February 27, 2018

Four Broward County deputies alleged to have “taken tactical positions” outside the Florida school building during murder rampage. “The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school.”   http://myfox8.com/2018/02/24/several-broward-deputies-waited-outside-during-florida-school-shooting-as-suspect-killed-students-inside-report-says/   Trump claims he would have charged inside the school, even if unarmed. “You don’t know until you’re tested but I think, I really believe, I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon…”   http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-florida-school-shooting-20180226-story.html   Broward County Sheriff’s Office reportedly received 45 calls over 10 years about Nikolas Cruz and his brother. “Records obtained from the sheriff’s office by CNN show the law enforcement agency received at least 45 calls for service relating to Cruz or his brother from 2008 to 2017…”   http://www.wnem.com/story/37598495/sheriff-says-he-got-23-calls-about-shooters-family-records-show-more

Death row inmate’s lawyer says botched execution was torture. “An Alabama execution team left a death-row inmate with more than a dozen puncture marks in his legs and groin and may have penetrated his bladder and femoral artery before the lethal injection was called off, the prisoner’s attorney said Sunday.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/lethal-injection/lawyer-calls-aborted-execution-attempt-doyle-lee-hamm-torture-n851006

Journalist sues St. Louis police for using excessive force during protest arrest. “One of the Defendant Doe Police Officers… placed his boot onto Mr. Faulk’s head and used his weight to press Mr. Faulk’s head into the asphalt of the street…. Faulk was then directly pepper sprayed in the face…”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-faulk-st-louis-police-protest-crackdown_us_5a90784de4b03b55731c11f0

Warren Buffet says Trump tax cuts will boost his investment firm’s income by $29 billion. “The one-time benefit comes from savings on future taxes the company would have to pay if it sold about $170 billion in equities, which run from American Express to Apple to the Coca-Cola Company.”   http://triblive.com/usworld/world/13346240-74/buffett-29b-tax-cut-windfall-boosts-berkshire-hathaway

U.N. imposed ceasefire being ignored in Syria. “The main rebel factions, the Army of Islam and the Rahman Corps, contend that the government and its allies are using the presence of small numbers of fighters with links to Al Qaeda as a pretext to continue their campaign against the last major rebel stronghold near the capital.”   http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-fighting-20180225-story.html

Chinese government to drop term limits for officials, censors critics. “…online commenters wrote, “Attention, the vehicle is reversing” — an automated announcement used by Chinese delivery vehicles — suggesting that China is returning to the era of former dictator Mao Zedong or even imperial rule.”   https://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=235&sid=46268940&title=china-removes-online-criticism-of-plan-to-extend-xis-rule

Thousands march in Moscow in memory of slain opposition leader. “For the third year running on Sunday afternoon, the disparate political movements in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin came together — if only for a brief few hours — to march in the memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.”   https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/russia-opposition-leaders-come-together-briefly-in-nemtsov-march-60624

West Virginia’s state-wide teachers’ strike enters Day 4. “West Virginia ranked 48th in the nation for average teacher pay in 2017.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/26/west-virginia-historic-statewide-teacher-walkouts-head-fourth-day

Second federal appeals court rules that law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. “Today’s opinion is a huge victory in the fight for equality and fairness for all LGBT workers.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/26/repudiating-trump-doj-court-delivers-victory-lgbtq-advocates-workplace

One more vote needed to save “net neutrality”. “There are 50 U.S. senators who have a decision to make: are they going to listen to lobbyists who are paid to lie to them, or are they going to listen to their constituents and small businesses in their district?”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/26/operation-onemorevote-future-net-neutrality-stake-major-websites-mobilize-internet

North Pole 54 F, 30 C warmer than usual. “The northernmost permanent weather station in the world, just 440 miles from the North Pole, has warmed to 43°F today — in the middle of months-long darkness during what is normally the coldest time of the year.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/26/these-climate-scientists-tweets-about-unusually-warm-arctic-might-scare-your-pants

Insiders say Trump often talks about executing drug dealers. “According to five sources who’ve spoken with Trump about the subject, he often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty.”   https://www.axios.com/exclusive-trump-privately-talks-up-executing-all-big-drug-dealers-1519595170-402cc386-8729-4684-a7ef-a5bf31876afa.html   What about Big Pharma? Naw, they give politicians big campaign contributions. “Kapoor and other company executives were allegedly part of a conspiracy to bribe practitioners in several states to get them to prescribe the fentanyl-based Subsys nasal spray, which is ‘extremely dangerous and addictive’.”   http://www.newsweek.com/big-pharma-opioid-crisis-bribery-arrest-694154

Progressive candidate upsets long-time Democratic incumbent at California state convention. “Conservative Democrat (Dianne) Feinstein won just 37 percent of the 2,775 delegates’ votes, versus 54 percent for her challenger, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/25/california-democrats-shock-dianne-feinstein-favor-challenger-54-37   Progressive group releases bold economic program. “If the Democrats don’t start talking about a fundamental restructuring of the economy, either they will lose, or when they win, they will fail.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/23/demanding-fundamental-restructuring-economy-progressives-embrace-bold-new-agenda  Hmmm, looks amazingly similar to the Green Party’s platform….

