February 28, 2019

Former Trump aide Michael Cohen tells House Committee that he threatened as many as 500 people on behalf of Donald Trump, and that his previous deceptive testimony to Congress had been edited by Trump’s lawyers, but that he saw no hard evidence of collusion with Russia. “‘Today’s testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for the president edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false,’ (counsel to the president Jay) Sekulow said.”   https://news.yahoo.com/president-trump-attorneys-coach-michael-cohens-false-testimony-congress-235256436.html   He also called Donald Trump ‘a racist’, ‘a con man’ and ‘a cheat’, but we already knew that.

Cohen warns that if Trump loses in 2020, things may get ugly. “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/michael-cohen-testimony-2020-trump_n_5c7710b2e4b0d3a48b564439

United Methodist Church split on same-sex marriage and gay clergy. “The delegates approved a conservative measure known as the Traditional Plan that strengthened the church’s prohibitions on ‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ from ordination as well as same-sex marriage.”   https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/religion/2019/02/27/united-methodist-church-general-conference-lgbt-decision-vote/3001716002/

House Republicans tacked on provision to universal background check bill that requires Immigration officials to be notified when undocumented migrants attempt to buy firearms. “Just moments before the bill to require universal background checks was approved, Republicans were able to peel off more than two dozen Democrats to push through an amendment promoting the deportation of immigrants without legal status.”   https://thehill.com/homenews/house/431919-democratic-tensions-bubble-up-after-gop-amends-gun-bill

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, say Republicans are being held hostage by Trump supporters. “Well, in the Republican Party, there’s a hostage situation going on. There are a lot of Republicans that know what the right thing to do is — not just on impeachment but on a wide range of issues — and they refuse to speak up.”   https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-congress-interview-797214/

The next mayor of Chicago will be a black woman, and voters will soon decide which one it will be. “Either Ms. Lightfoot or Ms. Preckwinkle would be the first African-American woman to lead the nation’s third largest city, succeeding Mayor Rahm Emanuel as mayor…. If Ms. Lightfoot were to win, she also would be the first openly gay mayor of Chicago.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/us/chicago-election.html

Supreme Court rules that death row prisoners must be able to understand why they are being executed. “If a person suffering from any mental disorder — dementia included — is unable to rationally understand why the state wants to execute him, then the Eighth Amendment doesn’t allow the execution.”   https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/431840-supreme-court-blocks-execution-of-inmate-with-dementia

Arrested woman is handed over to Immigration officials after knocking MAGA hat off customer’s head. “(Rosiane Santos) is presently in ICE custody and has been entered into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.”   https://abc7.com/society/woman-facing-deportation-after-alleged-maga-hat-assault/5159387/

Man who bought $540 of cookies from cold Girl Scouts charged with drug trafficking. “(Detric) McGowan is accused of conspiring to ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ possess heroin, cocaine and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, according to the indictment…”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/girl-scout-cookies-good-samaritan-detric-mcgowan-who-bought-girl-scout-cookies-arrested-dea-drug-bust/

CNN failed to mention that Bernie Sanders’ town hall questioners were Democratic Party activists. “Among those who quizzed the socialist presidential hopeful was Baltimore County Democratic Party Chair Tara Ebersole, who was identified on the episode only as a ‘former biology professor’…”   https://nypost.com/2019/02/27/cnn-didnt-disclose-democratic-party-ties-of-questioners-in-sanders-town-hall/

Oregon ‘rent control’ bill reportedly still allows 7% annual rent increases, on top of an inflation allowance. “If tenants leave their residences of their own volition, landlords would be able to increase the rent without a cap.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/698509957/oregon-set-to-pass-the-first-statewide-rent-control-bill   Try finding another investment that offers you a 7% annual increase, in addition to a 50% or so profit margin (e.g., if the landlord’s mortgage payment is $400 a month, your rent is probably about $800 a month).

Senators question drug companies over high cost of medicine. “The list price (of a drug) is actually working against the patient,’’ said Merck chief executive Kenneth C. Frazier, a stark acknowledgment that the industry’s role in setting prices is hurting individuals. “The people who can least afford it (those without health insurance or whose co-pays are based on list prices) are paying the most.’’   https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/drug-executives-grilled-in-senate-over-high-prices/2019/02/25/abc89c04-393f-11e9-aaae-69364b2ed137_story.html

Canada’s former attorney general claims Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his staff badgered her to drop corruption prosecution of Montreal engineering company. “In a meeting with Trudeau, the prime minister raised the issue and asked her to ‘help out’ with the case, she said.”   https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/canada-attorney-government-interfere-case-61363405

Under restored version of Trump travel ban, the number of rejected visa application reportedly jumped from 1,000 in 2017 to 37,000 in 2018. “The ban mostly affects the Muslim-majority countries Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen…. The ban also restricted visas for those from Venezuela and North Korea.”   https://www.nationalreview.com/news/state-department-denied-thousands-more-visas-after-trump-travel-ban/

Public schools with mostly white students reportedly receive $23 billion more in funding than schools with predominantly minority students. “States have largely failed to keep up with the growing wealth disparities across their communities.”   https://www.al.com/education/2019/02/report-finds-23-billion-racial-funding-gap-for-schools-alabama-disparity-small.html

Walmart accused of replacing disabled ‘greeters’ with ‘customer hosts’. “To qualify to be a host, they need to be able to lift 25-pound packages, climb ladders and stand for long periods.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/02/27/walmart-greeters-some-disabled-lose-their-jobs-customer-hosts/3010732002/

Boeing developing ‘autonomous fighter’. “Though Boeing declined to share its new plane’s top speed with Reuters, an autonomous vehicle would feasibly be able to travel faster and farther than a human pilot’s physiology would allow, opening the door to new types of missions.”   https://futurism.com/boeing-unveils-autonomous-fighter-jet

Federal judge nixes Texas’ effort to purge 95,000 ‘non-citizen’ voter registrations. “The evidence has shown in a hearing before this Court that there is no widespread voter fraud.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/698802643/federal-judge-orders-texas-to-end-purge-of-98-000-people-from-voter-rolls

ACLU takes up case of New Hampshire man who was charged with ‘criminal defamation’ after he posted on Facebook that his local cops are ‘corrupt’, ‘lie in court’ and ‘harass people’. “Critics of criminal-defamation laws have long pointed out that society is awash with claims that are technically defamatory under the statutes—the courts would be overwhelmed if even 1 percent were prosecuted—and that a hugely disproportionate share of the rare cases of actual enforcement involve people in power going after their critics.”   https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/aclu-test-case-takes-aim-criminal-defamation-laws/578383/

Privacy advocate sues cops after being mistakenly stopped for driving a stolen car. “On Nov. 25, 2018, an Automated License Plate Reader told police that (Brian) Hofer’s rental car was listed on a ‘hot list’ as stolen, which led them to conduct a felony stop. What they didn’t know – until after Hofer and his brother spent 40 minutes being terrified – was that the car had been recovered and put back into circulation.”   https://rightsanddissent.org/news/alpr-brian-hofer/

