January 31, 2019

President of Houston police union threatens to hold anti-brutality activists ‘accountable’ for criticizing police after excessive force incidents. “We’re going to be keeping track on all of y’all, and we’re going to make sure to hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers.”   https://abc7chicago.com/dirtbags-on-notice-after-police-officers-shot-in-houston/5111283/

Feds shipped 1/2 ton of plutonium to Nevada storage site, didn’t tell state’s governor. “To put the health and the well-being of millions of people at risk … without giving us the opportunity to prepare in case there would have been a mishap along the way, was irresponsible and reckless on behalf of the (Department of Energy).”   https://www.businessinsider.com/nevada-secret-plutonium-shipment-department-of-energy-2019-1

Democratic Party’s pro-democracy bill would make Election Day a holiday – but only for federal employees. “The bill would make Election Day a holiday for federal workers, and would encourage private employers to do the same.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mitch-mcconnell-says-bill-to-make-election-day-a-federal-holiday-is-a-power-grab-by-democrats/   Wimpy! The Green Party wants to make Election Day a holiday for everyone. (Sec. IV, No. 3)   https://gpus.org/organizing-tools/the-green-new-deal/

Four black junior high school students claim they were strip searched at school. “The allegations that 12-year-old girls were strip-searched for drugs after being perceived as ‘hyper and giddy’ at a Binghamton (New York) middle school are deeply disturbing and raise serious concerns of racial and gender bias.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alleged-strip-search-4-black-middle-school-girls-prompts-third-n964856

11 freed from Florida jail after discovery that deputy falsified drug test results. “Although (Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputy Steven) O’Leary had claimed in his report that substances found on the suspects field-tested positive for drugs, ‘the evidence collected did not test positive for narcotics after examination at the regional crime lab’…”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/30/he-was-jailed-days-having-heroin-it-was-only-detergent-part-wider-scandal/

ICE detainees reportedly being force fed due to hunger strike. “Six immigrants at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center in El Paso, Texas, are being force-fed through plastic nasal tubes after taking part in a hunger strike that spanned for a month, leaving some detainees so weak that they are unable to speak or stand, a report on Wednesday said.”   https://www.foxnews.com/us/ice-officials-force-feed-6-immigrants-on-hunger-strike-at-texas-detention-center

30 Palestinian villagers reportedly wounded, one killed during attack by Jewish settlers. “Amin Abu Alya, head of the Mugheir village council, said settlers opened fire before the Israeli army moved in. ‘At the beginning, it was settlers shooting, then the army came and fired tear gas.’…”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/palestinian-man-shot-dead-settler-violence-west-bank-190126182913449.html

Bangkok, Thailand public schools close due to toxic level of air pollution. “The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used by cities to determine levels of air pollution; according to the World Health Organization, AQI levels under 25 are considered to be acceptable for humans to breathe regularly. The AQI levels on Wednesday evening in Bangkok measured 175.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/30/health/thailand-air-pollution-intl/index.html

Germans debate whether or not to legalize information about abortion services. “Last year the gynecologist Kristina Hänel was fined €6,000 ($6,850) for breaking the law by publishing information about abortion services on her website.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/29/german-parties-reach-deal-on-softening-nazi-era-abortion-law

Mexico’s president says no more war on drug cartels. “We haven’t detained capos, because that is not our principal mission. The principal mission of the government is to guarantee public security.”   https://nypost.com/2019/01/30/mexican-president-declares-end-to-drug-war/

Saudi Arabia executes foreign maid from the Philippines for murder, but no details of the crime are released. “The 39-year-old domestic worker was sentenced to death by the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council and executed on Jan. 29…. This week’s execution came months after an Indonesian maid was also sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for allegedly killing her employer after he tried to rape her.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-31/domestic-helper-from-philippines-executed-in-saudi-arabia

Rep. Adam Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduce bill to ban U.S. from using nuclear weapons first. “By making clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal, this bill would reduce the chances of a nuclear miscalculation and help us maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world.”   https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/01/30/warren-smith-introduce-bill-to-bar-us-from-using-nuclear-weapons-first/

Lawsuit by San Diego protesters arrested by police allowed to proceed. “(Bryan) Pease and attorney Todd Cardiff represent the San Diego NAACP and 14 protesters who were arrested over a series of days while holding vigil and protesting at the El Cajon, California shopping center where police officer Richard Gonsalves shot and killed Alfred Olango in 2016.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/attorney-san-diego-violates-protesters-first-amendment-rights/

Democrats introduce bill to increase Social Security benefits to 125% of poverty level, tax all wages of high income earners. “In less than a decade, mainstream Democrats in Congress have gone from entertaining Social Security cuts to almost universally endorsing the program’s expansion.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/30/fdrs-137th-birthday-200-democrats-unveil-bill-expand-social-security-so-seniors-can

