April 17, 2019

Audience at Fox News town hall cheers for Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All. “‘…how many (of you with private insurance through your employer) are willing to transition to what the senator says, a government-run system?’ Baier asked, which was met with even more hands raising and cheers from the audience.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6927821/Fox-News-host-asks-backs-Bernies-single-payer-healthcare-plan-rust-belt-crowd-erupts-cheers.html   How Bernie explained Medicare for All: ‘Every other country, or virtually every country, does it in the same way we do education for our kids. OK, when a kid walks into school, the kid doesn’t have to take out a credit card, right? It’s paid for out of public funds. That’s what most countries do… Are people going to pay more in taxes? Yes. But at the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people are going to end up paying less for health care because they’re not paying premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.’

Was the FBI involved in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal cover-up? “Then an art student in New York, Farmer said she reported her assault to New York police and the FBI in 1996.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article229277874.html

Attorney General Barr authorizes indefinite detention for asylum seekers. “‘Basically if you pass the initial asylum screening you can now be indefinitely detained,’ said immigration attorney Eileen Blessinger, who called Barr’s decision ‘horrible news’.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/16/politics/barr-immigration-ruling-reversal/index.html

Trump vetoes Congressional bill to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen. “The resolution passed the House of Representatives in April and the Senate in March, the first time both chambers had supported a War Powers resolution, which limits the president’s ability to send troops into action.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47958014   So much for Congressional war powers… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imperial_Presidency

Egyptian legislature approves increased powers, longer term for country’s president. “If the constitutional changes are approved in the referendum, (President) Sissi’s critics fear that his government — already considered the most authoritarian in Egypt’s modern history — will only escalate its ongoing evisceration of freedoms, rights and the rule of law. Sissi’s regime has jailed tens of thousands of critics and opponents, all but obliterated independent media and shut down hundreds of websites deemed critical of his presidency.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptian-president-sissi-wins-approval-from-lawmakers-to-stay-in-office-until-2030/2019/04/16/3d934824-6068-11e9-bf24-db4b9fb62aa2_story.html   But of course this could never happen in the U.S.

Israel expels Human Rights Watch official. “In a statement, Human Rights Watch said neither the organization nor (Omar) Shakir promotes boycotts of Israel, but acknowledged that both have called for companies to cease operations in West Bank settlements because they ‘inherently benefit from and contribute to serious violations of international humanitarian law’.”   https://www.vox.com/world/2019/4/16/18410981/omar-shakir-israeli-court-deportation-human-rights-watch

Number of arrests during London climate change protests hits 290. “Organisers said (Extinction Rebellion) protests had been held in more than 80 cities across 33 countries.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-47945397

Almost 6,000 retail outlets closed so far in 2019. “According to a new report from Coresight Research, US retailers have announced 5,994 store closures so far this year, compared to 5,864 store closures in all of 2018.”   https://www.thisisinsider.com/retail-apocalypse-start-of-2019-more-store-closures-all-of-2018-2019-4

Goldman Sachs lays off employees, cuts pay and benefits by 20%. “The bank is cutting 98 jobs across its divisions amid a 20% drop in net income, citing “economic reasons” for the sackings, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed by Goldman with the New York State Department of Labor on February 19th.”   https://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-sachs-wall-street-bank-is-cutting-98-jobs-after-lower-profits-2019-4   “The world’s largest investment bank reduced employee compensation and benefits by 20 percent to $3.26 billion, outstripping the decline in company-wide revenue.”   https://www.ibtimes.com/goldman-sachs-cuts-employee-pay-20-avoid-profit-loss-2785693

State of Washington appeals court says “Valve Turner” was denied his Sixth Amendment rights when a lower court blocked him from presenting a necessity defense in his pipeline protest trial. “The ruling marks the first time a Washington court has recognized in writing a climate protester’s right to present a necessity defense at trial.”   https://rightsanddissent.org/news/washington-court-of-appeals-upholds-right-to-present-necessity-defense-in-climate-case/

President and Vice President tweet their concern over Notre Dame fire, but have shown no sympathy for burned out black churches in Louisiana. “The church fires have, of course, drawn wide coverage and attention. The Louisiana governor mentioned it in his recent state of the state. But top Trump administration officials have not spoken out on or condemned the violence.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/04/16/trump-pence-tweeted-about-notre-dame-fire-said-nothing-when-black-churches-burned/

Julian Assange recognized by EU Parliament with journalism award. “Assange, jailed last week after being forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was awarded the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.”   https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/julian-assange-wins-eu-journalism-award/news-story/f1bea94a9b040db4f7caa08897f7f6c3

