December 18, 2017

Pentagon UFO office was secretly funded with “black money”. “The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/us/politics/pentagon-program-ufo-harry-reid.html

British student cleared of rape charges after police belatedly release alleged victim’s phone records. “It is understood police had looked at thousands of phone messages when reviewing evidence in the case, but had failed to disclose to the prosecution and defence teams messages between the complainant and her friends which cast doubt on the allegations against Mr Allan.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-42366629

Texas child asks for food and a blanket for Christmas. “It made me realize that some of these kids don’t have anything to stay warm at night, or they sleep on the floor.”   https://www.ksat.com/news/south-texas-first-grader-asks-santa-for-food-blanket-for-christmas-in-heartbreaking-letter

Study shows people may be taking Uber rides to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance. “…for many of us with high-deductible plans, an ambulance ride would cost thousands of dollars.’’   https://www.ajc.com/news/study-uber-reduces-ambulance-usage-nationwide/NX4tW9ZV2NCej6zJox58SK/

Lawsuit accuses Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner of misrepresenting their assets on federal disclosure forms. “Washington lawyer Jeffrey Lovitky contends that Trump and Kushner failed to identify the assets owned by 30 investment funds the couple had stakes in.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/17/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner-sued-financial-disclosures-302240

 

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December 18, 2017

December 16, 2017

Judge rules that Chicago journalist doesn’t have to reveal his confidential source in police shooting. “(Jamie) Kalven’s reporting in the online magazine Slate was the first to question the police account of the 2014 shooting, pointing out the existence of dashboard camera video that showed that McDonald, 17, never lunged at officers before Van Dyke opened fire with a volley of 16 shots.”   https://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/journalist-jamie-kalven-wont-have-to-give-up-laquan-mcdonald-tipster/

FCC votes 3-2 to kill net neutrality. “The order passed today, “Restoring Internet Freedom,” essentially removes the FCC as a regulator of the broadband industry and relegates rules that prevented blocking and throttling content to the honor system.”   https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-officially-votes-to-kill-net-neutrality/

FCC chairman who pushed for end of net neutrality was appointed to the agency by President Obama. “The child of immigrants from India who settled in Kansas, Mr. (Ajit) Pai was lauded by Republicans and Democrats when he was appointed in 2011 by President Obama to the F.C.C.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/technology/net-neutrality-fcc-ajit-pai.html

Putin agrees with Trump that Russia did not intervene in election, says story is fake news. “This is all invented by people who oppose Trump to give his work an illegitimate character.”   http://abcnews.go.com/International/putin-defends-trump-rails-us-foreign-relations-marathon/story?id=51794580   Well then, if Trump and Putin both say it didn’t happen, it must not have happened!

Disciplinary action taken against Chicago police officers is often secretly canceled. “In the first examination of its kind, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that 85 percent of disciplinary cases handled through the Chicago Police Department’s grievance process since 2010 led to officers receiving shorter suspensions or, in many cases, having their punishments overturned entirely.”   https://www.propublica.org/article/chicago-police-grievances

Alabama sheriffs having trouble accounting for rodeo money. “Asked to explain how their rodeo profits were managed, three sheriffs gave names of nonprofit groups that they said held the money, but a search of government records could find no such entities. One sheriff said his rodeo was a tax-exempt nonprofit, even though it is incorporated as a for-profit business.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/us/ana-franklin-alabama-sheriff.html

Accused Charlottesville terror driver charged with first degree murder. “James Alex Fields Jr., 20, who was arrested Aug. 12 in the death of 32-year-old counterprotester Heather D. Heyer, had been charged with second-degree murder, punishable by five to 40 years in prison.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/driver-accused-of-plowing-into-charlottesville-crowd-killing-heather-heyer-due-in-court/2017/12/13/6cbb4ce8-e029-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html

Report on child sex abuse in Australia reveals worst offenders were Catholic priests. “The commission has concluded that 7 percent of priests who worked in Australia between 1950 and 2009 had been accused of child sex abuse.”   http://wamc.org/post/catholic-church-singled-out-australian-sex-abuse-report

Sloppy mass arrests mean J20 prosecutors having trouble tying personal property to Trump inauguration protesters. “In several cases, arresting officers could not confirm which items belonged to which defendant. Forensic scientists testified under cross-examination they had not performed any DNA analysis to definitively connect items likely intended to be used as weapons—such as a crowbar—with the defendants.”   https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ned3zg/the-strange-saga-of-arrested-inauguration-protesters-seized-property