January 31, 2019

January 30, 2019

Kansas men who plotted to blow up Somali refugees in 2016 sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. “The men plotted to detonate explosive-laden vehicles at the four corners of the mosque and housing complex in Garden City, a town of about 27,000 people in southwest Kansas, aiming to level the building and kill its occupants, prosecutors said.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kansas-crime-somalia/us-judge-sentences-men-to-25-to-30-years-for-plot-to-bomb-somalis-idUSKCN1PJ14H

Americans pressured into becoming workaholic ‘company men’. “In the new work culture, enduring or even merely liking one’s job is not enough. Workers should love what they do, and then promote that love on social media, thus fusing their identities to that of their employers.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/business/against-hustle-culture-rise-and-grind-tgim.html

Public school students in Virginia attending classes in trailers. “In Fairfax county, (a suburb of Washington, D.C. and) the third richest county in America, there are over 800 trailers serving as temporary classrooms because the school district cannot afford to build new classrooms.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/27/virginia-teachers-strike-amazon-tax-breaks

U.S. begins production of ‘low-yield’, ‘usable’ nuclear weapons. “The result (of removing one stage from the existing W76 warhead) would be to reduce its explosive power from 100 kilotons of TNT, to about five – approximately a third of the force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/28/us-nuclear-weapons-first-low-yield-warheads-roll-off-the-production-line

Federal employees earn 50% more than private sector employees, 78% more if benefits are taken into account. “Federal government employees fare better than information management employees ($118,678), finance/insurance ($118,007), and those in the professional/scientific disciplines ($106,020). The average government worker salary is more than twice that of the average educational worker ($56,201) and over three times that of retail workers ($36,650).”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/moneytips/federal-employees-earn-50_b_8855508.html

Billionaire cited for non-compliant private elevator. “A (housekeeper) spent (3 days) trapped in an elevator in her employers’ home in New York, according to police…. Elevators in buildings that don’t have a building attendant available in an emergency are… required to have an emergency button or phone…”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/28/us/housekeeper-stuck-in-elevator-three-days-trnd/index.html

U.S. falls out of top 20 on global ranking of countries from least to most corrupt. “People don’t see us as having adequate mechanisms in place to fight corruption and ensure the accountability of our elected officials.”    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-corruption/us-drops-out-of-top-20-performers-in-global-corruption-index-watchdog-says-idUSKCN1PN0CU

FBI closes Las Vegas mass shooting investigation without determining ‘lone gunman’s’ motive. “Despite police finding 23 weapons in Paddock’s room after the shooting, he left no note to explain the chaotic mess he left behind.”   https://www.foxnews.com/us/las-vegas-shooting-still-a-mystery-as-fbi-closes-investigation   No motive and 23 weapons? It just doesn’t add up.

St. Louis police department accused of obstructing blood tests for officers involved in ‘Russian roulette’ shooting. “(St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly) Gardner wrote Tuesday that there was ‘probable cause at the scene that drugs or alcohol may be a contributing factor in a potential crime’…. police told her investigators that the hospital ‘would not honor a search warrant to draw blood’ from (Officer) Hendren or his partner.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/01/29/russian-roulette-st-louis-cop-shooting-drugs-alcohol/2716202002/

Border Patrol begins policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to await their court dates. “There is a backlog of 800,000 cases piled up in U.S. immigration courts.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/01/29/689819928/trump-administration-begins-remain-in-mexico-policy-sending-asylum-seekers-back

After U.S. lifts sanctions on Russian company, member of Trump’s transition team is appointed to the company’s board of directors. “(Christopher Bancroft Burnham’s) private-sector experience includes six years as vice chairman and managing director of Deutsche Bank Asset Management.”   https://qz.com/1535650/trump-insider-got-board-spot-after-us-lifted-sanctions-on-russian-company/

Chinese human rights lawyer sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. “Wang (Quanzhang) was the last lawyer to be tried as part of a government crackdown that began July 9, 2015, with the simultaneous arrest of more than 200 lawyers and activists countrywide.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/chinese-court-hands-rights-lawyer-4-12–year-prison-sentence/2019/01/28/5f65e208-22ed-11e9-ba08-caf4ff5a3433_story.html

Fruit recalled in 18 states due to possible listeria contamination. “The peaches and nectarines were sold in bulk and come with the PLU sticker numbers 4044, 3035 or 4378, and show the country of origin as Chile.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/peaches-nectarines-plum-listeria-contamination_us_5c503173e4b0f43e410ac915   Ah, free trade!

