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.”   http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/alton_sterling/article_209c1f62-33c7-11e8-a2c8-179ff7c92a3f.html

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.”   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43598831   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…”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/30/as-new-details-emerge-scott-pruitts-housing-arrangements-come-under-scrutiny/

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.”   https://www.cvindependent.com/index.php/en-US/news/national-international/item/4427-democracy-in-crisis-as-donald-trump-and-stormy-daniels-battle-over-an-nda-federal-prosecutors-seek-anonymity-for-an-expert-on-inauguration-protesters

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.” https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/30/middleeast/gaza-protests-intl/index.html

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.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/30/trump-government-immigrant-teen-abortion-federal-court/475294002/

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.”    https://theintercept.com/2018/03/29/herman-bell-black-panther-parole-nypd-new-york/

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.”   https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-autopilot-self-driving-crash-california/

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/30/under-gop-tax-law-top-1-get-extra-33000-year-poor-40

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/30/victory-people-judge-tosses-out-exxons-attempt-keep-climate-crisis-knowledge-hidden

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.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/26/opinions/trump-bolton-cambridge-analytica-investigation-wertheimer-eisen/index.html

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).”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/30/msu-richard-spencer-antifa/

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.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-shooting-azerbaijan/gunman-shoots-exiled-azeri-journalist-in-southern-france-idUKKBN1H60ZY

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.”   https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2018/03/ibm-propublica-gray-hairs-old-heads/

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.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/25/mlks_radical_final_years_civil_rights

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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.”   http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/16/news/economy/financial-crisis-10-years/index.html

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…”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/29/barclays-agrees-to-pay-2-billion-for-selling-toxic-mortgages-before-financial-crisis/   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.”   https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Jersey-City-New-Jersey-officers-Suspended-After-Accosting-Dominos-Manager-Over-Undelivered-Pizza-478241573.html

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.”   https://www.buzzfeed.com/maryanngeorgantopoulos/immigration-visa-applicants-social-media-email   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.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pruitt-energy-lobbyist-condo_us_5abd626ee4b0f112dc9af84e

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.”   https://www.journal-topics.com/articles/federal-lawsuit-accuses-glenview-police-of-excessive-force/

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.”   https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/paterson-press/2018/03/24/paterson-new-jersey-nj-pay-80-k-settlements-end-two-police-excessive-force-cases/453589002/

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.”   https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/03/18/my-sons-dead-because-of-a-trigger-happy-cop-father-of-man-shot-by-atf-says-the-death-was-a-case-of-mistaken-identity/

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.”   http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/grieving-family-claims-abuse-by-west-valley-city-police-after-babys-death/1053052701

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/29/further-exposing-cruelty-trump-ice-ends-policy-limiting-detention-pregnant-women

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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/29/john-bolton-trump-bush-bustani-kids-opcw/   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.”   http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43966-for-bolton-the-slaughter-of-1-million-iraqis-is-a-job-qualification

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.”   http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article207391024.html

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.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/29/headlines/michigan_state_u_paid_pr_firm_500_000_to_monitor_nassars_accusers_social_media

 

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.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/epa-climate-adaptation_us_5abbb5e3e4b04a59a31387d7

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.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-privately-presses-for-military-to-pay-for-border-wall/2018/03/27/d79907a2-31c9-11e8-9759-56e51591e250_story.html

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.”   http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Facebook-disables-Palestinian-news-sites-account-for-incitement-547065

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.”   https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/28/597695729/ecuador-disconnects-julian-assange-from-the-internet   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.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/the-latest-new-zealand-faulted-for-not-expelling-russians/2018/03/27/24615964-3223-11e8-b6bd-0084a1666987_story.html   I found a partial timeline of events here:   https://news.sky.com/story/how-the-spy-poisoning-unfolded-in-salisbury-11288348   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.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43574308   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.”   http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/trump-fires-veterans-affairs-secretary-shulkin-54081049   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.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/outgoing-va-director-rips-gop-lawmakers-trying-privatize-veteran-care-pay-off-wealthy-allies/

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.”   https://www.thenation.com/article/our-systems-for-tracking-the-criminal-justice-system-are-broken/

