March 31, 2018

Police release videos of Alton Sterling shooting. “At no time does (Sterling) strike, push or kick at anybody. He’s asking questions.”

Stephon Clark autopsy reveals he was shot six times in the back, once in the side of the neck and once in the leg, cops turned off audio on body cameras after the shooting. “While discussing whether to perform CPR, one officer said: “Hey, mute.” The audio went silent for two minutes.”   Were they maybe coming up with the “he advanced towards us with his arm extended” story?

Scott Pruitt apparently got a real deal when renting D.C. townhouse from energy lobbyist’s wife. “Pruitt paid $50 for each night that he physically stayed in the condo, which sits a stone’s throw from the Capitol…”

Federal prosecutors want to use testimony of an anonymous, former informant in trials of Trump inauguration protesters. “This is part of a trend in which law-enforcement officials want ever-greater access to information about individual citizens, while seeking to further shield themselves.”

17 Palestinian protesters reportedly killed, 1,400 injured by Israeli troops on border with Gaza. “Israeli officials estimated tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters marched in Gaza toward the border fence between Israel and Gaza during protests called the March of Return.”

Federal court rules that immigration detainees have a right to have abortions. “Lawyers for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for sheltering children who illegally enter the country unaccompanied by a parent, have said the department has a policy of ‘refusing to facilitate’ abortions.”

Politicians and police unions allegedly intervening to stop parole of Black Panther. “The fact that the (parole) board now faces fierce backlash and pressure to reverse its decision from powerful police unions and politicians risks stymying further steps in the right direction when it comes to freeing inmates like (Herman) Bell.”

Tesla vehicle was reportedly in autopilot mode during fatal Highway 101 crash in California. “This is the second confirmed fatal crash on US roads in which Tesla’s Autopilot system was controlling the car.”

Republican tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy says tax watchdog group. “…according to (the Tax Policy Center’s) new report, the top one percent of earners will receive an average annual tax cut of around $33,000 just from individual (income) tax changes under the GOP law. The poorest Americans, by contrast, will see an average break of about $40 per year.”

Federal judge rules that trial into alleged climate change cover-up by oil companies can proceed. “The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are investigating whether the oil and gas giant lied to investors and the public about evidence of climate crisis in past decades.”

John Bolton’s super PAC accused of also using Cambridge Analytica’s targeting services. “The Trump campaign reportedly paid nearly $6 million to Cambridge Analytica over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, and the Bolton Super PAC reportedly paid Cambridge Analytica $1.1 million since 2014.”

Michigan State University allegedly seeded Richard Spencer event protest crowd with undercover officers. “The nine officers listed as “undercover” on the manifest hail from MSU campus police, Michigan State Police, and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, as well as two officers from the Department of Correction’s Absconder Recovery Unit (which hunts for fugitives).”

Wife of journalist killed, journalist seriously wounded in apparent assassination attempt in France. “Rahim Namazov was an outspoken critic of the Azeri (Azerbaijan) political leadership and served time in prison before seeking exile in France in 2010.”

Companies flouting age discrimination laws, firing massive numbers of older workers. “ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its total US job cuts during those years.”

Amy Goodman interviews director of film about the last three years of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, King in the Wilderness. “…down in the South, you would have a couple hundred Klansmen, you’d be scared. But in Chicago, there were thousands of people, and they were enraged, and you could hear them. It was an angry crowd.”

March 31, 2018

March 30, 2018

Country still recovering from 2008 financial melt-down, but business on Wall Street is booming. “Median household net worth remains below where it stood in 1998, according to the Federal Reserve, even as households take on more debt than ever before.”

Bank to pay $2 billion for misrepresenting mortgages to investors. “Prosecutors say that between 2005 and 2007 Barclays sold investors packages of mortgages that were worth less than the bank claimed, costing the investors billions of dollars. More than half of the $31 billion in mortgage packages eventually defaulted…”   No one is going to jail for billions in fraud, life goes on for the 1%.

New Jersey cops raid Domino’s after delivery driver was unable to deliver their pizza. “Video obtained exclusively by News 4 shows the two Jersey City police officers storming a Domino’s on Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City and pushing the branch’s manager up against a wall in an incident the manager, Mena Kirolos, said was spurred because of a missed pizza delivery Tuesday evening.”

State Department wants visa applicants to hand over more data. “Under the proposal, visa applicants would be required to provide “identifiers” they’ve used on social media platforms in the previous five years as well as previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel.”   And they have to unlock their phones and computers at the airport. That should boost tourism!

EPA director was reportedly living in D.C. townhouse owned by wife of energy industry lobbyist.   “Hart’s company has lobbied for a number of energy companies, including Cheniere, Norfolk Southern and Exxon Mobil, and against the federal Clean Air Act.”

Lawsuit alleges Glenview, Illinois police officers beat passenger after traffic stop, resulting in his hospitalization. “After the driver was taken into custody on what the lawsuit complaint says was suspicion of traffic offenses, (Peter) Wildhage was told he was free to leave and began walking away from the scene.”

Paterson, New Jersey officials agree to pay $80,000 to settle lawsuits over three police beatings. “The lawsuit claimed that the two brothers were attacked without warning by the officers, who allegedly punched, kicked and dragged them into a police vehicle…. charges (filed) against the two brothers eventually were dismissed.”

Father claims tip about the wrong “Bryan” led to fatal shooting of his son by federal agents. “In addition to lying about (having a video of his son holding a gun), he said police lied to the public when saying (Bryan) Liles had a federal warrant out for his arrest.”