“Final” version of Republican tax cut bill sharply lowers corporate tax rate. “The centerpiece of the bill is a massive tax cut for corporations, slashing the rate from 35% to 21%.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/gop-leaders-finalize-tax-bill-win-support-sen-marco-rubio-article-1.3701404

Female Democratic candidate in Kansas U.S. House race drops out after prior accusation of sexual harassment against her emerges “Now, twelve years later this suit is being used to force me out of my race for Congress. Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/12/15/female-congressional-candidate-leaves-race-after-sexual-harassment-allegations-resurface/

Text message from senior FBI lawyer seems to show her coaching colleague how to lie – to his wife. “So look,” the text from (Lisa) Page to (Peter) Strzok reads, “you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting [because] you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-officials-text-message-about-hillary-clinton-said-to-be-a-cover-story-for-romantic-affair/2017/12/15/23205bee-e1b6-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html

Federal judge accused of sexual harassment. “According to a report by The Washington Post, (Alex Kozinski)—who now faces allegations by roughly 15 women—purportedly made sexual comments and inappropriate body contact.”   http://www.newsweek.com/who-alex-kozinski-judge-accused-sexual-misconduct-nine-more-women-750382

FBI and Justice Department more concerned about punishing leaker than Bill Clinton or then Attorney General Loretta Lynch for mid-investigation meeting. “The meeting between Lynch and Clinton took place in June 2016, while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server…. after Observer published an article containing additional details about the encounter, citing an anonymous “security source” who had been present, the FBI and Justice Department moved from damage control to discussions about identifying the source and punishing that person, the emails show.”   http://www.newsweek.com/loretta-lynch-bill-clinton-tarmac-meeting-details-comey-749995

Violent clashes continue in Jerusalem. “Four Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded Friday in the West Bank and Gaza during clashes between Israeli troops and protesters opposed to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/15/middleeast/jerusalem-protests-friday-intl/index.html

Mother threw away cooler of breast milk after American Airlines employee tried to charge her $150 to take it on the plane as an additional carry-on item. “It was humiliating, they kept telling us it was because we were basic economy passengers; it really felt demeaning.”   http://fox40.com/2017/12/15/arizona-mother-forced-to-throw-away-breast-milk-while-flying-american-airlines/

Directors claim Harvey Weinstein’s studio black-balled actresses who rejected his advances. “I recall Miramax telling us (Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd) were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs.”   https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bad-santa-director-says-he-was-discouraged-hiring-mira-sorvino-1068673

California issues safety guidelines for cellphone use. “Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cellphones.”   https://gizmodo.com/california-warns-people-to-limit-exposure-to-cellphones-1821342200

Burbank, California Star Wars fans revolt after Disturbance in the Sound System hits theater. “It was no more than 10 minutes into the film and they refused to restart it because they said they had such strict time schedules.”    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-burbank-last-jedi-20171215-story.html

Pharmaceutical group sues California over drug pricing law. “In their suit, which names Gov. Jerry Brown as a defendant, drug companies argue that the state is attempting to dictate national healthcare policy and is unfairly picking on a single industry when other businesses share responsibility for high prices.”   http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-drug-prices-lawsuit-20171215-story.html

Millionaire exposes Republican tax cut plan. “I estimate that our tax bill would have been over $100,000 less under their plan, saving over 30 percent of my taxes. Imagine the billions this will save the Koch Brothers. Or Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Or Donald Trump.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/15/rebuking-trump-millionaires-viral-video-shows-how-gop-plan-just-big-tax-cut-people

Rex Tillerson scolds North Korea for excessive defense expenditures. “The regime could feed and care for women, children, and ordinary people of North Korea if it chose the welfare of its people over weapons development.”   https://medium.com/statedept/secretary-tillerson-addresses-growing-threat-of-north-korea-at-the-un-5544d3485e47   …says Secretary of State of only developed country that does not guarantee food, shelter or health care to its citizens, and which has the highest maternal death rate of any developed country.   http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150506/NEWS/150509941

Trump pick for federal judge slot has trouble answering legal questions. “Have you ever tried a jury trial?” Kennedy asked. “I have not,” Petersen answered. Kennedy: “Civil?” Petersen: “No.” “Criminal?” “No.” “State or federal court?” “I have not.”   https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-12-15/trump-judge-nominee-fails-basic-test-of-law-knowledge

U.N. poverty monitor blasts U.S. “The U.S. is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation. But denial does not eliminate responsibility or negate obligations.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/15/america-un-extreme-poverty-trump-republicans