84% of companies surveyed say they did not change their hiring or investment plans after Trump tax cut. “The White House had predicted that the massive fiscal stimulus package, marked by the reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, would boost business spending and job growth.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-tax-cut-trump-impact_us_5c4f6199e4b00906b26c2c60

Striking Mexican workers win wage hike. “The Union of Maquiladora Industry Industrial Workers of Matamoros said Tuesday about 20 companies with a total of 27 plants agreed to raise wages (by 20%) and pay workers a one-time bonus of about $1,685.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexican-border-strikers-win-agreements-234105162.html

Some Canadian glaciers are melting away for the first time in 40,000 years say researchers. “Using radiocarbon dating, which measures the amount of a radioactive isotope of carbon in an organism, researchers learned the (uncovered) plants were likely continuously covered in ice for at least 40,000 years.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/29/glacial-melt-uncovers-land-hidden-ice-more-than-40-000-years-study/2708075002/

California’s attorney general offers suggestions to Sacramento’s police department. “The report says officers need clearer instructions on when to draw and use firearms and that the department should require medical assistance be rendered as soon as possible after use of force…. It also says the department should consider the city of Philadelphia’s policy that officers ‘exhaust’ all other reasonable means before using deadly force.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/california-ag-calls-for-revamp-of-sacramento-police-tactics/

Federal court rules against innocent citizens placed on terrorism watch lists. “Lead plaintiff Wiley Gill and four other California men sued the government in 2014, claiming police questioned some of them and their neighbors after their names landed on a terror watch list just for practicing their religion, buying computers at Best Buy and, in one case, waiting for one’s mother at a train station.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/ninth-circuit-upholds-use-of-feds-terror-reporting-tool/

Kamala Harris backing Medicare for All. “We need to have Medicare for All, that’s just the bottom line.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/29/harris-says-eliminate-profit-insurance-bloomberg-offers-fact-free-medicare-all

Senate Republicans pushing shameless bill that would abolish the estate tax completely. “Ending the estate tax would give a tax break of up to:
– $63.6B for the Walton family, the owners of Walmart
– $39.1B for the Koch brothers
– $27.8B for the Mars candy bar family
– $13.4B for the Cox cable family
– $0 for more than 99.8% of Americans”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/29/greed-has-no-limit-gop-mcconnell-estate-tax-repeal-would-hand-tens-billions-walton

Trump administration signals that it may send thousands of U.S. soldiers to the border of Venezuela. “Colombia’s foreign minister says his government doesn’t know why US national security adviser John Bolton had “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on a notepad he held during a news conference announcing new Venezuela sanctions.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/29/boltons-legal-pad-saying-5000-troops-colombia-intensifies-fears-us-attack-venezuela

Majority of Democratic Senators either vote in favor of bill that would ban boycotts of Israel or abstain from voting. “Sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), S.1 is a package of legislation that includes $38 billion in military assistance to Israel as well as the so-called Combating BDS Act, which would give state and local governments more power to punish companies and individuals who boycott or divest from Israel.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/29/25-democrats-join-gop-advance-anti-boycott-bill-bernie-sanders-warns-violates

17 ‘yellow vest’ protesters have reportedly lost an eye to explosive crowd control devices being used by French police. “(One woman) said her 21-year-old son’s right hand was blown off and her other son had injuries to his leg and feet…. ‘I had no idea the police had weapons that could do that (kind of) damage.'”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/30/french-police-tactics-scrutiny-gilets-jaunes-injuries-paris


January 30, 2019

January 27, 2019

CIA may have had foreknowledge of 9/11 attacks say authors. “…they had this information, these guys were coming into the country, they had just left the terror planning summit, and this information was being held close by the Bin Laden unit, by the counter-terror center, and by (then-CIA director) George Tenet. The reason for that is unknown…”   https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/the-illegal-cia-operation-that-brought-us-9-11/

An estimated 69,000 ‘yellow vest’ protest march in France during 11th consecutive weekend of anti-government protests. “Marches were mostly peaceful but there were incidents in several towns, including in the capital, where an eye injury to a well-known “yellow vest” activist added to recent controversy over police violence.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-protests/french-yellow-vests-defy-macron-again-in-tense-protests-idUSKCN1PK0HT

Holocaust survivor shares 1942 photo of his classmates from Prague Jewish school, 60% of whom died during the war. “Not only did they die, but they obviously had no descendants, they never really had a life at all. They were all murdered for no particular reason.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6634793/More-half-Auschwitz-survivors-schoolmates-killed-Nazis.html

Kurdish protesters attack Turkish military post in Iraq. “Residents set light to vehicles and buildings in protest against Turkish airstrikes in the area, which are said to have killed several people.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47015699

More than 25,000 assembly plant workers go on strike in Matamoros, Mexico. “…Mexican workers at dozens of factories south of Brownsville, Texas, have gone on strike after owners of the plants that assemble (products) for export refused union demands for a 20 percent pay hike and an annual bonus.”   http://time.com/5513972/mexican-workers-strike-border-factories/

Toronto-based cyber security project Citizen Lab suspect they were targeted by undercover operatives. “He also asked Scott-Railton questions about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and whether he grew up with any Jewish friends. At another point he asked whether there might not be a ‘racist element’ to Citizen Lab’s interest in Israeli spyware.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/spy-vs-spy-how-undercover-agents-targeted-cybersecurity-watchdog-n963151

