February 17, 2018

Militia leader now says he doesn’t know Nikolas Cruz. “The leader of a white nationalist militia Thursday night appeared to walk back his earlier statements that Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-school-shooting-suspect-nikolas-cruz-white-nationalist-republic-of-florida/   FBI did not follow up on tip warning that Cruz might commit a school shooting. “(On January 5, 2018) the caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-17/florida-parkland-shooting-fbi-failed-to-act-on-gunman-tip/9457414   Media outlets pushing misleading ‘there have already been 18 school shootings this year’ story. “Just five of Everytown’s 18 school shootings listed for 2018 happened during school hours and resulted in any physical injury.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html

13 Russians indicted by Mueller investigation for interfering in 2016 election. “In one case, it said, the Russians paid an unidentified person to build a cage aboard a flatbed truck and another to wear a costume ‘portraying Clinton in a prison uniform’.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-indictment/u-s-grand-jury-indicts-13-russian-nationals-three-entities-in-alleged-election-meddling-idUSKCN1G022U   RT America’s editor-in-chief claims the news outlet has been hit by mass resignations after being labelled as a “foreign agent” by the U.S. government, employees allegedly fear being targeted by U.S. law enforcement.   http://www.newsweek.com/we-cant-even-hire-stringer-russia-today-says-its-us-staff-leaving-masses-679380   Some legislators also want Al-Jazeera news to be labelled a “foreign agent”. “Al-Jazeera is slated to release a four-part documentary about pro-Israel lobbyists in the US. One of the issues dealt with is a “covert campaign” against the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).”   https://rightsanddissent.org/news/growing-crackdown-foreign-media-lawmakers-call-al-jazeera-register-foreign-agent-due-investigative-reporting-pro-israel-lobbyists/

Guantanamo judge hit by resignations. “Eliades and Spears quit the case in October, along with death-penalty lawyer Rick Kammen, over an ethics issue involving intrusion of attorney-client confidentiality, which the judge does not recognize.”   http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article199947919.html

Former Playboy Playmate claims the publisher of the National Enquirer paid $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story about an affair with Donald Trump, but never published the story. “McDougal said one of their sexual encounters took place at the same Lake Tahoe golf tournament where porn actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, says that she, too, had a tryst with Trump.”   http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-mcdougal-affair-20180216-story.html

ICE to audit about 120 California businesses for illegal employees. “The agency’s acting director wants to increase work-site enforcement 400%, part of a much larger effort to identify and deport those here without proper papers.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ice-audits-20180216-story.html   Meanwhile, at Trump resorts… “A Vox analysis of hiring records for seasonal workers at three Trump properties in New York and Florida revealed that only one out of 144 jobs went to a US worker from 2016 to the end of 2017. Foreign guest workers with H-2B visas got the rest.”   https://www.vox.com/2018/2/13/16466542/trump-h-2b-guest-workers

Amateur electricians in Puerto Rico are trying to restore power to their communities. “Desperation set in.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/puerto-rico-crisis/puerto-ricans-fix-their-town-s-power-grid-their-bare-n845421

New Jersey legislature votes to restore Planned Parenthood funding. “Access to preventative screenings, routine exams and low-cost birth control are often scarce in many communities, but particularly so since the Christie administration cut funding for women’s health, forcing the closure of a number of women’s health centers throughout the state.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/16/win-reproductive-rights-new-jersey-votes-reverse-christies-planned-parenthood-cuts

New York Times reporter suggests U.S. torture program was somehow unintentional, deaths of civilians in drone strikes unanticipated. “All these years later, I assume my name appears in multiple files at the CIA, the National Security Agency and perhaps other corners of the sprawling security bureaucracy, with gripes and comments related to my coverage of how America stumbled into torture; how drone strikes went wrong…”   https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/16/us-stumbled-torture-says-nyt-reporter

Philadelphia’s district attorney drops marijuana possession charges against 51 suspects. “The city became the third in recent weeks to announce reforms to its marijuana policy, with D.A. Larry Krasner saying the change will free up resources to target serious violent crimes.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/16/joining-nationwide-shift-philadelphias-progressive-da-drops-dozens-marijuana

Border Patrol restricts access to “Friendship Park”. “US Border Patrol is restricting access to a park on the California-Mexico border where families separated by immigration laws frequently visit each other [through a fence], sparking outrage from human rights advocates.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/us-border-patrol-immigration-mexico-friendship-park

Chinese TV skit criticized for its racist stereotypes of Africans. “…the mother of the black woman (was a Chinese comedian in) black-face… wearing a fake large bottom with a fruit basket on her head….. (She was) joined on stage by a monkey, played by a black performer.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/popular-chinese-tv-show-accused-racism-depiction-africans-2654305

Six Turkish journalists sentenced to life in prison over coup support allegations. “These harsh sentences are an unacceptable and unprecedented assault on freedom of expression and on the media in Turkey.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-security-trial/turkish-court-sentences-six-journalists-to-life-drawing-international-criticism-idUKKCN1G01AT