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.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/03/28/596220408/extreme-partisan-gerrymandering-the-supreme-courts-play-in-3-acts

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.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-music-festivals-sexual-assaults-0328-story.html

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.”   http://www.startribune.com/justice-dept-charges-minnesota-fbi-agent-for-leaking-secret-document-to-news-outlet/478203203/

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.”   https://www.dallasnews.com/news/mansfield/2018/03/27/texts-show-concern-mansfield-teacher-sought-lgbtq-inclusive-language

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.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/gm-cruise-self-driving-car-ticket-not-yielding-pedestrian-2018-3

Business analysts blame Tesla’s automobile production problems on robots. “Tesla has tried to hyper-automate final assembly.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-robots-are-killing-it-2018-3

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.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-28/peter-thiel-s-palantir-says-rogue-employee-engaged-with-cambridge-analytica

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.”   http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/mar/28/viral-image/united-states-third-murders-outlier-cities/   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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/28/nc-prisons-end-shackling-women-during-childbirth-barbaric-practice-32-other-states

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. ”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/28/entirely-predictable-most-americans-say-they-are-not-seeing-paycheck-boost-gop-tax

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/28/ploy-force-deep-safety-net-cuts-gop-reportedly-planning-vote-balanced-budget

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/28/uber-arizona-secret-self-driving-program-governor-doug-ducey

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/29/eric-reid-colin-kaepernick-anthem-protest

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/28/manafort-russia-ties-mueller-trump-investigation-reveals

68 die in Venezuelan prison fire. “The fire is said to have broken out after a disturbance involving detainees.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/29/fire-in-cells-of-venezuelan-police-station-kills-68

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/28/mexico-police-moises-sanchez-journalist-guilty

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…”    https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/03/28/trump-kushner-russia-and-the-blackstone-mystery/

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.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/judge-drops-serious-charges-many-others-penn-state-frat-brothers-tim-piazzas-death/

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.”   https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1477375/media-availability-with-secretary-mattis-at-the-pentagon/

 

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.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/03/27/597259426/retired-supreme-court-justice-stevens-calls-for-repeal-of-second-amendment   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.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/27/us/alton-sterling-investigation/index.html

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.”   https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/316705/facebook-sued-over-discriminatory-housing-ads.html

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.”   http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19095/listen-in-as-a-learjet-and-an-airbus-encounter-a-mystery-craft-high-over-arizona

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.”   http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/veteran-kills-self-in-john-cochran-va-medical-center-waiting/article_98b297b8-1ed2-52f9-8301-dc49c23fe2ea.html

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.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2018/03/27/walmart-remove-cosmopolitan-magazine-checkout-lines-amid-me-too-movement/462328002/

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.”   https://www.thestatesman.com/world/embarrassment-for-pakistan-as-pm-abbasi-frisked-at-us-airport-1502611723.html

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.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/world/asia/kim-jong-un-china-north-korea.html

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.”   https://psmag.com/economics/tax-bill-oil-company-bonanza

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/27/mad-hell-cynthia-nixon-calls-out-gov-cuomo-fake-progressive-and-bully-fiery-speech

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/27/heineken-racist-advert-chance-the-rapper-tweet

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/27/democrats-government-backed-jobs-guarantee

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.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/03/27/597279176/nra-says-it-receives-foreign-funds-but-none-goes-to-election-work

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.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/atlanta-mom-crashes-car-trying-prove-kids-god-real/

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.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/27/headlines/sri_lanka_cctv_shows_police_politicians_participated_in_anti_muslim_violence

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.”   http://abcnews.go.com/US/protests-rock-sacramento-day-fatal-police-shooting-unarmed/story

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.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/26/wall-streets-average-bonus-in-2017-three-times-what-most-u-s-households-made-all-year/

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.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/linda-brown-brown-v-board-of-education-dies-76_us_5ab95c54e4b008c9e5fa5aa1

‘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.”   https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/26/malaysia-proposes-law-spreading-fake-news-illegal/   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.”   https://www.buzzfeed.com/marcusjones/prince-toxicology-report