Federal appeals court judge rules again in favor of former Abu Ghraib prisoners who have been seeking their day in court since 2008. “The inmates say they were beaten and tortured by (U.S.) military police officers who were acting at the direction of civilian interrogators (employed by CACI) who wanted the inmates ‘softened up’ for questioning.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/government-secrets-threaten-derail-abu-ghraib-case-again-112439944.html

Turkey reportedly seeking life in prison without parole for 16 activists connected to anti-government protests. “The 2013 protests started with an environmental cause — protecting Gezi Park in central Istanbul. They quickly broadened into demonstrations opposing the government.”   https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/article226852284.html

Nicaraguan government releases 100 of its opponents from prison. “Nicaragua has been in a deep political crisis since President Daniel Ortega attempted social security reform last April, leading to massive protests…. Some 320 people were killed and more than 600 imprisoned, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nicaragua-politics/nicaragua-releases-prisoners-national-dialog-starts-idUKKCN1QG254

U.N. investigators accuse Israeli troops of war crimes over Gaza protest shootings. “The panel said in a statement that it had found ‘reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such’. Thirty-five of those killed were children, three were clearly identifiable paramedics and two were clearly marked journalists, the report said.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/28/gaza-israel-un-inquiry-killings-protest-war-crimes-army   And shooting thousands of protesters, even if they are ‘rioting’, also violates international norms.

Chinese audiences to see edited version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. “According to the Hollywood Reporter, at least a minute will be cut from the film in order to secure permission for it to be screened in Chinese cinemas, including scenes where Mercury (played by Rami Malek) kisses other male characters. Scenes of drug use will also be removed.”   https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/feb/28/china-to-remove-lgbt-scenes-from-bohemian-rhapsody

Residents of Toledo, Ohio approve measure that gives citizens the right to sue on behalf of Lake Erie. “Under the (Lake Erie) Bill of Rights, residents will now have legal standing in court to sue corporate polluters on behalf of Lake Erie and to seek damages which would be used to rid the lake of pollution.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/27/historic-vote-ohio-city-residents-grant-lake-erie-legal-rights-person   If corporations have ‘free speech’ rights to make political donations, then why not give lakes rights too?

City of Denver settles with homeless residents who have lost their possessions in police sweeps. “Lead plaintiff Raymond Lyall sued the city of Denver in August 2016, claiming its enforcement of a 2012 Urban Camping Ban sanctioned unlawful searches and seizures, depriving thousands of people of their property without notice or due process.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/denver-settles-class-action-lawsuit-over-homeless-sweeps/

 

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February 28, 2019

February 27, 2019

4,556 detained migrant children have claimed they were sexually molested while in government custody during the last four years. “(Health and Human Services) contracts with more than 100 local shelters that house and care for children in its custody. Those facilities are inspected by state child welfare officials, and criminal charges can be filed against employees by state or federal prosecutors.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/26/thousands-migrant-children-report-sexual-assaults-us-custody-border-detain/2988884002/

The state that spends the least on its students reportedly has the highest paid education superintendent. “With a salary of $300,000, (Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey) Wright, who was appointed in 2013, ranked first in the trade publication’s review of state superintendent salaries.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/01/state-lowest-per-pupil-spending-has-highest-paid-state-superintendent/625369001/

Republican congressman accused of trying to intimidate a witness – former Trump aide Michael Cohen – on Twitter. “Legal experts are already telling (Florida Congressman Matt) Gaetz that he could very be in serious trouble. Because — and it’s amazing we have to explain this — one cannot blackmail a federal witness.”   https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/matt-gaetz-threatens-michael-cohen-on-twitter-likely-commits-witness-tampering-11097594

House Democrats likely to pass gun control bills that will require background checks for all gun purchases and increase the time allowed for flagged background checks from three to ten days. “Both measures face dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/us/politics/house-democrats-gun-control.html

House votes down President Trump’s ‘national emergency’ wall funding plan, bill moves to the Senate. “The vote was 245-182, with all Democrats voting yea and 13 Republicans joining them.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-votes-to-reject-trump-emergency-declaration-setting-up-potential-veto-showdown

Bernie Sanders’ 2016 political consultants will not be advising his 2020 campaign. “Tad Devine, Mark Longabaugh and Julian Mulvey, partners in a political consulting firm who all played leading roles in Sanders’ 2016 campaign for the White House, are parting ways with the senator, citing ‘creative differences’.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/bernie-sanders-staff-shakeup-top-strategists-leave-his-presidential-campaign-n976221

Did Senate Democrats just vote to legalize infanticide? No, they didn’t. “Less than 1 percent of all abortions are done after 24 weeks, and many are performed because the fetus has a fatal condition or the pregnant woman’s life or health is at severe risk…. If it seems unlikely that the baby will survive, the family may choose to provide just comfort care — wrapping and cuddling the baby — and allow the child to die naturally without extreme attempts at resuscitation. The bill would (have forced) doctors to resuscitate such an infant, even if the parents did not want those measures…”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/health/abortion-bill-trump.html

Maryland Democratic Party state legislator loses her position as a subcommittee chair after allegedly using racial slur to describe an election district. “(Mary Ann Lisanti) told another white lawmaker that when he campaigned in Prince George’s on behalf of a candidate last fall, he was door-knocking in a ‘n—– district’, said Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s), who witnessed the comment and represents the district in question.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/house-speaker-busch-strips-democratic-lawmaker-of-leadership-position-over-racial-slur-allegation/2019/02/26/9bf09726-39e6-11e9-a06c-3ec8ed509d15_story.html

Florida man jailed for feeding the homeless dies at 94. “Chef Arnold, as (Arnold Abbott) was known, used to say that he had been arrested several times for violating a city of Fort Lauderdale ordinance that restricted charities from feeding the homeless.”   https://miami.cbslocal.com/2019/02/22/arrested-several-times-for-feeding-the-hungry-champion-of-the-homeless-arnold-abbott-dies-at-94/   ‘Used to say?’ Well, was he or wasn’t he? “Arnold Abbott has helped to prepare hundreds of meals a week for countless hungry homeless persons in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since 1990, but a new ordinance now makes this illegal in the city. As a result, Abbott and two ministers from the Sanctuary Church were arrested while dishing out hot food on Tuesday night. That, however, is not stopping them, and they were back at it again on Wednesday night as if nothing had happened. And after they finished serving food, police again arrested Abbott.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2822829/Charity-worker-90-arrested-police-feeding-homeless-gets-right-work-one-day-later-despite-outcry-insensitive-mayor-gets-arrested-again.html   It appears he actually WAS arrested at least twice for feeding the homeless.

Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson are the only two Democratic Party candidates who currently support reparations for the descendants of slaves. “The progressive group Data for Progress found last year that while the concept had net positive support among Americans younger than 45 years old, the concept was 39 points under water with Americans older than 45. The Marist poll found that 80% of white respondents were opposed to reparations.”   https://www.businessinsider.com/2020-democrats-divided-over-reparations-black-americans-2019-2

Former Port Authority official sentenced to 18 months for his role in the George Washington Bridge traffic-blocking political punishment scheme, aka ‘Bridgegate’. “The scheme was intended as political revenge against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Marc Sokolich for refusing to endorse (New Jersey Governor Chris) Christie’s re-election that year.”   https://nypost.com/2019/02/26/former-port-authority-exec-gets-prison-time-for-bridgegate-role/

Trial begins for former Florida police officer who fatally shot stranded drummer. “(Corey) Jones had the gun to protect his expensive drum kit, and it was ‘reasonable’ for Jones to take it out when he was approached in the dark by a stranger exiting an unmarked white van, Fernandes said, adding Jones had ‘zero indication [(Nouman) Raja was] a law enforcement officer’.”   https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-ne-raja-trial-first-day-20190226-story.html

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley joins military contractor Boeing’s board of directors, will reportedly make at least $315,000 a year. “Her relationship with the company dates to her tenure as governor of (South Carolina), where Boeing took advantage of right-to-work laws to open an airliner assembly plant in 2011 after years of contentious dealings with unions in its Seattle-area manufacturing base.”   https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/business/boeing-taps-ex-trump-aide-nikki-haley-for-board-seat-worth-315-000-a-year   Caroline Kennedy is also reportedly a member of Boeing’s board.

India and Pakistan clash along disputed border in Kashmir. “Pakistan shot down two Indian jets on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Pakistan armed forces said, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971…. The aerial engagement followed overnight artillery fire by both sides.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/27/indian-air-force-plane-crashes-in-kashmir-says-indian-police-official.html

Two Russian cybersecurity experts sentenced to long prison terms, possibly for espionage. “The Moscow District Military Court sentenced Sergey Mikhailov, who was deputy head of Russia’s Federal Security Service or FSB’s cybersecurity center, to 22 years in a prison colony…. His co-defendant, Ruslan Stoyanov, a former police investigator and top researcher at the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, received 14 years in prison.”   https://abcnews.go.com/International/russia-jails-top-cyber-agent-treason/story?id=61332148

Ukrainian president facing impeachment after allegations of corruption. “(Petro) Poroshenko, who came to power in 2014, following waves of protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovich, is seeking re-election, though his prospects are expected to suffer as a result of the scandal.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/ukraine-begins-poroshenko-impeachment-process-190226085343173.html

Amnesty International draws attention to repression in Middle East and Northern Africa. “Across MENA throughout 2018 thousands of dissidents and peaceful critics have been victims of shameless government violations on a shocking scale, amid deafening silence from the international community.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/26/middleeast/middle-east-report-2018-amnesty-intl/index.html

Locomotive assembly workers go on strike. “(New owner) Wabtec pushed for a number of significant changes, including the introduction of mandatory overtime, arbitrary schedules, wage cuts of up to 38% for recalled and new workers, and the right to use temporary workers, according to the union.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/26/business/wabtec-strike-ge-locomotive/index.html

Facebook accused of outsourcing its worst job, moderating content, to low-paid employees working for contractors. “… while Facebook employees enjoy a wide degree of freedom in how they manage their days, Cognizant workers’ time is managed down to the second.”   https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/25/18229714/cognizant-facebook-content-moderator-interviews-trauma-working-conditions-arizona

Mass grave in Belarus has reportedly yielded 730 bodies so far. “The site of the mass grave served from December 1941 to October 1942 as part of a ghetto, areas created by the Nazis to segregate Jews and sometimes other minorities from other city dwellers.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/remains-730-jews-unearthed-nazi-era-mass-grave-belarus/

2016 video shows white Ramsey County, Minnesota jailers abusing black prisoner. “‘Race definitely played a role. We’re very lucky that Mr. Johnson wasn’t killed,’ said Tyrone Terrill, president of the African American Leadership Council. He added that Johnson’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe reminded him of the police killing of Eric Garner in New York in 2014.”   http://www.startribune.com/commissioners-ramsey-county-corrections-officer-s-behavior-disturbing-in-actions-caught-on-video/506386942/   If the video won’t play, you can also view it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jXlO9K1QGs

Trump criticizes Democrats for failing to denuclearize North Korea, but gets fact checked on social media. “Fun true fact: North Korea previously pledged denuclearization in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017. Each pledge was a lie. If you believe any new promise Kim makes this week, I have five failed casinos in Atlantic City to sell you.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/trump-appears-not-know-history-previous-negotiations-north-korea/

Lima group of nations calls for a ‘democratic transition’ in Venezuela. “… the Lima Group ‘reiterates its conviction that the transition to democracy must be conducted by the Venezuelans themselves peacefully and within the framework of the Constitution and international law, supported by political and diplomatic means, without the use of force’.”   https://latinamericanpost.com/26664-the-venezuelan-crisis-and-the-meeting-of-the-lima-group

FBI, military and police departments reportedly having trouble recruiting new employees. “The total number of full-time sworn (police) officers has dropped 23,000 since 2013 to about 700,000 according to NPR, who called the officer shortage ‘a quiet crisis in American policing’.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/27/fbi-struggles-to-attract-new-recruits    And yet, they still manage to turn out 6 to 8 officers for a parking violation. “Video released Wednesday from an officer’s body camera shows NBA rookie Sterling Brown being wrestled to the ground by multiple cops during a confrontation over his use of handicapped parking spaces in a Walgreen’s parking lot.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/video-shows-cops-tackling-nba-s-sterling-brown-over-parking-n876921

Dutch Muslim man loses his unemployment benefits after refusing to shave off his beard to take a job as an asbestos remover. “The man responded that he would have been willing to wear an alternative respiratory mask on the market suitable for those with beards but the court concluded that the training required the use of a specific mask.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/27/netherlands-cuts-muslim-mans-benefits-refusing-shave-beard

Jumaane Williams elected as New York City’s public advocate. “Williams will be the only person of color in the top of city government—Mayor Bill De Blasio, acting public advocate Corey Johnson, and comptroller Scott M. Stringer are white men.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/27/fearless-progressive-jumaane-williams-elected-nycs-public-advocate

Telecom PACs reportedly held a $1,500 a plate fundraiser for the chairman of the Senate committee which will be deciding federal privacy protection policies for internet service providers. “(Roger) Wicker, the committee chairman… has said he wants to impose federal privacy protections ‘without stifling innovation, investment, or competition’.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/27/we-are-here-buy-senator-ahead-data-privacy-hearing-digital-rights-defenders-target

Poor People’s Campaign to highlight ‘real’ national emergencies. “The National Emergency Truth & Poverty Bus Tour is set to begin in late March and has stops scheduled in 27 states and Washington, D.C. It will focus on five sweeping issues impacting Americans: systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and ‘our distorted moral narrative’.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/26/counter-trumps-fake-border-crisis-poor-peoples-campaign-tour-aims-expose-real

Winnie-the-Pooh’s forest burns. “The unusual wildfires are adding to worries that Britain is suffering from the effects of climate change…. On Tuesday, firefighters battled blazes in Ashdown Forest, the setting for the “Hundred Acre Wood” in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/wildfires-scorch-britain-winnie-the-pooh-woods-hit/