New South African president Cyril Ramaphosa an unlikely anti-corruption campaigner. “Ramaphosa is now one of Africa’s wealthiest men, with a net worth of about $450 million. Now, activists are talking about Ramaphosa’s ties to tax havens during his time in the corporate sector.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/16/cyril_ramaphosa_south_africas_new_president

Baltimore County jury awards $37 million to family of woman killed by police. “When she didn’t open the door after officers knocked repeatedly, they obtained a key from the landlord and attempted to enter the apartment. They found Gaines on the floor holding a shotgun and her 5-year-old son.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/korryn-gaines-verdict-baltimore-police-shooting_us_5a875250e4b00bc49f4404fc

Connecticut man who stole his grandmother’s car dies after being shot multiple times after car chase. “The pursuit ended with a crash in the area of New London Turnpike, Chestnut Hill Road and Copley Road in Glastonbury, where East Hartford police fired again, hitting the driver multiple times, police said.”   http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-br-east-hartford-suspect-dies-20180216-story.html

Dearborn, Michigan agrees to pay $1.25 million to family over death of fleeing suspect after police shooting. “Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said (Janet) Wilson “exhibited erratic and aggressive behavior” at the mall and drove her car toward the officer.”   https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/midwest/2018/02/16/480973.htm

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February 17, 2018

February 16, 2018

Florida high school shooter allegedly trained with white nationalist militia. “The leader of a white nationalist militia says Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-school-shooting-suspect-nikolas-cruz-white-nationalist-republic-of-florida/

10,000 Afghan civilians killed or injured in 2017. “More than 28,000 civilians have been killed and more than 52,000 wounded in Afghanistan since 2009 when UN officials started documenting the casualties.”   https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/16/10000-civilians-killed-injured-afghanistan-2017-united-nations

People are having sex – it must be stopped! “Turnbull, who introduced a ban on sexual relationships between ministers and their staff on Thursday, said Joyce had shown “shocking error of judgment” by conducting an affair with his former press secretary, who is now pregnant.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-australia-politics-joyce/sex-scandal-exposes-faultlines-in-australia-coalition-idUKKCN1G005Q   “Metro Council’s special committee met for the first time Thursday afternoon to begin their investigation into Mayor Megan Barry’s affair with her former bodyguard.”   http://www.wsmv.com/story/37512094/special-committee-to-meet-for-first-time-to-investigate-mayors-affair   “In an interview with the BBC, (Oxfam executive director Winnie) Byanyima apologised for the scandal, in which the charity has been accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims that staff used sex workers while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/oxfam-international-boss-vows-to-root-out-wrongdoing-at-charity

People are protesting – it must be stopped! “…the number of anti-protest bills has reached 58 in 31 states with no end in sight…. Conservative think tanks, private companies, and law enforcement agencies are now openly working with Republican lawmakers to crack down on dissent, chill the right to protest, and increase penalties for demonstrators and the organizations that support them.”   https://www.nlg.org/conservative-led-anti-protest-legislation-already-doubled-since-last-year/

Alabama district attorneys’ and sheriffs’ associations make the case for taking people’s money without having to prove they broke the law. “In January two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff. It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime, rather than for the defendant to prove their innocence.”   https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/13/alabama-cops-threaten-more-prosecutions

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio wants to sharply reduce the number of people in the city’s jails and close Rikers Island prison. “The era of mass incarceration did not begin in New York City, but it will end in New York City.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/de-blasio-talks-of-defying-trump-in-state-of-the-city-address/

Medicare for All backers deliver 1 million signatures to Congress, demand not-for-profit, national health insurance. “The signatures were gathered by progressive groups including Our Revolution, Public Citizen, National Nurses United, Students for a National Health Program, and MoveOn.org.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/decrying-failure-profit-system-1-million-demand-senators-back-medicare-all

Public Citizen wins lawsuit, Trump administration must release White House visitor logs. “Journalists, legal experts, and transparency advocates celebrated the settlement on Thursday, which Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said thwarts an attempt by the Trump administration to ‘keep secret the names of the people visiting the White House in order to keep the public in the dark about the corporate takeover of our government’.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/major-step-forward-transparency-trump-white-house-forced-release-visitor-logs

Hundreds of Houston area high school students walk out after fellow student is transferred from local sheriff’s office to ICE custody. “Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a 19-year-old from Honduras, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials after getting into a fight at the school with another student, who immigrant rights advocates say was bullying him for being undocumented.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/freedennis-300-students-stage-walkout-after-texas-teen-detained-ice

Gun control advocates match Florida condolence tweets by politicians with the amount of money they have received from the National Rifle Association. “Just spoke to Broward School Superintendent. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes. — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 14, 2018   :   $3,303,355”  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/behind-many-thoughtsandprayers-gun-massacre-victims-millions-nra-cash

EPA chief Scott Pruitt admits that he flies first class because of the “toxic” political environment, which presumably exists only among economy class passengers. “…(Pruitt says) he needs to fly first class because of unpleasant interactions with other travelers.”   http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2018/The-head-of-the-Environmental-Protection-Agency-has-broken-months-of-silence-about-his-frequent-premium-class-flights-at-taxpayer-expense-saying-he-needs-to-fly-first-class-because-of-u/id-55f6e87574fe4c46a2a667b7e560ea75   I guess this means economy class passengers are more intelligent and politically aware than those who travel in first class.