Family claims West Valley, Utah police invaded their home the after death of their baby, who had been sent home from the hospital but then died after they took her back. “We were grieving and didn’t want to be bothered.”

New ICE policy allows detention of pregnant migrants. “Since the new policy went into effect, ICE has detained more than 500 pregnant women, according to the Huffington Post.”

Former director of chemical weapons watchdog agency claims his children were threatened by Trump’s new national security advisor John Bolton. “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”   Bolton refused to admit occupation of Iraq was a disaster. “…with 5 percent of the total population of Iraq dead (about 1 million people), thousands of US troops dead and trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds bled away, he told the Washington Examiner that he still thought the Iraq War was worth it.”

Texas woman sentenced to five years in prison for voting in 2016 election. “The laws that regulate felons who wish to vote are so complex and varied, that election officials in many states have trouble keeping up with them, said Marc Mauer, executive director for The Sentencing Project.”

PR firm reportedly monitored social media accounts of accusers of gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser. “…the Lansing State Journal has revealed Michigan State University paid a public relations firm more than a half-million dollars to monitor the social media accounts of the female athletes coming forward to accuse the MSU and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.”


March 30, 2018

March 29, 2018

EPA issues ‘talking points’ to employees downplaying human role in climate change. “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”

Trump wants to use Pentagon funds to build border wall. “He has suggested to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and congressional leaders that the Pentagon could fund the sprawling project, citing a ‘national security’ risk.”

Facebook deactivates accounts of Palestinian news organization. “Facebook disabled Safa’s account, along with the accounts of 10 Safa editors, just after 5 p.m. on Saturday, without issuing a warning or providing an explanation, a manager of Safa’s social media team told The Jerusalem Post.”

Ecuadoran embassy cuts Julian Assange’s access to the internet. “The source of Ecuador’s recent concern appears to be a series of tweets in which Assange suggested that only “circumstantial” evidence suggests Russia is behind the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. earlier this month.”   Which, strictly speaking, is actually true. Russia had the motive, means and opportunity to do it, but there is no evidence (that has been shared with the public) directly linking them to the attack.

Former Russian spy and his daughter were apparently poisoned at their front door. “Police have also searched a variety of sites around Salisbury, including a pub, a restaurant and a cemetery.”   I found a partial timeline of events here:   Looks like they arrived in downtown Salisbury at around 1:40 pm, hit the pub around 2:20 pm, left the restaurant at around 3:35 pm, and someone reported to police at around 4:15 pm that they were seen passed out in the park. So if they were exposed to this powerful military nerve agent at his door even as late as 1:30 pm, they were somehow still able to walk out of the restaurant two hours later.

Poland to buy $4.75 billion missile system from the U.S. “(The Patriot system) is an advanced surface-to-air missile system designed to defend against aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles.”   So would the U.S. be ok with Cuba getting a similar system from Russia?

Trump fires another agency director. “(Shulkin) had agreed to reimburse the government more than $4,000 after the VA’s internal watchdog concluded last month that he had improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and that his then-chief of staff had doctored emails to justify his wife traveling to Europe with him at taxpayer expense.”   Shulkin claims he was ousted for opposing Republican plan to privatize the VA. “They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed.”

Florida to implement criminal justice database. “Promoted as a bipartisan transparency measure, the new system will gather data on all future cases across 67 counties, fully anonymized to protect identity, and track recidivism rates following incarceration to show the public how people cycle through prisons.”

Supreme Court hears second ‘gerrymandering’ case. “The Supreme Court has ruled that racial gerrymandering (creating bizarre election districts that disperse or concentrate voters based on their race) is illegal, but has recognized that a degree of partisan gerrymandering will take place and is OK.”

92% of women who took an online survey said they had been harassed at music events. “…the incidents included experiences of spoken harassment, groping, sexual gestures, stalking, being yelled at and being photographed or videoed without permission.”

Justice Department charges FBI agent accused of leaking informant recruitment techniques to the press. “The charges do not name the reporter or news organization but specify that (Terry) Albury allegedly possessed and shared the information between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017 — the same date that the Intercept published an entry to its “FBI’s Secret Rules” series on how the bureau assesses potential informants.”

Texas art teacher’s lawyer claims the woman was fired after telling her students about her wife. “The fact is that she was placed on leave after years of exemplary work based on a single parent complaint.”

Self-driving Chevy Bolt gets ticket for not yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk. “According to Cruise data, KPIX reported, the pedestrian was 10.8 feet away from the vehicle while in self-driving mode.”

Business analysts blame Tesla’s automobile production problems on robots. “Tesla has tried to hyper-automate final assembly.”

Palantir employee reportedly created Cambridge Analytica’s targeting algorithms, using that controversial Facebook data. “The rogue employee is Alfredas Chmieliauskas, who used his personal Gmail to pursue a side relationship with Cambridge Analytica, according to emails provided by Palantir to Bloomberg.”

Viral meme about the U.S. being “3rd in murders” is ‘pants on fire’ untrue. “Controlling for population size, most criminologists use the (homicides) per 100,000 metric. By that standard, we found the United States ranked 94th.”   In other words, there are a lot of murders in the U.S. since it has a big population, but that doesn’t mean it has a high murder rate.

North Carolina becomes 18th state to ban shackling female prisoners during childbirth. “I am unaware of any cases of women or girls in labor attempting to escape.”