News media accused of pro-Israel bias in coverage of Jerusalem story. “Between December 1 and December 6, Fox News did not interview a single Palestinian about the consequences of the decision, and CNN interviewed just four.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/14/jerusalem-capital-israel-palestine-cnn-msnbc-fox/

Tax experts say last minute addition to Republican tax bill benefits real estate investor like the Trumps and Kushners. “Sen. Bob Corker, who was considered a potential “no” vote on the bill, abruptly switched his position upon the release of the final legislation. Federal records reviewed by IBT show that Corker has millions of dollars of ownership stakes in real-estate related LLCs that could also benefit.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/donald-trump-gop-leaders-could-be-enriched-last-minute-tax-break-inserted-final

3,539 more JFK assassination files released. “It appears that 1,240 files are labeled “withheld-in-full,” meaning the public has never seen these documents before, and 2,259 labeled “withheld-in-part”, meaning they had previously been released to the public, but with some information blacked out.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/15/breaking-national-archives-releases-yet-another-3500-jfk-files/

Law intended to limit the power of the Mexican military while formalizing its use against drug gangs is opposed by rights activists. “Multiple human rights groups and international organizations, including the United Nations, attacked the bill, mindful of the dozens of reported cases of abuses by members of the military in Mexico over the past 11 years.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-violence-victims/victims-of-mexico-military-abuses-shudder-at-new-security-law-idUSKBN1E92LR

Israeli troops fatally shoot legless Palestinian protester in a wheelchair. “The Israeli military said it had fired “selectively towards main instigators” of the protest in which Abu Thuraya was reportedly hit, and that it was investigating the circumstances of his death.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/16/funeral-of-palestinian-amputee-killed-by-israeli-fire-takes-place-in-gaza

Mainstream media stories on Iranian weapons in Yemen fail to mention ongoing flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabian coalition.   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-arms/in-first-u-s-presents-its-evidence-of-iranian-weaponry-from-yemen-idUSKBN1E82J6    and   https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/12/14/Nikki-Haley-offers-undeniable-proof-Iran-is-arming-Houthi-rebels/3081513286441/   and   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/world/middleeast/nikki-haley-iran-weapons-yemen.html   “Amnesty (International) said that Washington and London, the largest arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, ‘have continued to allow transfers of the type of arms that have been used to commit and facilitate serious abuses, generating a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale’.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/amnesty-urges-us-uk-halt-arming-saudi-yemen-010101342.html

Latest round of Syrian peace negotiations end in failure. “U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura pinned the blame largely on the Syrian government, which refused to discuss constitutional changes or presidential elections.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/15/headlines/eight_round_of_un_sponsored_peace_talks_on_syria_collapse

 

December 16, 2017

December 14, 2017

White House walks back Tillerson’s offer to meet with North Koreans. “In an unusual statement released to reporters on Tuesday evening, the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Mr. Trump’s position on North Korea had not changed — namely, that talks were pointless if the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, continued to menace his neighbors.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/world/asia/north-korea-trump-tillerson.html   Almost seems like somebody WANTS a war, but that would be terrible. Millions killed and billions of dollars of taxpayer money flowing to defense contractors – who would want that to happen?

Fox News story suggests that dying polar bear in viral video of a snowless arctic was probably starving because he was too old or ill to hunt. “I wouldn’t really blame the climate change. It’s just part of the animal, what they go through.”   http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/12/13/controversy-swirls-around-viral-video-starving-polar-bear.html   A healthy polar bear would be able to catch plenty of seals, even without any ice to hunt them from. He’d just put on his big bear panties and out-swim them.

FBI lawyer investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email server was apparently a hard-core Clinton supporter. “I just saw my first Bernie Sanders bumper sticker. Made me want to key the car.”   http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/fbi-agents-called-trump-idiot.html

FBI refuses to release files on dead FBI officals. “It seems that when it comes to FOIA requests for FBI files on their deceased officials, the law is used to consider investigations or prosecutions against the requesters and to protect the privacy of the Bureau’s personnel, but not the privacy of the requesters or to fulfill the statutory FOIA requirements…”   https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/dec/12/fbi-foia-investigation/

Record number of journalist imprisoned in 2017. “(The Committee to Protect Journalists) said it had confirmed that 262 people were in government custody for reasons directly related to their work as journalists as of Dec. 1. That’s three more that the previous record, set last year.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/jailing-journalists-worldwide-hits-record-high-activist-group-says-n829541