Supporters of detained immigrant claim she was put in solitary confinement as punishment for reporting sexual assault by a guard. “They were pressuring her to write a letter to them recanting her testimony but she has not done that.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/15/immigrant-woman-sexual-assault-solitary-confinement-ice-texas

OxyContin drug billionaires honored for their philanthropy, despite opioid abuse crisis. “The Sackler name is emblazoned on, and disgraces, dozens of the world’s greatest museums, universities, and performing arts centers.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/16/sackler-family-blood-money-disgrace-museums

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte offers bounty of $384 for each communist insurgent killed by the public. “You kill an NPA today and I’ll pay you 25,000 (pesos).”   http://www.ibtimes.com/philippines-president-rodrigo-duterte-offers-bounty-killing-rebels-2654232

Unnamed European countries accused of meddling in upcoming Russian election. “(Foreign Ministry spokeswoman) Maria Zakharova said Moscow had warned European countries that ‘such activity should stop’.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-election-meddling/moscow-says-has-evidence-of-western-meddling-in-russian-election-idUKKCN1FZ1SW

More than 1 million Afghans claim they were victims of war crimes. “Since the International Criminal Court began collecting material three months ago for a possible war crimes case involving Afghanistan, it has gotten a staggering 1.17 million statements from Afghans who say they were victims.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/court-received-1-17-million-war-crimes-claims-203837398.html

Hundreds shot in school shootings since 2012. “The New York Times reports that since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/15/headlines/more_than_400_shot_in_over_200_school_shootings_since_sandy_hook   So what is motivating all these kids to do this? That seems to be AT LEAST as big a problem as their access to guns.

Investigative reporters claim minorities are denied home loans more often than white customers. “In 61 metros across the country, applicants of color are more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage, even if they have the same financial characteristics as a non-Hispanic white applicant.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/15/kept_out_banks_across_us_caught

February 16, 2018

February 15, 2018

Greg Palast, author of “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”, explains how the 2016 election really was rigged. “…Trump supposedly won in Michigan by 13,107 votes, that’s minuscule. But the number of people on the Crosscheck purge list were 449,000, almost half a million. Now not all of them got removed, but basically Trump would not have Michigan if not for the Crosscheck purge.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIi-eXA3QJQ

Civil rights group accuses Washington D.C. police of using right-wingers to perform surveillance activities. “… the police are actually barred by law—there are restrictions on their surveillance of political protest groups. And we are very concerned that they are actually trying to outsource that by working with these right-wing organizations to do what the police are barred by law from doing. ”   https://www.alternet.org/activism/dc-police-and-federal-prosecutors-partner-hard-right-convict-trump-protesters

Is the U.S. intelligence community trying to stigmatize dissent? “The result (of exaggerated claims of Russian disinformation) is a pernicious narrative that affords government agencies, politicians, tech companies, think tanks, and media commentators the ability to dismiss any dissent as the product of Russian influence.”   https://shadowproof.com/2018/02/13/us-intelligence-invites-citizens-to-dismiss-dissent-as-part-of-russias-efforts-to-undermine-midterm-elections/

South African president Jacob Zuma steps down in response to pressure from his own ANC party. “Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43066443

130 White House staffers reportedly still didn’t have full security clearances as of November 2017. “White House officials who are listed as not having permanent security clearances as recently as this past November include Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Dan Scavino, the president’s director of social media; and Christopher Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, according to the documents.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/scores-top-white-house-officials-lack-permanent-security-clearances-n848191

Director of EPA allegedly flying first class on government business. “His immediate predecessors, as well as Cabinet members from Democratic and Republican administrations, regularly sat in economy when flying commercial, as mandated by federal travel regulations.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/epa-chief-has-unusual-waiver-to-fly-in-first-or-business-class/2018/02/14/9f29a658-11b0-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html

Barron Trump’s grandparents may be in the U.S. on ‘chain migration’ visas. “…if Melania’s parents are here on IR-5 visas, the White House’s proposal to kill this category of visa is renewed as a topic of political discussion.”   https://www.vox.com/2018/2/14/17012134/melania-trump-parents-visa

New York to make it illegal for police officers to have sex with detainees. “(Governor) Cuomo on Wednesday said he will amend his January state budget proposal to include legislation to close a legal loophole that currently prohibits prison guards and probation officers — but not police — from using the excuse that someone in custody gave consent to a sexual encounter.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cuomo-plans-bar-cops-sexual-contact-detainees-article-1.3821507

New York officials fail five of the state’s jails. “…”these facilities pose an ongoing risk to the health and safety of staff and inmates and, in instances, impose cruel and inhumane treatment of inmates in violation of their Constitutional rights.”   https://www.wkbw.com/news/report-erie-county-holding-center-one-of-the-worst-offenders-in-state-law-violations02142018