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.”   http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/380287-mcconnell-bill-would-legalize-hemp-as-agricultural-product

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.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/26/report-details-how-skyrocketing-prescription-drug-costs-are-harming-nations-seniors

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…”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/26/tip-iceberg-watchdog-files-ethics-complaints-targeting-30-lobbyists-trump

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/26/donald-trump-stormy-daniels-alleged-affair-threat

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/26/justin-trudeau-chiefs-exonerate-canada-indigenous-people

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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/26/uber-drivers-union-seattle/

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.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/two-thirds-americans-live-constitution-free-zone/

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’.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/erdogan-turkey-iraq-fails-sinjar-180326121801595.html

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.”   https://fair.org/home/for-wapo-what-next-in-africa-doesnt-include-us-getting-out/

 

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.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/03/22/595897412/john-boltons-curious-appearance-in-a-russian-gun-rights-video   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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/23/heres-john-bolton-promising-regime-change-iran-end-2018/   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.   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43535970

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.”   https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/emma-gonzalez-flag-patch/   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.”   http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/37784256/mgm-resorts-releases-surveillance-footage-of-stephen-paddock   Las Vegas police resisting public records requests from the media. “We feel disclosure of all the documents is not appropriate.”   http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/37789594/judge-to-metro-the-courts-decide-what-gets-released-about-1-october   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.”   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180325_18/   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)   https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-cambridge-analytica-workers-say-firm-sent-foreigners-to-advise-us-campaigns/2018/03/25/6a0d7d90-2fa2-11e8-911f-ca7f68bff0fc_story.html

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.”   https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2018/03/25/sympathy-for-white-austin-bomber-stirs-debate-about-race/

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.”   http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-noor-salman-pulse-trial-day-16-story.html

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/25/video-shows-unarmed-black-man-before-he-is-shot-dead-by-texas-deputy

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.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/25/protesters-arrested-in-belarus-during-opposition-rally

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.”   https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2018/03/23/dod-ig-31-billion-in-funding-to-afghanistan-improperly-managed/

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.”   http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article206794139.html

 

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.”   https://www.npr.org/2018/03/24/596647497/crowds-arrive-for-march-for-our-lives-in-d-c   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.”   http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/us-world-news/march-for-our-guns-counter-protest-planned-next-to-march-for-our-lives-rally-in-dc   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.”   https://newsone.com/3777189/parkland-florida-gun-control-protest-black-lives-matter-movement/   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.”   https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/uk-news/2018/03/24/in-pictures-march-for-our-lives-campaigners-protest-worldwide-over-gun-control/   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.”   http://www.newsweek.com/craigslist-personals-gone-offline-shutting-down-casual-encounters-gone-section-859099

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.”   http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/2cb4ba21-202d-4aab-8ba5-5029b074f97e

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.”   https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/03/facebook-scraped-call-text-message-data-for-years-from-android-phones/

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.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/23/headlines/french_unions_strike_citing_president_macrons_public_sector_attacks

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.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/23/headlines/ap_hurricane_harvey_toxic_releases_far_worse_than_previously_known

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.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43523811

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.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/iraq-war-military-bloggers_us_5ab1543ee4b008c9e5f2089c

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.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-haspel/mccain-presses-trump-cia-nominee-over-her-record-on-interrogations-idUSKBN1GZ2FW

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.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/uks-porton-down-denies-could-source-nerve-agent-174104451–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.”   http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2018/03/post_39.html

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.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/debt-prompts-patients-delay-treatment-data-shows-2665827

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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/24/week-of-hell-dozens-of-african-detainees-allege-serial-abuse-and-hate-crimes-at-notorious-private-immigration-jail/

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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/24/demand-abolition-sex-work-nonprofit-prosecutors-king-county/

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.”   https://theintercept.com/2018/03/23/texas-23rd-congressional-district-democratic-primary-dccc/

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).”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/23/affront-freedom-press-canadian-journalist-faces-criminal-charges-covering-protest

55% increase in acute hunger due to global conflicts. “Wars and conflicts are driving hunger in a way we’ve never seen before.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/23/number-starving-people-surged-124-million-last-year-because-people-wont-stop

March 25, 2018