Federal judge upholds ‘bump stock’ ban. “U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich… ruled late Monday that the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made a reasonable determination in concluding that bump stocks produce the same results as machine guns, which are illegal.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/ban-on-deadly-bump-stocks-for-guns-upheld-by-judge/

 

February 27, 2019

February 26, 2019

U.S. ranks 35th in the health of its citizens, say Bloomberg researchers. “One of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so poorly compared to other developed nations is the obesity epidemic, which shows little sign of letting up…. Life expectancy in the U.S. has also been driven down in recent years due to so-called deaths of despair, including suicide and drug overdoses.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-worlds-healthiest-countries-ranked/   Not to mention financial difficulties faced by millions of Americans when accessing medical care, including by those WITH health insurance.   “… 41 percent of working-age Americans—or 72 million people—have medical bill problems or are paying off medical debt, up from 34 percent in 2005. If you add in the 7 million elderly adults who are also dealing with these issues, a total of 79 million Americans have medical bill or debt problems.”   https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletter-article/survey-79-million-americans-have-problems-medical-bills-or-debt

Florida woman bitten by stray cat gets bill for $48,512 after emergency room visit. “She spent about two hours in the emergency room, got two types of injections and an antibiotic and says she never talked with a doctor.”   https://www.wbur.org/npr/697786766/cat-bites-the-hand-that-feeds-hospital-bills-48-512

Trump Organization writes check to government for the $191,538 it received in profits from foreign states. “This voluntary donation fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar businesses during our father’s term in office.”   https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/431436-trump-organization-says-it-donated-nearly-200k-in-foreign-profits-in-2018

San Francisco uses computer program to dismiss marijuana possession convictions since 1975, after only 23 out of more than 8,000 people eligible apply. “The DA’s office teamed up with Code For America — a nonprofit company using technology to improve the government — to develop the computer program to identify cases that are eligible for dismissal since California passed a law in 2016 allowing recreational marijuana use.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/25/us/san-francisco-marijuana-convictions-cleared-trnd/index.html

Diane Feinstein called them as naive, but Mitch McConnell’s office has them arrested. “Dozens of people were arrested outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after more than 200 people stormed inside and demanded a meeting with the senator on a proposal to address climate change.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/young-protesters-arrested-outside-sen-mitch-mcconnells-office-demanding-action-on-green-new-deal/2019/02/25/440bbf92-3930-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html   A wonderful metaphor for our two-party system.

Elizabeth Warren pledges not spend extra time with wealthy donors. “That means no fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write the big checks…. It means that wealthy donors won’t be able to purchase better seats or one-on-one time with me at our events. And it means I won’t be doing ‘call time’, which is when candidates take hours to call wealthy donors to ask for their support.”   https://medium.com/@teamwarren/the-best-president-money-cant-buy-1adfbe01a344

Minnesota Republican calls for acts of violence against gun control supporters. “There’s a lot of us in this room that have had enough, and it’s time to start riding herd on the rest of these people that want to take your rights away from you….. They need to be kicked to the curb and stomped on and run over a few times.”   https://www.newsweek.com/minnesota-republican-calls-opponents-stomped-2nd-amendment-1343169   Don’t violate the First Amendment while defending the Second!

Charleston, South Carolina police tell family’s lawyer that body camera footage of man who died after allegedly refusing medical attention ‘was either lost in a glitch or routinely erased’. “The officer who responded to the wreck found (Nathaniel) Rhodes in an ambulance and after finding an opened bottle of wine between the front seats asked him to get off the stretcher, Bamberg said. The officer started doing sobriety tests that Rhodes failed…”   https://www.foxnews.com/us/family-man-died-after-officer-signs-form-refusing-treatment

International Court of Justice rules that Britain should return depopulated Chagos Islands, site of the U.S. Diego Garcia military base. “The United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring an end to its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible, thereby enabling Mauritius to complete the decolonisation of its territory in a manner consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/court-britain-rapidly-give-chagos-islands-190225151430608.html

Elderly man plans to save money by moving from nursing home into a motel. “Terry Robison said the math is pretty simple: the average nursing home costs $188 a day while a long-term stay with a senior discount at a Holiday Inn costs $59.23 per night.”   https://q13fox.com/2019/02/25/man-plans-to-ditch-nursing-home-for-holiday-inn/

Federal judge reprimands plaintiff’s lawyer in Roundup trial. “In an extraordinary move in a packed San Francisco courtroom on Monday, US judge Vince Chhabria threatened to sanction and ‘shut down’ a cancer patient’s attorney for violating his ban on talking about Monsanto’s influence on government regulators and cancer research.”    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/25/monsanto-federal-trial-roundup-cancer

Consumer watchdog group finds glyphosate in 19 of 20 alcohol beverages tested. “We don’t think brewers are going out of their way to put this in their beer, but it’s getting in there because we use so much Roundup.”  https://www.9news.com/article/news/health/weed-killer-chemical-found-in-beer-and-wine-according-to-report/73-87b24cd3-4201-4db3-a360-6ec1dd1ef385

Google, whose parent company Alphabet has a reported $109 billion in cash on hand and is planning a massive stock buyback, is asking small Minnesota town for tax breaks. “If the city (of Becker) and (Sherburne) county approve, Google would save $7 million to $8 million in county property taxes and $6 million to $7 million in city property taxes, according to city and county estimates…. In addition, state Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Milaca, and Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, last week introduced a bill that would provide $20.1 million in state bonding for water, sewer, road and lighting improvements to the Becker business park where the data center would be built.”   https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/02/25/wind-energy-tax-breaks-sought-to-bring-google-to-becker-minnesota

Career success has become a religion, says writer, one that often fails to deliver. “But our desks were never meant to be our altars. The modern labor force evolved to serve the needs of consumers and capitalists, not to satisfy tens of millions of people seeking transcendence at the office.”   https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/religion-workism-making-americans-miserable/583441/

Venezuelan protesters accused of setting aid trucks on fire during confrontation with border guards on bridge. “Colombian writer Humberto Ortiz produced footage from a pro-opposition channel showing what appears to be the exact moment when a (young, right-wing protester) sets the aid on fire with a molotov cocktail.”   https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/25/burning-aid-apparent-deception-on-colombia-venezuela-bridge/

India bombs ‘terrorist camp’ in Pakistan, which Pakistan denies existed. “While exchanges of artillery and light weapons over the line are very common, intentional incursions by aircraft have not been publicly acknowledged since the two countries fought a war in 1971.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/26/pakistan-india-jets-breached-ceasefire-line-kashmir-bomb

Outstanding student loan debt hits $1.46 trillion, as in $1,460,000,000,000. “The youngest age bracket in the report, those aged 19-29, had over $1 trillion in debt in 2018.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/25/we-are-crushing-next-generation-young-millennials-saddled-1005000000000-student-debt

Federal appeals court rules against challenge to New Mexico’s voter-approved bail reform. “The 10th Circuit upheld New Mexico’s bail reform efforts Monday, finding the rules that allow the state to either bar bail before arraignment or let more people go with no bail at all are constitutional.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/tenth-circuit-tosses-new-mexico-bail-reform-challenge/