Congressman claims he saw evidence that Democratic National Committee emails leaked by Wikileaks did not come from Russia. “(Rep. Dana) Rohrabacher claimed Assange had shown him and his traveling companion, Charles Johnson, definitive proof that Russia was not the source of the Democratic Party communications that WikiLeaks published during the 2016 campaign.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/dana-rohrabacher-trump-russia-wikileaks-julian-assange/

Opiod crisis taking a huge toll on U.S. economy. “The analysis found that in 2001, the opioid epidemic cost $29.1 billion per year and has ballooned to $115 billion per year by 2017.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/opioid-crisis-has-taken-1-trillion-toll-us-2653572

Vehicle shot up by NSA security guards may have taken wrong turn. “A wrong turn may have led three men to drive onto the campus of the U.S. National Security Agency near Washington on Wednesday, sparking a scare that drew gunfire from guards and sent three to the hospital, FBI officials said.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-maryland-security-incident/wrong-turn-could-have-sparked-security-scare-at-u-s-spy-agency-fbi-idUKKCN1FY22M

Journalists jailed in Myanmar for covering Rohingya massacre story win award. “The group PEN America has announced it will honor two imprisoned Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, with this year’s Freedom to Write Award.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/14/headlines/imprisoned_reuters_journalists_win_pen_award_for_reporting_on_massacre_in_burma

Pittsburgh TV station accused of doing hit-piece on judge who wants to end cash bail, stop evictions and evaluate warrants requested by the police. “Your critics would say that you’re an advocacy judge, and that your actions are making the community less safe.”   http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/02/02/mik-pappas-no-cash-bail-policy-criticism/

 

February 15, 2018

February 14, 2018

Microsoft’s top lawyer blames NSA for WannaCry ransomware incident. “We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.”   https://www.networkworld.com/article/3196222/security/microsoft-to-nsa-wannacry-is-your-fault.html

Trump’s personal lawyer claims he made $130,000 payment to porn star out of his own pocket. “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-s-lawyer-michael-cohen-says-he-paid-stormy-daniels-n847866   What a pal!

Russian security contractor estimates as many as 200 Russians and citizens of other former Soviet republics were killed in U.S. counter-attack in Syria. “More than 200 is the current estimate, we cannot know the exact number yet, but most of them were Russian.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/world/europe/russia-syria-dead.html

Germany will make public transportation free in five cities to reduce air pollution. “More than 130 cities in Europe are currently affected by “life-threatening” air pollution, according to the European Commission.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/14/germany-to-fight-pollution-with-free-public-transportation/

British judge refuses to drop bail jumping charges against Julian Assange, leaving him stranded in Ecuador’s London embassy in order to avoid extradition to the U.S., where some politicians have called him a terrorist and threatened to execute him for publishing leaked secrets. “Handing down her judgment at Westminster magistrates court, the senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail.”   https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/13/judge-refuses-to-withdraw-julian-assange-arrest-warrant

Top ICE attorney in Seattle reportedly charged with stealing identities of immigrants. “Sanchez used the identifying information of the seven immigrants to ‘defraud financial institutions’ including American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, Discover, and JPMorgan Chase, according to the charging document.”   https://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/ices-top-lawyer-in-seattle-has-been-charged-with-stealing

Rate of sea level rise is increasing say scientists. “Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/its-a-big-deal-melting-ice-sheets-are-accelerating-sea-level-rise/

Americans less happy in 2017. “Overall, the nation’s well-being score dropped from 62.1 out of 100 in 2016 to 61.5 out of 100 in 2017, the largest year-over-year decline in the well-being score in the last 10 years, Gallup said.”   https://www.livescience.com/61745-america-well-being-2017-gallup.html

Bernie Sanders grills Trump budget chief. “Highlighting the Trump budget’s call for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Act), Sanders asked Mulvaney to explain ‘the morality of a budget which supports tax breaks for billionaires, (but) throws 32 million people off of the health insurance they have, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of fellow Americans’.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/13/some-may-freeze-death-sanders-confronts-mulvaney-over-trump-budget-would-kill-tens

Nurses’ union backs California progressive primary challenger Kevin De León instead of incumbent,  Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “Our representatives in Washington, D.C. have wavered on this issue (of national health insurance) for far too long.”    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/13/citing-willingness-challenge-corporate-interests-nurses-endorse-de-leons-primary

Bill Gates warns of impact of cuts in foreign aid and development programs. “…even a 10% cut (in aid) would mean 5 million deaths over the next decade.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/bill-melinda-gates-foundation-trump-budget-foreign-aid

Armed forces added names of 4,000 dishonorably discharged veterans to firearm background check system after Texas church shooting. “Dishonorable discharges are reserved for people convicted by the military of violence or serious misconduct — crimes equivalent to a felony — and thus federally prohibited from owning guns.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/12/us/gun-background-check-backlog-military-dishonorable-discharge-invs/index.html

Trump administration proposes streamlining environmental reviews for construction projects. “By rubber stamping permits for corporations to build oil pipelines, dams, and toxic waste dumps, gutting environmental and labor laws, and severely limiting the public’s ability to hold government accountable will only make our communities, and our nation, a more dangerous place.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/13/trump-infrastructure-plan-environmental-reviews