Journalists arrested in Myanmar for attempting to disclose “official secrets” about Rohingya persecution. “The reporters ‘illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media’, said the statement, which was accompanied by a photo of the pair in handcuffs.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-journalists/two-reuters-journalists-arrested-in-myanmar-face-official-secrets-charges-idUSKBN1E71CO

Trump loses half of his senior African-American White House staff after Omarosa Manigault Newman is escorted off the premises. “The White House issued a statement Wednesday morning, saying Manigault Newman ‘resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities’.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-thanks-omarosa-reality-star-escorted-from-white-house/   Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is still pursuing his current opportunity.

Walmart employees are so poor that the company is setting up a system to advance them money from upcoming paychecks. “Walmart said the new initiative is intended to help workers avoid costly payday loans and other debt traps, and reduce the stress that comes with financial hardship.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/business/walmart-workers-pay-advances.html   Awww, isn’t that nice!

Three students allegedly took over millions of internet connected devices and used them to wreak havoc on the internet. “Paras Jha, 21, of Fanwood, N.J., admitted he and two co-conspirators created the Mirai software that was designed to hijack poorly secured routers, security cameras, and baby monitors…. (and) launched distributed denial of service attacks on internet service providers and websites.”   http://www.philly.com/philly/business/paras-jha-iot-mirai-cybercrime-rutgers-worst-outtage-internet-bitcoin-ballard-20171213.html

Senior female Democratic legislator allegedly says women should dress less provocatively to avoid harassment. “(Rep. Marcy Kaptur) shocked fellow lawmakers Wednesday when she said that the revealing clothing that some members and staffers wear is an “invitation” to sexual harassment.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/13/marcy-kaptur-womens-clothing-sexual-harassment-294974

Progressives rally against Republican tax bill. “‘There has not been one public hearing, no opportunity to hear from economists, governors, mayors, or ordinary Americans who will be impacted by this tax bill,’ (Sen. Bernie) Sanders said.”  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/13/if-bill-passes-people-will-die-tax-scam-opponents-rally-gop-aims-final-vote-next

Workers rights organizations push for NAFTA replacement deal. “Americans have had enough with trade deals that make it easier to outsource jobs to wherever workers are the most exploited and environmental regulations are the weakest.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/13/lawmakers-and-70-advocacy-groups-call-north-american-leaders-replacenafta

Net neutrality activists project Verizon logo on FCC building. “…defenders of net neutrality overnight went to the commission’s headquarters in Washington, DC where they projected various messages—including “Property of Verizon”—on the building to draw attention to the corporate interests at play behind the proposal by FCC chairman Aijit Pai, a former lobbyist who worked for the telecom giant.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/13/property-verizon-projected-fcc-headquarters-ahead-vote-destroy-net-neutrality

Fewer executions being conducted in the U.S. “In Amnesty International’s most recent assessment of global executions, the human rights group found 2016 was the first year the US did not appear (among) the world’s top five executioners since 2006. It was edged out of its usual position by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/13/us-death-sentences-executions-2017

Corporate lobbyist gearing up for fight against $15 an hour minimum wage. ““A bipartisan public is receptive to lower ‘apprentice’ or ‘intern’ wage rates for young people,” (Rick) Berman says in the memo. A lower youth wage would have the additional benefit of depressing wages across the board for lower level employees, the memo states…”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/14/minimum-wage-rick-berman-democrats/

Black Lives Matter activist sues Fox & Friends commentator for defamation. “According to McKesson’s lawsuit, (Judge Jeanine) Pirro ‘made a series of outrageously false and defamatory statements about Mr. McKesson, including that he directed someone to hit the police officer in the face with a rock’.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/jeanine-pirro-net-worth-tv-host-sued-black-lives-matter-activist-2628375

Dan Rather was right about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service. “Rather’s producers were poking into an authentic story that powerful political forces had long been trying to suppress: how the then-President of the United States, who had taken the country into war in Iraq under false pretenses, resulting in untold unnecessary deaths, himself had gone AWOL from military service years earlier — and covered it up.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/14/memo-cbs-george-w-bush-dan-rather-got-mostly-right/

U.N. investigator accuses U.S. of continued use of torture at Guantanamo Bay prison. “In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against (Ammar al-Baluchi), resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention.”    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guantanamo-torture/u-n-expert-says-torture-persists-at-guantanamo-bay-u-s-denies-idUSKBN1E71QO

