July 17, 2019

The situation in Venezuela is bad, but not bad enough for refugees to be granted ‘temporary protected status’ in the U.S., says Trump administration. “The Trump administration has taken the lead in imposing sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and in January was the first country to recognize National Assembly head Juan Guaidó’s claim to the country’s presidency.”   https://thehill.com/policy/international/453392-trump-administration-denies-temporary-immigrant-status-to-venezuelans-in

ACLU to challenge Kansas plea deal that permanently banished man from the state. “Two weeks after he was sentenced, Montgomery County issued an arrest warrant for (Bo) Rupert stating he had violated the terms of his probation because he did not attend his probation meetings in Kansas.”   https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/man-banished-from-kansas-in-plea-deal-seeks-to-return

Instagram reportedly told users who reported murder photos that the images did not violate its community guidelines. “When social media users reported the images, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, sent a reply saying that the images had been reviewed, and they did not violate its community guidelines.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/instagram-faces-criticism-leaving-gruesome-images-teens-corpse/story?id=64363785

Department of Justice announces results of its investigation into death of cigarette-selling suspect Eric Garner, says it will not prosecute the police officers involved. “Five years ago, my son said, ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times, and today, we can’t breathe because they have let us down.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/16/justice-department-not-bring-charges-death-eric-garner/1741169001/   They can kill a man on video and still not be charged. Like 007, they are licensed to kill, even people accused of petty crimes.

Protesters block entrance to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s D.C. headquarters. “Hundreds of protesters, including Jewish people, migrants and other supporters, joined Never Again Action in marching from the National Mall to the agency’s headquarters…. The group is protesting the conditions at migrant detention centers on the southern border and the separation of migrant families…”   https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/453359-jewish-group-blocks-entrances-to-ice-headquarters-during

CNN and former president of Ecuador call publishing hacked (or leaked) Democratic Party emails ‘election meddling’. “WikiLeaks’ justification was that they were providing truthful information,” Correa told CNN. “Sure, but (it) was just about Hillary Clinton. Not about (Donald) Trump.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/16/politics/ecuador-response-assange-wikileaks/index.html   Does that mean CNN’s Russia-gate coverage is ‘election meddling’ too?

England to put persecuted, gay war hero on its 50 pound banknotes. “(Alan Turing’s gross indecency) conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-48994393   Turing helped break Germany’s Enigma code. “…on at least one occasion an intercepted Enigma message’s English translation was being read at the British Admiralty less than 15 minutes after the Germans had transmitted it.”   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18419691

Healthy, 31 year-old Palestinian prisoner dies in Israeli prison while in solitary confinement, authorities say he died of a stroke. “The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said (Nassar) Taqatqa’s death meant that the number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli prisons since 1967 has risen to 220.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/palestinian-prisoner-dies-solitary-confinement-israeli-jail-190716074433939.html

Amazon software engineers and pilots stand in solidarity with striking Shakopee warehouse workers. “As we know firsthand, Amazon’s business model too often neglects the well-being of the workers who make the e-commerce giant so incredibly successful.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-prime-day-2019-protests-by-warehouse-workers-pilots-and-software-engineers/

Disney heiress goes undercover to investigate employee complaints. “(Abigail Disney), who is also a filmmaker and activist, said Disney CEO Bob Iger needs to fix the huge wage gap between his pay and that of an average worker at the company.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/16/media/abigail-disney-disneyland-undercover/index.html

Federal court’s protective order is blocking release of San Diego police shooting evidence. “The city has stated that it will not disclose records relating to the shooting of Mr. (Fridoon) Nehad while litigation regarding that shooting is ongoing because, it says, the court has issued a protective order prohibiting disclosure of those records.”   https://www.kpbs.org/news/2019/jul/15/san-diego-wont-release-police-shooting-records-des/

42 Maryland police departments failed to comply with state law requiring them to track excessive force statistics. “That’s resulted in extreme under-counting of such encounters in annual reports mandated by the law and collated by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.”   https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/Police-Not-Complying-With-Marylands-Excessive-Force-Law.html

Video of  police take-down released in case of Burlington, Vermont man who died in March after his skull was fractured. “…(Douglas) Kilburn was trying to visit his wife at (the University of Vermont) Medical Center.”   https://www.vpr.org/post/burlington-police-union-releases-body-camera-footage-douglas-kilburn-altercation

LA County settles body cavity search lawsuit, agrees to pay $53 million to former prisoners. “The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2010 on behalf of former inmates who said they were placed in groups of up to 50 and ordered to expose their genitals while deputies shouted degrading comments…. The agreement applies to more than 93,000 women…”   https://apnews.com/30404d5585e843b487c73d40762bbe56

