June 22, 2017

IS and U.S./Iraqi forces blame each other for destruction of historic mosque in Mosul. “The minaret that leaned like Italy’s Tower of Pisa stood for more than 840 years.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iconic-al-nuri-mosque-mosul-destroyed/

Supreme Court Ziglar v. Abbasi decision sharply limits citizens’ ability to sue government for violating their rights. “… a grand total of four justices issued a significant ruling that more or less gutted a person’s ability, citizen or not, to sue federal officials who engage in egregious violations of constitutional rights.”   http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/how-the-supreme-court-gutted-a-historic-civil-rights-remedy.html

Bill passed by House would give nuclear power plant operators $16 million in tax breaks. “The bill, bipartisan legislation from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and others, would increase the number of utilities that can qualify for the tax credit and remove construction deadlines for facilities that use it.”   http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/338653-house-passes-nuclear-energy-tax-bill

Russian election hacking more widespread than initially reported. “Hackers attacked voting systems in 39 states, accessed campaign finance databases in one state and tried to delete or alter voter data in Illinois.”   https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/13/report-russia-hacked-election-systems-in-39-us-states/

Democrat in Georgia race did not live in that election district. “(Ossoff) acknowledged that he and his girlfriend (now fiancee) live near Emory University where she’s in medical school. That’s next door to the 6th District, but not in it.”   http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2017/jun/20/donald-trump/trump-right-ossoff-does-not-live-georgias-6th-cong/

Fired Milwaukee police officer found not guilty  in Sylville Smith shooting. “Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm told jurors Heaggan-Brown didn’t need to use deadly force against Smith, who had thrown away the gun he was carrying.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sylville-smith-case-verdict-dominique-heaggan-brown-not-guilty/

Student yanked from stage during speech criticizing ineffectiveness of student government. “…the title of Class President could more accurately be Class Party Planner, and Student Council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week. Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government and the authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators, and board members have, prevents students from truly developing as leaders.”   http://college.usatoday.com/2017/06/21/read-the-speech-that-got-a-high-school-valedictorian-pulled-from-the-stage/

FBI claims angry Democrat had no apparent political motive in Scalise shooting, likely chose his victims at random, despite photos of baseball diamond where shooting took place. “The FBI does not believe that these photographs represented surveillance of intended targets.”   https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/06/21/fbi-says-gunman-who-shot-congressman-had-target-mind/S3Www3HaUB1op9o1gEpBoN/story.html

Wall Street Journal’s chief foreign affairs correspondent fired after hack reveals links to arms dealer with CIA ties. “Two other Denx partners — ex-CIA employees Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell — told the AP that Solomon was involved in discussing proposed deals with Azima at the same time he continued to cultivate the businessman as a source for his stories for the Journal.”   http://www.npr.org/2017/06/21/533881518/wall-street-journal-fires-jay-solomon-over-ethical-lapses

Alt-right gets safe space after article professor shared on social media about shooting of Republicans provokes threats. “Trinity College in Hartford was closed on Wednesday because of threats to campus that appear to have stemmed from an article posted on a professor’s personal social media pages, according to a statement put out by the college.”   http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/Trinity-College-Closed-Until-Further-Notice-After-Threats-429941143.html

Some Brits compare Conservative response to Grenfell fire with Bush’s hurricane Katrina fail. “The local council made no provisions for many of us. Last night I stayed in a hotel, but I have spent several nights sleeping on grassy areas.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/21/why-londons-tower-blaze-britains-hurricane-katrina-moment/103068926/

Four newly appointed French cabinet officials resign in connection with corruption probe. “French President Emmanuel Macron appointed a group of relative unknowns to ministerial roles on Wednesday as part of a Cabinet reshuffle after several ministers resigned for their involvement in alleged misuse of European parliamentary funds.”   http://www.dw.com/en/macron-taps-newcomers-for-cabinet-reshuffle/a-39342162

Writer says F-35 fighter “to big to fail”, “one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history”. “Over the decades-long effort to meet a real military need for better aircraft, the F-35 program is the result of the merging or combination of several other separate and diverse projects into a set of requirements for an airplane that is trying to be everything to everybody.”   https://theconversation.com/what-went-wrong-with-the-f-35-lockheed-martins-joint-strike-fighter-60905

U.S. inspector general blames extra $26 million for inappropriate “woodland camouflage” pattern on Afghans, will cost U.S. taxpayers $68 to $72 million over the next 10 years. “The decision to use the non-government-owned forest camouflage pattern came after U.S. officials in 2007 found designs on the internet from a company called HyperStealth and showed them to Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.”   http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pentagon-accused-wasting-28m-inappropriate-afghan-soldier-uniforms-n775081   So who were these Bush administration officials? And what was their relationship with HyperStealth?

