May 31, 2019

New Hampshire legislature overrides governor’s veto, passing death penalty ban into law, joins 20 other states which no long use it. “… in both 2000 and 2018, a bill banning executions passed legislature but was struck down by the sitting governors.”   https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/30/18646033/new-hampshire-just-became-the-21st-state-to-abolish-the-death-penalty

Governor of Louisiana, a Democrat, signs off on anti-abortion bill. “The fetal heartbeat abortion ban applies to pregnancies as early as six weeks…. and does not include exceptions for women who were victims of rape and incest.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/louisianas-governor-a-democrat-signs-heartbeat-abortion-bill-into-law   I think the DNC’s centrism push just went off track.

Supreme Court declines to stay execution of Alabama man by a vote of 5 to 4. “(Christopher) Price had argued the lethal injection protocol would cause him severe pain and asked that the state use lethal gas as an alternative. Two lower courts agreed to put the execution on hold.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/30/us/christopher-lee-price-execution-alabama/index.html

Republicans accused of blocking election security bills. “Election security bills have been languishing in Congress for months, due in large part to Republicans who do not want to shine a light on Russia’s actions and risk the fury of President Trump.”   https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/446257-mueller-remarks-put-renewed-focus-on-election-security-bills

Governor of Nevada vetoes bill that would have included the state in the ‘popular vote compact’. “Gov. Steve Sisolak – who earlier this year was sworn in as the first Democratic governor in Nevada in more than two decades — warned that the proposal (to award all of the state’s electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote) ‘could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests’.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/dems-nationwide-effort-to-override-electoral-college-hits-major-stumble-in-nevada

JPMorgan settles with male employees who say they were denied parental leave. “The resolution is the ‘first class-action lawsuit to settle discrimination claims for a class of fathers who claim they were denied the opportunity to receive equal paid parent leave given to mothers’, the ACLU said in its statement.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pmorgan-chase-to-pay-5-million-to-male-employees-who-say-they-were-unfairly-denied-parental-leave/

Louisiana state trooper shoots driver who made an illegal turn and then drove the wrong way on a one-way street. “Multiple witnesses told WWL-TV that they saw the trooper shoot the driver after (he ignored) orders to stop the vehicle, which crashed into a pole following the gunfire.”   https://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/crime_police/article_6727c70c-8339-11e9-8c52-f3f6502eec1f.html

North Korea reportedly executed five diplomats over failed nuclear weapons summit with President Trump in Hanoi. “Kim Hyok Chol was executed at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, along with four foreign ministry executives, in March after they were all charged with spying for the United States, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unidentified North Korean source.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/kim-jong-un-reportedly-executes-officials-after-hanoi-summit-collapse.html

Many Chinese military leaders opposed 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, says former insider. “Seven commanders signed a letter opposing martial law that they submitted to the Central Military Commission that oversaw the military…. ‘The People’s Liberation Army is the people’s military and it should not enter the city or fire on civilians.'”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/world/asia/china-tiananmen-square-massacre.html

Deng Xiaoping is the father of modern China, says reporter who covered the June 4th conflict. “This Beijing massacre ultimately strengthened Deng’s control and froze into place his formula for China’s modernization: one-party dictatorship paired with market-oriented reforms. In other words, a Chinese version of authoritarian capitalism.”   https://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-china-tiananmen-looking-back-20190530-story.html   China continued to be granted free trade access to the U.S. market, which resulted in the gradual gutting of U.S. manufacturing and the emergence of China as an economic superpower.

British politician in court for lying during campaign. “Marcus Ball, an activist who crowdfunded nearly $300,000 to pay for the private prosecution, claimed (Boris) Johnson ‘repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of E.U. membership’, according to court documents.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/prime-minister-hopeful-boris-johnson-to-appear-in-court-over-allegations-he-lied-in-the-brexit-campaign/2019/05/29/21654760-8200-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html   Advertisers can’t get away with lying in ads, so why should politicians?

About 2,500 people have reportedly been sentenced to death in Egypt since the 2013 military coup. “At least 144 death sentences have been carried out by (President) Sisi’s government, which started a crackdown on opposition groups when he came to power six years ago, according to new figures published by the UK-based rights group Reprieve.”   https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190528-massive-increase-in-death-sentences-in-sisis-egypt/

Media company uses Digital Millennium Copyright Act to have news story removed from Twitter, as well as comments by other users noting or criticizing that removal. “The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US-based internet rights group, tweeted its support (for the censored post), noting that the article ‘is a far cry … from an infringement’. The media journalist Mathew Ingram also tweeted the news, calling it ‘disturbing’. Both of those tweets were also removed after requests from Starz. Ingram sent another tweet criticising the removal of his tweet criticising the removal of TorrentFreaks’ tweet. That tweet was also removed after a request from Starz.”   https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/15/free-speech-row-us-tv-channel-forces-removal-of-tweets

Uber drivers to rate passengers, and riders with very low scores could be banned from using the app. “The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents thousands of app-based drivers in New York, praised the move by Uber as a way to protect drivers…. ‘For too long there has been one-sided accountability and this is a positive step toward correcting that.'”   https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-banning-riders-with-low-ratings-twitter-reaction-2019-5   This should be interesting. I predict VERY few riders will actually be banned, because employees (sorry, ‘independent contractors’) are disposable and customers aren’t.