FBI informant convinces brothers to make rifles to sell to ISIS, then FBI agents posing as arms dealers arrest them for making rifles to sell to ISIS. “Court documents say in June 2018, Mahde (Dannon) came up with a ‘scheme’ to deliver guns to a convicted felon who was actually cooperating with the FBI. He then got his brother involved and introduced him to the informant.”   https://fox59.com/2019/07/11/fishers-brothers-charged-with-manufacturing-automatic-rifles-for-isis/   At least that’s what it sounds like happened. It’s not like they were making rifles and selling them to ISIS, and then the FBI caught wind of their already up-and-running arms dealing business. I wonder if the informant had to train them how to make the rifles?

More governments imposing restrictions on religious activity. “…the latest data shows that 52 governments – including some in very populous countries like China, Indonesia and Russia – impose either ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of restrictions on religion, up from 40 in 2007.”   https://www.pewforum.org/2019/07/15/a-closer-look-at-how-religious-restrictions-have-risen-around-the-world/

Kashmir residents accuse Indian authorities of torture. “According to the report, 326 people have been subjected to beating as a form of torture, followed by electrocution (231), stripping prisoners naked (190), rolling a heavy log on detainees legs (169), electrocution in genitals (127), hanging upside down (121), stress position/tying hands (105), head dunking in water mixed with chili (101) and so on.”   https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2019/7/16/gory-tales-of-torture-in-indian-administered-kashmir

Trump administration accused of deporting Iraqi Christians back to Iraq. “Much of Iraq is now lawless and Christian minorities are still persecuted – about 1.5 million Chaldeans lived in Iraq before the 2003 US invasion destabilized the country, and only about 250,000 remain.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/17/iraqi-christians-face-deportation-conned-trump

Data privacy group sues AT&T over alleged sales of customer location data. “AT&T granted direct access to this data to the aggregator defendants, who in turn sold such access to hundreds of third parties – including bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, landlords, and law enforcement – with AT&T’s consent.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/class-claims-att-sold-their-real-time-locations-to-bounty-hunters/

 

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July 17, 2019

July 16, 2019

President Trump accuses his critics of ‘hating America’. “These are people who in my opinion hate our country. All I’m saying is, if they’re not happy here, they can leave.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-demands-radical-left-congresswomen-apologize-him-u-s-israel-n1029831   You have two choices, submit to Trump’s agenda or leave. Can you imagine President Obama telling Republicans that if they oppose Obamacare they must hate America, and should just leave?

Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys submit financial disclosure revealing that their client is only a 1/2 billionaire. “The total assets listed are $559,120,954.”   https://nypost.com/2019/07/15/court-papers-reveal-how-much-jeffrey-epstein-actually-is-worth/

Man who drove into crowd of anti-fascist protesters is sentenced to a second life sentence (plus 419 years), this time by a state court. “Last month, a federal judge sentenced the 22-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”   https://www.npr.org/2019/07/15/741756615/virginia-court-sentences-neo-nazi-james-fields-jr-to-life-in-prison   While I’m certainly not a fan of nazis, it does seem unconstitutional to try someone for the same crime twice. Some Supreme Court justices agree. “On one side: defenders of the Constitution’s original meaning, such as Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, and individual rights, led by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To them, double jeopardy seems unjustified and unfair.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/05/supreme-court-double-jeopardy-federal-state-prosecutions/2165392002/

Native Hawaiians protest project to build giant telescope on sacred mountain. “The protesters gathered in response to an announcement by the state that officials would close the road to the summit of Mauna Kea on Monday so they could begin bringing equipment to the construction site in coming days.”   https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/hawaii-activists-ready-hawaii-telescope-convoys-64334056

Man killed during attack on Tacoma migrant detention center apparently appeared in the May 5th episode of ‘United Shades of America’.  “CNN featured the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club in an episode of its ‘Shades of America’ series.”   https://www.theepochtimes.com/extremists-glorify-slain-antifa-terrorist-who-firebombed-immigrant-detention-center_3003038.html   You can watch it here:   https://archive.org/details/CNNW_20190506_050000_United_Shades_of_America/start/2760/end/2820

Italian police seize missile, guns, bayonets and Nazi memorabilia during raids on neo-nazi sympathizers. “Monti, 42, and Bernardi, 51, were arrested for allegedly possessing and trying to selling a French-made Matra air-to-air missile, while Bergiolo, 60, was arrested for allegedly acting as an intermediary to sell weapons, a Turin police statement said.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/15/europe/italy-nazi-weapons-missile-seizure-intl/index.html