Former Canadian defense minister confirms that the Illuminati control the world, claims they are withholding technology that threatens their financial interests. “Paul Hellyer, who oversaw the Canadian defense forces in the 1960s, has come out and said that the Illuminati is a real entity and is controlling the world – making him the highest ranking government official worldwide to do so.”   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5384051/Fmr-Canadian-minister-says-Illuminati-controls-world.html

Shots reportedly fired outside NSA facility in Ft. Meade, Maryland. “…police could be seen surrounding a handcuffed man who was sitting on the ground. Nearby, a black SUV with bullet holes through its windshield appeared to have crashed into a concrete barrier at one of the facility’s secure vehicle entry gates.”   https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Possible-Shooting-Reported-Near-NSA-in-Fort-Meade-474031053.html

Trump administration wants to upgrade Guantanamo Bay prison camp instead of closing it, at a cost of $4.6 million per prisoner. “Under the proposal, the ‘maximum-security detention facility’ should last for 40 years…”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article199832664.html

 

February 14, 2018

February 13, 2018

Green Party still trying to verify 2016 election results, fighting for access to computer voting software used in Wisconsin, challenging Pennsylvania’s recount procedures. “…the vendors of the voting software used by Wisconsin, Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. and Election Systems & Software, Inc., have opposed our request (to examine their software) and have sought what we believe is an unfair confidentiality agreement that would prevent us from communicating with the public about our findings – even if we agreed not to disclose anything proprietary.”   source: Jill2016 email ( I have requested they post this update here   https://www.jill2016.com/press_releases   )   Wisconsin elections officials allegedly refused to perform hand recount after Green Party observers noted miscounts by ballot counting machines. “When Whitlock’s team saw the scanner miscount 15 votes in a 300-voter precinct in Elmwood Park, she politely asked officials to do a hand count of that precinct. That was an error rate of five percent in a contest, where statewide, Trump’s margin of victory was less than one percent. Whitlock’s request was swiftly denied.”   https://www.salon.com/2018/02/04/americas-election-process-is-broken/

Baltimore detectives found guilty of racketeering, robbery. “Convicted officers also testified to routinely violating people’s rights in the course of their work with Baltimore’s plainclothes police squads, including profiling people and vehicles, performing “sneak and peek” searches without warrants, using illegal GPS devices to track suspects they claimed to be watching, and driving at groups of men to provoke them to flee so they could be chased and searched.”   http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-gttf-verdict-20180208-story.html

U.S. clergy travel to Honduras to protect pro-democracy and environmental activists, are told by U.S. embassy official that “there are two sides to every story”. “(In Pajuiles) our delegates learned that on Tuesday, January 23 around 4 am, a 35-year old agricultural worker and father of five was dragged out of his home and executed by the police. He was shot more than 40 times in the back of his head and torso, by a military/police patrol, his mother and brother watching from nearby.”   https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/02/accompanying-honduras/

Child migrants allegedly being detained based on vague “gang member” accusations. “In November, in response to the ACLU’s class-action lawsuit, a federal judge in Northern California ordered that any minors summarily accused of gang affiliation and shipped to detention facilities across the country be given a hearing within a week of their arrest, as well as access to the evidence offered against them. Since then, ICE has lost a majority of those hearings for lack of evidence…”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/11/ice-schools-immigrant-students-ms-13-long-island/

Trump infrastructure plan would involve making interstate highways toll roads. “Providing states flexibility to toll existing Interstates would generate additional revenues for states to invest in surface transportation infrastructure.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-tolls-infrastructure_us_5a81b8bbe4b08dfc930673bb   Would also involve privatizing airports, parks, power plants, water projects. “The Federal Government owns and operates certain infrastructure that would be more appropriately owned by State, local, or private entities.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/trump-administration-wants-to-sell-national-and-dulles-airports-other-assets-around-us/2018/02/12/3cff381e-100a-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html   Trump is largely following World Bank blueprint for privatizing public infrastructure. “Disastrous examples in the United States include a deal by the water company Suez and the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to privatize the water system in Bayonne, N.J., which has left some residents in danger of losing their homes after skyrocketing water rates.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/trumps-populist-infrastructure-plan.html

Trump plan would save money on food stamps program by having the government select what food the poor will eat and delivering it in boxes. “That package would be made up of ‘100 percent U.S. grown and produced food’ and would include items like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.”   https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/12/food-stamps-trump-administration-343245   Let me guess how this will work – anything that doesn’t sell or is about to expire, we buy it from grocery chains, with tax dollars, and feed it to the poor. Plus, selected contractors get paid tens of millions for making the deliveries AND we burn lots of fossil fuel in the process, helping the oil companies. Beauty!