1975 Watergate memo alleges Nixon aides plotted to use CIA’s Cuban operatives for violent attacks on Vietnam War protesters. “The plan to counter an anti-war protest with violence was part of a wider operation to discredit Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1969.”   https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/watergate-memo-attack-protesters-ellsberg/

Senate Republicans drafting Trumpcare bill “have received approximately double the amount of campaign contributions from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries” as their colleagues. “According to Maplight, a watchdog that tracks campaign spending, those chosen by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to draft the Senate’s version of Trumpcare legislation have collected, on average, $214,000 from companies that will be directly affected by major changes to the nation’s healthcare system.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/21/industry-was-doubly-generous-these-13-gop-senators-now-drafting-trumpcare

Big banks allegedly heavily invested in “extreme fossil fuels”. “So finds the latest Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card—produced by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Sierra Club, and Oil Change International—which defines the “extreme” sources as tar sands, Arctic oil, ultra-deepwater oil, coal mining, coal power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/21/biggest-banks-fueling-climate-disaster-billions-poured-extreme-fossil-fuels

ACLU sues D.C. police over abuses at Trump inauguration protests. “The suit claims D.C. police unlawfully arrested peaceful demonstrators and indiscriminately deployed tear gas and flash-bang grenades against journalists, legal observers, and crowds of protesters. …police held detainees for hours without food, water, or access to toilets; handcuffed detainees so tightly as to cause injury or loss of feeling; and subjected some detainees to manual rectal probing.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/21/aclu-sues-dc-police-attempts-chill-dissent-inauguration-day

Trump doesn’t think poor people should be in charge of things. “These are people that are great, brilliant business minds, and that’s what we need, that’s what we have to have so the world doesn’t take advantages of us. …And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-says-doesn-apos-t-022120394.html

Indiana’s secretary of state says she learned about hacking of state election systems from media reports. “It is unclear why our intelligence agencies would withhold timely and specific threat information from election officials.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/06/21/connie-lawson-russia-election-hacking-dhs-states/

Democratic Party spent big in Georgia election, lost anyway. “Ossoff explicitly campaigned against single-payer healthcare and tax increases for the rich, and was rewarded by Democratic donors with $24 million in donations and another $8 million in outside spending.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/bernie-sanders-may-have-won-even-though-jon-ossoff-lost-2555176

New details about “harsh interrogation” program emerge during trial. “In his deposition, Dr. Mitchell revealed that he, along with others, urged the C.I.A. to destroy videotapes the agency had made of some interrogations.”   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/20/us/cia-torture.html


June 22, 2017

June 21, 2017

Police dashcam video of Philando Castile shooting released. “Newly released dashcam footage shows what happened in the moments before Officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer.”   http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dashcam-footage-shows-philando-castiles-fatal-encounter-police/

Democrats lose fourth special election, this time in Georgia. “We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent, not (a) smaller one.”   http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/21/politics/democrats-georgia-elections-analysis/index.html

Ford reportedly shifting Focus production from Mexico to… China. “Ford painted the production shift from Mexico to China, slated in mid-2019, as a purely financial move that will save the company $500 million in reduced tooling costs.”   http://www.autoblog.com/2017/06/20/ford-to-export-focus-from-china-to-us-in-2019/

Extent of 2016 election hacking still unclear. “…officials are quick to assure the voting public that their systems are secure, but they lack the resources and technical know-how to defend against cyber intrusions, or even to perform forensic examinations to ensure nothing happened.”   http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article157039299.html

Pleasant Grove, Texas man fatally shot by police officer after he comes to the door holding a pistol. “Investigators say that left the officer no choice but to open fire, striking the 28-year-old white male.”   http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Dallas-Police-Investigating-Officer-Involved-Shooting-429520973.html

Tennis star James Blake reaches settlement with New York City after excessive force used in mistaken identity arrest. “The officers failed to report the mistaken arrest, as they were required to do, raising the possibility that it would never have come to light had Mr. Blake not spoken out.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/nyregion/new-york-city-and-james-blake-settle-excessive-force-lawsuit.html

Rick Perry, Trump’s Secretary of Energy, tells journalist rising CO2 level not primary cause of global warming. “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”   http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/19/energy-sec-rick-perry-says-co2-is-not-the-main-driver-of-climate-change.html

Deceptive TV ads used in Georgia election. “Now the unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans… the same unhinged leftists cheering last week’s shooting are all backing Jon Ossoff. And if he wins, they win.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/costly-negative-ads-fuel-georgias-special-election/