Human Rights Watch accuses Singapore of political repression. “Singapore promotes itself as a modern nation and a good place to do business, but people in a country that calls itself a democracy shouldn’t be afraid to criticize their government or speak out about political issues.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-politics/human-rights-watch-calls-on-singapore-to-relax-free-speech-assembly-laws-idUSKBN1E70A9

Canada authorizes sale of automatic weapons to Ukraine. “…Canada will include Ukraine in the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL),” the government said in its official newspaper. The change ‘will enable Canadian companies and individuals to apply for a permit to export certain prohibited firearms, weapons and devices to Ukraine’.”   https://sg.news.yahoo.com/canada-authorizes-export-automatic-weapons-ukraine-233724423.html

Thousands of Argentines protest WTO meeting. “We don’t want policies of hunger or unemployment or the handing over of sovereignty to be imposed on us.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/13/headlines/thousands_take_to_streets_to_protest_wto_meeting

December 14, 2017

December 13, 2017

France’s president: We are losing the climate change battle. “The leader, who has made climate change a focal point of his presidency, said that governments and business had run out of excuses.”   http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/12/losing-the-battle-emmanuel-macron-delivers-bleak-assessment-of-fight-against

Bel Air wildfire reportedly started at homeless camp. “Investigators have determined the fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area adjacent.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/la-fires-homeless-camp-cooking-equipment-started-flames-latest-a8106646.html   I guess that makes homelessness everyone’s problem.

President Trump signs off on $700 billion defense budget. “But the NDAA exceeds budget caps by more than $80 billion, and Congress continues to be locked in debate over whether and by how much to raise the caps.”   http://thehill.com/policy/defense/364457-trump-signs-nearly-700b-defense-policy-bill

Grand Rapids police bodycam video shows officers cuffing screaming 11 year-old black child during search for 40 year-old white woman. “… a complaint was filed because officers pointed their guns at an 11-year-old girl then handcuffed and searched her.”   http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/grand-rapids-central/complaint-filed-against-grpd-after-officers-point-gun-at-an-11-year-old/498704215

Unions want Trump’s tax bill promise of $4,000 in “trickle-down” wage hikes in writing. “This campaign is about holding corporations and politicians accountable to their claims and getting a much-needed raise for America’s workers.”   https://aflcio.org/press/releases/afl-cio-bolsters-innovative-cwa-campaign-get-4000-raises-working-people

Missouri legislator proposes “Protestors’ Bill of Rights”. “Under the “Protestors’ Bill of Rights”, no department or law enforcement agency in the state of Missouri shall:

  • Declare an “unlawful assembly” unless there is an imminent threat of violence.
  • Declare an “unlawful assembly” for the purpose of punishing people for exercising their constitutional rights to engage in expressing their First Amendment rights.
  • Use chemical agents against anyone nonviolently expressing their First Amendment right to protest in the absence of probable cause to make an arrest. The city must also issue clear and unambiguous warnings that the person is subject to arrest and such chemical agents will be used.”   https://themissouritimes.com/46509/franks-files-the-protestors-bill-of-rights/

Didn’t this used to covered by the First Amendment to the Constitution?

EPA chief reportedly spent $25,000 on soundproof phone booth. “The installation of the booth raises questions about ‘why such equipment is needed and what types of conversations Administrator Pruitt is having that would warrant a private soundproof booth’.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/pruitt-s-soundproof-phone-booth-to-be-probed-by-epa-watchdog

Judge skeptical of government’s arguments why American detained in Iraq has been held for three months without access to a lawyer. “Justice Department attorney Kathryn Wyer… said the American “didn’t give any indication of urgency” to the FBI when they met with him and when he requested a lawyer.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/american-isis-aclu-case_us_5a2eb5d8e4b0c780113741ef

Case of slain Baltimore police detective, who had been scheduled to testify in court against fellow officers, gets stranger after police department dodges question about burial and it then turns out he was cremated. “When I told the woman (at the cemetery) on the phone that I was looking for Det. Suiter’s grave, she paused and told me to hold on. When she came back on the line, her voice was harried. “It was too late to make the burial,” she said. “It was dark.”   http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20685:Grave-Concerns%3A-Will-Detective-Suiter%27s-Death-Bring-Commissioner-Davis-Down%3F

San Francisco animal welfare group used robot to keep homeless people off nearby Mission District sidewalks, was reprimanded by city. “Knightscope rents out the robots for $7 an hour — less than a security guard’s hourly wage.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/security-robots-are-monitoring-the-homeless-in-san-francisco-2017-12