Jeff Sessions praises America’s sheriffs in speech. “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/jeff-sessions-anglo-american-law-enforcement/index.html   Like the Sheriff of Nottingham, for example.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheriff_of_Nottingham_(position)

Fighting, massacres in Democratic Republic of Congo will displace another 370,000 people. “More than 532,000 people in the two territories near the Ugandan border fled their homes in 2016 and 2017, largely driven out by attacks by the ADF and other armed groups as well as military responses, the report said.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-violence/u-n-expects-congo-offensive-against-eastern-rebels-to-displace-370000-idUSKBN1FS1XT

Artificial intelligence program can detect “extremist” content so that web site operators can delete it. “It works by spotting subtle patterns in the extremist videos that distinguish them from normal content, from the rest of the internet.”   https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/the-government-has-spent-ps600000-on-an-online-extremism   No doubt this technology could be tweaked to filter out any kind of unwanted motivational content, like people demanding fair elections, an end to use of excessive force by police, or restoration of the constitution. Dictators could label this “extremist content” and demand that it be blocked.

Milwaukee County corrections officers charged in death of mentally ill prisoner who died after being kept in a cell without water for seven days. “The practice of cutting off water to an inmate is against the jail’s written regulations, but (Officer) Ramsey-Guy said it was common practice.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/12/jail-commander-charged-felony/331529002/

Barnes & Noble lays off employees. “Given our sales decline this holiday, we’re adjusting staffing so that it meets the needs of our existing business and our customers.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/12/barnes-noble-cuts-staff-after-dismal-holiday-season.html

Amazon and its subsidiaries to lay off hundreds of employees. “The layoffs will mainly focus on Amazon’s Seattle office, but there have already been cuts in some of its retail subsidiaries in other parts of the country…”   https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/12/amazon-is-cutting-hundreds-of-corporate-jobs-according-to-a-new-report/

200 year-old gun manufacturer Remington Outdoors reportedly to file for bankruptcy. “In addition to Remington, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and American Outdoors Brands Co., have also experienced declining sales since Trump’s election.”   https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/02/12/Remington-files-for-bankruptcy-after-gun-sales-drop/2631518483138/

California to investigate Aetna’s method of denying or approving medical treatments after testimony by company’s medical director. “If a health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician ever reviewing medical records, that is a significant concern and could be a violation of the law.”   http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-aetna-20180212-story.html

Progressive candidates challenging corporate Democrats in primaries. “Ocasio-Cortez is just one of many progressives running against the status quo enforced by their state’s Democratic machine, which—as The Intercept detailed in a recent report—often works to constrict policy boundaries and tilt the balance of power toward the donor class.”    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/12/embracing-bold-platforms-progressives-working-unseat-corporate-dems-nationwide

West Virginia police officer fired for not shooting black suspect wins wrongful termination lawsuit. “(Stephen) Mader, who is white, made the determination that Williams did not pose an immediate threat to him or fellow officers, even though he was holding a gun.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/12/stephen-mader-west-virginia-police-officer-settles-lawsuit

Philippine president allegedly encouraging troops to shoot female insurgents in the vagina. “It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict, which is a violation of international humanitarian law.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/philippines-rodrigo-duterte-orders-soldiers-to-shoot-female-rebels-in-the-vagina

Republican law enforcement officials accused of using secret, on-line bulletin board to exchange information outside of the reach of public records laws. “It looks like a clear effort on the part of these attorneys general’s offices to evade their transparency requirements under open records laws by keeping documents on this website.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/12/gop-law-enforcement-chiefs-invited-donors-to-help-set-policy-via-secret-bulletin-board/

Virginia energy legislation would allow power company keep hundreds of millions in customer overcharges. “Instead of rebating all overcharges back to customers, the bill would allow utilities to divert that money to investments in infrastructure, like modernizing the energy grid and increasing renewable power generation.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/02/12/dominion-virginia-legislature-energy/   In other words, the money would benefit the company’s shareholders instead of the customers who were fleeced.

Crypto-currency company disappears with investors’ cash. “After raising more than $4.5 million in a series of initial coin offerings (ICO) the creators of the cryptocurrency startup LoopX have disappeared—along with the cash that investors provided…”   http://www.ibtimes.com/loopx-exit-scam-cryptocurrency-startup-reportedly-steals-45-million-2652626

Dutch foreign minister admits lying about Putin “greater Russia” remark. “Zijlstra had claimed during election campaigns that he had been hiding in Vladimir Putin’s dacha and overheard Putin saying he wanted to take over Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Kazakhstan to create Greater Russia.”   https://news.antiwar.com/2018/02/12/dutch-fm-admits-he-lied-about-putins-greater-russia-plot/

Intelligence agencies failing to protect whistle-blowers according to suppressed report. “The investigators looked into 190 cases of alleged reprisal in six agencies… In only one case out of the 190 did the agencies find in favor of the whistleblower…”   https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-intelligence-shut-downs-damning-report-on-whistleblower-retaliation

Federal judges blocking deportations of activists and at risk immigrant groups. “…the judge said, “Look, I am not deciding the legality of their deportation, ultimately. But what I am going to do is give them time to go before an immigration court to show that, as Indonesian Christians, they will be persecuted or tortured if sent back.” And that’s just basic due process.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/12/judges_across_us_are_halting_trumps