100,000 civilians reportedly trapped in Mosul war zone. “In nine months of fighting a total of 850,000 people have fled their homes and thousands of civilians have been killed by US-led coalition bombing, as well as at the hands of ISIS.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mosul-iraq-isis-final-stages-battle-civilian-casualties-old-city-raqqa-a7797846.html

Little coverage of plight of civilians in Raqqa and Mosul. “Arab lives matter. So why are we not seeing more of the impact of fighting on Raqqa and Mosul?”   https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/colum-kenny-what-s-going-on-in-raqqa-and-mosul-1.3122180

June 21, 2017

June 20, 2017

Mexico allegedly using anti-crime hacking software to monitor political activists. “The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/world/americas/mexico-spyware-anticrime.html

Obama administration accused of requesting authorization to use Section 702 surveillance to target U.S. citizens. “So in 2010, the government asked to use 702 to spy on Americans, Bates called them on it, and they backed down. Sort of. On May 2, the government confessed for the first time that it had been collecting US person data all along.”   https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/06/19/in-2010-the-government-tried-to-use-section-702-against-us-persons/

Chicago mom spent 14 months in jail because she couldn’t raise bail. “Just a few days of pretrial detention often severely alter people’s lives. These few days can mean the difference between working or being fired, paying rent or being evicted.”   http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40971-i-spent-14-months-in-jail-because-i-couldn-t-pay-my-way-out

Interview with Unicorn Riot journalist who covered Standing Rock protests. “The local media was just going to the press conferences and listening. And we were just living in the camp and watching what was happening….”   http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19345:Independent-Media-Was-Crucial-for-Calling-Attention-to-Actions-at-Standing-Rock

Fairfax, Virginia police claim man who allegedly attacked group of Muslim teens in traditional attire with his vehicle and baseball bat, killing one, was motivated by road rage, not Islamaphobia. “We are NOT investigating this murder as a hate crime.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cops-road-rage-is-apparent-motive-in-killing-of-teen-leaving-mosque/   That was quick!

Record temperatures hit Arizona. “Phoenix posted a high of 118 degrees on Monday, tying the record for the date set last year.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-latest-phoenix-and-tucson-tie-heat-records-for-the-date/2017/06/19/54512ffe-5552-11e7-840b-512026319da7_story.html

Phoenix flights canceled due to extreme heat. “According to a statement from American Airlines, the American Eagle regional flights use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft, which has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees. Tuesday’s forecast for Phoenix included a high of 120 degrees…”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/nation-now/2017/06/19/its-so-hot-phoenix-they-cant-fly-planes/410766001/

Former House Oversight Committee chair says Trump administration withholding information from Congress. “The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration.”   http://thehill.com/homenews/house/338408-chaffetz-trump-administration-almost-worse-than-obamas

Dismissed Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn reportedly represented Israeli spyware company whose products were used for surveillance of political activists. “Hiring Flynn would provide NSO Group with a well-connected figure in Washington, to help get its foot in the door of the notoriously insular world of secret intelligence budgeting.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michael-flynn-nso-group-spyware_us_59468386e4b06bb7d273c398

Lockheed Martin reportedly promises to move F-16 production from Fort Worth to India if it gets government contract. “… Lockheed’s agreement to move F-16 production to India could increase its odds of winning that deal.”   http://www.investors.com/news/lockheed-moves-f-16-production-line-from-texas-to-india/

Number of millionaires in China has reportedly increased 9 fold in ten years. “Chinese with at least 10 million yuan (1.2 million pounds) of investable assets hit 1.6 million in 2016, up from 180,000 in 2006, according to the 2017 China Private Wealth Report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank.”   https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/06/19/business/19reuters-china-economy-wealthy.html   The magic of “free trade” agreements with higher wage countries!

White House press secretary holds news conference, allegedly bans video or audio recording. “I don’t know what world we’re living in right now.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/19/i-dont-know-why-everybody-going-along-white-house-stonewalls-press

Supreme Court rules that Bush administration officials cannot be held liable for post 9/11 roundups. “”This decision regrettably provides constitutional immunity for some of the most high-level officials responsible for gross abuses in the aftermath of September 11,” stated Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/19/supreme-court-delivers-dangerous-message-immunity-former-bush-officials-over-911

Senate’s Trumpcare proposal asks for even deeper cuts to Medicaid program. “…Senate Republicans are reportedly considering even deeper cuts to Medicaid than those proposed by the House version of Trumpcare, which amounted to around $800 billion over ten years.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/19/report-gop-senate-plan-would-gouge-poor-people-even-deeper-medicaid-cuts