Trump’s Commerce Secretary accused of insider trading. “If Ross was aware that the Bank of Ireland was concealing losses, he had an obligation to disclose that information before the sale of his shares…”  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/12/european-parliament-report-accuses-wilbur-ross-of-insider-trading/

A still unemployed Colin Kaepernick visits NYC jail, upsetting corrections workers union. “Colin understands that the systemic racism he’s fighting nationally is epitomized on Rikers.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/kaepernick-visits-rikers-island-sparks-feud-union-article-1.3693792

Los Angeles alternative newspaper apparently bought by consortium of  right-wingers. “Whatever the paper becomes under its new owners, it will not be the L.A. Weekly of yore.”   https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/rich-people-demolished-l-a-weekly-to-build-the-future-1821019602

Poll: 60% of Americans say the Washington swamp is getting deeper. “The current US president was elected on a promise of cleaning up American politics and making government work better for those who feel their interests have been neglected by political elites. Yet, rather than feeling better about progress in the fight against corruption over the past year, a clear majority of people in America now say that things have become worse.”   https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_in_the_usa_the_difference_a_year_makes

U.S. reverses course, willing to talk with North Korea without pre-conditions. “While reiterating Washington’s long-standing position that it cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea, Tillerson said the United States was “ready to talk any time they’re ready to talk”, but there would first have to be a “period of quiet” without nuclear and missile tests.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-tillerson/tillerson-says-u-s-ready-to-talk-to-north-korea-japan-wants-pressure-idUSKBN1E62UI

World Bank says it will stop funding most fossil fuel extraction projects after 2019. “Environmental, human rights, and development campaigners have been amplifying the voices of frontline communities for decades in calling for an end to World Bank financing of upstream oil and gas projects.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/12/big-after-years-pressure-world-bank-drastically-curb-funding-fossil-fuels

Companies hiring security firms to infiltrate protest groups. “The leaked documents suggest that corporate security firms frequently run espionage operations to gather information on protesters, including infiltrating private meetings and obtaining internal documents.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/12/inside-the-secret-world-of-the-corporate-spies-who-infiltrate-protests

China collecting biometric and DNA data from its Uighur population. “Part of the collection is being done through government-provided medical checkups, and it is unclear if patients are aware the exam is also designed to transmit biometric data to the police.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/13/chinese-authorities-collecting-dna-residents-xinjiang

Oil and gas pipeline investor tax break directly benefits several ranking legislators. “When Texas Sen. John Cornyn slipped an obscure tax break for pipeline giants into the GOP tax bill, he wasn’t just helping major Republican Party donors, he was also potentially helping 16 of his congressional colleagues.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/tax-bill-john-cornyns-fossil-fuel-provision-would-personally-enrich-republican

 

December 13, 2017

December 12, 2017

13 top U.S. climate scientists hired by France. “The French government’s offer attracted 1,822 applications, nearly two-thirds of them from the United States.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/12/11/promising-to-make-our-planet-great-again-macron-lures-13-u-s-climate-scientists-to-france/

Jeremey Corbyn, Noam Chomsky and Okinawan anti-base activists win peace prize. “UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Noam Chomsky and Japanese anti-military base activists, yet the award received scant coverage in the British [and U.S.] media.”   https://www.rt.com/uk/412667-corbyn-chomsky-peace-prize-geneva/

Spirit Airlines accused of kicking breastfeeding woman off plane. “Mei Rui, a concert pianist and cancer researcher, says she asked for a few minutes to let her son fall asleep in her arms while the plane was still at the gate in Houston and other passengers were walking around.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/12/11/spirit-boots-breast-feeding-woman-plane/942907001/

Congress refusing to renew government’s Section 702 “backdoor” data search program without more details. “At least one Republican lawmaker on the panel said he would withhold his support for extending Section 702 until the FBI is more open with the committee about how it uses the spying powers on American citizens.”   http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42859-lawmakers-tie-fisa-data-disclosures-to-section-702-reauthorization

Politicians and government agencies blocking citizens on social media for criticizing their positions. “The responses (ProPublica has) received so far show that governors and (federal) agencies across the country are blocking at least 1,298 accounts.”   https://www.propublica.org/article/governors-and-federal-agencies-are-blocking-accounts-on-facebook-and-twitter