Puerto Ricans outraged by leaked chat messages of ruling party politicians. “Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan, a candidate for governor and a critic of (current Gov. Ricardo) Rossello, said on Puerto Rican radio Saturday that she had filed a police complaint against Rossello and his former chief financial officer, Christian Sobrino, over a leaked message in which Sobrino had written in Spanish about Cruz: ‘I am salivating to shoot her’.”   https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2019/jul/15/puerto-ricans-rally-for-governor-to-qui/

Puerto Rican police use teargas to disperse protesters calling for the governor’s resignation. “Puerto Ricans organized smaller protests in solidarity outside of the island, including in New York and Washington.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/us/puerto-rico-protests-rossello-governor.html

Radiation levels up to 1,000 times higher than near Chernobyl and Fukushima discovered on Marshall Islands, say researchers. “The 67 nuclear bombs the United States detonated between 1946 and 1958 left widespread contamination on the Marshall Islands, a set of 29 atolls halfway between Australia and Hawaii.”   https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-marshall-islands-radiation-20190715-story.html

Uber and Lyft accused of paying drivers to attend a protest at the California state capitol in support of maintaining their independent contractor status. “Your voice had an impact and the Legislature heard loud and clear that you want to keep your flexibility and control over your work! Please expect a driver credit in the next five business days for your travel, parking, and time.”   https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-ab5-uber-lyft-rally-sacramento-pay-20190715-story.html

Amazon employee says the work pace at the Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center is exhausting. “(William Stolz) says he has to pick an item about every eight seconds, or 332 per hour, for a 10 hour day.”   https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48990482

Next Day deliveries result in higher environmental costs, say experts. “I don’t think the average consumer understands the environmental impact of having something tomorrow vs. two days from now. The more time you give me, the more efficient I can be.”   https://www.wraltechwire.com/2019/07/15/delivery-now-or-later-your-next-day-demands-come-at-an-environmental-cost/

Boeing customer has the ‘Max’ dropped from 737 paint job. “Photos have emerged of a 737 Max in Ryanair colours outside Boeing’s manufacturing hub, with the designation 737-8200 – instead of 737 Max – on the nose.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jul/15/boeing-737-max-ordered-by-ryanair-undergoes-name-change

Palantir Gotham user’s manual shows shocking amount of personal data now available to law enforcement agencies. “If police have a name that’s associated with a license plate, they can use automatic license plate reader data to find out where they’ve been, and when they’ve been there. This can give a complete account of where someone has driven over any time period.”   https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9kx4z8/revealed-this-is-palantirs-top-secret-user-manual-for-cops   It’s unclear from the article if a search warrant is needed or if police can just ‘dragnet’ suspects until they find something.

Bahrain accused of contracting out killings of pro-democracy activists to al-Qaeda. “Bahraini intelligence officers and Al-Qaeda commanders coordinated attacks on the Bahraini opposition, according to the Al-Jazeera documentary, which was entitled Those who Play with Fire.”   https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/7/15/bahrain-king-recruited-al-qaeda-to-assassinate-opposition-activists

Congressman wants military to investigate allegations that it had a program that used ticks to deliver biological weapons. “With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States—with an estimated 300,000 to 437,000 new cases diagnosed each year and 10-20 percent of all patients suffering from chronic Lyme disease—Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true.”   https://taskandpurpose.com/military-ticks-biological-weapons

400 Wisconsin National Guard members deploy to Afghanistan. “…Gov. Tony Evers told the soldiers and their families that their sacrifice and courage helps ensure the liberties and freedoms enjoyed by Americans.”   https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Hundreds-of-Wisconsin-guard-soldiers-deploying-to-Afghanistan-512725221.html

Bernie Sanders addresses crowd at Philadelphia hospital at risk of being turned into a property development project. “As private equity vultures move toward closing Hahnemann University Hospital, which serves as a lifeline for tens of thousands of poor Philadelphians, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined a rally outside the facility on Monday and condemned the effort to shutter the hospital as corporate greed at its worst.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/15/human-life-more-important-corporate-profits-sanders-joins-community-stop-financial

Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly calls progressive Democrats ‘communists’. “During Graham’s appearance on ‘Fox and Friends’, one of President Donald Trump’s favorite shows, the senator called Ocasio-Cortez and fellow members of  ‘The Squad’, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), ‘communists’ who ‘hate Israel’ and America.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/15/aoc-slams-lindsey-graham-comments-akin-1950s-mccarthyism-battle-between-progressive