Most Americans say they are not getting bigger paychecks after Republican tax cuts. “A new CNBC poll found that less than a third of those surveyed earlier this month reported taking home more money because of the new tax code, compared with 16 percent who said they were unsure and 52 percent who said their take-home pay did not go up. ”

Republicans allegedly planning to pass balanced budget amendment after running up huge deficit caused by tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and by their giant military budget. “A balanced budget amendment is the GOP dream, because it means (the tax cuts) for the rich will ‘force’ them to cut programs for the poor and middle-class.”

Uber program to test self-driving cars in Arizona was initially concealed from the public. “Because of Arizona’s regulatory vacuum, neither Uber nor (Governor) Ducey were obliged to inform the public that Uber’s cars would now be driving themselves on public roads.”

Safety Eric Reid allegedly getting the ‘Kaepernick’ treatment. “Once again, NFL teams are turning their back on a talented player in the prime of his career because he dared to kneel when most of the NFL stood.”

Manafort and Gates allegedly collaborated with Russian with links to Russian intelligence agency during presidential campaign. “During his first interview with the special counsel’s office, (Manafort lobbying firm lawyer Alex) Van der Zwaan admitted that he knew of that connection, stating that Gates told him Person A was a former Russian intelligence officer with GRU.”

68 die in Venezuelan prison fire. “The fire is said to have broken out after a disturbance involving detainees.”

Mexican police officers found guilty in death of journalist. “Mexico remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters and media workers.”

Trump associate who loaned Kushner Companies millions for real estate deals was reportedly on the board of a Putin-created Russian investment fund. “In 2011, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin kicked off the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion private equity fund aimed at boosting foreign investment in Russian companies and state assets, and turning Moscow into a global financial center. (Stephen) Schwarzman served on the international advisory board…”

Judge throws out many of the charges against frat members involved in death of Penn State pledge Tim Piazza. “Piazza consumed 18 drinks in 82 minutes, then fell down the stairs at the fraternity house. No one called for help for nearly 12 hours, and Piazza later died of head, spleen and lung injuries.”

Secretary of Defense Mattis lets slip during press conference that despite previous denials by his military officers, the U.S. is sometimes involved in planning Saudi bombing raids in Yemen. “When we’re doing the planning, we have shown them how you have what we call no-strike zones.”


March 29, 2018

March 28, 2018

Retired Supreme Court justice John Stevens floats abolishing the 2nd amendment. “Stevens called (the amendment) ‘a relic of the 18th century’ and says repealing it would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States.”   Despotism, however, is not a relic of the 18th century. The Declaration of Independence states, “…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce (the People) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Without a 2nd amendment how does that happen? Teenagers with signs demanding that the Constitution be restored?

No charges for Baton Rouge officers who fatally shot Alton Sterling. “We have concluded that the officers in question acted as reasonable officers under existing law and were justified in their use of force.”

Facebook housing ads can allegedly avoid people with children, women, disabled and immigrants. “The National Fair Housing Alliance and other groups allege in the new complaint that tests of Facebook’s platform revealed that the company allows housing advertisers to block ads from women, families with children, and users with interests suggesting a disability or particular national origin.”

Two aircraft over Arizona see the same UFO. “(The failure to issue an official FAA incident report) does seem somewhat odd considering some sort of unidentified craft was flying along highly trafficked air routes at jet altitudes that didn’t have a transponder, did not appear on radar, and was not communicating with air traffic control.”

Veteran commits suicide in Veteran’s Administration medical center waiting room. “St. Louis Police Officer Michelle Woodling said the 62-year-old man committed suicide inside the hospital waiting room at 4:19 a.m. Monday.”

Walmart to remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkouts after complaint by sexual exploitation group. “The (National Center on Sexual Exploitation), which changed its name from Morality in Media in 2015, has been working to cover or remove Cosmo from store shelves for years, deeming it porn.”

Pakistan’s prime minister required to go through TSA security screening at JFK airport. “In a video that has gone viral on social media, Abbasi, dressed in a maroon polo t-shirt and black trousers can be seen putting on his belt after clearing the security check.”

North Korean and Chinese leaders meet in Beijing. “China backed North Korean forces in the Korean War of 1950-53, during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers died.”

Biggest oil and gas companies reportedly got $25 billion in tax cuts from Trump tax bill. “Just 17 American oil and gas companies reported a combined total of $25 billion in direct one-time benefits from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Progressive primary challenger goes after Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. “As most New Yorkers would tell you, he’s cleaned up Albany about as well as Donald Trump has drained the swamp.”

Heineken ad called racist. “The bottle (of Heineken Light) passes several black people (as it slides down the bar) before it arrives to a lighter-skinned woman. The tag line: Sometimes lighter is better.”

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand proposes living wage job guarantee. “The idea is simple. The government guarantees a job with livable wages and benefits to anyone who wants one.”

NRA admits to making money transfers between accounts containing foreign donations (?!) and accounts for political activities.  “Transfers between accounts are made as permitted by law.”

Woman crashes her car while trying to prove to her children that God exists. “The episode echoes the plot of Carrie Underwood’s popular country song “Jesus, Take The Wheel“—except that Jesus did not take the wheel in this instance.”

Sri Lankan politicians and police reportedly caught on video participating in anti-Muslim riots. “Dozens of mosques and Muslims’ homes and businesses were destroyed by the Buddhist mobs in the central Sri Lankan province, causing the government to declare a state of emergency.”