February 26, 2019

February 25, 2019

2016 Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio tweets photo of brutal mob murder of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. “Earlier in the day, Rubio had been tweeting about Venezuela leader Nicolás Maduro’s oppressive government…. ‘While tweeting this is deeply sick, it does work as an outstanding argument against US-backed regime change’.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article226732089.html

Federal judge rules that drafting only men into the military is unconstitutional. “In Rostker v. Goldberg, the court ruled that a male-only draft was ‘fully justified’ because women were ineligible for combat roles…. In 2015, the Pentagon lifted all restrictions for women in military service.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/24/military-draft-judge-rules-male-only-registration-unconstitutional/2968872002/

71 year-old man released after wrongly spending almost 40 years in prison settles for $21 million with Simi Valley, California. “Forensic tests showed (Craig) Coley’s DNA was not on the victim’s bedsheet, which contained DNA from an unknown man. Coley also had an alibi for the time of the slayings…”   https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-man-cleared-of-double-murder-after-40-years-in-jail-gets-21m

Residents of the condo where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims to have lived since 2011 say they have never seen her there. “The day after The (New York) Post reported that residents said they had never seen her around — and she ducked questions about it after an appearance — her spokesman said the Democratic freshman congresswoman now lives with her boyfriend in a two-bedroom apartment ‘a block and a half away’.”   https://nypost.com/2019/02/24/mystery-solved-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-covers-tracks-in-address-debacle/

Virginia’s embattled Lt. Governor compares calls for him to resign over sexual assault allegations to being lynched by a mob. “And we talk about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those very same auspices. And yet we stand here in a rush to judgment with nothing but accusations and no facts and we decide that we are willing to do the same thing.”   https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/431346-virginia-lt-gov-fairfax-compares-himself-to-lynching-victims

Top Defense Department officials test fire anti-migrant weapons at the border. “… in addition to observing the border security’s capabilities, (acting Defense Secretary Patrick) Shanahan fired a ‘PLS pepper ball launching system’ — shortly after, (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph) Dunford fired a ‘FN303’ (pepper ball weapon).”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/23/politics/defense-secretary-patrick-shanahan-joint-chiefs-joseph-dunford-weapon-border-visit/index.html

Fort Pierce, Florida police officer suspended for letting shoplifting suspects kiss, smoke in squad car. “(Officer) McNeal pulled into the jail’s sally port and finished his paperwork in the driver’s seat. According to the report, Leigh then asked the officer whether she could stand outside and smoke a cigarette. ‘No, just smoke in the car,’ McNeal reportedly responded. ‘They won’t let you smoke in the sally port.’”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/crime-law/2019/02/24/two-suspects-made-out-back-police-car-officer-who-drove-them-is-now-suspended/   So, police officers actually DO get suspended!

Residents of Okinawa vote overwhelming against new U.S. base, but Japan’s Prime Minster Abe (pronounced ‘AH-beh’) pledges that construction will continue. “Just over 70% of voters – or 434,000 people – opposed construction of a new base on Okinawa’s northeast coast that will replace an existing US Marine Corps base 30 miles away. Just 19% voted in favour of the move, with turnout at 52%.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/24/okinawa-referendum-rejects-new-us-military-base-but-abe-likely-to-press-on

An estimated 10,000 Russians march through Moscow in memory of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. “Nemtsov, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was murdered in 2015 as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-nemtsov-march/thousands-march-in-memory-of-slain-russian-opposition-leader-nemtsov-idUSKCN1QD0EY

They’re back! Yellow vest protesters hold fifteenth weekend of demonstrations. “Among the many rallies around Paris and in other French cities, hundreds gathered at the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris to march through well-off neighborhoods to protest government policies they see as favoring the rich.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6737693/Thousands-yellow-vest-protesters-streets-France-15th-weekend-running.html

After an American man living in St. Petersburg, Russia is killed by a drunk driver, his Facebook page suddenly disappears. “40-year-old Todd Crowell, judging by his Facebook and Instagram profile, simply adored Russia. In addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, he visited Altai Krai, Irkutsk with Baikal, Belgorod, Perm, Kazan and other cities. He visited the place where there were almost never foreigners…. Crowell received income from renting his property, which allowed him to travel around Russia.” (translation by Google Translate)   https://www.fontanka.ru/2019/02/24/012/

One third of GoFundMe donations go to people who need help paying for medical care. “How is it possible that, in the world’s richest country, people have to resort to begging for money online in order to survive? The answer, of course, is that this is happening by design.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2019/02/24/us-healthcare-disgrace-gofundme-care-symptomatic-of-extreme-inequality/

President Trump suggests it was the DEMOCRATS who colluded with Russia, presumably by helping Russia obtain their own emails. Or by staging a hack? Only Trump knows. “The only Collusion with the Russians was with Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee… And, where’s the Server that the DNC refused to give to the FBI?”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/trump-another-meltdown-twitter-accusation-hillary-colluded-russia/

Americans skeptical about their government’s desire to police the world. “Asked how best to achieve peace, over one third of respondents to the EGF study said the U.S. should ‘focus on domestic needs and the health of American democracy’. Just 18% said the best route was by promoting and defending democracy around the world.”   http://time.com/5532307/worlds-apart-foreign-policy-public-opinion-poll-eurasia/

Canadian Special Forces troops also reportedly in Haiti. “Two days after Canadian troops were spotted at the (Port-au-Prince) airport five heavily armed former US soldiers were arrested…. Dozens of anti-government protesters and individuals individuals living in neighborhoods viewed as hostile to the government have been killed as calls for the president to step down have grown in recent months.”   https://original.antiwar.com/Yves_Engler/2019/02/24/secretive-canadian-special-forces-in-haiti/

Two female refugees from Saudi Arabia trapped in Hong Kong after their passports were revoked. “They say they were prevented from boarding a connecting flight to Australia and were intercepted at the airport by diplomats from Saudi Arabia.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-hongkong-saudi-sisters/i-was-like-a-prisoner-saudi-sisters-trapped-in-hong-kong-recall-beatings-idUKKCN1QC0DC

Wealthy, white Chicago suburb allegedly received an EPA intervention to address local air pollution issue, while poor, black rural area of Louisiana, which is even more polluted, did not. “Although in Willowbrook the EPA has worked alongside local and state officials to address the dangerous levels of ethylene oxide, the agency has done little or nothing in St. John, where people continue to breathe in the highest levels of carcinogens in the country.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/02/24/epa-response-air-pollution-crisis-toxic-racial-divide/

University of Mississippi college basketball players kneel during anthem to protest local pro-Confederacy event. “The Confederacy demonstration took place a few hundred feet from the arena.”   https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/feb/24/ole-miss-georgia-players-kneel-college-basketball-confederate-rally

Academy Awards criticized for choosing ‘Green Book’ as best picture. “… it suggests that the problem of prejudice is confined to one-on-one relationships, that everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes, but if you just try to be better, maybe that will be enough.”   https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/2/25/18239309/oscars-2019-green-book-best-picture