 

July 16, 2019

Tempe Starbucks Incident

I don’t usually investigate and write up original news stories, but every so often there are stories that are either inexplicably not being covered, or which omit clearly important details, or which are not being followed up on by the mainstream media in the manner that one would normally expect. Actually, there are a lot of these stories, but since PNS is just citizen journalism, my unpaid hobby, I barely have time to do a decent job just collecting important news stories. So it’s a rare story that is so puzzling that I take the time to try to follow up on it, usually running into a wall of silence. The incident at the Tempe Starbucks, where an employee allegedly asked a group of six police officers to move away from a customer who felt uneasy about their presence is one such story. Why is the version of events given by the police union representing Tempe police officers the only version of events being reported? No one in the local or national news media has sought out more details about what actually happened? I contacted Starbucks to see if there was more to this story:

Dear Starbucks,
So far the public has only heard the police union’s version of the incident at the Tempe Starbucks, where a barista allegedly asked six police officers to move simply because a customer complained that she didn’t feel safe. Does the employee’s version of events line up with this account? Were there any witnesses? Is there store security video?
With all due respect, the version of events being related by the Tempe police union is hard to believe. I understand all of the officers were standing when they were asked to move. Were they blocking access to the door or the counter? Were they behaving in a boisterous manner, being noisy, or making inappropriate jokes or comments? Were they taking up a lot of space? In other words, could there have been an objective reason that a customer might have felt uneasy, which was convincing enough that your employee felt there was some substance to the customer’s complaint?
I’ve been waiting for more details about this incident to come out, but they haven’t, and I find that strange. Have any news organizations asked for interviews with the store’s employees, or the customers who were present, or the customer who complained?
Sincerely,
Edwin Stamm
Progressive News Service
I’m waiting for a response….
Tempe Starbucks Incident

July 15, 2019

President Trump tells second generation immigrants in Congress to ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’. “The attack was aimed at four first-term House Democrats… Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts. But only one of them, Ms. Omar, was born outside the United States…”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/14/reader-center/trump-democrats-go-back.html

Detained migrants claim they have not be able to shower or brush their teeth in 40 days. “(Rep. Annie) Kuster said at the first facility they visited, adult male detainees ‘were jammed into cells so that they couldn’t even lay down’ and Border agents told the lawmakers that detainees had been there for one to 60 days.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/13/politics/congressional-democrats-visit-texas-border-facilities-migrants/index.html

Some Latino citizens say they are carrying their passports at all times to avoid accidental deportation. “I was born in Seattle, Washington. I now carry my passport and official birth certificate with me at all times.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fear-ice-raids-leads-some-u-s-citizens-carry-their-n1029621

No charges for mental hospital staff who suffocated patient to death. “Video of the incident showed the employees on top of (William) Avant at a Columbia (South Carolina) mental hospital for four minutes.”   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7246625/S-Carolina-mental-hospital-patient-died-bottom-dogpile.html

Workers at Amazon fulfillment center in Minnesota go on strike. “When Hibaq Mohamed started working at a new Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, in 2016, she was required to pack a minimum of about 160 boxes an hour…. (Amazon) has raised that standard to more than 250, she said.”   https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/a-prime-day-for-an-amazon-workers-strike   That works out to about 4 boxes per minute.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters clash with police again. “The demonstration began peacefully, with people marching for a few hours shouting slogans and weaving through heavily residential neighborhoods alongside a river. However, the atmosphere quickly became tense after police deployed pepper spray…”   https://qz.com/1665776/hong-kong-police-clash-with-protesters-in-shopping-mall/

School district in Germany bans Microsoft Office 365 over security concerns. “Besides the details that German users provide when they’re working with the platform, Microsoft Office 365 also transmits telemetry data back to the US…. that data could include anything from standard software diagnostics to user content from inside applications, such as sentences from documents and email subject lines.”   https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-office-365-banned-in-german-schools-over-privacy-fears/

Facial recognition researchers are collecting photos using cameras installed in public places. “(A Stanford facial image database) was called Brainwash, after a San Francisco cafe of the same name, where the researchers tapped into a camera. Over three days, the camera took more than 10,000 images, which went into the database… The paper did not address whether cafe patrons knew their images were being taken and used for research.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/technology/databases-faces-facial-recognition-technology.html