Latest batch of declassified government documents reveals U.S. knowledge of widespread use of torture during Argentina’s 1976-1983 ‘Dirty War’. “We continue to receive numerous highly credible reports that torture is used routinely in the interrogation of detainees.”   https://www.apnews.com/8b9822e4f9b740448b4b95132fac4011

Sudan’s military declares protest site a threat to national security, shuts down Al Jazeera’s local news operation. “In a televised statement, a spokesman of the transitional military council said on Thursday that legal action would be taken against what it called ‘unruly elements’ at the encampment outside the defence ministry, where protesters have been staging a sit-in for weeks.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/sudan-army-protest-site-threat-closes-al-jazeera-office-190530234405647.html

U.S. hit by 500 tornadoes in 30 days. “… officials in seven states issued tornado warnings on Wednesday, making it the 14th straight day of severe weather that’s shattered previous records for the month of May.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/30/headlines/us_battered_by_extreme_weather_with_500_tornadoes_in_30_days

Israel planning to auction off building materials provided by the EU to build classrooms for Palestinian children. “The Civil Administration, the body tasked with running the occupation, tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/31/israel-to-auction-prefab-classrooms-donated-by-eu-to-palestinians

Lawsuit accuses Mississippi’s election rules for statewide offices of being racist. “Mississippi is the only state in the nation to require its statewide candidates to not only win over 50 % of the popular vote, but also prevail in a majority of the state’s 122 House of Representative districts…. no African-Americans (have won) statewide office in over 130 years, despite the state having the highest black population in the country, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Jackson federal court.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/black-voters-call-mississippi-election-system-racist/

 

Advertisements
May 31, 2019

May 30, 2019

Picnicking while black: couple chased from park by a white woman with a gun. “In the video, the campground manager, an unnamed older white woman, can be seen holding a gun at her side as she tells the couple that they need to have a reservation to use the land near the lake.”   https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/5/29/18644543/mississippi-kampground-of-america-gun-race-living-while-black

Family of man who died of dehydration in the Milwaukee County Jail after deputies shut off the water to his cell agrees to settle for $6.75 million. “As punishment, jail lieutenant Kashka Meadors told correctional officer James Ramsey-Guy to turn off the water supply to the new cell. Mr. (Terrill) Thomas was found dead one week later…”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/terrill-thomas-death-milwaukee-jail-family-compensation-water-a8935671.html

Democratic National Committee accused of prematurely eliminating some candidates from party’s presidential debates. “The DNC announced on Wednesday that to qualify for the third round of debates – which they say will be held on September 12 and 13 — candidates must receive two percent or more support in at least four national or early voting state polls recognized by the national party…. candidates must also receive contributions from a minimum 130,000 unique donors, as well as 400 unique donors in at least 20 states.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/as-dnc-ups-thresholds-for-upcoming-primary-debates-some-2020-dems-criticize-the-criteria

Former NASA employee accused of being linked to 2016 coup attempt released from Turkish prison. “He walked barefoot for about 1.2 miles and found a village, where he called his family and asked them to pick him up.”   https://abcnews.go.com/International/nasa-scientist-released-turkish-prison-years-now/story?id=63360354

UK spy agency wants chat app providers to BCC them during their users’ encrypted message exchanges. “In an open letter to GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), 47 signatories including Apple, Google and WhatsApp have jointly urged the U.K. cybersecurity agency to abandon its plans for a so-called ‘ghost protocol’.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/30/apple-google-and-whatsapp-condemn-gchq-ghost-proposal.html

Documentary ‘Atomic Soldiers’ investigates impact of nuclear tests on soldiers used as human guinea pigs. “… an estimated 400,000 American soldiers and sailors… observed nuclear explosions—many just a mile or two from ground zero…. during which unwitting troops were exposed to vast amounts of ionizing radiation.”   https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/590299/atomic-soldiers/

Julian Assange hospitalized. “Defense lawyer for Assange, Per Samuelson said that Julian Assange’s health state last Friday was such ‘that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him’.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7084541/Julian-Assange-moved-hospital-wing-Belmarsh-prison-losing-weight.html

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says neo-liberalism hasn’t worked, so let’s try ‘progressive’ capitalism! “The neoliberal experiment – lower taxes on the rich, deregulation of labour and product markets, financialisation, and globalisation – has been a spectacular failure.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/may/30/neoliberalism-must-be-pronouced-dead-and-buried-where-next   Or we could just chuck the capitalism and cooperate economically instead of competing against each other. But hey, I’m just news blogger.