Miami police ticket Uber driver for not speaking English. “The English fluency fine was issued as part of a May 2016 Miami-Dade County memorandum rule that requires transportation network drivers be “able to communicate in the English language”.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/miami-police-give-uber-driver-250-ticket-not-speaking-proper-english-2554474

Voter data left unprotected on cloud with internet link by Republican consulting firms. “…unsecured databases containing the sensitive personal details of over 198 million American voters (were) left exposed…”   https://theintercept.com/2017/06/19/republican-data-mining-firm-exposed-personal-information-for-virtually-every-american-voter/

Nuclear weapons protesters arrested at U.N. “More than a dozen activists were arrested for disorderly conduct after they blocked the entrances to the United States mission to the United Nations on Monday to protest Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.”   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuclear-un-usa-idUSKBN19A2KB


June 20, 2017

June 19, 2017

Syrian military aircraft shot down by U.S. jet over Syria. “The Pentagon said the U.S.-led coalition took the unprecedented move after a Syrian Su-22 attack aircraft bombed its allies who were fighting Islamic State militants south of the city of Tabqah, roughly 25 miles west of Raqqah.”   http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-us-jet-20170619-story.html

David Clarke withdraws from Homeland Security assistant secretary appointment process. “Sheriff Clarke, who once claimed that the Islamic State and Black Lives Matter activists were forming an alliance to destroy America, notified John F. Kelly, the homeland security secretary, of his decision on Friday, according to an adviser.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/18/us/politics/david-clarke-sheriff-homeland-security-job.html

People working full time at minimum wage can’t afford to rent a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States. “In states such as Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and most of the Northeast, workers would have to make over $20 an hour.”   http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/12/nobody-making-federal-minimum-wage-can-afford-a-two-bedroom-apartment.html

NRA reportedly silent after not guilty verdict in Philando Castile shooting. “Police recordings and court records confirmed initial reports that Castile had tried to defuse the situation, assuring the officer that he wasn’t reaching for his weapon.”   http://www.twincities.com/2017/06/18/while-some-gun-owners-decry-the-philando-castile-verdict-the-nra-is-silent/

Department of Justice officials reportedly instructed employees to avoid seeking consent decrees in civil rights cases. “…attorneys should default to using settlements without court oversight unless there is an unavoidable reason for a consent decree.”   http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/trump-administration-quietly-rolls-back-civil-rights-efforts-across-federal-government/

North Korea claims items were taken from its diplomats at JFK airport by Homeland Security officers. “U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said Sunday its officers did seize multiple media items and packages from three North Koreans who, according to the U.S. State Department, were not accredited members of North Korea’s Mission to the U.N. and had no diplomatic immunity.”   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/north-korea-us-officials-seized-diplomatic-package-jfk-48121566

17 year-old, Washington, D.C. area Muslim girl reportedly beaten to death by motorist. “The girl’s mother said detectives told her that Nabra was struck with a metal bat.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-loudoun-police-searching-for-missing-17-year-old-reported-to-have-been-assaulted/2017/06/18/02e379ac-5466-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html

Department of Energy report to argue that renewable energy is putting power consumers at risk. “The study appears intended to blame wind and solar power for the financial difficulties facing coal and nuclear generators and suggest that renewable energy resources threaten the reliability of the grid…”   https://thinkprogress.org/senators-attack-doe-grid-study-6d09434fa84a

1/3 of president’s HIV/AIDS advisory council resign in protest. “We have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/members-trump-hiv-aids-council-quit-article-1.3256636

L.A. police cadets allegedly stole two patrol cars, evaded officers and crashed. “Beck said the cadets may have been impersonating officers while driving the stolen cruisers, and he asked anyone living in Central and South Los Angeles or Inglewood who might have information to contact police.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-cadets-stolen-cruisers-20170616-story.html

Governor Brian Sandoval vetoes Nevada “Medicaid for All” single-payer health plan. “There were worries among providers… about the Nevada Care Plan reimbursing them at lower rates than the private insurance plans pay. There were also concerns — also mentioned by the governor — of the plan disrupting the current marketplace..”   http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nevada-medicaid-2017-story.html

Sanders says GOP health insurance plan will throw “23 million people off of health insurance”. “Sanders called the current bill the “worst piece of legislation” against working class people that he can remember in his political life in the Congress, and that the reason Republicans don’t want to bring debate out into the public is because it was a “disastrous bill”.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bernie-sanders-sounds-alarm-on-gop-health-care-bill/