Twitter suspends Julian Assange support group’s account. “I’ve never once seen it post anything other than highly professional-looking advocacy for Julian Assange. I’ve certainly never seen it post anything that could be construed as abusive, misleading, or otherwise in violation of any of Twitter’s posted rules.”   https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/top-assange-defense-account-deleted-by-twitter-ba5e4c3b3213

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer says media smears and government persecution of Julian Assange amount to torture. “What may look like mere mudslinging in public debate, quickly becomes ‘mobbing’ when used against the defenseless, and even ‘persecution’ once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.”   https://medium.com/@njmelzer/demasking-the-torture-of-julian-assange-b252ffdcb768

Yellow vest protesters clash with police after Paris Bastille Day parade. “Police fired tear gas to clear protesters from the iconic Champs-Elysees, as spectators who had witnessed the parade and startled foreign tourists took cover.”   https://sg.news.yahoo.com/macron-show-off-euro-defence-cooperation-paris-parade-071647258.html

Police arrest protesters upset about opposition candidates being barred from Moscow city government election. “Opposition leaders cried foul after Moscow’s election commission said most of their sponsored candidates failed to secure the required number of signatures to participate in the election.”   https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-election-rally/dozens-detained-in-moscow-as-opposition-demands-to-be-included-in-vote-idUKKCN1U90KS   Thank goodness this ‘not enough signatures’ ploy is never used against minor party candidates in the U.S.! (sarcasm)

Asylum seekers sent back to Mexico to await their hearing were kidnapped by gang. “In July, I learned from an immigration lawyer in California that a distraught client had called to report that her sister, a Salvadoran woman, with a 14-year-old, 10-year-old, and 3-year-old, were kidnapped in Juárez. The California family scraped together $4,000 for a ransom payment, and after several days, the family was freed near a church in downtown Juárez.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/07/14/trump-remain-in-mexico-policy/

Beto O’Rourke admits his family, and his wife’s family, owned slaves. “In an interview, O’Rourke said that he and his wife knew nothing about their ancestral ties to the Confederacy and slave holding until he was contacted by the Guardian.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/14/beto-o-rourke-slavery-ancestors-interview-family-tree

New rule would block asylum seekers from Central America from applying at the border. “According to a new rule published in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border.”   https://ktla.com/2019/07/15/trump-moves-to-end-asylum-protections-for-central-americans/

Climate forum for Democratic presidential hopefuls in turmoil after sponsors drop out. “The presidential climate summit, which is a direct response to the DNC’s refusal to allow a debate focused on the climate crisis for the party’s two dozen primary candidates, is scheduled for September 23 in New York City.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/14/september-candidates-climate-forum-go-despite-dropping-sponsor

 

July 15, 2019

July 14, 2019

ICE migrant raids may also sweep up friends and family members. “The raids, which will be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over multiple days, will include ‘collateral’ deportations, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the preliminary stage of the operation. In those deportations, the authorities might detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/us/politics/ice-families-deport.html

Large protests held in cities targeted for immigration raids. “Despite these protests and local governments’ refusal to coordinate with ICE, the raids are expected to proceed as planned.”   https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/13/20693099/ice-raids-trump-chicago-new-york-san-francisco-denver-mayors-protesters

Previous administrations have also deported millions. “According to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, more than 12 million people were ‘deported’ — either removed or returned — from the US during the Clinton administration. More than 10 million were removed or returned during the (George W.) Bush  administration. Far fewer — more than 5 million — were removed or returned during the Obama administration.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/13/politics/obama-trump-deportations-illegal-immigration/index.html   And very few people even noticed, because previous presidents didn’t brag about it.

Former Mesa police officer, who fatally shot a man on his knees in a hotel hallway after he tried to hitch up his boxer shorts, was reportedly rehired so he could qualify for a disability pension. “…an Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System spokesman, told The Arizona Republic that (Philip) Brailsford receives about $2,500 a month…. The pension is in addition to the couple’s monthly income of more than $4,000 combined from their employers.”   https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa/2019/07/10/mesa-police-officer-philip-brailsford-rehired-pension-daniel-shaver-shooting/1698540001/

Woman who ran the Baton Rouge African American Museum found dead in the trunk of a car. “Baton Rouge police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said investigators were still waiting for a coroner to determine a cause of death for Sadie Roberts-Joseph after her body was found Friday afternoon.”   https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/african-american-museum-founder-discovered-dead-car-trunk-64314164

Joke about thousands storming Area 51, to discover if the government is hiding aliens, takes off. “So far, 639,000 people have confirmed their attendance on Facebook – almost exactly the population of Las Vegas.”   https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/1153051/area-51-raid-storm-area-51-event-Facebook-aliens-news   This is probably more of a vote for disclosure than an actual plan.