Civilian casualties soaring in Syrian conflict. “This has been a week of soaring violence and bloodshed in Syria—more than a thousand civilian casualties in six days.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/12/headlines/syria_tensions_casualties_rise_amid_clashes_between_israel_iran_turkey_syrian_govt

February 13, 2018

February 12, 2018

Some Republican lawmakers unhappy with budget deal. “The real problem with this particular one is that our leadership caved. The swamp won. And the American taxpayer lost.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rep-mark-meadows-on-budget-deal-the-swamp-won-and-the-american-taxpayer-lost/

Former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker : “Those of us who have done investigations and counterintelligence investigations know that the Clinton e-mail investigation was not a real investigation.”   https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/fbi-asst-dir-clinton-e-mail-investigation-was-not-real-investigation

Left and right clash at University of Washington. “Police made at least three arrests and deployed pepper spray several times, but the event – featuring the Portland-area alt-right group Patriot Prayer – was mostly non-confrontational.”   https://patch.com/washington/seattle/uw-patriot-prayer-rally-overshadowed-pepper-spray-arrests

Arizona man facing deportation would not be able to care for son with leukemia. “Since Friday, (Jesus) Berrones has been staying at Shadow Rock United Church of Christa in Phoenix, which welcomes undocumented immigrants facing deportation.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ariz-dad-son-cancer-expected-deported-mexico-article-1.3814232

Iranian environmentalist “commits suicide” in prison say Iranian authorities. “He was one of the defendants in a spying case and unfortunately he committed suicide in prison since he knew that many had made confessions against him and because of his own confessions.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43025356

Pakistani human rights lawyer who stood up to military regime dies at 66. “(Asma) Jahangir was one of the most vocal critics of the Pakistani military regime.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/asma-jahangir-prominent-pakistani-military-regime-critic-dies-n846916

Business group opposing sick leave laws. “Past tax records reveal most of the (National Federation of Independent Businesses’) funding comes from Freedom Partners, whose nine-member board includes eight current or former key figures at Koch Industries and other Koch entities.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/11/paid-sick-leave-koch-brothers-nfib

Anti-fracking activist dragged out of West Virginia legislature after making “personal comments” during testimony to House Judiciary Committee. “Lucas then began to read the oil and gas donations to the members of the House Judiciary Committee, including (to its) chairman, John Shott (R-Mercer).”   https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/11/woman-dragged-out-west-virginia-house-hearing-listing-oil-and-gas-contributions

 

February 12, 2018

February 11, 2018

11 cities at risk of future water shortages. “According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959

Details of September 2017 massacre of Rohingya men in Myanmar emerge. “Members of the paramilitary police gave Reuters insider descriptions of the operation to drive out the Rohingya from Inn Din, confirming that the military played the lead role in the campaign.”   https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/#slideshow-slideshow-grave

U.S. railroad safety chief accused of moonlighting. “Heath Hall, who became the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting chief in June, resigned Saturday after a Politico report raised questions about whether he was simultaneously working another job.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/02/10/584832018/top-railroad-safety-official-resigns-amid-questions-about-holding-a-second-job

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams steps down as leader of Irish left nationalist party. “Gerry Adams’ tenure as leader of Sinn Fein has come to an end after more than three decades, with Mary Lou McDonald officially taking over as party president.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gerry-adams-sinn-fein-stands-down-leader-northern-ireland-politics-stormont-a8204906.html

Syria shoots down Israeli jet returning from bombing raid, Israel launches second bombing raid. “U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is closely watching the “alarming” military escalation throughout Syria and calls on all sides to exercise restraint and work for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence, a U.N. spokesman said.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-iran/israeli-jet-shot-down-after-bombing-iranian-site-in-syria-idUSKBN1FU07L   Multiple sites in Syria reportedly hit in Israeli retaliation strikes. “Twelve sites, including four “Iranian targets” near the Syrian capital, Damascus, were destroyed in the raid, according to an Israeli military spokesman, Jonathan Conricus.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/10/israeli-fighter-jet-shot-down-by-syrian-fire-says-military

List of the 20 least popular companies in the U.S. “Reviewing a range of information, including major news events from the last year, customer survey results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, employee reviews on Glassdoor, as well as our own annual customer satisfaction survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s most hated companies.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2018/02/01/bad-reputation-americas-top-20-most-hated-companies/1058718001/

Sinclair Broadcasting allegedly asked senior employees to donate to political action committee. “The nation’s largest TV station owner is gearing up to fight for deregulation, and it wants some of its own newsroom managers to join the effort.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/sinclair-broadcast-group-solicits-its-news-directors-for-its-political-fundraising-efforts/2018/02/10/0e3d8a08-0c54-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html

India’s leader expresses support for Palestinian state. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed support Saturday in Ramallah for an independent Palestine and said he hoped for the return of peace to the region, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on India to support multicountry sponsorship of future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”   https://www.voanews.com/a/modi-voices-support-independent-palestinian-state-visit-west-bank/4248267.html

Senator Ron Wyden wants probe of Trump real estate deal. “A Democratic Senator wants the Treasury Department to hand over records relating to President Donald Trump’s sale of a Palm Beach estate which he bought for $41 million to a Russian oligarch for $95 million only four years later.”   http://www.newsweek.com/trump-sold-40-million-estate-russian-oligarch-100-million-and-democratic-802613

Equifax hack reportedly included tax identification numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, expiration dates for credit cards and names of states issuing people’s driver’s licenses. “Equifax’s disclosure, which it has not made directly to consumers, underscores the depth of detail the company keeps on individuals that it may have put at risk.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/02/10/equifax-hack-put-more-info-risk-than-consumers-knew/326260002/   Not addressed by the story: Does Equifax sell any of this data?