Koch groups take credit for Trump administration “achievements”. “The document highlights environmental issues that the Koch brothers have long worked to undo, such as the EPA Clean Power Plan, which is currently under the process of being formally repealed, and Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, among their major accomplishments.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/25/koch-brothers-trump-administration/

3M funded scientist accused of influencing what research was published on PFCs. “While some of 3M’s history will remain secret as a result of the settlement deal, documents already made public in the Minnesota case point to one critical tool the Minnesota-based company used to defend itself — a scientist named John Giesy, who helped 3M spin the science on PFCs in the company’s favor even as he presented himself as an independent scientist.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/23/3m-lawsuit-pfcs-pollution/

Feds can now crack any iPhone according to journalists. “The breakthrough reportedly came in the last few months and (Cellebrite) has been advertising its new capabilities to law enforcement agencies around the world.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/cellebrite-iphone-hack-company-can-reportedly-crack-any-iphone-law-enforcement-2657747

Judge dismissed legal petition claiming federal marijuana rules “lack a rational basis”. “For decades, marijuana has been under the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act, the highest level of drug classification making it on par with dangerous drugs like heroin.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/marijuana-stay-schedule-i-drug-federal-judge-denies-reclassification-2657890

State Department accused of setting up its own “troll farm”. “On Monday, the US State Department announced that it had obtained $40 million from the Pentagon to fund a new propaganda and disinformation campaign through the ‘Global Engagement Center’.”   https://news.antiwar.com/2018/02/26/state-dept-gets-40-million-to-fund-troll-farm/


February 27, 2018

February 23, 2018

Armed “school resource officer” alleged to have not intervene in Parkland shooting, but six deputies are reportedly guarding his home. “Peterson, who was armed and in uniform at the time, reportedly did “nothing” and remained outside of the building for at least four minutes during the incident, according to (Sheriff Scott) Israel.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/parkland-shooting-officer-resigns-deputies-sent-to-protect-his-family-2018-2   Trump thinks he has a better idea – arming teachers, but teachers’ union says maybe not. “We want to teach. We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharp shooters…”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/donald-trump-gun-reforms-school-shooting/index.html   How about more school counselors?   Code Pink suggests banning the military’s  JROTC program from schools since Nikolas Cruz was a member. “It’s time to stop the militarization of our children and end the JROTC program.”   http://www.codepink.org/jrotc

Federal citizenship agency changes its motto. “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is changing its mission statement to eliminate a passage that describes the U.S. as ‘a nation of immigrants’.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/22/588097749/america-no-longer-a-nation-of-immigrants-uscis-says

State Department to play down lack of access to contraception and discrimination in its global human rights report. “Unmet needs for contraception, deaths related to unsafe abortion, maternal mortality, and coercive family planning practices” in India were all included in last year’s report (but) are expected to be stripped from the upcoming document.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/22/rights-advocates-decry-unconscionable-state-dept-decision-cut-womens-rights-annual-0

EU fines auto shipping and spark plug companies for running cartels. “The three (auto parts) companies exchanged commercially sensitive information and in some instances agreed on the prices to be quoted to certain customers, the share of supplies to specific customers and the respect of historical supply rights.”   https://www.eureporter.co/frontpage/2018/02/22/antitrust-commission-fines-maritime-car-carriers-and-car-parts-suppliers-a-total-of-e546-million-in-three-separate-cartel-settlements/

Philadelphia DA ends cash bail for minor, non-violent offenses. “There is absolutely no reason why someone who will show up for court, is not a flight risk and is no threat to their neighbors and community, needs to sit in jail for days because they can’t post a small amount of bail.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/22/latest-progressive-reform-philadelphia-da-ends-cash-bail-many-non-violent-offenses

Constituent thrown out of “tax reform” meeting after asking his Congressman how much money he has received from Koch groups. “… I want to know how much the Koch brothers are getting in tax cuts and how much they’re contributing to your campaign.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/21/activist-ejected-meeting-lawmaker-after-asking-how-much-money-hes-getting-koch