After a deranged Australian immigrant committed hate crime massacres, law-abiding New Zealanders are being forced to sell off their guns, but turnout so far is very low. “New Zealand’s first gun buyback in the wake of the Christchurch shooting(s) attracted more than 150 gun owners on Saturday, according to law enforcement officials…. According to estimates, the country likely has somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million guns across its 4.6 million residents…”   https://www.npr.org/2019/07/13/741480261/new-zealand-starts-gun-buyback-program-in-response-to-christchurch-mosque-shooti

President Trump wanted a military parade like the one he saw in France, now President Macron wants a Space Force like Trump’s. “China and Russia have also explored military expansion into space.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/07/13/french-space-force-macron-announces-creation-space-force-command/1723998001/   And the race to militarize space is on! Sorry, but after obscene amounts of military spending and building a new generation of nuclear weapons, there’s no money left for dealing with domestic issues, as usual.

Sudanese protesters demand justice after military’s massacre of pro-democracy activists. “Protest organisers say security forces killed at least 128 people during the dispersal and subsequent crackdown.”   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/demonstrators-sudan-demand-justice-army-crackdown-victims-190713142059690.html

Swedish government says it won’t sign U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty. “Sweden, which has close ties with NATO, has been pressured not to sign the treaty by the U.S., newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has reported.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/swedish-government-won-t-sign-problematic-un-nuclear-treaty

Facebook will reportedly be hit with a $5 billion fine over leaks of personal data to Cambridge Analytica, company’s stock jumps. “Facebook stock rose 1.9% to 204.87 Friday. Most of those gains came after the FTC settlement report.”   https://www.investors.com/news/technology/facebook-ftc-settlement-advances-fb-stock-rises/

Dairy Queen employee who made marijuana-themed birthday cake is fired. “According to USA Today, Cassandra Walker says her former manager misheard the customer’s order and okay’d a cake decorated with images of weed, instead of… Disney’s Polynesian princess (Moana).”   https://www.kxan.com/news/weird-news/dairy-queen-employee-says-she-was-fired-after-being-told-to-make-marijuana-themed-cake/   Sounds like someone deflected the blame onto ‘the help’.

House version of defense bill revokes AUMFs and limits the president’s ability to start a war with Iran. “One amendment, cosponsored by Reps. Ro Khanna, D-California and Matt Gaetz, D-Florida, would require Congressional approval before an attack on Iran could be launched. A second amendment would replace the (Authorization for Use of Military Force) that has been used to authorize actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Syria, other regions of the Middle East and Africa.”   https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/07/12/house-passes-733-billion-defense-bill-including-31-troop-pay-raise-troops.html

69 year-old man shot during attack on privately operated ICE detention center in Tacoma was reportedly an anarchist, had been arrested there during a previous protest. “As far we know, Willem Van Spronsen is the first American killed attempting to liberate an American gestapo camp.”   https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/07/attacker-on-tacoma-ice-detention-center-identified-as-anarchist-and-antifascist/

Sonoma County, California agrees not to evict homeless people without offering them alternative shelter. “To temporarily resolve a federal lawsuit over homeless camp evictions, Santa Rosa and Sonoma County vowed not to remove people from encampments unless they are offered adequate shelter first…. (Santa Rosa Mayor Tom) Schwedhelm stressed the short-term deal recognizes homelessness is not a crime while also acknowledging illegal conduct is not excused just because someone is experiencing homelessness.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/homeless-santa-rosans-win-new-protections-in-temporary-deal/

Students spray painting their high school with racist graffiti caught after their cell phones automatically connected to the school’s wifi in the middle of the night. “These (boys) had clearly given thought about how to stay anonymous—they knew they needed masks to foil the cameras—but they didn’t think the devices in their pockets could give them away.”   https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/glenelg-high-school-graffiti-wifi-login.html

 

July 14, 2019

July 13, 2019

Governor of Tennessee declares July 13th Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. “Forrest was a Confederate general, slave trader and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nathan-bedford-forrest-day-tennessee-governor-signs-proclamation-2019-07-12/

Many elections districts are still using Windows 7 software. “…Windows 7 reaches its ‘end of life’ on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing ‘patches’ to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit.”   https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/ap-exclusive-election-systems-vulnerable-software-64309328

Climate Emergency Fund collects $625,000 in donations for environmental protesters. “The money will initially be used to support school strike and Extinction Rebellion groups in the US, but will also be available to help “seed” similar groups around the world.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/12/us-philanthropists-vow-to-raise-millions-for-climate-activists