March 28, 2018

March 27, 2018

Second day of protests in Sacramento after fatal police shooting of man armed with cell phone. “Hundreds of demonstrators calling for justice in the fatal shooting last weekend of 22-year-old Stephon Clark marched for hours and blocked traffic near the California state capitol building on Friday afternoon, according to ABC station KGO.”

Average Wall Street BONUS (not salary) for 2017 is $184,220. “Banks are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of lowering the corporate tax rate to 21 percent.”

Linda Brown, of Brown v. Board of Education, dies at 76. “It was Brown’s father, Rev. Oliver Brown, who sued the Topeka school board to allow his daughter the right to attend an all-white school in the Kansas capital city.”

‘Fake news’ law proposed in Malaysia includes harsh penalties for journalists. “The vague and broad definition of ‘fake news,’ combined with severe punishments and arbitrary arrest powers for police, shows that this is nothing but a blatant attempt to shield the government from peaceful criticism.”   The country’s Prime Minister is embroiled in a long-running corruption scandal and an election is scheduled.

Rock star Prince reportedly had an extremely high level of fentanyl in his blood when he died. “Authorities said they would be investigating possible prescription drug diversion, which is the transfer of legal drugs into illegal distribution or use.”

Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell wants to legalize hemp. “If approved, the act would allow states to control their own hemp regulations by removing federal restrictions.”

Government report shows that the cost of the top 20 prescription drugs used by Medicare recipients went up almost 10 times  faster than the rate of inflation. “Over the past five years, the prices for each of the 20 increased, on average going up 12 percent per year.”

Trump administration ‘infested with swamp creatures’. “The advocacy group Public Citizen has identified at least 36 former lobbyists in the administration who are working on issues for which they recently lobbied…”

Stormy Daniels claims she was threatened over Trump affair. “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”

Canadian Prime Minister apologizes for executions of indigenous leaders. “Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has exonerated six indigenous chiefs, more than 150 years after they were executed by the colonial government of British Columbia.”

Feds side with Chamber of Commerce in Seattle anti-unionization case. “By allowing (ride share) drivers to form an organization and bargain to set prices and working conditions, the Chamber argued, the drivers were setting up what amounted to an illegal cartel.”

Border Patrol’s 100 mile “Constitution-free zone” effects 2/3 of Americans. “Some 200 million people live within that 100-mile zone, which encompasses most major U.S. cities from east to west and north to south, including New York and Seattle, Detroit and Philadelphia.”

Turkish leader threatens to invade Iraq if necessary to remove Kurdish forces from Sinjar. “The PKK says it entered Sinjar in 2014 to help defend the Yazidi people against the ‘Islamic State’.”

Washington Post article on U.S. military intervention in Africa omits key option, in addition to possibly changing battlefield tactics or building more bases. “… left completely out of the discussion is anyone who thinks the US military shouldn’t be intervening in Africa at all.”


March 27, 2018

March 26, 2018

Trump’s new national security advisor John Bolton reportedly videotaped message to Russian group with ties to Putin. “The Bolton video appears to be another plank in a bridge built by Russia to conservative political organizations inside the United States.”   Bolton reportedly told Iranian Leninists that they will celebrate the overthrow of the Iranian government in Tehran ‘before 2019’. “In case there was any doubt among the exiles that Bolton might not advise Trump to overthrow Iran’s government, (Rudy) Giuliani assured (the MEK) that “if anything, John Bolton has become more determined that there needs to be regime change in Iran, that the nuclear agreement needs to be burned, and that you need to be in charge of that country.”   Let the betting begin! Will the next war be with Iran or North Korea? Leninists in or Leninists out?

Catalans clash with police after independence leader arrested in Germany. “In central Barcelona, protesters chanted ‘Freedom for the political prisoners’ and ‘This Europe is shameful!’ as they headed to the offices of the European Commission and the German consulate.

March for Our Lives speaker Emma Gonzalez wrote a Cuban flag patch during her speech. “In another seeming attempt to discredit mass school shooting survivor Emma González, the outspoken teenaged gun control advocate, a widely shared meme fixated on a patch that was sewn on the shoulder of the jacket she wore during her speech at the March for Our Lives really in Washington, D.C., on 24 March 2018.”   Like people were “fixated” on the Nazi symbols sported by white nationalists Charlottesville?

Las Vegas hotel releases Steven Paddock videos. “Cops have that innate sense to pick out somebody that’s not acting right. I never would have looked at this guy twice.”   Las Vegas police resisting public records requests from the media. “We feel disclosure of all the documents is not appropriate.”   Covering their posteriors, or is there something else to hide?

Obama spoke at “an event” organized by a “non-profit organization” in Japan, but the mainstream media apparently didn’t want to name the event or the group. Japan’s public broadcaster has named the event though, and a Japanese Google search did the  rest. “Obama addressed the Fourth Global Opinion Leaders Summit on Sunday at the invitation of a nonprofit group that organized the event.”   Could the reason for the vague news stories be because the “non-profit group” is apparently (according to a Japanese Wikipedia article) a weird, far-right Shinto religious sect with close ties to the country’s ruling party, which has also hosted Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and Tony Blair? “The World Opinion Leaders Summit… is an international organization sponsored by the NPO World Development Cooperation Organization, which is presided over by Shinto Hidehisa of Shintoism New World Religious World Mate Guru Political conference.” (per Google Translate)世界オピニオンリーダーズサミット

Cambridge Analytica staff who advised Republican candidates were not Americans. “Its dirty little secret was that there was no one American involved in it, that it was a de facto foreign agent, working on an American election.”