Democratic presidential candidates accused of being vague about their positions on immigration reform. “… only two contenders — Obama Housing Secretary Julián Castro and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke — have released detailed, written policies addressing the immigration system…. Castro called in April for ending criminalization of border crossings entirely. O’Rourke… instead (pledged) to use an executive order to mandate that only people with criminal records be detained for crossing into the United States without documents.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/democrats-curiously-silent-about-immigration-policy/   Yikes! Lambs to the slaughter.

 

May 30, 2019

May 29, 2019

Another ‘UFO disclosure’ article appears, now in the New York Times. “What was strange, the (Navy) pilots said, was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/26/us/politics/ufo-sightings-navy-pilots.html   Sorry guys, you need to ‘fess up about the coverup. This ‘maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not’ game has been going on for so long that no one knows what to believe anymore. Not many people are willing to risk being called ‘tin-foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists’.

Southern heat wave breaking all-time records. “So far, at least eight cities have either tied or set new all-time May monthly high-temperature records in this heat wave…. Savannah, Georgia: 100 degrees Saturday, then 102 degrees Sunday and 101 degrees Monday; these were the first triple-digit highs in May there.”   https://weather.com/forecast/regional/news/2019-05-27-memorial-day-weekend-heat-wave-sets-may-records-in-the-southeast

Turkish troops cross border into northern Iraq, attack Kurdish leftists. “The military action began with artillery and air raids on Monday afternoon and the operation by commando brigades began at 8 pm (17:00 GMT) to ‘neutralise terrorists, and destroy their ammunition depots and shelters’, according to a (Turkish defense) ministry statement.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/turkey-launches-operation-pkk-fighters-northern-iraq-190528140950966.html

Myanmar jails comedy troupe for skit making fun of the country’s military.   https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-48401921/myanmar-s-thangyat-jailed-for-a-comedy-show

Secretary of Transportation still owns transportation infrastructure stock. “Vulcan, the U.S.’ largest supplier of sand and gravel used in paving and building, has seen its stock price rise more than 12% since April 2018, when (Elaine) Chao said she would cash out her shares, according to a 2017 government ethics agreement.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/transportation-secy-chao-reportedly-retained-construction-co-stake-she-pledged-to-divest.html

Republican congressman Matt Gaetz accuses FBI of withholding evidence from surveillance court during Russia probe. “So, they had evidence presumably that was against (George) Papadopoulos and for him. What they will never be able to defend is that they never presented that (exculpatory) evidence to the FISA court.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/carter-page-fbi-informant-peter-strzok-texts

Texas official who flagged legal immigrant voters resigns. “Immigrant-rights groups and voting-rights groups accused the state of intentionally targeting recently naturalized citizens, who have the right to vote.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/05/28/727528998/texas-voting-chief-who-led-botched-voter-purge-resigns

Supreme Court rules that cops can target you after engaging in protected speech activity as long as they have probable cause to make an arrest. “The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of (Russell) Bartlett, holding that probable cause didn’t preclude a claim of retaliatory arrest.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/28/politics/supreme-court-free-speech-arrests/index.html   In other words, criticize the cops at your own risk, because you are probably guilty of something.

Myanmar military accused of fresh war crimes in Rakhine region. “Based on 81 interviews with villagers of different ethnicities and religions in Rakhine, as well as discussions with humanitarian officials, activists and media, as well as analysis of photographs and satellite imagery, Amnesty detailed extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearances.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/myanmar-military-committing-war-crimes-rakhine-amnesty-190528090400122.html

Leaked Google documents show the company has more temps working for it than regular employees. “Analysts said Google can save up to $100,000 per employee by not putting them on the books.”   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/05/28/google-shadowforce-temps-now-outnumber-full-time-workers/

Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein sent back to prison in Egypt. “The journalist has been in custody since 2016 without facing formal charges or a trial. He has not been convicted of anything.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/egypt-al-jazeera-mahmoud-hussein-returned-tora-prison-190528173949216.html

Saudi dissident sues over government phone hack. “According to the statement, (Ghanem) Almasarir was targeted with a type of spyware called Pegasus, which was developed by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group.”   https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabian-satirist-alleges-kingdom-hacked-his-phone-spyware

Turkish government accused of torturing five of its own employees. “The five, who are still being held, were among 249 foreign ministry personnel ordered arrested last week by Turkish authorities for suspected links to the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for the coup attempt.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-security-torture/turkish-lawyers-group-says-foreign-ministry-staff-tortured-in-custody-idUKKCN1SY27E

Comment by President Trump suggests Japanese government is planning to flout the country’s constitution, which does not allow the use of military force abroad. “With this extraordinary new equipment (F-35B stealth jets) the (helicopter platform turned aircraft carrier) Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-usa/trump-expects-japans-military-to-reinforce-united-states-in-asia-and-beyond-idUKKCN1SY07L

Some pesticides used in U.S. agriculture are banned in other countries. “The US continues to use several pesticides banned in the EU or other countries, including atrazine, glyphosate, 1,3-D, paraquat and neonicotinoids. All have been linked to serious health or environmental consequences.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/29/pesticides-everyday-products-toxics-guide   This also applies to food additives. “… American groceries often contain added substances that are more tightly regulated – or simply banned – in other countries.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2019/may/29/chemical-checkout-what-might-be-hiding-in-your-groceries

Congressional Research Service report claims Trump tax cuts helped the rich, but not rank-and-file employees. “In its 23-page report (pdf), the independent research arm found that while the Republican tax law has not done much for workers or the overall economy, it has sparked a wave of stock buybacks, which primarily benefit rich executives.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/29/virtually-no-wage-growth-surge-stock-buybacks-study-offers-more-proof-trump-tax-cuts   Not to mention lowering their taxes.