Mayors to EPA – don’t trash the Clean Power Plan. “In a letter addressed to Scott Pruitt, the Trump-appointed EPA administrator, 236 mayors from 47 states wrote, “We strongly oppose the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which would put our citizens at risk and harm our efforts to address the urgent threat of climate change.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/21/citing-urgent-threat-climate-crisis-236-us-mayors-denounce-trumps-attack-clean-power

House Speaker Ryan removes non-partisan Republican appointee from Election Assistance Commission, the agency responsible for helping states run fair, secure elections. “The four-member commission, originally founded to help states apply the lessons of the bungled 2000 presidential election, has taken on an increasingly prominent role in promoting security — to the consternation of some Republicans who say it has outlived its purpose.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/22/paul-ryan-election-agency-replacement-matthew-masterson-422725

Syria accused of targeting health care facilities after 22 hospitals hit in eastern Ghouta. “Medics inside Ghouta claimed only three medical facilities remained fully operational and all were overwhelmed with mass casualties that continued to arrive throughout Thursday – the fifth day of a blitz by Russian and Syrian jets across the opposition enclave.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/22/eastern-ghouta-medical-crisis-as-hospitals-systematically-targeted

Freedom of speech under attack in Spain says artist Santiago Sierra, whose photos of Spanish political prisoners were removed from an art exhibition. “…Sierra said the Spanish government was “using the old repressive formulas of Grandfather Franco … The logic that led me to create this piece is the same logic that’s stopped this exhibition.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/22/madrid-mayor-boycotts-arco-art-fair-opening-censorship-row-political-prisoners

Republican Senator says impeachment of judges who threw out rigged election districts in Pennsylvania is on the table. “It’s unfortunate that the only way the Republican Party can win elections is to dismantle democracy, relying on unconstitutional gerrymandering and calling for the impeachment of judges that have been elected by the voters of Pennsylvania.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/22/toomey-pennsylvania-gerrymandered-map/

Democratic candidate in New York race used to work for company that sold spyware to the government. “Documents, uncovered by the ACLU of California through a public records investigation of social media monitoring software, show that Dataminr monitored tweets mentioning Black Lives Matter on behalf of the JRIC (fusion center).”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/22/patrick-ryan-congress-berico-dataminr/

Philippine senator says the 20,000 killed since President Duterte took office are victims of his campaign against drugs. “While the country continues to laugh at the lewd jokes of Duterte, more than 20,000 of our countrymen have been killed.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/dutertes-government-reported-20000-dead-drug-war-senator-calls-killings-executions-2656606

Amnesty International slams world leaders for “hate-filled rhetoric”. “From U.S. President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, to Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing campaign, the world has spent the past year coping with discriminatory policies, atrocities, and hate-filled rhetoric from leaders, Amnesty International says in its latest State of the World’s Human Rights report, launched today.”   http://time.com/5167995/amnesty-2018-state-of-worlds-human-rights-report/

February 23, 2018

February 22, 2018

Border Patrol increasing its searches of Americans far from U.S. borders. “It cannot be the case that anyone who lives or travels within 100 miles of the border has no Fourth Amendment rights.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/us/politics/trump-border-patrol-searches.html   Federal court hears case involving arrests of photographers at border crossings. “The lawsuit cites another case where border agents forced people who had footage of the killing of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas by CBP officers at the San Ysidro port of entry on May 28, 2010, to erase their footage.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/ninth-circuit-asked-to-quash-limits-on-border-crossing-photos/

Pipeline company sues Greenpeace for damages. “In the suit, (Energy Transfer Partners) alleges that the defendants engaged in criminal conspiracy to defame the company. ETP further claims that Greenpeace ran a media campaign that aimed to cut the company’s profits through its criticism and campaign for divestment in the company, and therefore should be punished.”   https://freedom.press/news/dangerous-lawsuit-against-greenpeace-threatens-news-organizations-and-first-amendment/   Resource extraction industry backed bill would prevent protests around “critical infrastructure” sites, such as pipelines. “The bills would criminalize trespass onto these special properties.”   https://rightsanddissent.org/news/toxic-brew-state-politicians-gas-oil-lobbyists-alec-join-forces-environmental-protesters/

Former CIA director James Woolsey refuses to rule out current U.S. interventions in other countries’ elections. “We don’t do that now, we don’t mess around in other people’s elections?” “Well… Only for a very good cause, in the interests of democracy.”   https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/20/former-cia-director-and-fox-news-host-sh

Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover targeted African-American bookstores. “While perhaps not surprising, it is deeply disturbing that Hoover and the FBI would carry out sustained investigations of black-owned independent bookstores across the country [and their customers] as part of COINTELPRO’s larger attacks on the Black Power movement.”   https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/fbi-black-bookstores/553598/