Brazil’s president appoints his son as ambassador to the U.S. “In March, the Brazilian president brought (his son) Eduardo along for a trip to D.C. for his first bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/12/embarrassing-nepotism-brazilian-president-jair-bolsonaro-appoints-son-ambassador-us

794,000 gallon oil spill at Chevron extraction operation in California. “The Last Chance Alliance, which opposes California’s oil and gas industry, said the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources adopted weaker restrictions on steam injection earlier this year, ‘making these operations even more dangerous’.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/chevron-spills-800000-gallons-of-oil-water-in-california/

Texas ballot access laws challenged with lawsuit. “…collecting the required number of valid signatures in such a tight window ‘is all but impossible without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire paid petition circulators’.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/third-parties-challenge-hurdles-to-ballot-access-in-texas/

 

July 13, 2019

July 12, 2019

Bernie Sanders shares list of ‘anti-endorsements’ made by oligarchs. “Sanders’ anti-endorsements were posted to his campaign website, and they began with a headlining quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: ‘I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made’.”   https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bernie-sanders-unveils-list-of-anti-endorsements-asks-to-be-judged-by-his-enemies   Direct link to Bernie’s list, with quotes! “In 2016 I saw Bernie Sanders and the kids around him (and) I thought, ‘This is the antichrist’.”:   https://berniesanders.com/anti-endorsements/

Migrant teen claims she was groped by laughing, male Border Patrol officer while in custody. “A 15-year-old girl from Honduras described a large, bearded officer putting his hands inside her bra, pulling down her underwear and groping her as part of what was meant to be a routine pat-down in front of other immigrants and officers.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/migrant-kids-overcrowded-arizona-border-station-allege-sex-assault-retaliation-n1027886

Google, Facebook and Twitter not invited to White House social media summit. “The summit is basically a way for the Trump administration, yet again, to seize on the uncorroborated narrative that big tech and social media companies are engaged in some coordinated conspiracy against them.”   https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/10/20689008/trump-social-media-bias-summit-fake-twitter-google

Venezuela buries former military officer accused of plotting coup, who died in police custody, against the wishes of his family, who wanted an independent autopsy. “An official autopsy showed that Acosta died of ‘polytrauma’, (a lawyer representing Rafael Acosta’s family) said. The term can refer to injuries sustained in a broad range of circumstances including car accidents and explosions.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/against-family-wishes-venezuela-govt-204048493.html

Florida deputy planted drugs on innocent motorists. “(Lora) Penn was charged with drug and paraphernalia possession and spent 12 days in jail before ‘her mother posted bond, exhausting her meager financial resources. Penn’s mother was thereafter unable to afford medical care and died due to lack of such care’, the federal lawsuit says.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/11/us/florida-deputy-arrested-planting-drugs-charges/index.html

Boeing’s insurance company accused of tricking Lion Air crash victims into signing away their rights. “Merdian Agustin’s husband, Eka, was killed in the crash. She says the insurance lawyers tried to pressure her into signing away her rights (in order to receive an immediate payment).”   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48953892

Leaked recordings reveal that Google subcontractors are listening to recordings of some people’s Google Assistant questions, and even their background conversations. “Recorded voices leaked to VRT included ‘bedroom conversations, conversations between parents and their children, but also blazing rows and professional phone calls containing lots of private information’.”   https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/07/google-defends-listening-to-ok-google-queries-after-voice-recordings-leak/

23 workers at Columbus, Ohio hospital fired over doctor who was allowed to prescribe massive doses of pain medication, allegedly killing 25 elderly patients. “(William Husel’s) lawyer says Husel was providing comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/07/11/mount-carmel-health-system-near-columbus-ohio-fires-23-doctors/1706066001/

President Trump redefines free speech at his social media summit. “… I don’t think that the mainstream media is free speech either because it’s so crooked. It’s so dishonest. So to me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad. To me, that’s very dangerous speech…”   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-media-free-speech_n_5d282394e4b0bd7d1e1a0592   There used to be a newspaper that only reported good news and never criticized the government or the country’s leaders. It was called ‘Pravda’. Nazi Germany had some like that too. The PRC and DPRK still do.

