they failed to build up and replenish our nation at home. They undercut and shortchanged our men and women in uniform with inadequate resources, unstable funding, and unclear missions.”   https://nypost.com/2017/12/18/trump-slams-predecessors-for-weakening-military-economy/   FACT CHECK! The U.S. spends more on its military than the next eight countries COMBINED.   https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison   If Trump were sincere, he’d be spending more of that money on infrastructure, education, health care, affordable housing, etc. instead of on projecting U.S. power abroad.

Trump’s national security plan unlikely to be realized. “The president tasks his team with developing an approach; they pursue a serious and rigorous process that takes into account a broad range of expertise from across the U.S. government; and then Trump interjects, undercutting the entire plan either because of politics, his obsession with tearing down what President Barack Obama built or what he most recently saw on Fox & Friends.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/trumps-national-security-plan-is-pure-fantasy/

Trump drinks cup of water with two hands during national security speech, sparking laughter and concern. “To be clear, Trump doesn’t drink alcohol, so drunkenness was not the explanation for his odd water-drinking method.”   https://www.bustle.com/p/these-trump-drinking-water-memes-will-have-you-wondering-does-he-need-a-sippy-cup-7630457

Disclosure on the sly? Former director of secret Pentagon UFO office goes public. “These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of,” (Luis) Elizondo said of objects they researched.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/18/politics/luis-elizondo-ufo-pentagon/index.html   Disclosure of a highly classified, black budget government program’s secrets to the news media? No problem!

Conservative Supreme Court justices spar over whether your cell phone data belongs to you or to the phone company. “The government insists that this warrantless search (of Timothy Carpenter’s cell phone data) did not violate Carpenter’s Fourth Amendment rights because, in the words of the Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling in Smith v. Maryland, “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” In other words, Carpenter has no Fourth Amendment right to privacy in his cellphone records because he voluntarily used his cellphone, thus voluntarily disclosing his location to the various cellphone towers that handled his calls.”   https://reason.com/blog/2017/12/15/justices-alito-and-gorsuch-clash-over-ce   Sure, and you have no right to privacy when you mail a letter either, because you are voluntarily handing your letter over to the Post Office! (Actually, they do keep records of every “to” and “from” address of every letter mailed in the U.S.) “The system tracks names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, an expert told the New York Times, explaining that it effectively maps out an individual’s network of contacts for the federal government.”   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2356571/US-Postal-Service-tracking-mail-sent-country–just-like-NSAs-PRISM-spying.html   Seeing a psychiatrist? If you voluntary turn over personal information during your session, can the doctor’s notes can be turned over without a warrant, because you voluntarily supplied the information to a business?

Minneapolis police trying to prevent suspect from injuring himself shoot him instead. “The man ‘began injuring himself with an edged weapon,’ Arradondo said. After trying to subdue the man, ‘officers discharged their weapons’.”   http://www.startribune.com/breaking-shooting-inside-minneapolis-city-hall-injures-one/465054493/

Verdict in J20 trial will determine if protesters can be convicted for participating in the same demonstration as other protesters. “The prosecution’s novel theory of group liability — in which anyone in proximity to criminal behavior during a protest can be held liable for those crimes — is a grave threat to the First Amendment, the right to assemble, and the right to protest, according to civil rights advocates.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/17/j20-inauguration-protest-trump-riot-first-amendment/

Bernie Sanders says reversal of corporate tax cut likely if Republican lose control of House and Senate after 2018 elections. “‘Absolutely, yes. In my view, absolutely,’ Sanders told host John Dickerson on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked if corporate rates would have to go back up.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/17/claw-back-gop-tax-giveaway-corporations-if-dems-win-back-congress-sanders-says

Top 5% and foreign investors main beneficiaries of Republican tax bill. “The corporate tax cut will mainly benefit those who own shares in American corporations. While some middle-income people own shares, most are owned by high-income Americans and foreign investors.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/17/analysis-shows-more-half-total-trump-gop-tax-plan-benefits-go-richest-5

U.N. votes 14 -1 for U.S. to rescind recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “A UN security council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been backed by every council member except the US, which used its veto.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/18/us-outnumbered-14-to-1-as-it-vetoes-un-vote-on-status-of-jerusalem

Palestinian activist has been arrested by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “He said that despite arresting him for a social media post about Palestinian politics, during his days of interrogation, Palestinian security forces were more interested in his anti-occupation activism.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/18/palestinian-authority-cyber-crimes-law-dissent-issa-amro/

Pasadena, California cops bloody face of black suspect arrested for missing front license plate and tinted windows  and break his leg after he asks for a police commander. “The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has decided not to press any charges against Ballew.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/body-cam-video-police-braking-mans-leg-causes-stir-2629883

93 year-old Eustis, Florida woman evicted by police for being unable to pay her rent. “She spent (two) nights in jail on trespassing charges when she refused to leave her apartment after being evicted.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/police-body-cam-video-shows-93-year-old-florida-woman-rejecting-eviction-2628711

Video appears to show LA police officers planting drugs in suspect’s wallet. “During the arrest, officers claimed they discovered cocaine in Shield’s shirt pocket.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/bodycam-footage-shows-lapd-officer-allegedly-planting-drugs-suspect-2613606

Honduras in turmoil after incumbent president declares victory. “Hernandez, 49, stood for re-election against Nasralla, the candidate of the leftist Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, despite a constitutional ban on presidents having more than one term.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/honduran-president-declared-winner-disputed-poll-005529347.html

South Korean jets intercept Chinese aircraft over disputed islands. “The (South Korean defense zone) over the island overlaps with China and Japan’s air defence zones.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/south-korea-china-fighter-jets-conflict-airspace-territory-north-southeast-asia-a8116036.html

Israeli official threatens to punish German protesters who burned country’s flag. “The message of this article goes out to all those in Germany, who think they can burn a Star of David in public without punishment. WE know WHO you are, WHERE you are, and HOW to bring YOU to justice. Live in fear!”   https://972mag.com/israeli-official-threatens-german-activists-we-know-who-you-are/131672/

Judge suggests that journalists who cover riots are not protected from prosecution unless then can prove they are not promoting disorder through their reporting. “(Alexei Wood) played a role that furthered the purposes both of the conspiracy and of the riot itself, which was to advertise it, to broadcast it, to live-stream it such that other could be recruited to join in.”   https://fair.org/home/judge-tells-jury-informing-public-may-be-criminal-conspiracy/     “Five Colonists Killed by British Soldiers”

U.N. official says Myanmar’s leaders may face genocide charges over Rohingya massacres. “Given the scale of the military operation, clearly, these would have to be decisions taken at a high-enough level. And then there’s the crime of omission, that if you—it came to your knowledge that this was being committed and you did nothing to stop it, then you could be culpable, as well, for that.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/18/headlines/un_human_rights_chief_aung_san_suu_kyi_could_face_genocide_charges

 

December 19, 2017