 

February 25, 2019

February 24, 2019

Health care industry lobbyists seeking to shut down talk of a national health insurance scheme. “Doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurers are intent on strangling Medicare for All before it advances from an aspirational slogan to a legislative agenda item.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/23/us/politics/medicare-for-all-lobbyists.html

NPR headline calls Bernie Sanders ‘the MySpace of 2020’. “Does it have to be him?” Arnie Arnesen, a New Hampshire radio show host and Sanders supporter in 2016, told NPR’s Asma Khalid last month. “I don’t think it does…”   https://www.npr.org/2019/02/23/697027833/are-democrats-ready-to-feel-the-bern-or-is-sanders-the-myspace-of-2020

Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror attacks allegedly had ‘hit list’ of politicians and news media figures. “(Paul) Hasson’s list of prominent Democrats included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris…. John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.”   https://www.gainesville.com/news/20190221/coast-guard-officer-who-espoused-white-supremacist-views-accused-of-making-hit-list-of-democrats-tv-journalists

Last IS fighters and their families reportedly evacuated from Syrian village of Baghouz to an undisclosed destination. “The final remnants of Islamic State have left the group’s last pocket of territory in eastern Syria – as truckloads of fighters and their jihadi brides are seen being transported from the area.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6735849/Truckloads-ISIS-fighters-jihadi-brides-line-leave-terrorists-frontline.html   Some kind of a deal?

A former Citigroup president and a the founder of a private equity firm also reportedly charged in connection with Florida prostitution sting, cops hid cameras in massage parlors to capture sex acts. “A six-month human-trafficking and prostitution sting in massage parlors across Florida yielded hundreds of arrest warrants…”   https://www.businessinsider.com/florida-massage-parlor-prostitution-sting-johns-2019-2    So instead of rescuing the victims of these sex trafficking organizations, they allowed them to continue to be sexually exploited for months in order to arrest as many of their customers as possible?

Democratic presidential candidate accused of sabotaging employees seeking new jobs. “HuffPost, citing multiple Capitol Hill staffers and former (Amy) Klobuchar employees, reported Friday that Klobuchar is ‘well known’ for calling prospective employers and shutting down job opportunities for her departing staff.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/amy-klobuchar-tried-to-torpedo-staffs-future-job-opportunities-report

Senator Elizabeth Warren says reparation for indigenous Americans ‘is an important part of the conversation’. “I fully support the federal government doing far more to live up to its existing trust and treaty responsibilities and that includes a robust discussion about historical injustices against Native people.”   https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/23/warren-suggests-native-americans-should-part-conversation-about-reparations/WSWKAwTB6HgOaXT5lJiuJJ/story.html

Catholic cardinal accuses church officials of attempting to cover up sex abuse incidents. “Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created.”   https://www.vox.com/2019/2/23/18237702/catholic-church-sex-abuse-summit-destroyed-documents

Thousands of Algerians march against a possible fifth term for their 81 year-old president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. “The Algerian premier has held office since 1999, but has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47339414

Cubans offered a choice: to keep the old Soviet-era constitution or vote for a new one that declares Cuba to forever be a one-party, free-market socialist state. “The political and ideological monopoly (of the Communist Party) would come via a new constitution that Cubans can either endorse or reject in a popular referendum.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/02/23/697256711/religious-leaders-in-cuba-outspoken-and-critical-of-proposed-constitution   Well, they already have a political and ideological monopoly, but it sounds like the people in charge have opted to follow the Chinese model, which combines the worst aspects of capitalism and communism.

No charges for Elgin police officer who fatally shot woman escaping a burning car. “Police body camera video shows (Decynthia) Clements started a fire inside her car…. Clements exited holding a knife and was shot by (Lt. Christian) Jensen as another officer fired a Taser.”   https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190222/no-criminal-charges-by-cook-county-in-fatal-elgin-police-shooting

Little Rock, Arkansas police officer fatally shoots car theft suspect fleeing traffic stop. “… police said that the driver, 30-year-old Bradley Blackshire, refused (Officer Charles) Starks’ verbal direction to exit the 2018 black Nissan Altima. Blackshire stopped but then accelerated and hit Starks, who opened fire and shot Blackshire, police said.”   https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/feb/23/update-police-id-officer-victim-fatal-shooting-aft/

FBI finishes its investigation into fatal shooting of unarmed motorist by Indianapolis police officers. “(Officer Carlton) Howard, who is biracial, and (Officer Michael) Dinnsen, who is white, both said (Aaron) Bailey (who was black) ignored commands to show his hands after the crash.”   https://fox59.com/2019/02/22/fbi-finishes-investigation-into-indianapolis-police-shooting-of-aaron-bailey/

Memphis police officer resigns after investigation into shooting of motorist who fled traffic stop on foot. “Police said the officers did not have their body or dash cameras turned on when the shooting (of Martavious Banks) happened…. two officers did originally have their body cameras activated, but they were deactivated during the foot pursuit.”   https://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/mpd-officer-who-shot-man-following-traffic-stop-in-south-memphis-resigns-sources-say/924245664

Victims of police dog attacks sue Kent, Washington police dog and its handler. “The K-9, a German shepherd named Kato, and his handler, Officer Eric Tung, are accused in both lawsuits of causing serious and unnecessary injuries to the men, neither of whom was armed.”   https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/2-lawsuits-allege-excessive-force-by-kent-police-dog-handler/

Lawsuit accuses Cheatham county, Tennessee sheriff’s deputies of using excessive force when they allegedly fired 8 shots through a man’s door during a no lights, no sirens, no verbal identification home visit. “(Mark) Campbell does not own a handgun and one was not found in his home.”   https://www.newschannel5.com/news/federal-lawsuit-points-to-bodycam-video-accuses-deputies-of-excessive-force

Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ accused of omitting the story of the slow government response to the HIV epidemic. “Governments and the general public quietly left people with HIV to their fate.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/freddie-mercury-story-goes-untold-bohemian-rhapsody/

U.S. elections are a real national emergency, claims writer. “The wide range of suppression tactics implemented in Georgia included the mass purging of voters, blocked voter registrations, faulty election machines and uncounted provisional and absentee ballots.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/23/us-electoral-process-democracy-damaged   I had my absentee ballot returned by the Post Office as ‘not deliverable’, just like these people:   https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/absentee-ballots-undeliverable/   I never got an answer as to why it happened – I was told by a county election official that the Post Office was claiming it was probably just an automation glitch.

Executive of Australian coffee shop chain complains that she can’t get free labor anymore. “(Natalie) Brennan, the general manager of Muffin Break… said there had been a decline in young people seeking unpaid work in order to advance their prospects…. ‘In essence they’re working for free, but I can tell you every single person who has knocked on my door for an internship or work experience has ended up with a job’.”   https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/24/muffin-break-faces-backlash-after-boss-says-millennials-wont-do-unpaid-word   Would you like a muffin with that?