Even when the game is rigged, sometimes the underdog wins. “A Spanish bullfighter died after he tripped in the ring and was gored by the bull in south-western France, according to media reports.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/17/spanish-matador-dies-after-being-gored-during-bullfight

History Channel documentary “America’s War on Drugs” exposes government cooperation with drug cartels. “It’s like Donald Trump declaring a War on Real Estate Developers that fills prisons with people who occasionally rent out their spare bedroom on AirBnb.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/06/18/the-history-channel-is-finally-telling-the-stunning-secret-story-of-the-war-on-drugs/

Egyptian death row prisoners say they were beaten and tortured into making confessions. “…the men say they were beaten, shocked with electricity and hung in painful positions and then provided with written testimonies they were forced to read.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/16/headlines/egypt_6_men_sentenced_to_death_based_on_testimonies_extracted_under_torture

Trump’s Cuba policy not as radical as he suggested. “… Americans will be unable to spend money in state-run hotels or restaurants tied to the military….Unlike under Obama, individuals will no longer be able to travel under the “people-to-people” category.”   http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article156337129.html


June 19, 2017

June 17, 2017

Grenfell Tower fire victims storm city offices, rumors circulate of death toll cover-up. “The latest official figures confirmed that at least 30 people have died in the fire at the west London tower block… However rumours have been circulating that the official death toll is much higher amid accusations of a cover-up by the authorities.”   https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/angry-protests-demand-justice-corbyn-says-grenfell-survivors-should-be-housed-empty-luxury

Trump administration approves huge arms sales to country accused of funding terrorism. “While President Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of U.S. weapons.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-sells-qatar-12-billion-arms-days-after-accusing-it-of-funding-terrorism/

State Department releases more records on U.S. sponsored 1953 coup against the democratically elected government of Iran. “This volume includes National Security Council and Presidential materials that document the U.S. decision to proceed with the operation against (Prime Minister) Mosadeq, and the operational files within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that document the implementation of the operation, code named TPAJAX.”   https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2017/06/iran-frus-release/

Supreme Court dodged decision on use of deadly force by police. “Police officers should not be allowed to create dangerous situations that leave them with no choice but to use deadly force.”   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/06/15/after-creating-danger-can-cops-use-force-with-impunity

Federal Bureau of Prisons accused of using “communications management units” to silence critics. ““They’re really there as a punishment to keep (prisoners) quiet and that’s extremely concerning,” says Amy Fettig, deputy director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-the-bop-uses-cmus-to-silence-prison-writers_us_593ffd33e4b0b65670e56e0a

Officer in Philando Castile motorist shooting cleared of all charges. “Outside court, Valerie Castile said she was disappointed in the state of Minnesota, “Because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth.””   http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/16/us/philando-castile-trial-verdict/index.html

A tale of two Americans who fell into comas abroad. One has been covered extensively by the mainstream news media recently.  “In a news conference Thursday, doctors called (Otto Warmbier’s) condition “unresponsive wakefulness,” and revealed he had suffered significant brain damage during his imprisonment (in North Korea).”   http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/16/us/otto-warmbier-profile/index.html   But in February 2015, an American went into a coma after being arrested by six Tokyo police officers and died about a month later in a Tokyo hospital. The story was not even covered by the English language news media, except for one local entertainment tabloid and a few Japan-related websites (and Progressive News Service). The Wall Street Journal ran the story, but only in its Japanese language edition! More than two years later, we still do not know that man’s name, and I am still waiting for a response from the State Department to my April 2015 Freedom of Information Act request for details about the incident.

Trump family event planner reportedly appointed to run regional Housing and Urban Development office. “Patton was appointed Wednesday to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey, where she’ll oversee distribution of billions of taxpayer dollars.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-chooses-family-event-planner-run-n-y-housing-programs-article-1.3251314

Border Patrol arrests illegal migrants seeking medical assistance while crossing desert. “Volunteers with the group No More Deaths, which gives water and first-aid care to migrants, said the men were from Mexico and were receiving emergency medical care at the camp…”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/us/border-patrol-immigration-no-more-deaths.html?_r=0

Sarah Palin threatens to sue New York Times over story linking her “Democrats in the crosshairs” map to Gabrielle Giffords shooting. “Palin decided to get in on the criticism as well, claiming on Twitter that she was talking with her lawyers about suing the Times.”   http://www.salon.com/2017/06/16/sarah-palin-threatens-to-sue-the-new-york-times-over-retracted-article-linking-her-to-gabby-giffords-shooting/   You be the judge – you can see Palin’s ad here:   “Palin’s Facebook page now carries a map featuring 20 gun sights, one for each of the Democrats targeted this year by her political action committee SarahPAC.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/sarah-palins-pac-puts-gun_n_511433.html