Budget deal includes $1.4 trillion in military spending over two years. “This is the upper limit of what anyone thought was possible,” said Todd Harrison, senior fellow and director of defense budget analysis for Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “This is a big victory for defense hawks.”   https://www.stripes.com/news/budget-deal-clears-the-way-for-1-4-trillion-two-year-military-funding-plan-1.510947   U.S. military spending now more than that of the next 13 biggest spenders COMBINED.   https://qz.com/1201674/the-us-senate-wants-to-add-80-billion-to-the-worlds-largest-defense-budget/   Many question wisdom of boosting military expenditures when U.S. faces more pressing problems. “When our nation can’t manage to turn the lights on for the people of Puerto Rico, when we can’t help those suffering from opioid addiction get treatment, and when we can’t ensure education and healthcare to all of our citizens, how is it possible we can justify spending billions more on weapons that don’t work to fight enemies that don’t exist?”    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/09/senate-budget-deal-us-military-spending

Human Rights Watch accuses Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government of mass executions of IS prisoners. “The Kurdish Asayish police force in Iraq last year executed dozens of Islamic State fighters in their custody and disposed of their bodies in a mass grave northwest of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said in report on Friday.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-iraq-execution/kurdish-force-killed-detained-is-fighters-in-iraq-hrw-says-idUKKBN1FT1IT

“Delusional” 78 year old man fatally shot by Flagstaff, Arizona police. “Before he was shot, Hamilton was holding a small pistol, though his hand was not on the trigger, said Eric Garrison, who lives in the apartment next door and watched the incident from his window. The man also was flipping off police officers, Garrison said.”   http://azdailysun.com/news/local/neighbors-flagstaff-man-shot-by-police-was-elderly-having-delusions/article_9ed3c52e-2430-5258-8105-00a0b63a604b.html

Fatal Georgia shootout was reportedly over unpaid traffic tickets. “Deputies from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and a Locust Grove Police officer were serving an arrest warrant on Guthrie at about 10:53 a.m. when investigators say he opened fire on them. The warrant was for failing to appear in court on traffic violations.”   https://patch.com/georgia/atlanta/georgia-police-shooting-deadly-fight-was-over-traffic-tickets

Antioch, California police fatally shoot fugitive during traffic stop. “After being contacted by police on Thursday, Harris did not respond to an officer’s commands and was shot while in his vehicle. When he was removed from the car, a realistic-looking BB gun fell to the ground from Harris’ waist, according to a news release from the Antioch police department.”   https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/02/09/man-shot-by-antioch-police-thursday-dies/

Georgia state trooper fatally shoots fleeing suspect. “”The vehicle did not stop and while attempting to evade the trooper, the driver ran into an APD patrol vehicle,” said GBI Spokeswoman Nelly Miles. The driver kept going and investigators said at that point a trooper pulled out his gun and fired.”   http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/report-gsp-trooper-involved-shooting-in-southwest-atlanta

16 year old Los Angeles County boy fatally shot during police pursuit. “At some point during the chase, AJ Weber turned around and a deputy shot and killed him, police said. Police said they searched Weber’s body, but there was no gun.”   http://abcnews.go.com/US/father-teenager-fatally-shot-police-demands-answers-community/story?id=52932173

Man sues Atlantic City, New Jersey police officers for using excessive force after arrest. “After putting his hands on the car, Stadler was handcuffed and then claims the unmarked police officer walked up and punched him in the face. Stadler also claims in the lawsuit the two officers punched and kicked him repeatedly until he lost consciousness, while a third officer arrived and let a police K-9 loose on him.”   http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/excessive-force-claim-against-atlantic-city-police-officers-to-go/article_28c70513-703a-5870-ad83-5e44148d13d0.html

Man sues Vacaville, California police for using excessive force during arrest. “The plaintiff, Francisco R. Galvan, allegedly suffered a broken nose and swollen right eye after he was placed in a chokehold, slammed face first into the concrete, and punched several times, according to his attorney, Justin K. Tabayoyon.”   http://www.thereporter.com/article/NG/20180206/NEWS/180209900

Man sues Vermilion County Sheriff’s Department for alleged jail beating. “(Willie L. Richardson claims)…three officers escorted him to a sally port where one of the officers punched Richardson in the face without justification, followed by two officers kneeing him in the ribs, and two kicking him in the face. The complaint alleges he was taken to the sally port because there are no video cameras there.”   http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-02-08/excessive-force-lawsuit-filed-over-incident-vermilion-county-jail.html

 

February 11, 2018