Anti-gun movement adopts slogan of Jewish militants , who vowed to never allow another Holocaust and armed themselves with guns for self-defense. “As hundreds of students, teachers and gun reform advocates gathered outside the legislative building in Tallahassee, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland continued to push for tougher gun laws in Florida and on a federal level. Many carried signs reading ‘#NeverAgain’.”   http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-florida-shooting-rally-20180221-story.html   School officers in Florida to be armed with “assault rifles”. “In response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead and 16 injured on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Wednesday that he is planning to issue rifles to trained resource deputies at local public schools.”   https://www.local10.com/news/parkland-school-shooting/broward-sheriff-to-deploy-deputies-with-rifles-to-local-public-schools

California rape suspect drinks poison during police chase and dies to avoid being arrested by police. “The substance that the suspect ingested was tested by the Ventura Fire Department’s Hazmat team and determined to be a mixture of sodium chloride and potassium cyanide…”   http://abc7.com/chase-suspect-dies-after-apparent-poisoning-chp-says/3119031/

Supreme Court rules that man who reported financial misconduct to his own company is not a protected whistleblower under securities fraud law. “Courts are not at liberty to dispense with the condition — tell the S.E.C. — Congress imposed.”   Supreme Court rules that pleading guilty does not bar you from challenging the legality of the law you violated. “By a 6-to-3 vote, the court ruled that a North Carolina man who pleaded guilty to violating a federal law that bars firearms on the grounds of the United States Capitol may nonetheless challenge the constitutionality of the law on appeal.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/us/supreme-court-terrorism-whistle-blowers-prisoners.html

Disney accused of withholding corporate tax cut bonuses as leverage in union negotiations. “Disney stated the employee bonus was the result of President Donald Trump’s recently signed tax plan, which he has touted as a gift to working-class Americans.”   https://www.salon.com/2018/02/21/disney-uses-its-promised-1000-employee-bonus-as-leverage-over-union-negotiations/

Toy R Us to close 200 more stores. “The 200 newly reported planned closures will be in addition to the (170) April closures, and likely impact even more in-store workers in addition to corporate staff.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/toys-r-us-reportedly-closing-another-200-stores-laying-off-workers-2018-2

Activists who cheered firing of Google employee who criticized diversity programs shocked when ‘Nazi puncher’ also gets fired. “Diversity advocates at Google, many of whom were queer or transgender, told WIRED in January they were being targeted for harassment by coworkers in order to silence internal discussion around racial and gender diversity.”   https://www.wired.com/story/ex-google-employee-claims-wrongful-firing-for-criticizing-james-damores-memo/

Washington D.C. to pay $3.5 million to settle lawsuit over police officer’s shooting of a fleeing motorcyclist in the back. “Police said (Terrance) Sterling, of Fort Washington, Maryland, intentionally rammed the passenger-side door of a police car while trying to flee a traffic stop. Witnesses disputed the police department’s account of the incident and said the crash was unavoidable.”   https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Family-of-Unarmed-Black-Man-Killed-in-Police-Shooting-Reaches-Settlement-With-DC-474713603.html

Eaton County, Michigan releases video of fatal police shooting of fleeing suspect. “Dash camera video shows an Eaton County Sheriff’s deputy following Robert Claude Smith, 64, down rural roads before Smith turns around his pickup and drives directly at two stopped police vehicles.”   http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/lansing/video-of-fatal-police-shooting-in-eaton-county-released/521573888

Expert witness tells jury that police officer had no choice but to shoot unarmed bus passenger in the back during arrest, could not have used her taser. “Video, he said, can be misleading. ‘It’s an illusion’.”   https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/21/defense-expert-breaking-down-video-police-shooting-unarmed-bus-passenger/357098002/

Overland Park, Kansas releases video of fatal shooting of fleeing teen, announces no charges will be filed against officer. “Video shows a mini van exiting the garage of a home, despite the officer’s repeated demands to stop the vehicle… The incident lasted 14 seconds, and investigators said a total of 13 shots were fired.”   http://www.kmbc.com/article/authorities-to-release-some-video-in-fatal-police-shooting-of-overland-park-teen/18289864

Deaf Oklahoma motorist awarded $175,000 after beating by state troopers. “Pearson, who is 68 years old now, was headed home from a community deaf group meeting when the OHP tried to pull him over for suspected involvement in a hit-and-run.”   http://kfor.com/2018/02/19/deaf-man-given-175000-settlement-after-claiming-oklahoma-troopers-used-excessive-force-during-arrest/