Critics say police showed empathy for Austin bomber because of his race. “When a law enforcement official described a cellphone recording left by the Austin serial bomber as ‘the outcry of a very challenged young man’, the remark caused an outcry of its own.”

Prosecutors in trial of Pulse shooter’s widow allegedly hid from the defense that Omar Mateen’s father was an FBI informant. “Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, was on the government’s witness list but was never called to testify.”

Houston deputy fatally shoots unarmed black man walking in traffic with his trousers around his ankles. “It’s difficult to imagine how this shooting could possibly be justified.”

An estimated 70 marchers arrested in Belarus, but protesters allowed to gather in the park. “Last year more than 700 people were arrested during a 25 March opposition rally, prompting warnings from the EU, which had lifted sanctions on Belarus after Lukashenko freed imprisoned opposition politicians in 2016.”

U.S. aid to Afghan government ‘mismanaged’. “As a result, (Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan) officials did not have assurance that $3.1 billion in U.S. direct funding was used entirely for the intended purposes.”

Mexican military and drug cartel clash on U.S. border. “Authorities said marines were ambushed three separate times in Nuevo Laredo, a city across the border from Laredo, Texas.”


March 26, 2018

March 25, 2018

Tens of thousands of Americans march to restrict ownership of modern rifles to only the police and the military. “They want a ban on large magazines that go into rifles, and they want a ban on assault rifles.”   Counter protesters point out that previous ban had no apparent impact (since so few people are murdered with rifles). “We tried assault weapons bans for 10 years. There was really no change.”   Black Lives Matter activist points out the difference between how their protests are received compared to those of gun control activists. “When we go out into the streets, when we protest, when we demand for our lives to matter, we’re given heavy police repression.”   Subjects of the Queen of England rally against gun ownership in the U.S. “Thousands of UK supporters gathered in solidarity outside the US embassy in London and the US consulate in Edinburgh.”   Sorry Brits, you’re 240 years too late!

Craigslist shuts down its personal ads in response to sex trafficking law. “U.S. Congress just passed HR 1865, ‘FOSTA’, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.”

World Health Organization says the estimated 167,000 refugees fleeing Turkish attack on Afrin are in need of assistance. “Children, women, and men have undertaken harrowing journeys to flee Afrin and need urgent health assistance.”

Facebook reportedly logged phone data of Android users who agreed to share their contact info. “While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.”

Public employees in France go on strike to protest ‘labor reforms’. “(President) Macron has proposed cutting 120,000 public employee jobs over five years, while raising taxes on pensions and introducing a merit-based system of pay.”

Most of the chemical spills that occurred during Hurricane Harvey were not made public. “AP reporters catalogued more than 100 Harvey-related toxic releases, most of which were never made public, including spills of carcinogenic compounds like benzene and vinyl chloride, and the release of nearly half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater mixed with stormwater from one chemical plant in Baytown alone.”

2o injured during protests after Spain arrests Catalonian independence leaders. “There are two million people who want to leave Spain and they can’t put us all in prison.”

Military suppressed the blogs of soldiers in Iraq who tried to honestly relate their experiences. “I’m having a hard time being okay with all the dead civilians.”

Senator John McCain asks Gina Haspel about her involvement with torture program in letter to CIA. “He asked for an account of Haspel’s role in the detention and interrogation program, including whether she directed “enhanced interrogation techniques” or could have stopped them, and if she was directed to destroy tapes or other potential evidence of the use of such techniques.”

Britain’s chemical warfare lab is only 8 miles from site of nerve agent attack. “Britain’s military research facility at Porton Down said it could not have been the source of the nerve agent that poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the city of Salisbury this month, the BBC reported on Friday.”–business.html   I wonder if there was a bounty on Skripal’s head? That would explain the odd timing of the attack, just before the Russian election and upcoming World Cup in Russia. But who has access to nerve agent? I suggest they ‘follow the money’ and see if anyone at Porton Down buys a Jaguar or a yacht in the near future.

Camden, New Jersey cops beat up innocent man says his lawyer. “The surveillance video, which (Edward) Minguela said he obtained from the liquor store, shows him holding his hands up as an officer approaches him and takes him to the ground. He then punches Minguela 12 times in the head while two other officers appear to hold him down, and others look on.”

Some patients with large debts avoid seeking medical treatment. “This holds true for roughly 23% of U.S. adults with $10,000 to $25,000 of debt and 27% of those with $25,000 in debt or more.”

Immigration detainees allege they were beaten, pepper-sprayed and held in solitary confinement. “The officers used epithets (‘terrorist’ and ‘boy’ and ‘n*’) in combination with beatings, broad and indiscriminate use of pepper spray, and routine and arbitrary use of segregation and other violations to demean and injure the men.”

Anti-prostitution group allegedly made large donations to King County, Washington law enforcement officials, asked them to portray arrested customers as clients of sex trafficking organizations. “As part of signed agreements for the funding, (Valiant) Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking, according to court records and internal documents obtained through public records requests — even though there was no evidence of trafficking in these cases.”

Democratic Congressional primary in Texas pits ex-teacher and Bernie Sanders supporter Rick Treviño against DCCC endorsed former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones. “…Treviño has endorsed the full range of Sanders policies: from ‘Medicare for All’ to tuition-free college. Ortiz Jones on the other hand is keeping many of her policy positions vague, preferring to talk about her desire to ‘make college affordable’, for instance.”

