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

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