Appeals court finds school resource officer used excessive force when handcuffing a compliant 10 year old three days after a scuffle with another student on the bus, but officer is protected by qualified immunity. “Without more, we cannot conclude that it would have necessarily been clear to a reasonable officer that handcuffing E.W. would give rise to a Fourth Amendment violation.”   https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180213/14504739228/appeals-court-handcuffing-compliant-ten-year-old-is-unreasonable-deputy-had-no-way-knowing-that.shtml


February 22, 2018

February 21, 2018

List of those charged so far in Russian election interference probe – includes 5 Americans (3 pleaded guilty, 2 not guilty), 1 Dutch citizen and 13 Russians. “(George) Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents about ‘the timing, extent, and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials’.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/20/whos-been-charged-by-the-special-counsels-russia-probe.html

3M to settle water contamination lawsuit for $850 million. “In a statement Tuesday, 3M senior vice president of research and development John Banovetz said the company is proud of its record of environmental stewardship and does not believe there is a PFC-related health issue.”   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/minnesotas-billion-case-3m-chemicals-heads-trial-53209885   If it’s safe, let’s send 3M some free bottled water from East St. Paul for its employee to drink at their corporate headquarters.

Florida House passes up chance to consider banning the public from owning modern rifles. “The vote in the Republican-dominated body was 36-71.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/20/us/florida-legislature-weapons-ban/index.html   Bernie Sanders irks fact-checkers by claiming 40% of guns are purchased without a background check. “The researchers asked 1,613 adult gun owners where and when they acquired their last firearm, including whether it was purchased, and whether they had either a background check or were asked to show a firearm license or permit…. 22 percent obtained their gun without a background check.”   http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2018/feb/20/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-repeats-false-claim-about-backgroun/

More than 250 killed by Syrian government airstrikes and artillery, at least five hospitals hit. “The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was the highest 48-hour death toll in the Syria conflict since a 2013 chemical attack on eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel bastion located near the capital.”   https://www.independent.ie/world-news/devastation-in-syria-un-says-it-has-run-out-of-words-as-violence-surges-killing-hundreds-36626837.html   All we have to do is to take the “assault weapons” away from the anti-Assad resistance fighters and we can end all this violence. The people of this part of Syria can then go back to living under a brutal dictatorship, but free from the risk of school shootings.

Trump administration trying to blow up Obamacare by allowing insurance companies to sell plans that only cover healthy people. “These short-term plans are exempt from certain essential coverage standards—meaning they often don’t cover healthcare related to pregnancy, substance abuse, or mental illness—and providers can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions as well as set limits on maximum annual and lifetime benefits for patients.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/20/continuing-sabotage-americans-healthcare-trump-proposes-allowing-insurers-offer-junk

U.S. comes in at 36th in infant mortality among wealthy countries. “In Kuwait and the United States of America, both high-income countries, the newborn mortality rate is 4 (per 1,000). This is only slightly better than lower-middle-income countries such as Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where the newborn mortality rate is 5 (per 1,000).”   https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Every_Child_Alive_The_urgent_need_to_end_newborn_deaths.pdf  (p. 34)

U.S. meatpacking plants under investigation by Europe. “The rates at which outbreaks of infectious food poisoning occur in the US are significantly higher than in the UK, or the EU, and poor hygiene in the meat supply chain is [a] leading cause of food poisoning in the US.”   https://www.theguardian.com/animals-farmed/2018/feb/21/dirty-meat-shocking-hygiene-failings-discovered-in-us-pig-and-chicken-plants

Honduras allegedly using U.S. trained special forces for night raids on pro-democracy activists. “Trained in Honduras and in the United States by Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the TIGRES receive substantial support from the U.S. State Department. And they have been active participants in government repression during the current political crisis in Honduras.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/20/honduras-election-protest-tigres/

Russian election interference being elevated to “act of war” by some politicians and media figures. “…last February, the always war-hungry Tom Friedman of the New York Times said on “Morning Joe” that Russian hacking ‘was a 9/11-scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor-scale event’.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/a-consensus-emerges-russia-committed-an-act-of-war-on-par-with-pearl-harbor-and-911-should-the-u-s-response-be-similar/

Millions of Americans rank among the world’s poorest. “There are millions of Americans whose suffering, through material poverty and poor health, is as bad or worse than that of the people in Africa or in Asia.”   https://www.alternet.org/economy/americans-poorest-people-world

Suppressed 1952 report alleges U.S. used biological weapons during Korean War. “The report concluded that the U.S. had used a number of biological weapons, including use of anthrax, plague, and cholera, disseminated by over a dozen of different devices or methods, including spraying, porcelain bombs, self-destroying paper containers with a paper parachute, and leaflet bombs, among others.”   https://medium.com/@jeff_kaye/the-long-suppressed-korean-war-report-on-u-s-use-of-biological-weapons-released-at-last-20d83f5cee54