CIA director accused of misleading president over Salisbury Novichok attack. “Ms. Haspel showed (President Trump) pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/gina-haspel-trump.html   “There were no reports of any children affected by ‘Novichok’ nor were their any reports of dead ducks. In the official storyline the Skripals, before visiting a restaurant, fed bread to ducks at a pond in the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury. They also gave duck-bread to three children to do the same. The children were examined and their blood was tested. No poison was found and none of them fell ill. No duck died.”   https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/04/cia-director-used-fake-skripal-incident-photos-to-manipulate-trump.html

Historic Palestinian mosque in Israel reportedly converted into a bar. “The mosque – its name changed from al-Ahmar mosque to Khan al-Ahmar, was turned into a bar and wedding hall by a firm affiliated with the Israeli Safed municipality, reported al-Quds al-Arabi.”   https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/News/2019/4/14/Thirteenth-Century-Palestinian-mosque-converted-to-nightclub-in-Israel

Bahrain sentences 69 to life in prison, 70 others to various prison terms. Of these, 138 have their citizenship revoked. “Tuesday’s decision took the number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 990, 180 of them this year, the institute said in a statement.”  https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-bahrain-security/bahrain-jails-139-on-terrorism-charges-revokes-citizenship-idUKKCN1RS0XU

Mexico releases security service files on the country’s current president. “The 63-page archive consists of old intelligence documents drawn up between 1979 and the early 1980’s by spies from the now-extinct Federal Security Department.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexico-releases-spy-agencys-files-current-president-185337532.html

Julian Assange reportedly denied dental treatment while in Ecuador’s London embassy. “In her letter, Crosby says that the British government had repeatedly rejected requests to give Assange safe passage to a hospital for treatment.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/04/15/julian-assange-health-medical-care/

Minneapolis police turned their body cameras off at scene of Justine Damond police shooting. “The incident commander turned her body camera off when talking to Mohamed Noor in the moments after the July 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, while other officers told him not to say a word, according to prosecutors and court testimony. Many responding officers turned their body cameras on and off at will; one had his camera recording while headed to the scene and shut it off upon arrival.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/17/justine-damond-shooting-trial-raises-fears-about-police-protecting-their-own

Charter school operators lived extravagant lifestyle, pocketed fees paid by parents. “The (Texas Education Agency) also discovered that the school paid the Cluffs more than $400,000 in salary in 2011, but also reimbursed them $1.5 million that year for what appeared to be personal expenses, including $132,000 on cruises and trips and $22,500 on airline tickets, according to an August 2013 report by The Dallas Morning News.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/4-4-million-seized-from-houston-charter-school-fraudsters/

Lawsuit alleges Sandy Hook administrators failed to follow emergency protocols during shooting. “The lawsuit alleges school Principal Dawn Hochsprung and other officials failed to order a ‘code blue’ lockdown over the intercom, as was directed by security protocols, after hearing the 20-year-old Lanza shoot out the locked glass entrance of the school on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012.”   https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/ct-appeals-court-hear-arguments-alleged-failures-sandy-hook

 

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April 17, 2019

April 16, 2019

Republicans add restrictions to voter-approved Medicaid expansions. “This week, Idaho’s GOP lawmakers and governor joined their peers in Utah and Nebraska in slapping work requirements and other restrictions on access to Medicaid…. Advocates in all three states decried lawmakers’ moves, saying they are ignoring the will of the people.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/13/politics/medicaid-expansion-states/index.html

Barnard University campus cops pin black student suspected of not being a student. “There were two (police officers), then four, then more. They demanded to see (Alexander) McNab’s student ID, he and witnesses say, and grabbed McNab’s arms. The officers pushed him against the register counter at the coffee shop on the library’s first floor. They forced him onto his back.”   https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/us-campus-police-pin-black-student-mcnab-who-refused-to-show-id-2023050

Finland elects left-wing prime minister. “Finland’s leftist Social Democrat party (SDP) leader Antti Rinne has declared victory in Sunday’s general election, after partial results showed his party winning by a tight margin with 17.8 percent.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-election-rinne/finnish-social-democrat-leader-rinne-declares-victory-in-election-idUSKCN1RQ0QO

Centrist Democrats plotting to take down Bernie Sanders. “‘There’s a growing realization that Sanders could end up winning this thing, or certainly that he stays in so long that he damages the actual winner,’ said David Brock, the liberal organizer, who said he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence ‘sooner rather than later’.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/bernie-sanders-democratic-party.html   Sanders was out-polling Trump by up to 15% in some polls in 2016, so if they stiff Sanders again, why are Democrats expecting a different outcome? One has to suspect that they would prefer to see Trump re-elected to a second term than see Sanders elected.   https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_sanders-5565.html

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina police release video of fatal police shooting. “The last command Kerl yells before firing is, ‘Put it on the ground!’ (Danquirs) Franklin reached his right hand toward a pocket and pulled out a gun by the barrel. He appeared to be lowering the weapon when Kerl fired two shots, the video shows. Moments after being shot, Franklin turns his face toward the officers and can be heard saying: ‘You told me to…'”   https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article229227114.html