U.N. climate scientist warns that climate change will increase the risk of conflicts. “Climate change has a multitude of security impacts – rolling back the gains in nutrition and access to food; heightening the risk of wildfires and exacerbating air quality challenges; increasing the potential for water conflict; leading to more internal displacement and migration. It is increasingly regarded as a national security threat.”   https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/01/1031322

Rights groups demand access to imprisoned Saudi activists. “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on Friday called on Saudi Arabia to allow independent monitors to meet detainees, including women’s rights activists who were allegedly tortured and prominent figures held in an anti-corruption campaign.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/rights-groups-call-access-saudi-detainees-190125063657149.html

Martial law reportedly on the table if a no-deal Brexit results in unrest in the U.K. “The Sunday Times cited unnamed officials as saying the government had been examining the powers at its disposal if a no-deal Brexit resulted in civil disobedience, including martial law, curfews, and the use of the army to quell rioting.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/britain-martial-law-option-brexit-no-deal-no-plan-exercise-government-secretary/   We saw what happened in France when Nutella went on sale… imagine what could happen if there are empty shelves! “They are like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a bloody hand.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42826028

Roger Stone FBI raid featured on Saturday Night Live. “Finally! This is all I’ve been waiting for: Old white dudes getting dragged out of their cribs like drug dealers. Was it excessive? Yes, and I wish it was worse. I wish he was just wearing boxers and a durag, and there was a baby crying and they tased his girl. Give him the works!”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/give-works-snls-michael-che-reacts-glee-excessive-arrest-roger-stone/

January 27, 2019

January 26, 2019

Long-time Republican operative Roger Stone arrested by FBI SWAT team in pre-dawn raid on his home. “It is just remarkable to see this because this is not how anyone else connected to the Robert Mueller investigation has been arrested.”   https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/01/25/roger-stone-fbi-arrest-vo.cnn

Elliott Abrams appointed by Trump administration as special envoy for Venezuela. “As an assistant secretary of State in the Reagan administration, Abrams was a fervent supporter of U.S. efforts to arm the Nicaraguan rebels. In 1991, Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress about that covert operation.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/25/elliott-abrams-joins-trump-administration-venezuela-envoy/2681170002/

Alabama man sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking under the state’s ‘habitual offender’ law escapes. “(Corey) Davis had served time in the past on multiple charges, including theft, arson, burglary and breaking and entering a vehicle, according to the Associated Press.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/felon-serving-life-sentence-escapes-alabama-prison/story?id=60615374

More details emerge in accidental ‘blue on blue’ shooting in St. Louis. “Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the (involuntary manslaughter) charge against Nathaniel Hendren, 29, in the death of 24-year-old Katlyn Alix, as they allegedly played a game in which a revolver’s cylinder was emptied, one bullet put back and the two colleagues took turns pointing at each other and pulling the trigger.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/st-louis-officer-charged-shooting-death-colleague-234609115.html   If they both weren’t highly intoxicated I would be very suspicious about this story.

European Court of Human Rights awards Amanda Knox about $21,000 for botched Italian police investigation that lead to almost 4 years of false imprisonment. “Ivory Coast-born Rudy Hermann Guede was convicted in (Meredith) Kercher’s death after his DNA and a bloody footprint were linked by a forensic scientist to the British student. He is currently serving a 16-year sentence.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/01/24/688133135/italy-ordered-to-pay-damages-to-amanda-knox

Gay legislator flees Brazil after death threats. “I do not want to be a martyr.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/01/25/688647722/i-do-not-want-to-be-a-martyr-openly-gay-lawmaker-leaves-brazil

European students in multiple countries protest for action on climate change. “The young activists are urging world leaders and corporate bosses to stick to the ambitious goals agreed in Paris in 2015 to combat climate change.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46999381

Illinois Supreme Court rules in favor of season pass customer whose son’s thumbprint was scanned by amusement park. “The law requires companies collecting information such as facial, fingerprint and iris scans to obtain prior consent from consumers or employees, detailing how they’ll use the data and how long the records will be kept…. Neither Rosenback nor her son was informed in writing why the thumbprint had been collected or how long it would be stored.”   https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-six-flags-biometrics-lawsuit-20190125-story.html   We need this law at the federal level, it needs to include DNA, and it needs to apply to government agencies.