Pentagon asks for more time to spend the tons of cash dumped on them by Congress. “Army Secretary Mark Esper said he has been meeting with members of Congress about relaxing a Sept. 30 deadline for using its annual operations and maintenance funds, an account that is about 40 percent of the total Pentagon budget.”   http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-military-flush-with-cash-is-asking-lawmakers-for-more-time-to-spend-it-all/article/2649365

Crypto-currency mining malware allegedly based on NSA program. “A computer security exploit developed by the US National Security Agency and leaked by hackers last year is now being used to mine cryptocurrency, and according to cybersecurity experts the number of infections is rising.”   https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180204/12595039153/nsa-exploit-now-powering-cryptocurrency-mining-malware.shtml

Turkish refugees wash up in Greece. “Skai TV, without citing sources, said the group of seven men, four women and six children included teachers who feared persecution in the political crackdown in Turkey that has followed a failed coup attempt in 2016. Other media said the group included judges and civil servants.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-turkey/seventeen-turks-land-on-greek-beach-media-say-they-seek-asylum-idUKKCN1G41JW

Five killed, 300 arrested in clashes between Sufis and Iranian government forces. “Members of the Gonabadi Dervishes, who follow the mystical Sufi strain of Islam, considered a threat by the theocratic establishment, clashed with riot police after gathering at a police station to demand the release of members of their sect.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iran-protests-sufis/five-iranian-security-officers-killed-at-sufi-protest-in-tehran-idUKKCN1G40LZ

Seven associates of Israeli prime minister reportedly arrested in corruption case. “Among those arrested were Netanyahu’s close friend and former communications director, as well as the former director general of the Communications Ministry.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/20/headlines/israel_7_members_of_netanyahus_inner_circle_arrested_as_corruption_probes_widen

February 21, 2018

February 20, 2018

Russian bots taking both sides of gun debate, but CNN headline only mentions one: “Russian bots promote pro-gun messages after Florida school shooting”. But in the story’s seventh paragraph… “Hashtags calling for gun reform and gun control are also topping the list.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/16/us/russian-bots-florida-shooting-intl/index.html

Mercedes-Benz also suspected of using emission test evasion software. “Mercedes-Benz has equipped various diesel models with software which may have helped them pass emission tests, according to a report published by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.”   https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/101599527/mercedesbenz-suspected-of-using-diesel-defeat-device

Minnesota sues 3M claiming water contamination. “(Attorney general Lori) Swanson argues that the (petro-fluorochemicals or PFCs) made and later buried by Maplewood-based 3M were consumed by 67,000 Twin Cities water drinkers and many more across the country…”   https://www.gomn.com/news/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-3m-vs-state-of-minnesota-trial-worth-5-billion

Poland’s prime minister defends country’s new anti-defamation law using example which suggests “Jewish perpetrators” may have also been responsible for the Holocaust. “Of course it’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators.”   http://www.newsweek.com/jewish-holocaust-perpetrators-comments-spark-outrage-israel-810331

U.S. ambassador to Israel warns of possible civil war within Israel if West Bank settlers are ever forced to leave. “A forced evacuation of West Bank settlements could spark a civil war in Israel, US Ambassador David Friedman told Jewish American leaders in Jerusalem, according to a report on Channel 10 news.”   http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-US-ambassador-warns-settlement-evacuation-could-spark-civil-war-543084   Oh no! I guess we’ll just have to accept them then, and give up on peace with Palestine.

Investigation reveals massive amounts of wage theft, especially from low wage employees. “…an estimated $15 billion in desperately needed income for workers with lowest wages goes instead into the pockets of shady bosses.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/18/minimum-wage-not-enforced-investigation-409644

Speech by NRA leader not on this year’s official agenda for the Conservative Political Action Conference. “LaPierre’s name is nowhere to be found on the official agenda for CPAC, the conservative conference which begins in Maryland on Wednesday.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/19/nra-appearance-cpac-wayne-lapierre-gun-control-florida

Elizabeth Warren used to be a Republican, voted for Gerald Ford. “As the ’80s wore on and her research on bankruptcy progressed, Warren started waking up politically.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/elizabeth-warren-opens-up-about-her-choices-in-every-presidential-election-since-1972/

Bill Gates wants the government to raise his taxes. “I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/gates-says-billionaires-pay-significantly-taxes/

Turkey says Syrian troops will not be able to stop its anti-Kurdish offensive in Afrin. “Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Syrian forces could not stop the Turkish army’s advance.”   https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/turkey-says-syrian-army-cannot-stop-its-advance-in-afrin-1.705963