122 arrested so far during London climate protests. “A second day of (traffic) disruption is under way after Extinction Rebellion campaigners camped overnight at Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-47945397

Sudanese protesters refuse to back down. “The military council took control after (longtime President Omar al-Bashir’s) arrest and removal from office, announcing it would rule the country for two years before democratic elections take place; terms unacceptable to protesters and opposition leaders who are demanding a transitional civilian government assume power immediately.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/04/15/713401461/bashir-may-be-out-but-sudanese-protesters-with-eye-on-the-prize-won-t-budge

Bernie Sanders releases 10 years of income tax documents, showing he’s a millionaire. “Sanders has suggested a 45% tax rate on income between $500,000 and $2 million and 52% on income topping $10 million.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/sanders-releases-tax-returns-showing-he-is-a-millionaire/   Franklin D. Roosevelt was a millionaire too.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_net_worth

Sanders now leading the Democratic field. “Emerson’s poll put Sanders in first place with 29 percent support, Biden in second with 24 percent, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in third with nine percent.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/15/first-time-major-national-poll-shows-bernie-sanders-top-2020-democratic-pack

ACLU sues Detroit over bail. “If an arrestee can afford to pay their bail, they are released from custody upon payment. However, ‘arrestees who are otherwise identical, but are too poor to purchase their release, remain in jail because of their indigency’, the lawsuit states…. running the risk of losing their jobs, homes, custody of their children or health care in the process.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/aclu-slams-detroit-bail-system-as-unfair-to-poor/

Government officials meet to plan military action against Venezuela. “That the Trump Administration is considering attacking Venezuela as an option is no secret, as they tell reporters that much at seemingly every opportunity,” Ditz wrote. “That they are holding such events to discuss the details, however, suggest a U.S. war may be closer than anyone realizes.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/15/attendees-secret-meeting-us-military-assault-venezuela-revealed

Fourth San Diego prison dies in six weeks. “The jail system’s inmate death toll stands at 135 dead over the last decade, according to public records.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/16/four-prisoners-dead-in-six-weeks-the-crisis-unfolding-in-san-diego-county-jails

Diner customer explains climate change issue to Fox & Friends reporter. “Ultimately the other issues are all solvable, but if the planet starts catching on fire and we’re all dead, it doesn’t do us any good to see how much money we can make.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/fox-friends-reporter-blindsided-diner-guest-cares-money-planets-fire/

Mexico’s president opens the country’s security service archives. “The opening of the intelligence files has shined a new spotlight on the tactics the Mexican state used to spy during the Cold War and the ‘dirty war’, a brutal crackdown on leftist militants in the 1960s and 1970s.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/inside-dark-world-mexicos-intelligence-services/

 

April 16, 2019

April 14, 2019

Pinkerton agents posing as employees are being hired by companies to spy on their own workforce. “Among their most popular new services is the Pinkerton Dedicated Professional, in which agents join a client’s company like any other new hire, allowing them to provide intel on employees. By 2018, the agency said it could count among its clients about 80 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies.”   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/magazine/climate-change-pinkertons.html

Huge American flag logos on Laguna Beach patrol cars spark controversy. “Artist Carrie Woodburn went to the podium at the March 19 council meeting and said it was ‘shocking to see the boldness of the design’ when the newly painted (black) Ford Explorers rolled out…. ‘It feels very aggressive.'”   https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-laguna-beach-police-cars-american-flag-20190413-story.html

President of Brazil claims Nazis were leftists. “The far-right (Jair) Bolsonaro made a solidarity visit to Israel last month during which he raised eyebrows by asserting, after a tour of the Holocaust memorial Yad Vadshem, that the Nazis had been ‘leftists’.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-israel-holocaust/brazil-president-raises-eyebrows-saying-holocaust-can-be-forgiven-idUSKCN1RP0Q0

Lobbyist sentenced to 36 months of probation for laundering $50,000 in foreign money destined for Trump Inauguration Committee. “Prosecutors allege (W. Samuel Patten) bought four tickets (to a Trump inauguration event) on behalf of two unnamed foreign nationals, one from Russia, the other from Ukraine, and tried to conceal the deal.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/lobbyist-sentenced-probation-after-funneling-money-trump-inaugural-foreign-nationals-n993861   Sweet! He would have gotten more jail time if he had shoplifted some Twinkies from a convenience store.