Venezuelan government bans opposition political parties from participating in upcoming elections. “A party that has not participated today (in mayoral elections) cannot participate anymore,” Maduro said in televised comments Sunday. “They will disappear from the political map.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/world/venezuela-president-threat-ban-opposition-draws-rebuff-article-1.3690286

Global tensions boost defense industry profits. “The surge in sales by U.S. companies was in large part thanks to Lockheed Martin, the world’s top weapons producer.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/11/led-us-weapons-makers-global-arms-sales-soared-2016-analysis

Internet founders, tech giants criticize FCC’s planned revocation of “net neutrality”. “The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/11/save-internet-they-helped-create-web-pioneers-demand-fcc-cancel-net-neutrality-vote

Texas woman stopped for having tinted windows was deported. “At the Border Patrol office, according to Ruth, the troopers sipped convenience-store cappuccinos as she was identified, immigration court records confirm, as being exactly who she said she was, with no criminal record. She was deemed removable and sent to an immigrant detention facility.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/10/theyre-taking-everybody-videos-show-texas-troopers-ripping-apart-immigrant-families-during-traffic-stops/

Election integrity activists sue Alabama for deleting voting records. “Alabama’s “optical scan” tabulating systems, which don’t count the ballots themselves but instead scan them and count the resulting image files, purge these files from memory upon shutdown.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/11/voters-left-dark-alabamas-election-system/

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department withholding information on deputy misconduct from prosecutors. “California is among 22 states that keep officer discipline from the public, but it is the only one that blocks prosecutors from seeing entire police personnel files.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-sheriff-brady-list-20171208-htmlstory.html

Judge in Cliven Bundy trial scolds prosecution for withholding evidence. “The documents include FBI memos that clarified the agency’s support role in the standoff.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/us-judge-warns-of-mistrial-in-nevada-rancher-bundys-trial/

Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq kill 29 Kurds. “Turkish attacks against northern Iraq are fairly common, and everyone killed in the Kurdish region tends to be labeled PKK in official statements, despite a lot of questions about who exactly is being killed.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/12/11/turkish-army-29-pkk-killed-in-strikes-on-northern-iraq/

Polish TV station fined $420,000 for covering anti-government protests. “The National Broadcasting Council said in a statement that all-news station TVN24’s coverage of street protests over three days last December violated Polish law by ‘propagating illegal activities and promoting behavior that threatens security’.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/polish-media-regulator-fines-us-175709875.html

Family of man fatally shot by Pittsburgh transit police after stabbing K-9 sues. “(Officers) O’Malley and Rivotti shot Kelley seven times, including twice in the back, and killed him, according to the lawsuit.”   https://observer-reporter.com/news/localnews/former-washington-county-man-s-family-members-allege-excessive-force/article_b9e78e0c-deab-11e7-b089-3bf2d9df739f.html

Thousands of protesters demand resignation of Philippine leader. “Duterte has repeatedly boasted about personally killing suspected drug dealers, and he’s led a bloody so-called war on drugs that’s seen police and vigilantes carry out more than 7,000 extrajudicial killings.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/11/headlines/philippines_thousands_march_to_demand_dutertes_resignation_on_intl_human_rights_day

 

 

December 12, 2017

December 10, 2017

Lawyer representing family of Mesa police shooting victim Daniel Shaver releases graphic body camera video of incident, in which an unarmed and cooperative Shaver was fatally shot five times. “Prosecutors said Shaver appeared to be attempting to pull up his shorts.”   http://heavy.com/news/2017/12/daniel-shaver-philip-brailsford-mesa-police-shooting-video-full/

Sources say Trump drinks about 12 Diet Cokes a day, watches up to 8 hours of television. “… I don’t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents a lot.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-drinks-12-diet-coke-watch-tv-cable-news-2017-12

Business and government agencies say they added 228,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in November, but survey results say only 57,000. “While the (official) unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, a broader measure of joblessness ticked up to 8% from 7.9%. That rate includes the unemployed as well as part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs and discouraged Americans who have stopped looking.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/careers/2017/12/08/jobs-november-employment-report-offers-positives-negatives-u-s-workers/934792001/

Expert says making Trump resign as part of a plea deal better for the country than impeachment. “… Mueller might do well to avoid a lengthy legal battle over the constitutionality of his prosecutorial authority, and strike a deal with Trump.”   http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/363875-a-presidential-plea-deal-is-better-than-impeachment