Many of Venezuela’s opposition leaders will not be able to participate in upcoming elections. ” Venezuela’s most popular opposition leaders are almost all sidelined from the country’s April 22 presidential election – jailed, in exile, or disqualified from holding office.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-barred-opposition-politicians-175043937.html

Post-hurricane Puerto Rico to privatize power company, introduce charter schools. “It almost seems like the perfect storm for disaster economics or what they call disaster capitalism.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/19/five_months_after_maria_san_juan

Palestinian teenagers reportedly killed by Israeli tank fire. “In Gaza, family members gathered for the funerals of two Palestinian teenagers who were killed after Israeli tanks opened fire during an air and ground assault this weekend.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/19/headlines/gaza_two_palestinian_teenagers_killed_by_israeli_tank_fire

Superhero film “Black Panther” breaks record for February release. “It was also the fifth-highest-earning opening weekend of any film in U.S. history.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/19/headlines/black_panther_film_smashes_opening_weekend_box_office_records


February 20, 2018

February 19, 2018

Republican bill would require Americans to present a biometric national ID card to work. “H.R. 4760 establishes a mandatory National Identification system that requires all Americans to carry a government-approved ID containing “biometric features.” Without this card, according to the legislation, you will not be able to work in this country.”   http://thefreethoughtproject.com/national-id-hr4760-biometrics/

Syrian Kurds to allow Syrian Army into Afrin to join fight against Turkish forces. “A senior Kurdish official, Badran Jia Kurd, told Reuters that government soldiers could enter the Afrin region within days and that they would deploy to some border positions.”    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43107013

Florida students hold rallies, advocate walk-outs against guns, plan march on Washington. “Thousands of angry students, parents and residents demanded stricter gun control laws on Saturday at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, which is about 20 miles from the site of the shooting in Parkland.”   http://wfla.com/2018/02/18/school-walkouts-sit-ins-planned-after-florida-shooting/   Cruz bought his rifle legally, passed government background check. “Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon. With no criminal record, Cruz cleared an instant background check via the FBI criminal database.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/15/florida-shooting-suspect-bought-gun-legally-authorities-say/340606002/   Cruz was a JROTC cadet and on the military group’s NRA funded rifle team. “Members of the school’s JROTC recounted troubling signs in Cruz’s behaviour and also his mother’s hopes that the military-sponsored program could teach her son ‘discipline’.”   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/17/florida-shooting-suspect-nikolas-cruz-member-schools-rifle-team/

Trump entourage scuffled with Chinese security officers during Beijing visit. “White House chief of staff John Kelly and a Secret Service agent scuffled with Chinese security officials over the U.S. nuclear “football” during a trip to China in November, Axios reported Sunday.”   http://thehill.com/policy/international/china/374485-axios-us-and-chinese-officials-scuffled-in-beijing-over-nuclear

Dating site for Trump supporters – straights only, but being married is ok. “When signing up to Trump.dating, users are asked if they are a “Straight Man” or “Straight Woman”. There are no other options.”   http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/02/18/new-dating-site-for-donald-trump-fans-which-blocks-gay-people-will-let-you-in-if-youre-married/

Former staffer for California Assemblywoman Christina Garcia claims he was fired after refusing to play “spin the bottle”. “According to Kernick’s complaint, he alleged his performance as a field representative didn’t garner any censure from the assemblywoman until ‘after he questioned the appropriateness of her suggestion that after a fundraiser at a whiskey bar,’ they ‘sit on the floor of her hotel room and play spin the bottle’. Kernick said he was fired two days later…”   http://www.ibtimes.com/california-assemblywoman-christina-garcia-fired-staffer-not-playing-spin-bottle-2655037

Jill Stein claims the massive amounts of free mainstream media coverage given to the Trump campaign was a bigger form of election interference than the one positive Facebook post she received from Russians. “$6 billion in free airtime was given to Donald Trump by the big networks! $6 billion!”   https://thedailybanter.com/2018/02/jill-stein-disastrous-msnbc-appearance/

Former CIA director James Woolsey admits U.S. has tampered with elections in other countries. “…it was for the good of the system, in order to avoid communists taking over.”   http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/374372-ex-cia-director-us-meddles-in-foreign-elections-for-a-good

Iraq sentences 11 IS brides to life in prison, one to death. “All but one said they were taken to Iraq against their will or by fraud. The twelfth woman admitted to willingly moving to Iraq because her husband was wanted in Turkey; she was given the death penalty for her admission.”   https://original.antiwar.com/updates/2018/02/18/isis-widows-sentenced-death-prison-eight-killed-iraq/