South Korea to legalize abortion after court overturns ban. “In 2018, 75 percent of (South Korean) women believed that the law punishing women for receiving abortions should be amended.”   https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/abortion-south-korea-legalized.html

Alibaba founder and China’s richest man, Jack Ma, tells his employees they should be grateful for their 72 hour workweeks. “He defended the prospect of a ‘996’ schedule, which features office hours of 9am to 9pm, six days a week, and said it helped him be more successful.   https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/13/chinas-richest-man-makes-employees-work-72-hours-week-calls-blessing-9197237/   Since these employees are probably only being paid for 40 hours a week, I’m sure it has helped him a lot! “The anti-996 movement on Github now includes a blacklist of companies that are currently asking employees to work unpaid overtime. A total of 104 tech companies, including Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi, JD.com and Bytedance were on the blacklist as of Thursday afternoon.”   https://www.msn.com/zh-hk/news/other/quantity-or-quality-chinas-996-work-culture-comes-under-scrutiny/ar-BBVTsEK

Your car may be collecting data about you. “If you’re driving a late model car or truck, chances are that the vehicle is mostly computers on wheels, collecting and wirelessly transmitting vast quantities of data to the car manufacturer not just on vehicle performance but personal information, too, such as your weight, the restaurants you visit, your music tastes and places you go.”   https://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/cars-data-privacy

Sponsor of bill to ban IRS from letting taxpayers file taxes online has received thousands of dollars from tax preparation and tax software companies. “The industry backed that lobbying up with $6.6 million in campaign cash in the last year alone. Intuit (the maker of TurboTax) and H&R Block directed $16,000 to (House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard) Neal over the last two campaign cycles alone.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/tax-day-miserable-one-obscure-congressman-works-hr-block-not-us/

Some New York City newsstands reportedly boycotting New York Post after it runs Islamophobic front page. “A group of New York corner-store owners has announced a boycott on the sale of the New York Post, arguing that the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper’s attacks on the congresswoman Ilhan Omar are making Muslim Americans less safe.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/new-york-city-bodegas-boycotting-rupert-murdochs-tabloid-attacks-ilhan-omar-report/

 

April 14, 2019

April 13, 2019

Jury awards $3.6 million to Colorado grandmother arrested during a welfare check, who was then repeatedly tasered while strapped into a restraining chair. “This jury sent them the loudest, clearest message,” said David Lane, the Denver civil rights attorney who represented O’Neal. “We the people are not going to put up with constitutional violations from law enforcement officers.”   https://www.denverpost.com/2019/04/10/fremont-county-sheriff-lawsuit-naked/

Felony charges dropped against high school student after school releases security videos of her arrest, officers had claimed they were attacked. “An unarmed, 16-year-old girl was beaten, kicked, punched and Tasered by Officers Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp at Marshall High School.”   https://www.yahoo.com/gma/surveillance-video-shows-chicago-police-dragging-female-student-094726420–abc-news-topstories.html

Ukrainian hackers post personal info of U.S. law enforcement officers. “The hackers breached three sites associated with the FBI National Academy Association, a coalition of different chapters across the U.S. promoting federal and law enforcement leadership and training located at the FBI training academy in Quantico, VA.”   https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/12/police-data-hack/    I find it interesting that when you try to Google this story, there are zero hits. It doesn’t exist. But ABC News covered it too!   https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/hacker-group-posts-hundreds-law-officer-records-62373159

After Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts, twice as many companies are paying no federal tax. “According to the report, some of the companies that avoided paying any federal income taxes in 2018 include tech giant Amazon, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, television streaming service Netflix, a number of airlines and publishing group Gannett.”   https://thehill.com/policy/finance/438376-report-finds-twice-as-many-companies-will-avoid-paying-taxes-this-year-as-in

Democrats talk Green New Deal but vote in favor of helping Europe frack its own natural gas. “If Democrats are supporting bills that say fracked gas and fracked gas infrastructure should be developed in Europe then they are flying in the face of their own climate policy.”   https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2019/04/house-democrats-voted-for-a-natural-gas-and-fracki.html

27 more graves likely discovered at Florida reform school, bringing the total to 77. “The school, one of the largest reform institutions in the country, shuttered in June 2011 after the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division confirmed students had been abused.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/more-two-dozen-possible-graves-found-florida-reform-school-n993851

President Trump accused of telling Homeland Security official that he would pardon him if he faced charges for sealing the southern border. “(Kirstjen) Nielsen had earlier refused to carry through with Mr. Trump’s desire to close the border, telling him it was illegal. But the president encouraged (Kevin) McAleenan to disregard Ms. Nielsen and enforce the move himself.”    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/12/us/politics/trump-border.html

Mark Zuckerberg receiving about $20 million in security from Facebook. “Nearly $20 million went toward security for Zuckerberg and his family, up from about $9 million the year prior.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-compensation/facebook-spends-226-million-to-keep-mark-zuckerberg-safe-idUSKCN1RO2KH