Rekognition face detection software reportedly has difficulty determining the sex of women of color. “…Amazon’s technology labeled darker-skinned women as men 31 percent of the time. Lighter-skinned women were misidentified 7 percent of the time. Darker-skinned men had a 1 percent error rate, while lighter-skinned men had none.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-face-detection-technology-shows-gender-racial-bias-researchers-say/

At least 100 Palestinian prisoners reportedly injured during prison raid. “About 1,200 Palestinians are held at the Ofer Military Prison, southwest of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital.”   https://www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2019/01/22/100-palestinian-prisoners-injured-as-israeli-forces-raid-prison

U.N. human rights investigator urges prosecution of head of Myanmar’s army. “Min Aung Hlaing and others should be held accountable for genocide in Rakhine and for crimes against humanity and war crimes in other parts of Myanmar.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-myanmar-rohingya-un/myanmar-army-chief-must-be-prosecuted-for-rohingya-genocide-u-n-rights-envoy-idUKKCN1PJ1CA

California highway patrol officer investigating right-wing protest violence accused of targeting anti-fascists instead. “(Officer Donovan) Ayres told the court that he filed a search warrant to access the Facebook accounts of the leftist protesters and anti-fascists, but chose not to seek equivalent information about neo-Nazi suspects – an extraordinary move for a law enforcement leader investigating far-right violence…. Ayres recommended no charges for (knife-wielding far-rightist Derik) Punneo but did urge a litany of felony charges against the three stabbing victims.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/25/california-police-neo-nazis-antifa-protest

Thousands march in ‘Invasion Day’ protests around Australia. “The annual Jan 26 Australia Day holiday commemorates the arrival of the first British settlers in 1788, but for many Australians it marks the beginning of colonial oppression of Aboriginal people.”   https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/other/e2-80-98invasion-day-e2-80-99-protests-draw-thousands-on-australia-e2-80-99s-national-day/ar-BBSKNdb

Documentary accuses Michael Jackson of having sex with young boys. “…set to be shown in two portions on HBO and Channel 4, (director Dan) Reed shared the detailed testimonies of two men accusing Jackson of graphic and extensive sexual abuse when they were children.”   https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jan/25/michael-jackson-documentary-leaving-neverland

Right-winger found guilty of shooting 11 immigrants in Sweden will be returned to that country after being found guilty of murdering Holocaust survivor in Germany. “Having now received life terms in two countries, (John) Ausonius is considered almost certain to spend the rest of his life locked up without parole.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/25/germany-extradites-laser-man-killer-john-ausonius-to-sweden

Thai military regime imposes social media restrictions on candidates in first election since 2014 coup. “The commission particularly targeted social media in the new rules, banning posts that contained anything other than candidates’ names, pictures and biographies, and the party name, logo policies and slogans.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/26/thailands-military-junta-cracks-down-on-social-media-ahead-of-election   In other words, no criticism of the current government. How about ‘undo the coup’ as a campaign slogan?

U.S. accused of orchestrating ‘interim president’s’ declaration in Venezuela. “That late-night call (from Mike Pence to Juan Guaido) set in motion a plan that had been developed in secret over the preceding several weeks, accompanied by talks between U.S. officials, allies, lawmakers, and key Venezuelan opposition figures, including Mr. Guaido himself.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/25/confirming-us-orchestration-report-details-pences-key-phone-call-venezuelan

Man who tried to blow up Nederland, Colorado police station sentenced to 27 years in prison on terrorism charges. “(David) Ansberry denied he was seeking retaliation against the government (for the 1971 killing of his friend by the town’s marshal), the basis of the terrorism finding, saying he was trying to draw attention to police shootings generally.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/man-gets-27-years-for-failed-bomb-outside-police-station/

Japan’s supreme court rules that people who want to officially change their designated gender must have sex change surgery first. “(Takakito) Usui, 45, had appealed to the top court after he unsuccessfully requested lower courts to grant him legal recognition as male without having his female reproductive glands surgically removed.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/japan-court-upholds-sterilization-to-register-gender-change/

January 26, 2019

January 25, 2019

Florida’s new secretary of state resigns. “Michael Ertel has resigned… after photos emerged of him posing as a (female) Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface at a Halloween party in 2005.”   https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2019/01/24/florida-secretary-of-state-mike-ertel-blackface-resign-fl/2669938002/

President Trump suggests grocery stores will probably let unpaid federal workers run up a tab until they eventually get paid. “Local people know who they are, when they go for groceries and everything else. And I think… that they will work along. I know banks are working along.”   https://thinkprogress.org/trump-federal-workers-shutdown-groceries-05cfe32ab341/   Reminds me of the time George Bush Sr. discovered barcode readers at the grocery store.

St. Louis police officer reportedly accidentally shoots an off-duty officer. At the first officer’s home. At 1 a.m. With a revolver that was not his service weapon. In the presence of a third, on-duty officer who was also at the first officer’s home. “There was no word on why the officers were all at an officer’s home while two of them were on duty, when policy requires them to be patrolling in their assigned district. It’s not clear who owned the weapon. (Police Chief John) Hayden would not say how many shots had been fired, how many times (Officer Katlyn) Alix had been shot nor whether anyone was in custody.”   https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-police-identify-off-duty-officer-killed-by-fellow/article_f3592056-3e0f-5e6a-b083-38039a17424e.html

Two of three accused plead guilty to bombing Bloomington, Minnesota mosque and attempting to bomb a women’s clinic. “Prosecutors say the men… were part of an Illinois militia group that called itself ‘White Rabbits’.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/01/24/688402478/militia-members-plead-guilty-to-2017-minnesota-mosque-bombing