Bernie Sanders proposes paying employees dividends, letting them sit on corporate boards. “We can move to an economy where workers feel that they’re not just a cog in the machine—one where they have power over their jobs and can make decisions.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/28/lets-expand-employee-ownership-bernie-sanders-backs-plan-give-workers-power-over   I’m skeptical that token stock ownership and board representation will actually give workers much power. Even if employees had majority stock ownership and board representation, you’d still have the employees at Company A cutting wages and benefits or ‘improving productivity’ to undersell the employees at Company B in a continuous ‘race to the bottom’.

Chicago police mistakenly try to arrest Curtis Stagger, the brother of the fugitive they were looking for, and end up fatally shooting him. “Police originally reported that the man fired at officers during their investigation. They later said he displayed a handgun.”   https://wgntv.com/2019/05/28/offender-hospitalized-after-police-involved-shooting/   No mention in multiple news stories as to whether or not these were undercover officers who were possibly mistaken for armed criminals. Innocent people rarely point guns at uniformed cops.

Man shot by Kearney, Nebraska police to receive $300,000. “Jose Klich was shot and wounded after he tried to evade a Kearney police officer after a traffic stop.”   https://www.ksnblocal4.com/content/news/300000-to-man-in-2016-Kearney-police-shooting-510519701.html

Autopsy reveals that 18 year-old fleeing Wethersfield, Connecticut police was fatally shot in the head. “At a second traffic stop, (Officer Layau) Eulizier fired at least two shots at (Anthony) Cruz’s windshield.”   https://www.courant.com/community/wethersfield/hc-news-wethersfield-vega-cruz-homicide-20190528-63aswj6levapzhadecwhsaocfy-story.html

Miami Beach city manager had tribute to police shooting victim Raymond Herisse removed from art installation. “The purpose of the ReFrame cultural programming this past weekend was to create an opportunity for inclusiveness and mutual exchange. The City Manager felt that the panel in the one particular art installation regarding the incidents of Memorial Day weekend in 2011 did not achieve this objective.”   https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-beach-city-manager-asks-for-removal-of-artwork-memorializing-police-shooting-victim-11183147   Herisse was reportedly killed in a barrage of more than 100 bullets while fleeing a traffic stop, in which police gunfire also wounded four bystanders.

Rochester, New York police officer found guilty in excessive force case. “(Christopher Pate) provided identification proving that he wasn’t the suspect they were looking for, he said, but the officers tased him, handcuffed him, and assaulted him. A hospital treated Pate for injuries that included fractured occipital and jaw bones.”   https://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/judge-finds-rpd-officer-used-excessive-force/Content?oid=10344084

San Diego settles excessive force claim with $100,000 payment. “According to the complaint, Officers George Smith and Radford Pajita drew their metal batons and confronted (Melvin) Brown at the door. As Brown was removing his backpack, the complaint alleges that the officers began beating Brown with their batons.”   https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/City-of-San-Diego-Pays-100000-to-Settle-Excessive-Force-Suit-510301661.html

 

May 29, 2019

May 28, 2019

Army asks vets to share on Twitter how serving in the military has changed their lives. “My sweet friend David can’t answer you. He committed suicide a few years ago after a couple tours of Afghanistan.”   https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/army-heartbreaking-answers-twitter-how-serving-impacted-you.html

Fresno Grizzlies treat crowd to patriotic Memorial Day video lumping Antifa and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in with Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro as ‘enemies of freedom’.  “Between games of a Memorial Day doubleheader, the Grizzlies aired what was supposed to be a moving tribute to fallen soldiers, a speech by the late President Ronald Reagan on sacrifice and courage in the name of duty.”   https://sports.yahoo.com/fresno-grizzlies-apologize-to-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-for-offensive-tribute-video-131328486.html   BTW, if you watch the video, I would point out that our system provides individual freedom and opportunity primarily for the wealthy, but that it’s mostly the poor who do the dying on the battlefields, and that most of our recent military conflicts have involved invading and occupying other people’s countries, not defending our own.