100 years ago today, British troops opened fire on thousands of unarmed protesters in Amritsar, India. “In 2013 David Cameron became the first serving British prime minister to visit Jallianwala Bagh. He described the episode as ‘deeply shameful’ but stopped short of a public apology.”   https://sg.news.yahoo.com/britains-shame-1919-amritsar-massacre-023101701.html

Last batch of ‘Dirty War’ files to be released by State Department. “The release marks the culmination of a nearly two-decade project to release information on violence and disappearances of dissenters after a 1976 coup that installed the dictatorship, which the United States initially supported.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-argentina-usa-rights/u-s-declassifies-final-tranche-of-records-on-argentina-dirty-war-idUKKCN1RO20M

Political consultant sentenced to three years of probation for representing Ukrainian political party without registering as a lobbyist. “(Samuel) Patten pleaded guilty in August, admitting he did public relations and lobbying work for the Opposition Bloc, the same pro-Russian political party that worked with (Paul) Manafort.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/lobbyist-given-probation-in-case-tied-to-mueller-probe/

Texas Supreme Court rules that state doesn’t have to reveal where it gets its execution drugs. “It is necessary to withhold the identities of these businesses and their employees from public disclosure to ensure their physical safety.”  https://www.courthousenews.com/texas-high-court-keeps-shroud-on-execution-drug-suppliers/   Veterinary drug companies? Mexican cartels? Concocted in-house by employees of the Texas Department of Corrections? Sorry, it’s a secret.

 

April 13, 2019

April 12, 2019

Julian Assange arrested by UK police at Ecuador’s embassy in London, could face deportation to the U.S. on hacking charges. “The Ecuadorean government suspended the citizenship it had granted Mr. Assange and evicted him on Thursday, clearing the way for his arrest.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/world/europe/julian-assange-wikileaks-ecuador-embassy.html

Journalism expert says many of the things Assange is charged with are things journalists routinely do. “The indictment discusses journalistic practices in the context of a criminal conspiracy: using encryption, making efforts to protect a source’s identity, and source cultivation,” said University of Georgia media law professor Jonathan Peters. Those practices, he told me, are not only routine and lawful, ‘they’re best practices for journalists’.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/traditional-journalists-may-abandon-wikileaks-assange-at-their-own-peril/2019/04/11/45ae985c-5c84-11e9-842d-7d3ed7eb3957_story.html

Working class people with diabetes face serious health risks when forced to ‘ration’ insulin due to skyrocketing prices. “This vial of insulin cost just $21 when it first came on the market in 1996. It now costs $275.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/insulin-prices-2019-diabetes-rationing-insulin-amid-rising-drug-prices-sanofi/

Obama administration official accused by Mueller investigation of lying about work for Ukrainian government when questioned by federal agency. “The charges against (Greg) Craig, who was White House counsel during the Obama administration, concern work he performed for Ukraine in 2012 while he was a partner at top law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/11/politics/greg-craig-indicted-mueller-related/index.html

Attorney general claims federal agencies ‘spied’ on Trump campaign, experts question investigators’ tactics. “Instead of helping Trump block Russia from penetrating his organization, it seems more like the (intelligence and law enforcement) agencies were hoping to discover that a collusion network was up and running.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/11/spygate-william-barr-spying-donald-trump-campaign-column/3434458002/

Ohio Republican group apologizes for fund raising email that called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a ‘domestic terrorist’. “Ocasio-Cortez is not the only Democratic congresswoman to argue this week that the rhetoric used against her has placed her life in danger. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., made a similar point in a Wednesday tweet in the wake of a ‘Fox & Friends’ segment criticizing her comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”   https://www.salon.com/2019/04/11/college-gop-group-apologizes-for-email-calling-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-a-domestic-terrorist/

Treasury Department fails to produce Trump income tax documents requested by Congress. “The battle over Trump’s tax returns — after he was the first president in four decades not to release the annual filings — has been brewing since the 2016 campaign.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/04/10/712029640/treasury-department-will-miss-house-committee-deadline-to-turn-over-trump-tax-re

Ohio passes ban on ‘heartbeat’ abortions, which means those performed after around 6 weeks of pregnancy. “Doctors who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected could be subject to a $20,000 fine from the State Medical Board of Ohio and could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.”   https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/438515-ohio-governor-signs-heartbeat-abortion-bill

Donald Trump’s sister retires from her position as a federal appeals court judge, cutting off investigation into the possibly illegal transfer of wealth to her and her brother by their father. “The Trump kids, including Donald and Maryanne, were set up as the owners of a company called All County Building Supply & Maintenance. All County then sold boilers, refrigerators, cleaning supplies, and other equipment at unusually high prices to buildings owned by Fred Trump.”   https://www.vox.com/2019/4/11/18306167/maryanne-trump-barry-tax-returns-trump