Protesters and journalists injured by police in Maldives breaking up protest calling for the resignation of the country’s president. “The Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule. However, Yameen has rolled back much of the country’s democratic gains and freedoms since being elected in 2013.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/maldives-police-break-opposition-protests-many-injured-091547322.html

Man arrested for NSA incursion says they approached the facility by mistake, 17 year old driver was injured by shrapnel from gunfire. “The FBI, which is investigating the shooting, has declined to say how many shots were fired and how many officers fired.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/suv-passenger-shot-at-by-nsa-police-says-wrong-turn-led-them-to-top-secret-installation/2018/02/16/948d0270-1332-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html

Protesters gather outside LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station. “People familiar with the incident said that (Christian) Escobedo was sleeping behind the vehicle with a friend and taking a break from a walk home. They said he was shot in the head four times.”   http://abc7.com/activists-protest-el-sereno-police-shooting-that-left-man-dead/3101817/


February 19, 2018

February 18, 2018

Former classmates of Nikolas Cruz claim he was a member of white nationalist militia group, was seen with the group’s leader. “Three former classmates told ABC News that Cruz was seen with Jereb and was part of the (Republic of Florida group).”   http://www.newsweek.com/republic-florida-nikolas-cruz-808296   Cruz was taking medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, may have been prescribed anti-depressants. “He was regularly taking medication for the A.D.H.D. It was unclear whether he was taking anything for the depression, according to the report.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/us/nikolas-cruz-florida-shooting.html   Trump blames Russia investigation for Florida school shooting. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign…”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/trump-fires-off-bizarre-late-night-tweet-blaming-fbis-russian-investigation-parkland-massacre/

U.S. claims clear evidence that Assad regime in Syria is using chemical weapons. “In recent weeks, rescue workers, aid groups and the United States have accused Syria of repeatedly using chlorine gas as a weapon against civilians in Ghouta and Idlib.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa/public-reports-clearly-show-assads-use-of-chemical-weapons-mcmaster-idUSKCN1G10HH

An estimated 2,000 people march for peace in Munich, which is hosting European Security Conference.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6p1tGkgnPY

Green Party calls for release of arrested Green leaders in Turkey. “The Green Party of the United States has joined Green Parties throughout the world in demanding the immediate release of Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez, co-chairs of the Turkish Green Left Party (Yeşil Sol Parti), after special forces raided their homes in Istanbul on Feb. 9.”   http://www.gp.org/demand_release_of_turkish_green_cochairs

New York City’s Penn Station becomes a refuge for the homeless on winter nights. “Men and women of indeterminate ages could be seen leaning, lying and sitting all over the station — a jarring sight next to a line of storefronts stocked with luxury items.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/penn-station-transforms-homeless-encampment-winter-nights-article-1.3826863

West Virginia teachers announce two-day, state-wide strike. “Public employees, including teachers, have been pushing for higher wages and greater stability for the Public Employees Insurance Agency.”   http://wvmetronews.com/2018/02/17/statewide-strike-of-wv-teachers-this-thursday-and-friday/

Health insurance company sticks woman who thought she was having a stroke with huge bill for emergency room visit. “The company isn’t factoring in the symptoms that prompt you to go the ER, as most insurers have long done, but rejecting claims based on the final diagnosis reached only after tests and a doctor’s exam in the hospital.”   https://www.consumerreports.org/healthcare-costs/patients-getting-stuck-with-big-bills-after-er-visits/

Corruption and mismanagement of Iraq’s oil resources have left the country’s people in poverty. “According to a report by a former Brookings analyst, corruption and mismanagement could have cost Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan $20 billion just in 2013. Since the toppling of Saddam, estimates put the total number as high as $100 billion.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-banco-iraq-oil_us_5a6fb51be4b0a52682fed6bc

Mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida vetoes civilian oversight board for county’s police.  “The measure to reinstate civilian oversight board passed 7-5 despite loud complaints from Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/miami-dade-mayor-takes-advantage-parkland-tragedy-quietly-veto-police-oversight-panel/

Syrian groups accuse Turkey of using chemical weapons in Afrin. “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, said six people were wounded in Turkish shelling in Al-Sheikh Hadid in the Afrin region on Friday had difficulties breathing and had their pupils dilated.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/turkey-denies-chemical-weapons-syria-afrin-180218082237109.html

Mainstream media give new United States of Care group, which seeks to avoid “increasingly volatile swings in health policy”, an uncritical welcome to the health care debate. “Neither the USA Today piece, the Forbes piece nor the United States of Care website mentions single-payer, Medicare for All or anything related to government-guaranteed universal healthcare.”   https://fair.org/home/media-embrace-new-reform-group-as-bulwark-against-guaranteed-healthcare/


February 18, 2018