California landlord evicts 102 year-old tenant because he wants the home for his daughter. “(Thelma) Smith must vacate the house by June 30.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/thelma-smith-landlord-seeks-evict-102-year-old-woman-los-angeles/

Congressman admits he took selfie with dead enemy solider. “(Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)) said ‘a lot of us have done the exact same thing,’ referring to fellow service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.”   https://nypost.com/2019/05/27/california-congressman-admits-hes-taken-photo-with-dead-enemy/

Human Rights Watch accuses Egyptian government and Sinai insurgents of war crimes. “Some of the abuses carried out by government forces and the militants,” the report says, “are war crimes, and their widespread and systematic nature could amount to crimes against humanity.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48431912

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights accuses North Korea of repression, failing to provide for their citizens’ needs. “The rights to food, health, shelter, work, freedom of movement and liberty are universal and inalienable, but in North Korea they depend primarily on the ability of individuals to bribe State officials.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-rights-un/north-koreans-survive-by-paying-bribes-un-report-idUSKCN1SY0ES   Note that the U.S. does not recognize that its citizens have a right to food, health, shelter or work.

Rivers around the world contaminated with ‘passed through’ antibiotics, sometimes at dangerous levels. “Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Pakistan were the locations where antibiotics were found contaminating water at the highest levels.”   https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-worlds-rivers-contaminated-antibiotics-20190527-7vd56ehwaragpbckgy4qsjcmnu-story.html

Foreign investors buying up U.S. farmland. “… nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/05/27/723501793/american-soil-is-increasingly-foreign-owned

Elon Musk vs. BART in Twitter spat over tunnels. “We carry 28,000 people per hour through our Transbay Tube under the bay because of the capacity of a train. That’s nearly twice as much as cars over the bay. Why wouldn’t you prioritize something that carries far more (and safely with automatic train control) over cars?”   https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/BART-Elon-Musk-Twitter-tunnel-Bay-Boring-Company-13896393.php

Civilian casualty figures of the Pentagon and independent monitors differ widely. “The Pentagon’s assessment (for 2018) reports 120 total civilian deaths as a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia, while Airwars found that the U.S.-led coalition killed between 821 and 1,712 civilians in Iraq and Syria alone.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/05/07/syria-civilian-deaths-defense-department-pentagon/

Navy cancels order for Littoral Combat Ships. “Initially the Navy aimed for each ship to cost $220 million, but the Government Accountability Office estimates procurement costs for the first 32 ships is currently about $21 billion, or about $655 million per ship—nearly triple what they were supposed to cost.”   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/its-official-us-navy%E2%80%99s-littoral-combat-ship-complete-failure-58837

Common U.S. bread ingredients are banned in many other countries. “Other countries, including China, Brazil and members of the European Union, have weighed the potential risks and decided to outlaw potassium bromate in food. India banned it in 2016, and the UK has forbidden it since 1990. Azodicarbonamide has been banned for consumption by the European Union for over a decade.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/28/bread-additives-chemicals-us-toxic-america

 

May 28, 2019

May 27, 2019

Bernie Sanders promises to cut military spending. “And we say to the Military Industrial Complex that we will not continue to spend $700 billion a year on the military. We want and need a strong defense. But we do not have to spend more than the next 10 nations combined.”   https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/05/26/bernie_sanders_to_military_industrial_complex_we_will_not_contnue_to_spend_700_billion_per_year_on_war.html

Conflict brewing between Trump administration and intelligence agencies, who REALLY don’t want anyone poking around in their secret files. “The president, Barr, and their loyalists argue the inquiry constitutes a legitimate look at whether the US government abused its authority for political motives. But detractors say the move is another partisan attempt by the president to thwart his own intelligence community and weaponize the Justice Department against his perceived enemies.”   https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-barr-russia-declassification-intelligence-veterans-react-2019-5

Treasury secretary blames counterfeiting for delay in release of Harriet Tubman $20 bill. “Maybe Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin is correct when he says the reason for delaying the long-planned Harriet Tubman $20 bill is that he’s got his hands full at the moment fighting counterfeiting. It’s possible, right?”   https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-tubman-20190524-story.html

Daily Beast writer calls Andrew Jackson an ‘Indian hater’, instead of a ‘perpetrator of ethnic cleansing against native Americans’. “That’s because the ($20) bill, under a plan set forth by President Obama, would replace slave owner, ‘Indian’ hater and Trump hero Andrew Jackson, nicknamed King Mob, with the former slave and legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the visionary behind the famed underground railroad.”   https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-very-fine-person-andrew-jackson-is-staying-on-the-dollar20-in-place-of-harriet-tubman   “Jackson wasn’t alone; the entire Democratic party was in thrall to (slave-owning interests) at this point, and receptive to policies like Native American removal that freed up land for slavery.”   https://www.vox.com/2016/4/20/11469514/andrew-jackson-indian-removal

AI researchers can make a fake video of anyone, even from a single photo or a painting. “… they were able to animate one or several photos of people by first training an AI system on a dataset of videos including many celebrities, so it could learn about key points on the face. After that, the AI system was able to combine that familiarity with one or more images of a person to come up with a convincing ‘talking head’-style video of them.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/24/tech/deepfake-ai-one-photo/index.html   They were even able to make the Mona Lisa talk. How long until memes of famous people saying bogus things are replaced by videos of them saying bogus things?