Former fossil fuel lobbyist confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. “Interior is considering an unprecedented plan to offer federal offshore leases that could lead to drilling on nearly the entire U.S. outer continental shelf, including the Arctic and Atlantic, areas where drilling has been largely forbidden.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/04/11/senate-confirms-former-oil-gas-lobbyist-david-bernhardt-secretary-interior/

Trump executive orders make it harder for states to block fossil fuel projects. “‘When states say ‘no’ to the development of natural gas pipelines, they force utilities to curb safe and affordable service and refuse access to new customers, including new businesses,’ said Karen Harbert, president and CEO at the American Gas Association.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/10/president-trump-orders-speed-oil-gas-pipeline-projects/3431466002/

U.S. blocks leader of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement from entering the country. “(Omar) Barghouti had scheduled a speaking tour that included stops at Harvard and New York University, meetings with Washington policymakers and an appearance at a bookstore in Philadelphia owned by professor Marc Lamont Hill, whose CNN pundit contract was terminated last November over controversial remarks he made in support of Palestinian rights.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/04/11/712189791/u-s-denies-entry-to-leader-of-movement-to-boycott-israel

Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jet crashes 11 days after going into service with Japan’s air force. “While most F-35s are made in the United States, the one that crashed Tuesday was the first to come off an assembly line in Nagoya, Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/09/asia/japan-f-35-stealth-fighter-missing-intl/index.html

Life in a modern, free market economy: Uber has reportedly lost at least $6.8 billion so far, but is still in business. “We may not achieve profitability.”   https://qz.com/1592971/uber-ipo-filling-reveals-how-it-spends-its-money/

Thousands of New England supermarket workers go on strike. “Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines.”   https://www.wcvb.com/article/stop-and-shop-workers-go-on-strike-walk-off-job/27115921

Discount store chain to close 159 locations. “The closing stores represent nearly 29% of Fred’s 557 stores and are located in 13 states, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee losing the most stores.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/04/11/freds-store-closings-2019-discount-chain-shuttering-159-stores/3425057002/   You know things are bad when even discount stores can’t make it.

American Airlines jet hits sign during takeoff, returns to airport with damaged wing. “I cried the whole way back and many others did also.”    https://abc7ny.com/aa-flight-returns-to-jfk-airport-after-clipping-wing/5242796/

Fewer than 5% of U.S. employees tested fail their drug tests. “Roughly 4.4 percent of more than 10 million workplace drug tests in 2018 showed positive results, marking a 14-year high…”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/american-workers-testing-positive-for-drug-use-at-14-year-high/

Department of Defense employees have reportedly charged more than $300,000 in expenses at Trump-owned properties. “Internal agency documents reviewed by CNN found that agency employees have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, parking fees, and restaurant visits at various Trump Organization properties, which President Trump continues to own in a trust established prior to his presidency.”   https://thehill.com/policy/defense/438351-defense-dept-paid-trump-properties-300000-since-start-of-trump-presidency

President Trump’s nominee to head ICE, Matthew Albence, once compared immigration detention facilities to summer camps. “I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water. They have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured. There’s basketball courts. There’s exercise classes. There’s soccer fields that we put in there.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/4/12/headlines/official_who_compared_family_detention_centers_to_summer_camps_set_to_become_head_of_ice    There’s sexual abuse, there’s family separation and there’s cages!

AIPAC reportedly targeting Bernie Sanders and Ilhan Omar with Facebook ads. “The sponsored post urges Facebook users to add their names to an online petition telling Sanders that ‘America stands with Israel’.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/04/09/aipac-targets-bernie-sanders-facebook-ads-focused-key-democratic-primary-states/

Lawmaker asks JP Morgan Chase CEO making $31 million a year how his employees can live on $16.50 an hour. “After paying for rent on her one-bedroom apartment, food, utilities, child care for her daughter, and other basic needs, Porter estimated that her constituent has a $567 budget shortfall each month.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/11/watch-rep-katie-porter-uses-basic-budget-math-expose-jamie-dimon-starvation-wages

Public Citizen sues Department of Education for blocking its website. “Users attempting to access Public Citizen’s website though the department’s guest wireless networks receive a message that access is ‘in violation of your internet usage policy’. We requested the department’s policy for blocking access to internet sites, but it hasn’t responded to our request.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/09/blatant-violation-first-amendment-public-citizen-sues-betsy-devos-censoring-its

ICC drops U.S. war crimes probe due to lack of cooperation from U.S. officials. “With its decision today, the International Criminal Court sends a dangerous message: that bullying wins and that the powerful won’t be held to account.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/buckling-to-trump-admin-icc-blocks-u-s-torture-probe/

 

April 12, 2019

April 8, 2019

Trump administration doesn’t actually have a plan yet for what would replace Obamacare. “…even Trump’s legislative team was surprised by the news that the President wanted a renewed focus on health care, and the administration has scrambled to come up with a plan that did not exist before Trump waded back into the issue.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/07/politics/mick-mulvaney-white-house-healthcare-plan/index.html