Canadian journalist facing charges after covering indigenous protesters. “(Justin) Brake embedded with Indigenous demonstrators at the Muskrat Falls dam project in Labrador in October 2016 (following them after they broke a court injunction against trespassing).”

55% increase in acute hunger due to global conflicts. “Wars and conflicts are driving hunger in a way we’ve never seen before.”

March 25, 2018

March 23, 2018

Hundreds protest Sacramento police shooting. “Anger over the shooting (of Stephon Clark) drew hundreds of protesters to City Hall on Thursday, where members of Black Lives Matter and other activists condemned the incident as yet another case of officers shooting an unarmed black person.”

List of winners and losers as Congress passes appropriations bill. On the ‘winners’ list….”Defense contractors: The Pentagon gets $144 billion for new hardware, including missile defense. It’s the biggest increase since the Iraq War was launched 15 years ago.”

“Guccifer 2.0” linked to Russian intelligence, but no proof given that it was actually the Russians who hacked the DNC’s emails. “An investigation into emails from Guccifer, who communicated with people on social media, through blog posts, and elsewhere, provided investigators the break they needed to track down who was behind the account that wreaked havoc on the 2016 election.”    Several media outlets are misleading the public, at least in their headlines, that Guccifer is a GRU officer = GRU hacked DNC emails. He CLAIMED he hacked them. It’s not the same thing.

Trump imposes tariffs on some Chinese imports. “It was the boldest example to date of Trump’s “America first” agenda, the culmination of his longstanding view that weak U.S. trade policies and enforcement have hollowed out the nation’s workforce and ballooned the federal deficit.”   As the saying goes, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”. It will probably be good for U.S. workers, but not for corporate businesses. Stock markets around the world fell in response to projected drop in profits. “Stock markets around the world saw sharp falls Friday, with investors worrying over a potential trade war.”

Trump appoints imperialist neo-con as his third National Security Advisor. “John Bolton strongly supported every war the US has fought, believes there should be no limits how (the) US fights it’s wars, and strongly supports starting new regime change wars with Iran and nuclear-armed N. Korea.”

Austin bomber had black roommate, who was arrested by heavily armed, unspecified law enforcement agents and held overnight, but eventually released. “(The man’s mother), who spoke during an interview Thursday, said (Collin) Thomas, who is black, was handcuffed, taken into custody by SWAT officers and questioned about the bombings.”   Guilty until proven innocent!

Giant swirl of floating plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean is now reportedly twice as big as Texas. “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash located halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday finds.”

Transparency group blames western governments for Egypt’s military dictatorship. “The international community must understand that not only is it doing a major disservice to the people of Egypt by providing support to the armed forces with few strings attached, it is also contributing to the security crisis in the country and region.”

Police accused of using dead people’s fingers to unlock their phones. “One example given in the report is using the fingerprint of an overdose victim to unlock their phone and potentially identify their drug dealer.”   I asked him if it was ok if we searched his phone and he didn’t object.

Commentators point out that Facebook sharing your data with third parties is precisely how Facebook makes money. “This is exactly Facebook’s business model,” Chester Wisniewski, a senior security analyst at Sophos, told Tom’s Guide. “Except they want to be the ones doing the analytics and making all the money.”,news-26823.html

Tukwila, Washington cops arrested 911 caller due to his immigration status. “When Wilson Rodriguez Macareno called 911 to report a trespasser on his property Feb. 8, it was he — not the intruder — who was hauled away in handcuffs.”

CLOUD Act reportedly buried in appropriations bill. “Buried in the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that the U.S. House passed Thursday is a piece of legislation that digital privacy advocates warn “expands American and foreign law enforcement’s ability to target and access people’s data across international borders.”

Florida school district requires students to use clear backpacks. “Robert W. Runcie, the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, sent a letter to the families of Stoneman Douglas High students imposing the new backpack rule, reminiscent of security measures at airports and professional sports venues.”

Fatal crash involving self-driving Uber and pedestrian reveals serious problems with the technology. “John M Simpson, privacy and technology project director with Consumer Watchdog, said the video revealed a “complete failure” of Uber’s technology and its safety protocols, and said all testing programs on public roads should be suspended while the case is under investigation.”

Case against Pulse gunman’s wife reportedly falling apart in court as evidence emerges that FBI misled judge. “Using geo-location data from cell phone records as well as documentary evidence showing the couple’s whereabouts, the FBI concluded – long before (Noor) Salman was arrested – that it was impossible that Salman went to Pulse with her husband on that date (to case the nightclub, as she had confessed after 17 hours of interrogation).”

Mother of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi jailed for posting video of her daughter’s confrontation with soldier. “The ruling could have a chilling effect not just on journalists, but also on Palestinian activists who routinely record their encounters with Israeli troops, both to document abuses and to provide a measure of accountability.”

Britain reportedly pioneered ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques in Northern Ireland. “Documents uncovered by Irish broadcaster RTE revealed that the British government lied to the European Court of Human Rights about the severity of the techniques and the long-term physical and psychological consequences for the victims.”


March 23, 2018

March 21, 2018

Trump congratulates Putin on his re-election to a fourth term. “Asked whether the Trump administration believes that Russia conducted a ‘free and fair’ election, (White House press secretary Sarah) Sanders said the administration is focused on U.S. elections.”