Fighting continues in northeast Syria. “Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said government aircraft and helicopters launched more than 280 strikes on Sunday and Russian jets had carried out 15.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/syrian-forces-pound-rebel-targets-northwest-syria-190526184701969.html

Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as president of South Africa, the ANC leader promises reforms. “Many South Africans still go to bed hungry, many succumb to diseases that can be treated, many live lives of intolerable deprivation.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48409060

Police in Pakistan open fire on protesters demanding an end to extrajudicial killings and disappearances. “Gunfire occurred at the protest led by two PTM leaders, who are also members of parliament, near a checkpoint in the Khar Qamar area of North Waziristan on Sunday morning, the military said in a statement.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/killed-military-gunfire-pakistan-rights-protest-190526120937740.html

The two major centrist parties in EU Parliament election lose many seats but still control the largest blocks, free market coalition, Greens and right-wing populist coalition gain seats, hard left finishes last with 5% of the vote. “According to preliminary results, Weber’s EPP (Christian Democrats) has taken 179 seats in the European Parliament, a significant drop from 216 seats in the 2014 election. The Socialists and Democrats’ (social democrats) share of the seats has also shrunk; they’ll have 150. The centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) (free market liberals) and ally En Marche, the new party of French President Emmanuel Macron, are set to claim 107 seats — a major jump from 69 five years ago. The Green bloc has also grown, from 52 to 70 seats.”   https://www.dw.com/en/eu-elections-wake-up-call-for-centrists-amid-euroskepticism-climate-inaction/a-48893343

Artist caught up in Facebook dragnet is mistakenly blocked for hate speech. “I have been ordering MAGA hats … and then sewing them back together into traditional symbols of hatred,” Kretz wrote recently on Medium. “The works are meant to both call out wearers who claim the hats to be innocuous, and to sound the alarm that history is repeating itself.”   https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/kate-kretz-maga-hats-nazis-hate-speech-022757208.html

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists protest 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. “Human rights groups and witnesses say that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died in the bloodshed as Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and soldiers fired on student-led democracy protesters, beginning on the night of June 3, 1989.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/rpt-hong-kong-protestors-demand-120820636.html

56% of Americans oppose teaching students ‘Arabic numerals’ at school. “The digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are referred to as Arabic numerals…. Seventy-two per cent of Republican-supporting respondents said Arabic numerals should not be on the curriculum, compared with 40 per cent of Democrats.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/arabic-numerals-survey-prejudice-bias-survey-research-civic-science-a8918256.html   On the other hand, 73% of Democrats were opposed to teaching Father George Lemaitre’s ‘creation theory’ (aka the Big Bang theory).

Department of Defense wants to figure out how ‘disruptive’ movements develop worldwide by examining millions of social media posts. “We need to better understand how narratives are shaped and communities are formed online to defend ourselves against these campaigns.”   https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-military-trawl-350-billion-074320749.html

Supreme Court refuses to dismiss civil rights lawsuit against NYPD over use of a ‘sound cannon’ on protesters, some of whom claim they were permanently injured. “Created for the U.S. military… LRADs were designed as acoustic weapons meant to repel anyone exposed to them. By emitting sound at an almost-intolerable (sic) amplitude, they force people in the device’s path to flee.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/plug-your-ears-run-nypd-s-use-sound-cannons-challenged-n1008916   ‘Almost-intolerable’ means the sound is tolerable, which would mean it doesn’t do what it is designed to do.

About 350 arrested at ‘yellow vest’ protest in Brussels. “The yellow vest demonstration was intended to be against social injustice on the day of European Parliament elections. But it degenerated into disorder, with some protesters pelting buildings and smashing barricades.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/yellow-vest-protest-brussels-turns-violent-133954147.html

Colombian military accused of paying bounties for dead ‘insurgents’. “‘A decade ago, soldiers across Colombia lured civilians to remote locations under false pretenses — such as with promises of work — killed them, placed weapons on their lifeless bodies, and then reported them as enemy combatants killed in action,’ said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.”   https://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/AP-finds-evidence-linking-head-of-Colombia-s-army-13896401.php

Tornadoes, floods and extreme temperatures hit U.S. “Temperatures around 100F (38C) were forecast from Jacksonville, Florida, up the south-east into Macon and Savannah in Georgia and on to Charleston, South Carolina, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/27/memorial-day-weather-heat-storms-tornadoes-floods-oklahoma-florida-south-carolina

59% of visitors to torture exhibit at D.C. Spy Museum say they support government torture. “At the end of the exhibit, visitors were asked: ‘Would you be willing to have the US government torture suspected terrorists if they may know details about future attacks?’ and presented with two buttons – ‘Yes – willing’; the other ‘No – not willing’. In the two weeks since the new museum has been open, 59% had pressed yes.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/27/international-spy-museum-washington-torture-exhibit-guantanamo   What a lot of people don’t realize is that the definition of ‘terrorist’ can be stretched to include any kind of insurgent or even political opponent. Would it be ok to torture American POW’s shot down during ‘terror bombings’ to get information about future attacks?