Four black churches in Louisiana burn. “During the civil rights era, the burning of black churches was used as an intimidation tactic — both towards individuals and communities collectively.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sunday-service-unites-parishioners-after-three-historic-black-churches-go-n991876

Man arrested in connection with death threat against Muslim member of Congress. “I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”   https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2019/04/06/new-york-man-charged-with-threatening-kill-rep-ilhan-omar/mT3DQtrYyR2yHlJ2JEemwO/story.html

Trump administration tells court it may take up to two years to reunite children separated from their families at the border. “The Justice Department said in a court filing late Friday that it will take at least a year to review about 47,000 cases of unaccompanied children taken into government custody between July 1, 2017 and June 25, 2018…”   https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/07/us-wants-2-years-to-id-migrant-kids-separated-from-families.html

Three members of Congress denied entry to facility holding child immigration detainees. “Denying entry to oversee the conditions and care provided to the unaccompanied children in the Homestead facility would not only be a breach of transparency and confidence in the care provided there, it would violate the law.”   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article228933679.html

Acting White House chief of staff says Donald Trump’s income tax records will never be released. “When asked about it on Fox News Sunday, (Mick) Mulvaney said: ‘Never. Nor should they.’”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mulvaney-says-democrats-will-never-see-trumps-tax-returns/2019/04/07/e939deca-593a-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html

Bernie Sanders has also promised to release his income tax records, and has also failed to do so. “A sympathetic progressive observer, Ryan Grim, thinks it could have to do with the entirely legitimate money Sanders made on his most recent book, which might be embarrassing strictly because it lifted his income into the ranks of the well-off.”   https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/04/sanders-still-dragging-his-feet-on-releasing-his-tax-returns.html

Hotel chain to pay $12 million to settle lawsuit over its sharing of customer data with immigration authorities. “Between 2015 and 2017, seven Motel 6 locations in the state (of Washington) shared approximately 80,000 guests’ personal information with ICE without requiring a warrant, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said in a news release this week.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/07/us/motel-6-immigration-customs-enforcement-settlement/index.html

Community groups protest results of investigation into ‘walking while black’ police shooting of unarmed man, which cleared the officer involved. “There are no circumstances in which a man peacefully walking unarmed in his community, in his neighborhood, should be shot and killed by police.”   https://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2019/04/demands-for-action-from-residents-upset-by-investigation-into-a-police-involved-shooting-death-in-silver-spring/slide/1/

Beto O’Rourke regrets his 2016 vote on offshore oil drilling. “The vote, called ‘anti-environment’ by the League of Conservation Voters, left the door open to using federal money to study oil and gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where offshore drilling is mostly off limits.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/amid-presidential-campaign-beto-orourke-flips-positions-2016-offshore-drilling-vote/

Israel’s Prime Minister proposes annexing West Bank settlements on land claimed by Palestinians. “Settlements built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War are deemed illegal by the international community and their ongoing construction is seen as a major barrier to peace.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/netanyahus-annexation-pledge-condemned-election-challenger/

President Trump announces replacement of his Homeland Security chief via Twitter. “(Kirstjen) Nielsen ‘believed the situation was becoming untenable with the President becoming increasingly unhinged about the border crisis and making unreasonable and even impossible requests’, a senior administration official tells CNN.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/07/politics/kirstjen-nielsen-homeland-security/index.html

Saudi/UAE ‘triple tap’ airstrike reportedly hits girls’ school in Yemen. “Citing local medical sources, The Associated Press news agency put the number of those killed at 13, including seven children. More than 100 were wounded, it added.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/saudi-led-air-raids-kill-11-civilians-yemen-sanaa-190407201257046.html

Protesters demand corruption investigation and resignation of Honduran president. “The opposition says (President Juan Orlando) Hernandez, a conservative backed by the United States, was illegitimately re-elected in a November 2017 vote marred by delays and alleged fraud…. The opposition (claims) that more than $300 million was skimmed from the poverty-stricken country’s public health system.”   https://www.france24.com/en/20190406-thousands-protest-against-honduras-president

1/10th of Chicago’s city council seats are now held by socialists. “Three members of the Democratic Socialists of America won their runoff races, joining two others who won outright last month — adding up to the highest number of socialists City Council has seen in more than a century.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/04/03/chicago-election-results-socialism-city-council/

Department of Homeland Security allegedly tried to link anti-police brutality protesters to ISIS. “(Property of the People’s executive director, Ryan) Shapiro also noted that the documents showed a propensity by federal law enforcement to base their ‘open source’ intelligence-gathering on the conspiracy theories of conservative news outlets, which officials uncritically circulated during the protests.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/04/08/black-protesters-terrorism-threat-isis/

