January 11, 2018

IRS paid private debt collectors $20 million to recover $6.7 million in unpaid taxes, often from low income Americans. “…an analysis by the advocate’s office found that 45 percent of the collections by private contractors were from taxpayers whose incomes fell below the minimum threshold, including those who received Social Security disability payments.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/business/economy/irs-debt-collection.html

Unidentifiable NYPD official reportedly subpoenas teen’s entire digital history. “The 17-year-old boy got a notice from Google last month telling him that the cops wanted all his “contacts, e-mails, history and other digital documentation” — but he was given only a redacted copy of the subpoena that doesn’t explain why police needed the info, court papers say.”   https://nypost.com/2018/01/08/nypd-subpoenas-google-to-obtain-teens-online-history/

Head of FBI claims data privacy through the use of strong encryption is an “urgent public safety issue”. “The FBI has been unable to access data in more than half of the devices that it tried to unlock due to encryption…”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-fbi/fbi-chief-calls-unbreakable-encryption-urgent-public-safety-issue-idUSKBN1EY1S7?il=0

Florida coastline, where Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located, gets exemption from oil drilling from Secretary of the Interior, other states ask for exemptions too. “As a result of discussion with Governor [Scott] and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/10/577064733/after-florida-gets-offshore-drilling-exemption-other-states-ask-for-the-same

Immigration officers raid 7-11 stores in 17 states. “Unlike other enforcement efforts that have marked Trump’s first year in office, Wednesday’s actions were aimed squarely at store owners and managers, though 21 workers across the country were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/01/10/immigration-agents-descend-7-eleven-stores-17-states/1022627001/

State Department issues severe travel advisory for parts of Mexico. “The US state department has warned Americans to completely avoid five Mexican states plagued by crime and drug cartel violence, putting the regions on the same level as war-zones such as Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/us-travel-advisory-mexico-do-not-travel-crime-drug-cartel

Louisiana teacher who was taken down and cuffed for speaking up at school board meeting apparently spent the night in jail. “(Deyshia) Hargrave was booked into jail overnight, according to KATC, even though the superintendent said that ‘shortly after the meeting that he had called to inform police that the system didn’t want any charges pressed’.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/10/577010534/outcry-after-louisiana-teacher-arrested-during-school-board-meeting

Senior military official threatens that IS fighters will be beaten to death if necessary. “…if they choose not to surrender, then we will kill them with extreme prejudice, whether that be through security force assistance, by dropping bombs on them, shooting them in the face, or beating them to death with our entrenching tools.”   http://abcnews.go.com/International/pentagons-top-enlisted-leader-suggests-fatally-beating-isis/story?id=52269255   No burning them alive or cutting their heads off?

City of New York sues oil companies for costs associated with climate change. “The significant majority of emissions resulting from fossil fuels produced and marketed by Defendants occurred after Defendants became aware of the consequences of climate change.”   https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/nyc-sues-oil-companies-for-the-cost-of-adapting-to-climate-change/

Ontario, Canada raises minimum wage, restaurant reportedly shifts benefits costs to employees, cancels paid breaks policy. “Employees at an Ontario Tim Hortons owned by the children of the chain’s founders say they have been told to sign a document acknowledging they are losing paid breaks, paid benefits, and other incentives as a result of the province’s minimum wage hike.”   http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/tim-horton-s-tims-timmies-doubledouble-minimum-wage-ontario-kathleen-wynne-labour-1.4470215

21 year-old fitness buff goes to work with the flu, dies two days later. “The day after Christmas, Kyler Baughman went back to work — he earned a living moving furniture at a local furniture store and unloading goods at Walmart, according to his social media accounts.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/01/10/he-was-21-and-fit-he-tried-to-push-through-the-flu-and-it-killed-him/

Tighter libel laws may land Trump in the defendant’s seat. “There were all those times Trump accused former President Barack Obama of lying about his birth certificate.… Another time Trump implied Ted Cruz’s father may have helped (Lee Harvey Oswald) assassinate a sitting president.”   http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/if-libel-laws-change-president-trump-better-lawyer-up/article/2645558

White House reportedly caught omitting DACA comment from official transcript. “They thought no one would notice a corrupted transcript, got caught, looked up the Presidential Records Act, and quietly fixed it.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/10/they-thought-no-one-would-notice-wh-transcript-immigration-meeting-omitted-trumps

Legalizing marijuana would create jobs, raise tax revenue. “If cannabis businesses were legalized tomorrow and taxed as normal businesses with a standard 35% tax rate, (they) would infuse the U.S. economy with an additional $12.6 billion this year.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/10/new-analysis-shows-federal-marijuana-legalization-could-raise-130-billion-add-1