Trump tweets that he smiled when North Korea leader Kim Jong-un called Joe Biden a ‘low IQ individual’. “In a tweet on Saturday night, Trump (also) called the former vice-president a ‘low IQ individual’. He… misspelled Biden’s name as ‘Bidan’.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/26/trump-kim-jong-un-joe-biden-low-iq

News site that refuses to mention Green Party in its articles on the ‘Green New Deal’ runs story lauding Green Party election results in the EU. “Underscoring the growing demand for bold climate action that has found expression in global youth-led strikes, marches, and civil disobedience over the past year, Green parties across Europe had their strongest-ever EU parliamentary election performance after running on a platform of transformative environmental change.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/27/green-wave-has-swept-european-parliament-show-demand-climate-action-green-parties   But whatever you do, don’t vote for that U.S. party which must not be named!

 

May 27, 2019

May 26, 2019

Vice President Pence tells West Point graduates they WILL see combat. “It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life,” Pence said. “You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mike-pence-west-point-graduation-vice-president-says-they-should-expect-to-see-combat-today-2019-05-25/

Sailor pleads guilty to attempting to reveal nuclear secrets. “Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Kellogg III wished to publish an expose on waste within the military and admitted he wanted to share the information with Russians, Jeff Houston of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said in an email to the Associated Press.”   https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-navy-sailor-russia-espionage-guilty-plea-20190524-story.html   This, on the surface, does not seem to make a lot of sense. Everyone knows the military wastes money and resources, it’s no secret, just Google it. And why would he share this with Russia instead of Congress? My stab in the dark: it wasn’t about ‘waste within the military’ it was about ‘how waste is handled by the military’, specifically, nuclear waste. “The Soviet Union was not the first nation to discard its radioactive wastes at sea, but dumping by the United States, Britain, Japan and other nations has been limited to material with a lower level of radioactivity than what the Soviets are believed to have dumped.”   https://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/04/world/the-us-too-has-dumped-waste-at-sea.html   Maybe he was asking the Russian shipbuilder how they deal with this issue?

Bernie Sanders campaign accuses Joe Biden of selling out to raise campaign cash. “… these are high-dollar functions hosted and attended by corporate lobbyists, health care executives, a Republican casino-CEO, and a union-busting lawyer among others.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/sanders-biden-fundraisers

Dayton, Ohio KKK rally attracts hundreds of counter-protesters. “I was appalled. I was like, ‘This is really happening’,” (Jemia) Shackelford said, adding that she is hopeful members of the Klu Klux Klan-linked group “get that people are just not having any of the racism.”   https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/445560-kkk-group-heavily-outnumbered-by-counter-protesters-at-their

AT&T wants to track where you are, what you are doing, what your interests are and what kind of media you are watching so that they can micro-target you with ads. “This is a terrifying vision of permanent surveillance.”   https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/22/18635674/att-location-ad-tracking-data-collection-privacy-nightmare

As U.S. prison population soars, so do deaths in custody. “Surges in the number of Americans dying while incarcerated have occurred against a backdrop of an increase in the US prison population by 500% over the last 40 years. Based on the latest national figures available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4,980 prisoners in US correctional facilities died in 2014…”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/26/us-prisons-jails-inmate-deaths

Two MOVE members released after 40 years in prison. “The release of Janine, 63, and Janet, 68, marks a key moment in the history of the Move 9, the group of African American black power and environmental campaigners who were imprisoned after a police siege of their home in August 1978. The pair were the last of four women in the group either to be paroled or to die behind bars.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/25/move-9-black-radicals-women-freed-philadelphia

Britain’s Home Secretary threatens to prosecute its YPG volunteers with up to 10 year prison sentences. “The Kurdish militias were often described as the most dependable ground forces in the US-led coalition fighting Isis, losing more than 10,000 fighters as they pushed the jihadists from north-east Syria.”   https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/26/sajid-javid-condemned-for-criminalising-those-who-fought-isis

Christian right figures say abortion controversy could lead to civil war. “A civil war is coming to America, only this time, it will be abortion, rather than slavery, that divides the nation.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/abortion-ban-rightwing-christian-figures-civil-war-predictions   “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”   Matthew 5:9

Blockades, trespassing and vandalism at abortion clinics up sharply. “While death threats went down, they declined only slightly. There were 57 death threats or threats of harm in 2018, just five fewer than in 2017.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/24/new-data-reveals-alarming-escalation-threats-towards-abortion-facilities

 

May 26, 2019

May 25, 2019

Police chief apologizes for raids on San Francisco journalist’s home and office. “(San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott) said he was ‘concerned’ that the applications for the search warrants didn’t adequately identify (Bryan) Carmody as a journalist — particularly a warrant to search his phone.”   https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-police-chief-concedes-raid-on-13895536.php