Senate votes to let the president do whatever he likes with the country’s military. “Trump scored a victory on behalf of the executive branch’s ability to launch and sustain military operations in new countries without first getting authorization from Congress.”   Someone needs to sue to make the Supreme Court rule on this blatant violation of the Constitution.

Israel admits it blew up suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. “Israel is not a signatory to the (Non-Proliferation Treaty) and has long refused to confirm or deny reports by foreign governments that it holds nuclear weapons.”

Minneapolis police officer charged in fatal shooting of woman who reported hearing a sexual assault. “(Mike) Freeman, Minneapolis’ top prosecutor, had delayed his decision in December, saying his office needed more time and that he lacked sufficient evidence to charge (Officer) Noor.”

Fox News analyst resigns, calls network a “propaganda machine”. “Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.”

California teacher caught on student’s cell phone video criticizing the military is fired by school board. “I do believe the military is not the best option for my students.”

Former French President accused of taking millions in campaign donations from former Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi. “The investigation centers on claims that Kadafi and his supporters secretly handed over almost $61.4 million in illegal donations to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, more than double the $25.8 million candidates were allowed to spend at the time.”

British comedian found guilty of hate crime for video featuring dog making apparent Nazi salutes in response to Nazi slogans. “For any comedians making jokes in Britain, I’d be very, very worried about your future because the context and intent, apparently they don’t matter anymore.”

EPA director’s trip to Italy reportedly cost taxpayers about $120,000 if you include cost of connecting flight and security staff. “Pruitt’s own first-class tickets for the trip cost more than $7,000 and included a return flight on Emirates, an airline that boasts one of the most luxurious first-class services in the world.”

Tempe police chief says she suspects Uber not at fault for death of pedestrian since it was dark and the victim was not using a crosswalk. “Traveling at 38 mph in a 35 mph zone on Sunday night, the Uber self-driving car made no attempt to brake, according to the Police Department’s preliminary investigation.”   Video of road ahead and of back up driver released:

German cops raid BMW’s headquarters. “BMW has admitted updating about 11,400 vehicles — 750d and M550d saloons — with incorrect software that could have affected their emissions.”

United Airlines stops taking PetSafe reservations due to shipping errors. “In 2017, 1.3 out of every 10,000 animals the carrier transported in cargo holds died, according to the Transportation Department, compared with 0.47 out of every 10,000 across all airlines that reported data.”

Democratic Party reportedly recruiting a large number of its candidates from the national security community. “National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.”

Unarmed Sacramento man shot dead by police in his own backyard after they mistook his cell phone for a gun. “The police department said officers were responding to a report that someone was breaking car windows nearby.”   Officers reportedly fired 20 shots at Stephan Clark. “Department spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler said each of the two officers involved in the shooting fired 10 shots, for a total of 20 shots fired. Chandler said he did not know how many times Clark was hit.”

Former Harris County, Texas assistant DA accused of concealing evidence in murder trial, county also accused of packing grand juries with law enforcement officers. “A prosecutor who obtained a wrongful conviction that sent a Houston man to death row for nearly 10 years didn’t just withhold evidence but also denied under oath that he had information that supported Alfred Dewayne Brown’s alibi, court records show.”

Bill to curb school violence lacks protections for students say activists. “For example, if a student has an erroneous report made against them, there are no guidelines ensuring that the reported student will be guaranteed due process, and no government recommendations are included in the bill on how grant recipients can avoid abuses to their system.”

Austin bomber, a home-schooled, Christian conservative, had reportedly been fired from his job for under-performance. “‘He was very quiet and introverted’ and did not have any confrontations with management, the owner said, adding that he was given several warnings for not meeting expectations before he was fired.”   Media and politicians slow to label white serial bomber a terrorist. “The suspect has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, a 24-year-old white male—reigniting a familar conversation on who is and isn’t labeled a “terrorist” by the mainstream media and American politicians.”

Trump administration takes down web page with health advice for lesbian and bi-sexual women. “The page was replaced with a fact sheet about lesbian and bisexual women’s health that was last updated in 2009, but the page can only be navigated to by conducting a word search on the (Office of Women’s Health) site.”

EU regulators give green light to Bayer-Monsanto merger. “This merger will create the world’s biggest and most powerful agribusiness corporation, which will try to force its genetically modified seeds and toxic pesticides into our food and countryside.”

White House budget chief overruled bureaucrats, stripped impact estimate from proposed “tip-sharing” rule that would require tipped employees to hand over their tips to employers. “While the Labor Department ultimately concluded that the rule could cost workers $640 million per year in earned tips, EPI found that the actual number would be somewhere around $5.8 billion—with $4.6 billion of that coming from the pockets of women.”

Progressive challenger loses to seven-term incumbent by less than 2,000 votes in Illinois Democratic congressional primary. “Although (Dan) Lipinski has faced mounting criticism for his conservative stances on reproductive and LGBTQ rights, healthcare, and immigration, he retained the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

NSA targeted bitcoin users accorded to leaked Snowden documents. “The NSA collected some Bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested.”

Teenage Palestinian girl who slapped and kicked soldier after her cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet gets 8 months in prison and steep fine. “A high-profile trial with images showing (Ahed) Tamimi smiling while in shackles has thrown the teenager into the centre of a debate regarding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.”

More irregularities turn up in Russian election. “In the town of Ust-Djeguta, in southern Russia near Georgia, Reuters reporters photographed 17 people who appeared to cast two ballots. Leila Koichuyeva, a member of the election commission, when shown the pictures of people who apparently voted twice, said: ‘They could be twins’.”   Yes, adult twins that still wear the same clothes on the same day! Just a conspiracy theory?