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to allow foster care agencies to avoid placing children with gay and non-Christian families. “Allowing a taxpayer funded agency to discriminate against Jews and other minorities is outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent for our nation.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/s-c-group-can-reject-gays-jews-foster-parents-trump-n962306

Animal rights activists stage ‘dog barbecue’ to steer public away from eating meat. “As humans, we instinctively feel compassion and empathy for animals, but we’re taught that it’s OK to enslave and eat some of them…”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6626065/Sydney-children-left-terrified-PETA-protesters-pretending-barbecue-dog.html

U.S. military stops reporting the number of enemy casualties in Somalia. “The U.S. military says it has carried out two new airstrikes in Somalia against the al-Shabab extremist group but will no longer give details on fighters killed or damage done.”    https://www.apnews.com/46d003dd2d6042de889c56b868195c8e

16 civilians die in Afghanistan airstrike. “…all of the victims belonged to the Akthar Mohammad family and eight children and three women were among the dead.”   https://www.apnews.com/d107d30ecc1a4c828d8553f8f2ed091e

Egypt accused of jailing at least 113 of its citizens in 2018 for their political views. “Today, it is more dangerous to openly criticize the government in Egypt than at any other time in the country’s recent history.”   http://www.startribune.com/amnesty-says-egypt-detained-113-in-2018-for-their-views/504809572/

Elizabeth Warren proposes a wealth tax on all assets. “The Ultra-Millionaire Tax, as Warren’s campaign describes it, would impose a 2 percent annual tax on household net worth on all dollars above $50 million. An additional 1 percent surtax would kick in above $1 billion in income.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/01/24/elizabeth-warren-proposes-annual-wealth-tax-on-ultra-millionaires/

Canada’s national archive purchases Nazi-era book about Jewish communities in North America. “Published in 1944 by the German researcher and linguist Heinz Kloss, Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada is a disturbingly thorough catalogue of Jewish residents in the two countries and reflects Nazi plans in the event they gained control over the continent.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/25/nazi-north-american-holocaust-book-canada-national-archive

Jury finds Orange County, California deputy guilty of using excessive force while stopping 2013 knife attack. “The police are not trained to stomp victims into unconsciousness, especially after they’ve been shot 13 times.”   https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/01/24/federal-jury-rules-oc-sheriffs-deputy-used-excessive-force-on-knife-wielding-suspect/

Pinellas County, Florida deputy fired for using excessive force on prisoner in wheelchair. “There’s just no excuse for it.”   https://www.wfla.com/news/pinellas-county/pinellas-detention-deputy-fired-for-using-excessive-force/1710737909


January 25, 2019

January 24, 2019

Former Richard Nixon speech writer warns that promising to improve the lives of working people could lead to genocide. “We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ben-stein-ocasio-cortez_us_5c480aabe4b083c46d63b0ce   We’re lucky to still be alive after the 40 hour week, Social Security, unemployment insurance and Obamacare. Countries with national health insurance and 4 weeks of paid vacation will soon be killing fields! “By law, every country in the European Union (requires) at least four work weeks of paid vacation.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/08/countries-most-vacation-days/2400193/   The horror!

Venezuela now has two presidents. “(Juan) Guaido swore himself in as the country’s president amidst massive crowds in Caracas, citing a provision in the constitution that would attempt to see the embattled Maduro ousted from the role.”   https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/americas/193806-190123-four-dead-in-clashes-ahead-of-venezuela-protests-that-could-see-maduro-ousted   Just like Ukraine! How about a ‘President Pelosi’? Having two presidents might be fun.

White racist pleads guilty to sword murder of elderly black New Yorker. “(James Jackson) is allegedly a member of a documented hate group in Maryland who traveled from Baltimore to New York for the express purpose of killing black people.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6624053/White-supremacist-pleads-guilty-NYC-sword-killing.html

12 arrested outside Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office as federal workers protest government shutdown. “Union leaders said they planned to revisit the offices of Republican senators on Thursday to ask lawmakers a series of questions, including: ‘Why are you still getting paid?’”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/furloughed-federal-workers-stage-sit-in-outside-senators-offices-in-washington/2019/01/23/d806e632-1f26-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html

Bernie Sanders reaches out to black voters. “‘Racial equality must be central to combating economic inequality,’ Sanders said, in a speech that used the refrain ‘racism is alive’ to walk through a litany of problems faced by minorities…. In 2016, he said that ‘identity politics’ distracted from what he considered real issues, like economic inequality and the decline of organized labor.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sen-bernie-sanders-changes-his-message-to-black-voters-racism-is-alive/2019/01/22/6c2b5466-1dbe-11e9-8e21-59a09ff1e2a1_story.html

Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians. “Researchers said more than 49,000 people across the U.S. were killed while walking between 2008 and 2017.”   https://www.wftv.com/traffic/incidents/walking-in-florida-youre-apparently-in-danger-study-says/908769917

1,500 private jets, many costing tens of millions of dollars, are expected at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “According to (Andy) Christie, the most popular aircraft are Gulfstream GV and Bombardier Global Express planes. These are large, ultra-long-range private jets that typically cost more than $60 million per aircraft.”   https://www.businessinsider.com/gulfstream-bombardier-jets-davos-world-economic-forum-2019-1   When flying first-class is just not an option.