California’s Central Valley facing groundwater crisis. “Californians have not only drained Tulare Lake – once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi – but built hundreds of miles of canals and aqueducts that irrigate over 5 million acres of farmland and deliver water to 4 million residents in eight valley counties…. (the fertile valley’s) aquifers have shrunk and the remaining water is often contaminated with nitrate and salts.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/californias-central-valley-ground-zero-in-water-war/

New York Times accused of uncritically portraying austerity policies (the cutting government spending in response to falling tax revenue) as effective and rational. “While the blame for Europe’s economic problems over the last decade can very clearly be laid at the doorstep of its leaders who have insisted on austerity, the media consistently ignore evidence that is as clear as day. They instead treat the problems facing Europe’s workers as being mysterious in origin, or due primarily to an overly generous welfare state and excessive regulations that protect workers.”   https://fair.org/home/new-york-times-provides-cover-for-austerity-cranks/

February 24, 2019

February 23, 2019

Almost 12,000 civilians have reportedly died in U.S. coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014. “(Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights) spokesman Dr. Ali A. Al-Bayati said on Saturday that ‘about 11,800 civilians, including 2,300 children and 1,130 women, were killed in addition to 8,000 wounded by the bombing of the coalition in Iraq and Syria’.”   https://brettwilkins.com/2019/02/21/ihchr-11800-civilians-killed-in-us-led-air-strikes-in-syria-iraq/

Fox News guest tells Tucker Carlson that reparations for the descendants of slaves has become ‘ridiculous’. “Slavery was abolished a century and a half ago, nobody alive today has a grandparent who was a slave, and in that sense I think you reach a point where, you know, you need to move on.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/tucker-carlson-fox-news-host-145504129.html   Unlike reparations for the slave laborers of the Nazis or the Japanese military.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft not the only prominent person alleged to have been caught in Palm Beach county Florida prostitution sting. “(ESPN’s Adam) Schefter told a WEEI radio host on Friday that Kraft was not the biggest name involved.”   https://ntknetwork.com/report-200-people-involved-in-florida-prostitution-sting-prominent-members-of-society/

Organizations that provide abortions or refer women for abortions now blocked from receiving federal family planning funds, Planned Parenthood to lose an estimated $60 million. “The change means federally funded family planning clinics can no longer refer a patient for abortion and must maintain a ‘clear physical and financial separation’ between services funded by the government and any organization that provides abortions or abortion referrals.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/02/22/trump-administration-bars-family-planning-clinics-that-provide-abortion-referrals-million-program/

Patagonia, Arizona marshal accused of asking reporter for ID, threatening to jail her for following him around. “I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff…. I can have you arrested, do you understand?”    https://orangestreetnews.com/2019/02/18/patagonia-marshal-theatens-to-arrest-osn-publisher-see-the-video/

Young constituents urge Dianne Feinstein to support the Democratic Party’s version of the Green New Deal, she tells them there’s no way to pay for it and they are too young to vote, so tough luck. Kid: “We have tons of money going to the military, half of our, a lot of ours is going to the military.” Feinstein: “Well I understand that…. I’ve been doing this for thirty years, I know what I’m doing.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp2045Q-fOE

Judge drops criminal charges against water park officials over decapitation of boy on Kansas waterslide. “Wyandotte County Judge Robert Burns cited improper evidence in dropping second-degree murder charges against Schlitterbahn owner Jeff Henry, designer John Schooley, and general contractor Henry and Sons Construction Co. The judge also dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against operations manager Tyler Miles, The Kansas City Star reported.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/schlitterbahn-lawsuit-charges-dropped-in-kansas-water-slide-death-where-boy-was-decapitated/

Tens of millions of Chinese with low ‘social credit’ scores, due to unpaid fines or minor offenses, reportedly blocked from traveling. “The penalties are part of efforts by president Xi Jinping‘s government to use data-processing and other technology to tighten control on society.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-social-credit-flight-travel-plane-tickets-xi-jinping-blacklist-a8792256.html

Government of Botswana may lift ban on elephant hunting, report suggests using the meat for pet food. “The number of elephants in Botswana is estimated to be about 130,000, which some argue is too many for the ecosystem – there is increasing conflict between wildlife and people.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47330414   Perhaps some of these elephants could be moved to other African countries where the population has been wiped out?

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly ok with China’s prison camps for Muslims. “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security.”   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/22/saudi-crown-prince-defends-chinas-right-put-uighur-muslims-concentration/

U.S. biotech firm cutting off sales to China. “Two years ago, Human Rights Watch reported that China had placed an order for equipment to expand its DNA sequencing capacity, with Thermo Fisher later named by a scientific industry publication as the supplier.”   https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-tech-company-says-it-will-no-longer-sell-equipment-to-china-to-expand-uighur-dna-tracking-capability

Microsoft employees protest $480 million sale of company’s ‘augmented reality’ glasses to the military. “… we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression…. We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/we-did-not-sign-develop-weapons-microsoft-workers-protest-480m-n974761

Some apps caught sending personal information to Facebook. “… you don’t even have to be a Facebook user to find out you’ve been unwittingly handing over data to the tech giant.”   https://gizmodo.com/these-apps-reportedly-shared-sensitive-personal-informa-1832827887

The seat-back entertainment screen on your next flight may include a camera pointed at you. “Cameras are a standard feature on many in-flight entertainment systems used by multiple airlines.”   https://ktla.com/2019/02/22/smile-some-airliners-have-cameras-on-seat-back-screens/

Soybean exports to China fall by 90%. “(USDA Chief Economist Robert) Johansson said sales of U.S. soybeans to the European Union, Egypt, Argentina, and others had risen, but that has ‘not been enough to make up for the lost exports to China’.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-agriculture/us-farm-exports-expected-to-fall-19-billion-in-2019-led-by-china-usda-idUSKCN1QA1TK

Last Chevy Volt hybrid leaves the factory due to low demand. “I’ve been really surprised at the lack of marketing. I would not have an electric car if I did not have that gas engine.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chevy-volt-discontinued-chevrolets-last-volt-rolls-off-the-assembly-line/

Sales of sugary drinks down 52% three years after Berkeley imposed a 1 cent per ounce tax. “While the excise tax is levied on distributors, rather than directly on consumers, subsequent studies have shown that retailers incorporated the higher costs into the shelf price of the drinks.”   https://www.berkeleyside.com/2019/02/22/sugary-drink-consumption-in-berkeley-down-more-than-50-since-introduction-of-soda-tax   Was it the price hike or increased consumer awareness?