French bird population has dropped sharply, researchers suspect pesticides have killed off their food supply. “Recent research… has uncovered similar trends across Europe, estimating that flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations (have) dropped by more than 400 (million) in 30 years.”

Inept federal response to Hurricane Maria being used to leverage “shock doctrine” privatization campaigns says author. “The first step was to be the immediate privatization of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, one of the largest public power providers in the United States and, despite its billions of dollars in debt, the one that brings in the most revenue.”

Company aligned with government in Turkey buys up outlets accused of being critical of country’s ruling party. “The Dogan Media group owned the newspapers Hurriyet and Posta, and two of Turkey’s main entertainment and news channels, Kanal D and CNN Turk.”

U.N. human rights watchdog claims armed groups in Libya are abusing civilians and migrants. “Armed groups execute and torture civilians in Libya in almost complete impunity seven years after the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday.”

56 reportedly killed in government airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, Syria. “Among the reported victims were 16 children and four women who had taken shelter in a school, which was reportedly hit with an airstrike on Monday night.”

March 21, 2018

March 20, 2018

Uber vehicle in self-driving mode kills pedestrian. “The Tempe Police Department reports the Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred, though the car had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor the technology and retake control in the case of an emergency or imminent crash.”

Senate Democrats “under pressure” not to confirm torture site manager Gina Haspel as CIA director. “(California Senator Diane) Feinstein raised alarms on the left last week by telling reporters that Haspel had been “a good deputy director,” citing a personal dinner with the three-decade agency veteran.”

Cambridge Analytica director tells journalist posing as a potential client how to set a honey trap, take down an opponent with bribes, hide assistance from a foreign consultant. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes.”

400 bomb threats sent to British schools as part of a video gamer dispute. “A report by Sky News says the reports were “spoofed” to look like they were coming from VeltPvP, a Minecraft server site, apparently in an attempt to get the site’s domain suspended.”

Only one of the perpetrators of the My Lai massacre, in which an estimated 500 civilians were slain, was ever punished, by 3 1/2 years of house arrest. “Meanwhile, the government’s unwillingness to prosecute torturers, despite its treaty obligations, shows that it sometimes remains willing to tolerate war criminals as it fights its enemies, and that the public is often oblivious to misbehavior by its soldiers.”

I don’t think “foreign agent” means what you think it means. “A U.S. peace group hosts a public meeting featuring delegates from a Japanese peace group touring the U.S. to talk about nuclear weapons abolition; a wealthy British philanthropist makes a significant contribution to a small U.S. charity doing research and policy advocacy to support Alzheimer’s patients; a D.C. registered lobbyist, bankrolled by the Russian government, meets with members of Congress to lobby for policies that benefit Russia. Guess which one wouldn’t be required to register as a foreign agent?”

New York City police officers accused of brazenly and repeatedly lying in court. “Officer Martinez tapped the bag with his foot and felt something hard, he testified. He opened the bag, leading to the discovery of a Ruger 9-millimeter handgun and the arrest of the woman. But a hallway surveillance camera captured the true story: There’s no laundry bag or gun in sight as Officer Martinez and other investigators question the woman in the doorway and then stride into the apartment.”

ICE accused of detaining asylum seekers to discourage them from staying. “In October 2016, (Ansly) Damus fled violent, political persecution in Haiti…. a judge granted him asylum — not once, but twice…. and yet the U.S. government has put him behind bars.”

Vallejo, California couple to receive $2.5 million after police claimed woman’s abduction was a hoax. “Police realized the couple were telling the truth after a disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney, Matthew Muller, was implicated in another crime and tied to the abduction.”

CLOUD Act would allow the government to receive data on Americans collected by foreign governments, without a warrant. “A judge need not approve the data collection before it is carried out. At no point need probable cause be shown. At no point need a search warrant be obtained.”

Journalist suggests better questions for the next time 60 Minutes interviews Saudi leader. “Is it not a moral outrage for one of the richest countries in the Middle East to be starving the poorest country in the Middle East (Yemen)?

Minnesota bill would outlaw ranked choice voting. “Unlike traditional first-past-the-post voting systems — in which the candidate with the biggest number of votes wins — under ranked-choice voting, voters rank candidates on their ballot instead of voting for just one. If no one gets a majority of votes in the first round, next-preference votes are counted until a candidate gets most of the votes.”   In other words, you could vote for Jill Stein as your first choice, Vermin Supreme as your second choice and Hillary Clinton as your third choice. If no one gets a majority in round one, your Stein vote goes to Supreme. If no one gets a majority in the second round, your Supreme vote goes to Clinton.

FBI tracked Black Lives Matter activist traveling to a protest but claims it doesn’t investigate First Amendment activity. “This is clearly just tracking First Amendment activity and keeping this activity in an intelligence database.”

39% of Americans surveyed said the U.S. succeeded in achieved its goals in Iraq. “There are still American troops in Iraq—seven died last week, bringing the count of U.S. military fatalities in the country since 2003 to 4,540. The death toll for Iraqis has been much more severe; an estimated 200,000 civilians have died violently there over the same time period. The civil war and chaos that the U.S. invasion created resulted in the rise of ISIS.”   Well, if the goal was to keep a war going for more than 15 years so that trillions in tax dollars could be diverted to defense contractors, it worked!


March 20, 2018