Oregon adds third, unspecified gender on its driver licenses. “Beginning July 1, Oregonians will be able to choose “X” for sex instead of “F” or “M” on their licenses and identification cards.”   http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/06/oregon_becomes_first_state_to.html

University of Michigan to give full scholarships to admitted in-state students who have a family income of less than $65,000. “About half the families in the state will qualify for this incentive, U-M officials said.”    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/06/15/university-michigan-free-tuition-students/400761001/

Thousands more U.S. troops likely going to Afghanistan. “While the number is currently expected to be between 3,000 and 5,000 troops, the number is still being worked on, reports CBS News’ national security correspondent David Martin.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pentagon-to-send-nearly-4000-more-u-s-troops-to-afghanistan/

Study finds that 1/3 of American families spend more than 30% of their income on housing, while more than 1/6 spent half of their income, or more, on housing. “Much of the apartment construction in recent years has been made up of luxury developments catering to affluent renters rather than to households of modest means.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/higher-prices-squeezing-both-renters-and-would-be-homeowners/2017/06/16/73fd3a9c-5281-11e7-b74e-0d2785d3083d_story.html

Environmental group say FDA testing found lead in 20% of baby food it sampled and in 68% of grape juice sampled (89% of grape juice for babies!). “EDF analyzed 11 years of data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and found that food, and baby food in particular, is a meaningful – and surprising – source of lead.”   https://www.edf.org/health/lead-food-hidden-health-threat

Trump has $315 million in liabilities according to financial disclosure. “Among those liabilities is $80,000,000 – $175,000,000 in mortgages and loans from Deutsche Bank.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-releases-financial-disclosure/

Pro-Trump protesters attempt to disrupt free speech they don’t like. “Two protesters disrupted the New York City Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar with one being arrested on Friday night, police and the Public Theater said.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pro-trump-protesters-rush-the-stage-at-nycs-julius-caesar-1-arrested/

Federal judge order Army Corps of Engineers to review Dakota Access pipeline impact. “…U.S. District Judge James Boasberg declared that the Corps “did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the  pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.””   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/15/significant-win-water-protectors-judge-orders-review-dapl-permits

Tech executive claims Uber official told him in job interview that company was not worried about its poor relationship with its drivers because, “we’re just going to replace them all with robots”.   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/17/uber-drivers-homeless-assault-travis-kalanick

Several of the bureaucrats in charge of Trumpcare transition allegedly lobbied for insurance companies. “Several senior Health and Human Services Administration appointees previously worked for insurers seeking to influence the consumer regulations mandated by the ACA, according to new political appointee financial disclosures obtained by The Intercept.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/06/15/hhs-trump-health-care-insurance-lobbyists-aca-repeal/

25 year old British hacker stole Department of Defense data. “Caffery made off with the usernames, ranks, phone number and email addresses of more than 800 DOD employees… (and) data related to more than 30,000 satellite phones.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/department-defense-hacked-british-hacker-admits-stealing-data-us-military-2553230

CIA has been hacking wireless networks “for years” according to Wikileaks documents. “The trove of documents released by the anti-(secrecy organization) on Thursday details the CIA’s CherryBlossom project, in which the intelligence agency has compromised Wi-Fi routers in private homes, public spaces, businesses and enterprise environments in order to gather information about specific targets.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/government-spying-wikileaks-cherry-blossom-documents-reveal-cia-hacks-wi-fi-routers-2552853

Air Force creates senior position to oversee space warfare. “We must organize and train forces to be able to prevail in any future conflict which could extend into space.”   https://www.dodbuzz.com/2017/06/16/preparing-for-war-in-space-air-force-reshuffles-leadership-team/


June 17, 2017

June 15, 2017

Man who shot ultra-conservative legislator was Bernie Sanders volunteer, Sanders says violence is un-American. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”   http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/14/house-majority-whip-scalise-wounded-in-northern-virginia-shooting-reports-of-multiple-shots-fired-239539

Top U.N. human rights official denounces “staggering loss of civilian life” during U.S. coalition attack on Raqqa. “…the imperative to fight terrorism must not… be undertaken at the expense of civilians who unwillingly find themselves living in areas where ISIL (ISIS) is present.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-airstrikes-raqqa-staggering-loss-of-civilian-life-un-paulo-pinherio/

States like Kansas refusing to release police body camera video to the public. “North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Kansas, among others, have now instituted counter-transparency body camera laws.”   https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/12/15768920/police-body-camera-state-secret