Study finds U.S. by far the most dangerous developed country for children. “American kids are 70 percent more likely to die during childhood compared with children in other wealthy, democratic nations, according to a peer-reviewed study published Monday by Health Affairs.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/09/study-should-alarm-everyone-us-child-mortality-rate-70-higher-other-wealthy-nations

Pennsylvania congressman Brendan Boyle introduces “Stable Genius Act”. “My legislation provides a much needed safeguard to ensure that future presidential candidates meet the basic standards of a proper, uniform medical examination, and that this information is available to the American public before voting.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/09/new-stable-genius-act-would-mandate-mental-fitness-exams-presidential-candidates

FBI accused of downplaying possibility of Trump-Russia ties before election. “The release of (opposition research firm CEO Glenn) Simpson’s transcripts by Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, raises questions about what the FBI knew at that time and why federal investigators kept the information quiet.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/10/transcript-raises-questions-about-fbis-handling-of-trump-russia-concerns

Trump to attend “swampy” Davos World Economic Forum. “Davos was once held up by the Trump campaign as an example of what was wrong with Hillary Clinton’s Democratic party.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/09/donald-trump-attend-davos-despite-criticizing-forum-during-his-campaign

Democrats now seem ok with candidates without any political experience. “…within a year of Trump’s inauguration, a not-insignificant segment of Democratic voters (or at least tweeters) have swung from fetishizing “qualifications” to adopting the Republican line on celebrity candidates whole cloth (with their Oprah Winfrey for President speculation).”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/09/oprah-winfrey-president-idea-uncomfortable-truth

U.N. organized November police raid in Port-au-Price that reportedly spun wildly out of control. “Though the anti-gang raid ended with a schoolyard massacre, questions linger about what happened outside the campus, where the raid began…. The total death toll remains unknown.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/01/10/haiti-raid-united-nations-police-grand-ravine/

NSA surveillance data being secretly diverted to domestic law enforcement agencies. “The Special Operations Division receives raw intelligence from the NSA’s surveillance programs, including from the mass surveillance programs revealed in documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. DEA agents in this unit then analyze the surveillance data and disseminate leads to federal and local police nationwide.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/01/09/dark-side-fbi-dea-illegal-searches-secret-evidence/

Federal Elections Commission accused of not enforcing ban on political donations from government contractors. “There’s no dispute about the fact that during the 2016 presidential election, GEO subsidiary GEO Corrections Holdings Inc. gave $225,000 to Rebuilding America Now, which billed itself as ‘the largest Super PAC supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 general election’.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/lawsuit-trump-super-pac-took-illegal-donation-private-prison-company-2640069

Trump claims his immigration meeting with Democrats “got great reviews”. “Actually, it was reported as incredibly good and my performance — some of them called it a performance, I consider it work — but it got great reviews by everybody other than two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours and then, after that, they were called by their bosses and said, ‘Oh, wait a minute…’ Unfortunately, a lot of those anchors sent us letters saying that was one of the greatest meetings they’ve ever witnessed.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/trump-praises-himself-for-meeting-with-dems-my-performance-got-great-reviews-the-ratings-were-fantastic/

Pundits seem disappointed as threat of nuclear war with North Korea recedes. “(Kim’s)  gambit may be a ploy to buy time for the additional testing needed to acquire the capability to strike the continental United States.”   http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2018/01/10/north-korea-walking-back-war-pundits-strangely-disappointed/

Senators threaten filibuster to end warrantless mass surveillance of Americans. “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took part in a press conference with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) among others, to oppose long-term extension of warrantless surveillance by the United States government.”   http://rare.us/rare-politics/rare-liberty/the-right-to-privacy/rand-paul-says-he-will-filibuster-surveillance-bill-if-it-doesnt-include-warrant-protections/

Pakistani journalist evades apparent kidnapping attempt by “deep state”. “A Pakistani journalist, known for criticising his country’s military establishment, said on Wednesday he had narrowly escaped being kidnapped by armed men, in an incident that came months after he complained of being harassed by security services.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-pakistan-media-kidnapping/pakistani-journalist-critical-of-military-escapes-kidnap-attempt-idUKKBN1EZ0TM

Trump administration wants to develop “usable” nuclear weapons. “The Trump administration plans to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a new low-yield nuclear warhead for US Trident missiles, according to a former official who has seen the most recent draft of a policy review.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/09/us-to-loosen-nuclear-weapons-policy-and-develop-more-usable-warheads

Federal court slaps down crazy election districts in North Carolina. “The ruling marks the first time a federal court has struck down a congressional map because of political gerrymandering.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/10/headlines/judges_strike_down_north_carolina_congressional_map_over_political_gerrymandering



January 11, 2018

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