President of Sudan declares ‘national emergency’. “The state of emergency will give the security forces a free hand in cracking down on protesters and carrying out detentions and it places heavier restrictions on the press and opposition parties.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/23/state-of-emergency-declared-in-sudan-by-under-fire-president

Justice Department did not announce arrest of Coast Guard officer accused of plotting white nationalist terror attacks. “Instead, the news broke to the public through the Twitter feed of Seamus Hughes, a deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, a D.C.-based counterterrorism think tank…. Hughes found Hasson’s case because he habitually checks court filings.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/02/21/white-nationalist-coast-guard-terrorism-justice-department-christopher-hasson/

New election to be held in North Carolina after Republican voter fraud scheme revealed. “You know the folks who cry ‘crime’ when two people named John Smith vote in the same state? Their silence in the face of seemingly serious election fraud reveals their fundamental bad faith and hucksterism.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/22/new-election-ordered-north-carolina-over-actual-real-life-voter-fraud-allegedly

Iran still in compliance with 2015 nuclear deal says U.N. nuclear body. “(The International Atomic Energy Agency) noted that Iran’s stocks of heavy water and low-enriched uranium still were under the limits set in the 2015 pact.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/iran-kept-nose-clean-on-2015-nuke-deal-un-watchdog-reports/

February 23, 2019

February 22, 2019

Millions of indigenous people in India to be evicted after complaint by wildlife conservation groups. “This judgment is a death sentence for millions of tribal people in India, land theft on an epic scale and a monumental injustice…. it will do nothing to save the forests which these tribespeople have protected for generations.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/22/millions-of-forest-dwelling-indigenous-people-in-india-to-be-evicted

Armed Americans arrested in Haiti will not face charges in the U.S. “The fact that the U.S. took these people and did not charge them, it shows there was a conspiracy. They didn’t want them to go before Haitian justice.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article226572869.html

Oakland, California teachers go on strike. “Katlyn Ready, 25, has been teaching English at Oakland High School for the last three years. She makes about $48,000 a year…. Half of her monthly take-home pay goes for rent (for her shared studio apartment).”   https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-oakland-strike-2019-story.html

Lawyer for Coast Guard officer accused of plotting white nationalist terror attacks argues that having ‘negative thoughts’ is not illegal. “We are not yet a society that criminalizes people for their thoughts … or detains people for their internet searches or their deleted documents.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/21/politics/coast-guard-officer-domestic-terrorist/index.html   and   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/us/coast-guard-christopher-hasson-terrorist-attack.html

Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, reportedly attended fraternity party in Confederate uniform. “The fraternity, which displayed a large Confederate flag outside the Kappa Alpha house, also held an annual celebration of the birthday of Confederate army commander Robert E. Lee.”   https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/21/bill-lee-tennessee-governor-auburn-yearbook-confederate-yearbook/2939636002/

Federal judge slams Jeffrey Epstein prosecutors, rules billionaire’s plea deal was illegal. “(Judge Kenneth A.) Marra, in a 33-page opinion, said prosecutors not only violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by not informing the victims, they also misled the girls into believing that the FBI’s sex trafficking case against Epstein was still ongoing — when in fact, prosecutors had secretly closed it after sealing the plea bargain from the public record.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article226577419.html   “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’  And who were these ‘others’? No one is saying. “There has been no statute of limitations for sex trafficking since 2002, but Edwards and other lawyers involved in the case said they tried without success to get federal authorities to investigate whether Epstein’s crimes went beyond Palm Beach.”

Man in luxury car allegedly runs over family at convenience store after being asked not to smoke around the children, killing one, injuring seven. “An enraged Jason Mendez, 35, jumped inside his car about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday and rammed the family – then reversed and struck them a second time after hitting the building, police said.”   https://nypost.com/2019/02/21/driver-charged-with-murder-for-purposely-mowing-down-mom-kids/

The anti-Sanders news articles make their reappearance. “(Bernie) Sanders started the 2016 campaign as a side show. He was regarded as a wacky lefty with some radical ideas about the country — from his push for single-payer health insurance to his ideas about free college tuition…. Does the Democratic Party want a 77-year-old white male as its nominee?”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/19/politics/bernie-sanders-2020-campaign-donald-trump/index.html    The article claims that Joe Biden, a 76 year-old white male, is the current front-runner. Here’s another: “Democratic strategist Jon Reinish, who is not affiliated with any 2020 campaign, said there was ‘no question’ that Sanders ‘has had an impressive 24 hours’. But, Reinish said, Sanders also ‘enters the race with some significant baggage’.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bernie-sanderss-second-campaign-strong-start-big-challenges-ahead/2019/02/20/c83ec8e2-3523-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html   What kind of baggage? The story does not say. One more: “He is a 77-year-old who has apologized for the sexism that existed in his 2016 campaign. He famously struggled to win over black voters four years ago. It’s no surprise Sanders keeps winning in Vermont, which has one of the nation’s oldest and whitest populations.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/opinion/bernie-sanders-president-2020.html   Conveniently overlooking that he out-polled Donald Trump in the 2016 election by an average of more than 10%:   https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_sanders-5565.html

Woman ruled not eligible for bail by a Virginia judge for exposing a breast was performing a representation of the Virginia state seal at political protest. “The state seal on Virginia’s flag shows the Roman goddess Virtus… according to the state’s website. The goddess is seen with (her) foot on a fallen tyrant with (her) breast exposed.”   https://www.foxnews.com/us/activist-who-exposed-breast-at-virginia-protest-was-freed-after-being-held-without-bail   State motto on the seal reads ‘Sic semper tyrannis’ (Thus always to tyrants).  Warning: link leads to work of art showing an exposed female breast!    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seal_of_Virginia.svg

Louisiana mom jailed for posting video of fight at son’s school. “Maegan Adkins-Barras, 32, is charged with ‘unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety and publicity’ after she posted a video her son had taken of the fight, which happened Tuesday in a common area at Acadiana High School, according to the police department in the city of Scott, west of New Orleans.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/louisiana-mother-arrested-posting-video-high-school-fight-social-media-n974146

Tennessee meatpacking employees file lawsuit against immigration agents over raid. “ICE agents stormed the meatpacking plant looking for Latino workers without knowing their identities or immigration status. They detained those workers solely on the basis of their race, using intrusive, militaristic and even violent measures.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/workers-detained-massive-tennessee-raid-sue-ice-officers-n974116

Fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh bazaar kills at least 70. “This isn’t about poverty, it’s about greed,” said Nizamuddin Ahmed, an architect in Dhaka. “The people storing these chemicals in residential buildings are rich — they have cars, nice homes, children studying abroad.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/world/asia/bangladesh-fire.html

Elizabeth Warren investigating arms transfers in Yemen. “CNN’s report, published earlier this month, revealed that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had transferred US-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other groups on the ground.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/22/middleeast/yemen-us-weapons-report-elizabeth-warren-intl/index.html

Police in Democratic Republic of Congo accused of strangling young gang members. “During late night swoops, masked police rounded up unarmed young men, killed them and often disposed of their bodies near their homes in an apparent attempt to make the killings appear to be urban crime, the report said.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/police-dr-congo-accused-extrajudicial-killings-190221134755980.html

Conservation groups sue government over its failure to protect endangered whales. “U.S. regulators are over a year late in their duty to adopt protections for the Gulf of Mexico whale, a species believed to be down to its last 33 members…”   https://www.courthousenews.com/whale-advocates-say-gulf-species-on-brink-of-extinction/

Higher percentage of recent immigrants have college degrees than native born Americans. “Along with 35 percent of U.S. natives, 39 percent of immigrants who have arrived since 2000 now hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/immigrants-outpacing-us-born-citizens-in-race-for-college-degrees/

 

February 22, 2019