President Trump is reportedly under investigation by Russia probe Special Counsel for obstruction of justice. “The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-counsel-is-investigating-trump-for-possible-obstruction-of-justice/2017/06/14/9ce02506-5131-11e7-b064-828ba60fbb98_story.html

London Grenfell Tower resident association says they have complained for years about fire hazards. “Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower… ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/grenfell-tower-fire-kensington-london-residents-kctmo-council-contract-ignored-poor-a7789276.html

DC police seeking dozens of Turkish security agents and Erdogan supporters over attack on protesters. “The U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly to the matter and demanded anonymity, said DC police had identified 34 of 42 people who were involved in the fight, and are seeking their arrests.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/dc-police-say-2-arrests-made-in-turkish-embassy-melee-case/2017/06/14/aad23a24-5135-11e7-b74e-0d2785d3083d_story.html

Video shows Sylville Smith had thrown away his gun before officer fired fatal shot. “A black man killed by Milwaukee police after fleeing a traffic stop was unarmed and defenseless when an officer shot him “point blank,” a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday, while defense attorneys said the officer believed the man still had a gun.”   http://www.bdtonline.com/news/milwaukee-prosecutor-ex–officer-shot-man-point-blank/article_b4f4360b-f0ee-564b-85c7-df860f8bdd23.html

New Hampshire car theft suspect fatally shot after chase by state troopers, but police not releasing details of “encounter”. “Portsmouth police officials would not comment Wednesday about their previous interactions with Jones, or the incident which led to his death…”   http://www.unionleader.com/crime/man-killed-by-police-at-liquor-store-known-for-petty-crimes-20170614

Georgia man who went into 12 day coma after being tackled by police officer files excessive force lawsuit. “He put his hands in the air, but McClure tackled him to the road.”   http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/jun/15/ellijay-police-officer-sued-excessive-force-c/433396/

Jail video, taser log reportedly missing in West Virginia excessive force incident. “Clarksburg Police Taser logs showed no firing of a stun gun, but forensics evidence — marking on the side of the woman’s torso that a retired state trooper from Pennsylvania said was consistent with a stun gun — was cited by Gentilozzi as key in getting the excessive-force verdict.”   https://www.theet.com/news/free/attorney-will-ask-troopers-for-probe-after-jury-finds-excessive/article_cd959a5b-1882-5622-89b9-f310c449f9bd.html

Pennsylvania man settles police beating lawsuit for $25,000. “O’Neill cleared one officer of wrongdoing but ruled that a jury had to decide what roles the seven remaining officers had in Torres’ arrest, whether four of them used excessive force and whether any is to blame for failing to intervene to stop the alleged assault.”   http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-police-excessive-force-settlement-20170613-story.html

Video reportedly surfaces of United ticket agent knocking 71 year-old man to the ground. “The encounter began when Tigner received a boarding pass that was illegible.”     http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-united-airlines-passenger-incident-20170614-story.html

Pro-business groups reportedly pushing for Constitutional convention. “ALEC has drafted model Article V legislation… (calling) for a convention to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/koch-brothers-want-new-constitution-theyre-closer-you-think-2552039

U.S. citizen from Salt Lake City reportedly denied entry back into U.S. after visit to Kenya. “Abdi was barred from boarding a flight from Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where he was returning to the United States with his wife and five children.”   http://www.rawstory.com/2017/06/utah-muslim-leader-barred-from-entering-the-us-after-trip-to-kenya-despite-being-an-american-citizen/

Egypt reportedly blocking internet news sites. “In Egypt, the government has blocked access to at least 48 news sites amid an increasing crackdown against journalists and human rights activists.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/14/headlines/egypt_blocks_access_to_48_news_sites_including_al_jazeera_huffington_post

June 15, 2017

June 14, 2017

Attorney General Sessions lobbies members of Congress to revoke federal recognition of state medical marijuana laws. “The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana”.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/

Sessions denies he had contacts with Russian officials about 2016 election. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he never spoke with Russian officials concerning “any type of interference” with the 2016 presidential campaign and called any suggestion he colluded with Russia during the election an “appalling and detestable lie”.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/senators-press-sessions-on-role-in-comey-firing-russia-meetings

Nevada legislature passes “Medicaid for All” bill. “It would allow any state resident who lacks health insurance coverage to buy into the state Medicaid program, which would sell under the name the Nevada Care Plan.”   https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/6/15731622/nevada-medicaid-for-all