Puerto Ricans got less and slower aid than disaster victims in U.S. states. “According to the study, within nine days of landfall in the U.S. for (hurricanes) Harvey and Irma, survivors in Texas and Florida received approximately $100 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds, while María survivors received about $6 million in FEMA assistance in the same amount of time.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-puerto-rico-received-slower-less-generous-federal-disaster-aid-than-texas-florida/

Members of right-wing German political party walk out of speech by Holocaust survivor in Bavaria’s regional parliament. “‘The so-called AfD bases (its) politics on hate and exclusion and doesn’t abide by our democratic constitution,’ (Charlotte) Knobloch said in her speech…”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/anti-immigrant-party-lawmakers-germany-walk-out-holocaust-survivor-s-n961786

Food and Drug Administration accused of complicity in opioid crisis. “The FDA’s credibility has been badly damaged by the opioid crisis amid accusations that at times it behaved less as a regulator overseeing the pharmaceutical industry than a business partner of drug manufacturers.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/24/fda-opioids-big-pharma-prescriptions

An estimated 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance over the last four years. “Uninsured rates were at their lowest around the time of Donald Trump’s election in 2016 (around 10.6%), Gallup reported, and began to rise after a series of sustained Republican attacks on the law.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/23/healthcare-us-americans-uninsured-2014-gallup

Temperature records continue to be broken in Australia. “Adelaide hit 46.6 C (116 F) on Thursday afternoon, the hottest temperature recording in any Australian state capital city since records began 80 years ago.”   https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/24/australia-heatwave-adelaide-breaks-its-all-time-heat-record-hitting-466c

Japanese instant ramen firm accused of portraying black tennis star Naomi Osaka as white in animated ad. ‘We accept that we are not sensitive enough and will pay more attention to diversity issues in the future.’   https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2019/jan/24/im-tan-its-pretty-obvious-naomi-osaka-responds-to-whitewashing-in-advert-video

European Court of Human Rights orders UK police to delete protest history of man with no criminal record from their ‘domestic extremists’ database. “(John) Catt argued that there was no justification for police to retain their surveillance records of his activities at 66 peace and human rights protests.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/john-catt-protester-wins-fight-to-wipe-political-activities-from-police-database

Yellow Vest protesters to run as candidates in EU elections. “The group listed 10 people who will run for seats in the European Parliament in May on the ‘Citizen-led Rally’ ticket, aged 29 to 53 and with jobs ranging from forklift driver and stay-at-home mother to sales director.”   https://news.yahoo.com/frances-yellow-vests-contest-european-elections-191112418.html

Wells Fargo, infamous for financing fossil fuel projects, accused of plotting to profit from the resulting destruction caused by climate change. “Preparation for and response to climate-change induced natural disasters result in greater construction, conservation, and other business activities,” the bank reportedly noted in its disclosure, adding that it “has the opportunity to provide financing to support these efforts.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/23/despicable-wells-fargo-bashed-plans-cash-global-climate-crisis

Los Angeles teachers win concessions after strike. “…union leaders said their strike was not based solely on pay raises for educators, who received a 6 percent increase. The new contract also guarantees reductions in class size and the hiring of 300 nurses over the next three years.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/los-angeles-teachers-return-to-schools-after-reaching-deal/   Yeah, baby!

Federal appeals court rules that age discrimination law doesn’t apply to job applicants. “In (an) 8-4 decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the ‘plain language’ of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which forbids discrimination against people 40 and older, showed that Congress intended that law to cover current employees, not outside job applicants.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/23/reuters-america-age-bias-law-does-not-cover-job-applicants-u-s-appeals-court.html   The language must not be too plain however, since the lower court disagreed.