South Carolina serial killer claims he killed more than the 7 people he was sentenced to life for. “(Kala Brown) said… that (Todd) Kohlhepp raped her daily during her captivity and bragged that he was good at killing, claiming that his victims numbered nearly 100.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/todd-kohlhepp-serial-killer-says-there-are-more-victims/

Nobel peace prize winner says the world will not be safe until nuclear weapons are abolished. “All nine nuclear-weapons states need to acknowledge the insanely dangerous situation they have created and commit to a fundamental change in their nuclear policy, one based not on deterrence, but on the active pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/08/opinions/nuclear-weapons-helfand-opinion/index.html

New York Times says it’s likely more than 1,000 Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricane Maria. “The Times’s analysis found that in the 42 days after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm, 1,052 more people than usual died across the island….Officially, just 64 people died as a result of the storm that ravaged the island…”   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/08/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-death-toll.html

Conflicting theories on why so many North Korean “ghost ships” full of dead fisherman are washing up in Japan. “The ghost ships are a barometer for the state of living conditions in North Korea — grim and desperate.” Versus, “… North Korean economics, which adopted free market partly, have grown, and generated a wealthy class. A wealthy class demands not caloric food, but healthy food.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/ghost-ships-suspected-to-be-from-north-korea-showing-up-in-japan-2017-12

Why isn’t a supposedly tightening U.S. labor market resulting in higher wages? “…the pedestrian 2.5 percent average hourly earnings growth (in November) left many scratching their heads wondering how a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in 17 years, still wasn’t producing fatter paychecks.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/08/lack-of-wage-growth-remains-the-economys-greatest-mystery.html

San Francisco puts limits on delivery robots. “You do not need a robot to deliver a ham sandwich. If you want one that badly, just go down and get it yourself.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/10/san-francisco-delivery-robots-laws

Unity Commission suggests reducing number of Democratic Party “super delegates” by 60%. “Voters first, in terms of eliminating 400 super delegates out of 715 on the first ballot for the presidential nomination of the United States.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/09/dnc-unity-reform-commission-takes-a-whack-at-superdelegates/

CNN allegedly refusing to explain how it blew Trump/Wikileaks story. “The email was not dated September 4, as CNN claimed, but rather September 14 – which means it was sent after WikiLeaks had already published access to the DNC emails online.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/09/the-u-s-media-yesterday-suffered-its-most-humiliating-debacle-in-ages-now-refuses-all-transparency-over-what-happened/

Videographer captures images of starving polar bear dying in a snowless Arctic. “As temperatures rise and sea ice melts, polar bears lose access to the main staple of their diets – seals.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/starving-polar-bear-captured-on-video-rummaging-through-trashcan/

Last June, 90 U.S. Senators, including Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer, voted in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.”   https://www.timesofisrael.com/senate-unanimously-passes-bill-marking-50-years-since-jerusalem-reunification/

December 10, 2017

December 9, 2017

Former Mesa, Arizona police officer found not guilty in fatal shooting of unarmed suspect. “The detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl toward officers.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/08/arizona-police-shooting-philip-brailsford-acquitted

Jails ending free visits, replacing them with $12.99 video calls. “The prison phone system is a $1.2bn-a-year industry, dominated by big players like Securus.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/09/skype-for-jailed-video-calls-prisons-replace-in-person-visits

NSA whistle-blower claims corruption is to blame for 9/11 intelligence failures. “The whole vision statement for them is keep the problem going so the money keeps flowing.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/08/whistleblower-prevented-9-11/

Anti-American demonstrations held around the world after Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Besides Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, “Thousands of people also gathered in protest in Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Malaysia, Kashmir, Iran and Indonesia.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/israel-day-of-rage-protests_us_5a2a59a1e4b073789f68c247

Pentagon not exactly sure where 44,000 U.S. troops are stationed. “(Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob) Manning presented this as simply a limitation of the Pentagon’s current capabilities, and that there is literally “no personnel system” in the Pentagon that tracks where everyone is, and they just stick everyone else in “unknown” so the number of troops they officially have balances out with the number of troops deployed in actual, real places.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/12/08/44000-us-troops-on-unknown-deployments-worldwide/

Trump’s evangelical Christian supporters believe recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will lead to Armageddon – and that it’s a good thing. “Some Christian fundamentalists believe Israel and Jerusalem will play an important role in the apocalyptic end of days and the Second Coming of Christ….  Shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem could help hasten the inevitable Battle of Armageddon.”   http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/why-trump-supporters-believe-moving-us-embassy-jerusalem-could-trigger-armageddon-1650463

 

December 9, 2017