Chicago city council passes ordinance forbidding creation of Muslim registry. “We know all too well from history that registries of different types have been used to single out people for internment, torture and even death.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/immigration/ct-rahm-emanuel-donald-trump-muslim-registry-met-20170612-story.html

Journalists upset by ban on interviews of senators in hallways. “… Mike Mastrian, the director of the Senate Radio and Television Gallery… told reporters that in order to get approval for a hallway interview with a senator, a reporter must now call the committee’s chief counsel and obtain prior permission from the senator being interviewed.”   http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2017/06/13/capitol-reporters-new-rules-cameras-239495

Fort Worth police officer allegedly failed to check on condition of reported assault victim, put arrested bystander in stress position during questioning. “Fitzgerald said he had great concern after seeing Martin raise one of Craig’s daughter’s handcuffed arms above her head from behind when she wouldn’t answer a question during the incident.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/chief-texas-officer-made-errors-in-confrontation-with-woman/2017/06/13/10ff9c3a-506c-11e7-b74e-0d2785d3083d_story.html

Trump ethics waiver allows Steve Bannon to continue working with Breitbart News, influence coverage of Trump administration, say critics. “According to the complaint, these communications focused on Breitbart’s coverage of the president and his team, and led to exclusive access for Breitbart to White House officials.”   http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/373591/how-bannon-got-trumps-blessing-to-keep-control-of-breitbart-message-while-w/

Uber board member reportedly remarked at “toxic culture” report meeting that if there are more women on the company’s board, “it’s much more likely to be more talking”.   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/technology/uber-sexual-harassment-huffington-bonderman.html?_r=0

Treasury secretary accused of walking back pledge to avoid overall tax cut for the wealthy. “Mnuchin said Monday during the hearing that while the administration hoped to avoid a tax cut for the wealthy, doing so would not be the paramount rule of tax reform efforts.”   http://thehill.com/policy/finance/337635-mnuchin-walks-back-pledge-not-to-give-tax-breaks-to-rich

Female senator cut off again by male colleagues. “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was cut off by two of her male colleagues while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, just one week after they interrupted her during a different hearing.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-jeff-sessions_us_59404f23e4b0d318548591d9

Report: U.S. has only revealed 20% of its drone strikes. “The authors of the new report say that the government’s failure to provide information or legal rationales for its strikes is making it impossible to understand the full scope of the government’s targeted killing program, as well as its impact on civilians.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/13/us-has-only-acknowledged-fifth-lethal-drone-strikes-new-study-finds

Federal appeals court abolishes limits on intrastate phone charges for inmates after feds drop their case. “(FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, instructed the commission’s lawyers to drop the defense of the policy.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/fcc-prison-call-price-caps-judge-undoes-limits-inmate-charges-after-agency-drops-2551790

ICE reportedly arresting Iraqi Christians for deportation. “My dad is Christian and Donald Trump is sending him back to a place that is not safe whatsoever.”   http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/politics/detroit-ice-iraqi-christians/index.html

Sen. Rand Paul introduces bill to ban indefinite detention without trial. “The proposed bill… seeks to ensure that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a speedy trial in all prosecutions is upheld.”   http://rare.us/rare-politics/rare-liberty/liberty-rising/detained-without-a-trial-sen-rand-pauls-new-legislation-will-combat-unconstitutional-indefinite-detention/

More than 750 Mosul refugees reportedly suffering from food poisoning at camp. “The food was beans, rice, chicken, and a yogurt drink brought from a restaurant in Erbil.”   http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/120620174

1,800 American Jewish leaders call for an end to occupation of Palestine. “A letter calling on Israel to end the military occupation of the West Bank and lay the groundwork for a Palestinian state was delivered on behalf 1,800 American rabbis and cantors to the Israeli embassy in Washington DC.”   http://forward.com/fast-forward/374361/1-800-rabbis-call-on-israel-to-end-occupation-and-create-palestinian-state/

U.N. special rapporteur says Japanese government needs to keep its hands off the media. “Critics have cited the domestic media’s delay in reporting that the March 2011 accident at Fukushima had caused a nuclear meltdown – a decision believed to reflect official attempts to play down the severity of the disaster.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/13/japan-accused-of-eroding-press-freedom-by-un-special-rapporteur

U.S. coalition reportedly killed more Syrian civilians in May than IS or Asad regime. “(Syrian Network for Human Rights) data says that U.S.-led coalition forces reportedly killed at least 273 civilians last month—which is slightly more than the number of civilians reportedly killed by ISIS.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/13/headlines/report_us_led_coalition_killed_more_syrian_civilians_than_isis_or_assad_in_may

June 14, 2017