January 24, 2019

January 23, 2019

Police thwart planned attack on Muslims living in rural New York, four arrested, guns and bombs seized. “Three of the four males knew each other through their participation in Boy Scouts…”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/22/us/men-accused-bomb-plot-muslim-community-upstate-new-york/index.html

Iowa judge rules state’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ law, which bans abortions when the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected, is unconstitutional. “(Judge) Huppert cited a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court where the justices stated that ‘a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution’.”   https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/426507-judge-rules-iowas-fetal-heartbeat-abortion-law-is-unconstitutional

Supreme Court allows Trump administration’s ban on transgendered soldiers to go into effect. “The administration’s policy reversed a 2016 decision by the Obama administration to open the military to transgender service members.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/us/politics/transgender-ban-military-supreme-court.html

Evanston, Illinois reaches $1.25 million settlement with student who was violently arrested after cops accused him of stealing his own car. “(Lawrence) Crosby was trying to repair loose molding on his car when a woman called police to report a black man trying to steal a car.”   http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/us-world-news/doctoral-student-tackled-for-stealing-own-car-settles-suit-for-125m

Governor of Florida appoints man with no experience as a judge to the state’s supreme court. “In an announcement at the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday morning, (Ron) DeSantis praised (Carlos) Muñiz’s ‘intellectual firepower’ and noted that the conservative 49-year-old lawyer is the first appointee in decades without judicial experience.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article224894190.html

U.S. man with multiple passports who was detained in Russia was framed, claims his lawyer. “… (Paul) Whelan’s attorney, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told reporters Tuesday that Whelan never expected to receive state secrets — but instead had asked the unnamed Russian to put travel images on a flash drive, as he hadn’t been able to open them from an email.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/01/22/687431681/american-held-in-russia-unwittingly-got-thumb-drive-with-state-secrets-lawyer-sa

New York’s chief medical examiner rules that two Saudi sisters committed suicide by drowning themselves. “Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 23, were bound together with duct tape when their bodies were discovered (in the Hudson River) back in October, about two months after they disappeared from a shelter in Fairfax, Virginia, authorities said.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/saudi-sisters-found-duct-taped-hudson-river-died/story?id=60558137   “The working belief among investigators is that the women wanted to end their own lives, taped themselves together and jumped into the water, a police source told ABC News.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/police-identify-sisters-found-dead-bound-york-citys/story?id=58793103   Right. So after taping themselves together they frog-hopped, in time with one another, into the water. Were their arms taped to their bodies, and if so, how did they accomplish this? If not, how did they drown if they could still move their arms?

Presidents of France and Zimbabwe skip Davos summit due to popular unrest at home. “French President Emmanuel Macron — who, like (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, is trying to quell violent street protests — is also skipping the forum.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/22/africa/mnangagwa-zimbabwe-davos-intl/index.html

Mutilated bodies of two Thai leftists discovered in Laos, group’s leader still missing. “They and Mr. Surachai were members of a [Communist] group which fled into exile in Laos in 2014 after Thailand’s military coup.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46965839

90% of Oregon’s beverage containers are being recycled thanks to new 10 cent redemption value. “The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which oversees the state’s bottle deposit program, announced that around 90 percent of the containers covered by the program were returned and redeemed in 2018…”   https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/6866068-151/state-bottle-redemption-rate-reaches-90-percent

Chinese dissident with Australian citizenship disappears during visit to China. “Once described as China’s ‘most influential political blogger’, (Hengjun) Yang went missing in 2011. When he reappeared days later, he described his disappearance as a ‘misunderstanding’.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/australia-asks-answers-dissident-missing-china-190123050836169.html

Former FBI official fears unpaid agents may start working for foreign intelligence agencies to pay their bills. “You’ve got agents now and FBI employees that will not have received a paycheck for a month.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/trumps-shutdown-is-making-unpaid-disgruntled-fbi-agents-easy-prey-for-foreign-spies-national-security-expert/   All the loyalty money can buy…

‘Legacy’ applicants, those whose parents or grandparents attended that particular college, are more likely to be accepted at elite schools. “At Harvard, the acceptance rate for legacy students is about 33%, compared to an overall acceptance rate of under 6%.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/23/elite-schools-ivy-league-legacy-admissions-harvard-wealthier-whiter

Lawyers for whistle-blower website activist Julian Assange press to have U.S. charges unsealed. “The Trump administration is refusing to reveal details of charges against Assange despite the fact that sources in the US Department of Justice have confirmed to the media that they exist under seal.”   https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jan/23/julian-assange-launches-legal-challenge-against-trump-administration-extradition

Moderate Democrats are pushing alternatives to national health insurance, aka ‘Medicare for All’, proponents question their motives. “We cannot reduce the huge administrative costs if we continue a fragmented system dominated by commercial insurance companies. This diluted approach would institutionalize big profits, high executive salaries, and political clout for the healthcare industry.”  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/22/progressives-warn-against-democrats-pushing-diluted-half-measures-alternative

Members of Denver teachers’ union approve strike. “Rob Gould, lead negotiator for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said 93 percent of unionized teachers voted in favor of a strike.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/denver-teachers-vote-to-go-on-strike-over-pay/

California’s governor proposes job training instead of incarceration for juvenile offenders. “Today is the beginning of the end of juvenile imprisonment as we know it.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/newsom-eyes-overhaul-of-juvenile-justice-in-california/   State’s attorney general says Stockton students, especially those who are not white, have been over-policed. “The school district outsourced much of its disciplinary action to the police department, which the state found had little training for operating in the unique environment of K-12 public schools.” (same article as above)


January 23, 2019