Family of illegal migrant fatally shot by Border Patrol agent to file wrongful death lawsuit. “It’s been more than a year and the U.S. government still has not held the agency or the agent who shot and killed (Claudia González) responsible.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/24/border-patrol-sued-100-m-over-fatal-shooting-guatemalan-migrant/1222746001/

Trump administration declares emergency to authorize more than $8 billion in arms sales, over-riding Congress. “The move drew bipartisan condemnation, with lawmakers decrying the precedent it sets, questioning the administration’s claims of an emergency and raising the issue of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/24/politics/trump-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-uae/index.html

Trump supporters spreading doctored videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The video has surfaced as cybersecurity experts are increasingly concerned about the potential use of video editing to spread misinformation, particularly computer-altered ‘deep fake’ videos, which Fabrice Pothier, senior adviser with the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, called ‘the next weapon in… disinformation warfare’ in January.”   https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/445311-fake-videos-spread-on-social-media-edited-to-make-pelosi-appear-drunk   Can’t wait to see the ‘payback’ videos of Trump that are sure to follow. Actually, it looks like that might not be necessary.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFnbR9jvSzk

Minneapolis police release body camera footage from Justin Ruszczyk-Damond police shooting, backup police officer tells Officer Noor to keep quiet, Noor’s partner tells police supervisor they were ‘spooked’ when Ruszczyk-Damond approached their car.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y6BbMdV98I

Prisoner held in solitary confinement for 35 years dies after surgery. “(Thomas) Silverstein was transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta (in 1983) and put in solitary confinement, then moved to the Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado, in 2005.”   https://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny-thomas-silverstein-solitary-confinement-dead-20190523-cr3apw2lubch5kr7bdroig4rza-story.html

Retired military and government officials urge President Trump not to attack Iran. “The protection of U.S. national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict.”   https://thehill.com/policy/defense/445530-over-70-retired-military-leaders-sign-letter-urging-trump-against-war-with

Student world-wide march for action on climate change. “Students from 1,800 towns and cities in more than 110 countries stretching from India to Australia and the UK to South Africa, walked out of lessons on Friday, the organisers of the action said.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/24/schoolchildren-go-on-strike-across-world-over-climate-crisis   And not just students!

Title insurance and settlement firm alleged to have left 885 million records related to real estate transactions exposed on its company website. “… the millions of documents, which appeared to date back as far as 2003, included ‘all kinds of documents from both the buyer and seller, including Social Security numbers, drivers licenses, account statements, and even internal corporate documents if you’re a small business’.”    https://gizmodo.com/885-million-sensitive-records-leaked-online-bank-trans-1835016235

Life in a developed market economy: flour recalled by discount supermarket chain due to possible E. coli contamination. “The recalled flour was sold at Aldi locations in 11 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/24/us/aldi-flour-recall-e-coli/index.html

39% of Americans would have trouble covering an unexpected $400 expense. “Seventeen percent of people are not able to pay their monthly bills in full. Another 12 percent of people would not be able to cover those monthly bills if they were faced with an unexpected $400 expense.”   https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/americans-saving-trouble

Soy-based Whopper tastier than the real thing says food columnist. “In blind and open tastings, both I and my 13-year-old daughter preferred the Impossible Whopper to the meat Whopper.”   https://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/fl-et-fake-meat-alternative-burgers-20190524-snvrjo4m3rfqbhgyf32heaaxc4-story.html

New York State Police say they shot a man walking along the road after he tried to get into their car. “It wasn’t immediately clear what troopers were asking him to do, but they say the man made a move to try to get into the state police vehicle and one trooper shot him.”   https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Police-Shooting-Interstate-84-New-York-Montgomery-Orange-County-Investigation-510320691.html

White Midlothian, Illinois police officer reportedly shot black security guard four times in the back and side, according to autopsy obtain through FOIA. “The security guard was holding the shooter at gunpoint on the ground in Manny’s parking lot when (Officer Ian) Covey arrived on scene, armed with an assault rifle, officials said.”   https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/ct-sta-jemel-roberson-isp-investigation-st-0526-story.html

Family claims man fatally shot by FBI task force was unarmed. “Atchison’s family said he was unarmed and hiding in a closet when he was shot in the face by Atlanta Police officer Sung Kim in late January.”   https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/family-activists-rally-in-support-of-man-shot-and-killed-by-atlanta-police-officer/85-ad97018f-8073-4054-807b-ff4f24501509

Grand jury indicts Newark, New Jersey police officer who opened fire on car fleeing traffic stop. “During a roughly mile-long chase through the streets of Newark, (Officer Jovanny) Crespo shot repeatedly at Mr. Griffin’s vehicle, eventually killing Mr. Griffin and critically injuring the passenger, Andrew Dixon, 35.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/nyregion/newark-police-officer-indicted-shooting-death.html

U.N. General Secretary says more civilians dying in armed conflicts than combatants. “As my report underlines, civilians continue to make up the vast majority of causalities in conflicts. In 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the (death and) injury of more than 22,800 civilians in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.”   https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/un-raises-concerns-over-civilian-causalities-armed-conflicts

 

 

May 25, 2019