U.S. bars war crimes investigator from entering the country. “In a move human rights defenders decried as ‘shameful’, the Trump administration revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor this week for trying to investigate alleged war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan.”    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/06/shameful-trump-admin-revokes-icc-prosecutors-visa-over-probe-potential-us-war-crimes

Forensic anthropologists still trying to identify 600 bodies of the victims of 1976-1983 Argentine military junta. “…human rights groups estimate (the regime) killed or disappeared 30,000 people while seeking to make its victims invisible.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/argentina-bodies-of-600-disappeared-wait-to-be-identified/

Unable to connect to the DemocracyNow.org website. “The connection has timed out. The server at democracynow.org is taking too long to respond.”

April 8, 2019

March 30, 2019

Vallejo, California police release video of Willie McCoy shooting. “(A sleeping) McCoy eventually started to move, scratching his shoulder and not yet appearing alert or saying anything to officers, and several seconds later, all six officers fired at him.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/29/willie-mccoy-police-shooting-video-vallejo

Chandler, Arizona police release video of armed raid to seize child with a fever from his home after his parents declined their physician’s advice to take the boy to the emergency room. “The boy was whisked away to a hospital, and since that raid on Feb. 25, he and the couple’s two other children, ages 4 and 6, have been in the state’s custody.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/us/unvaccinated-children-home-raids.html

Environmental activists troll Interior Secretary nominee at his confirmation hearing by dressing up as ‘swamp creatures’ and sitting in the audience. “David Bernhardt heading the Interior Department would be a dream come true for fossil fuel companies, but a nightmare for the American people.”   https://www.fastcompany.com/90327053/green-swamp-creatures-swarmed-latest-trump-stooges-confirmation-hearing

Republicans divided over Trump administration’s plan to take high quality health insurance away from millions of Americans. “The first camp, the realists, believe that while it’s easy to snooker people with lies about immigration or terrorism, people tend not to be as easily deceived about whether they’ve lost their own health insurance. The second camp, the BS artists, believe they can bamboozle people, especially white people in red states, about anything.”   https://www.salon.com/2019/03/29/donald-trumps-health-care-lie-too-big-for-the-base-to-swallow/   Does President Trump really have a replacement plan (cheap insurance that doesn’t cover very much), or as the author suggests, is he just lying about having a plan?

New York City police officers cleared in fatal shooting of mentally ill homeless man holding a piece of pipe. “Security videotape released by police shortly after the incident showed the 34-year-old man raising the object in a two-handed shooting stance moments before officers unleashed 10 shots that left him dead.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-killing-pipe-wielding-nyc-man-called-legal-62047543

Guess which countries don’t want a ban on killer robots? “…the UK is among a group of states – including Australia, Israel, Russia and the US – speaking forcefully against legal regulation.”   https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/mar/29/uk-us-russia-opposing-killer-robot-ban-un-ai

DEA reportedly failed to get clearance for three mass, warrantless data collection programs. “In a heavily redacted, 144-page report published Thursday, the Justice Department Inspector General revealed the administration failed to fully assess the legal basis for three massive international surveillance operations that ran largely unchecked from 1992 to 2013.”   https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2019/03/dea-never-checked-if-its-massive-surveillance-operations-are-legal-watchdog-says/155933/

Federal judge concerned that lawsuit over NSA mass surveillance program could threaten national security. “A ruling on (the legal standing of the five plaintiffs) would expose whether the National Security Agency collected the plaintiffs’ internet and phone data, a disclosure the government says will imperil state secrets.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/judge-weighs-whether-advancing-nsa-suit-will-harm-national-security/

Federal judge rules that California’s ban on large ammunition magazines is unconstitutional. “The judge found because magazines over 10 rounds are commonly owned by ‘law-abiding responsible citizens for lawful uses like self-defense’, ownership of the weapons passes the Supreme Court’s Heller test which found citizens have a right to keep and bear arms that are not unusual and are ‘in common use’.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/california-ban-on-high-capacity-gun-magazines-struck-down/

Video of Justine Ruszczyk Damond police shooting too graphic to be viewed in open court rules judge. “(Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance) said the body camera video recorded by (Officer) Noor and his partner will be played at the back of the courtroom so that only the judge, jury and attorneys can see it.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/public-wont-see-video-of-ex-cop-shooting-australian-woman/

Former military officer from El Salvador gets to keep his U.S. citizenship despite failing to disclose his alleged participation in a massacre of civilians. “After a lengthy investigation, in 1989 the Commission for the Investigation of Criminal Acts, a Salvadoran military commission, identified Vasquez as one of several soldiers who had killed the 10 detainees on Beltran’s orders.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/ex-salvadoran-military-officer-wins-citizenship-battle/

 

March 30, 2019