St. Louis County settles lawsuit filed by family whose dog was shot during a SWAT ‘property inspection’, agrees to pay $750,000. “Sending a SWAT team out for an unpaid gas bill, and a deck that maybe needs some repair, we consider to be overkill. Shooting someone’s pet is not an acceptable response.”   https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2019/07/02/the-st-louis-county-swat-team-blasted-a-dog-now-the-county-owes-750000

President Trump calls U.S. Constitution’s checks and balances ‘an archaic system’. “It’s a very rough system. It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-us-constitution-archaic-really-bad-fox-news-100-days-trump-popularity-ratings-barack-a7710781.html

President’s July 4th extravaganza allegedly burned up all of Washington D.C.’s security funds. “Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) sent a letter to the president on Tuesday, warning him that his Independence Day celebration, which cost the city government $1.7 million, bankrupted a special D.C. security fund used to safeguard the capital from terrorist threats and provide protection at events such as rallies and state funerals, The Washington Post reports.”   https://theweek.com/speedreads/851893/trumps-july-4th-celebration-reportedly-bankrupted-dcs-security-fund

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweets that the Department of Homeland Security is a threat to the civil liberties of Americans. “When DHS was 1st formed by Bush 17 years ago,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, “many members of Congress were concerned – incl GOP – that we were setting up a ticking time bomb for civil liberties erosion & abuse of power.”   https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ocasio-Cortez-wants-to-ax-Homeland-Security-some-14089173.php   The name ‘Homeland Security’ is revealing. What kind of regimes talk about ‘the homeland’, ‘the fatherland’ or ‘the motherland’? You won’t find anything like that in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are reportedly committing suicide as an act of protest. “The whole society has fallen into hysteria due to a volcanic eruption of the deep-seated identity crisis triggered by the (extradition) bill.”   https://www.businessinsider.com/suicide-notes-hong-kong-protesters-reference-protests-2019-7

Trump administration to begin mass roundup of illegal migrants this Sunday. “The raids are expected to take place in at least 10 major cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/7/11/headlines/trump_administration_warns_it_will_begin_mass_arrests_of_immigrants_on_sunday

High ranking Border Patrol officials allegedly belonged to secret Facebook group with abusive content. “(Agency director Carla) Provost is one of several Border Patrol supervisors The Intercept has identified as current or former participants in the secret Facebook group, including chief patrol agents overseeing whole Border Patrol sectors; multiple patrol agents in charge of individual stations; and ranking officials in the Border Patrol’s union, who have enjoyed direct access to President Trump.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/07/12/border-patrol-chief-carla-provost-was-a-member-of-secret-facebook-group/

Elizabeth Warren says she would press Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories. “What’s perhaps most remarkable about the attempt to smear Warren as an anti-Semite is that her acknowledgement that the territories are indeed occupied, rather than contested or disputed, echoes not just the longstanding position of every American president before Donald Trump but famous remarks made 16 years ago by an ultra-nationalist Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/07/10/republicans-scold-elizabeth-warren-echoing-ariel-sharon-israeli-occupation/

Joint Google and IBM non-profit accused of helping China monitor the country’s internet users. “A (Semptian) company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/07/11/china-surveillance-google-ibm-semptian/

Documentary accuses Sudanese government of planning and ordering massacre of pro-democracy protesters. “Only when (the internet shutdown) was lifted on Wednesday were protesters who filmed the attack able to share their videos.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/12/sudan-military-leaders-accused-of-ordering-massacre   The BBC Africa Eye documentary is here, but for some reason I’m being blocked from accessing YouTube’s website: “The connection to http://www.youtube.com was interrupted while the page was loading. The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR56qxM4kHA   I was also unable to find any news stories on this using a Google search – I originally saw this story on TV on the BBC World News and only found the story above when I happened to visit the Guardian’s website.

House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff urged to drop CIA secrecy provision from intelligence bill. “Schiff’s expansion of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act beyond all reason will effectively muzzle reporting on torture, mass surveillance, and other crimes against the American people—all at the request of the CIA.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/11/accusing-adam-schiff-criminalizing-routine-reporting-groups-call-stripping-cia

Six arrested at Joe Biden campaign’s Philadelphia headquarters while protesting Obama administration deportations. “We cannot sit back and allow Biden to defend the three million deportations and the unprecedented expansion of detention that happened under his watch.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/10/demanding-dignity-all-immigrants-families-separated-obama-administration-demand

Bureau of Investigative Journalism pieces together the puzzle of the CIA’s rendition and torture program. “As we cross-correlated thousands of data points — from declassified government documents, footnotes in the Senate (torture) report, aviation data, records of corporate outsourcing of rendition flights, legal cases, media reporting and NGO investigations — the contours of the CIA’s program of secret detention and torture began to emerge more clearly.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/10/cia-torture-unredacted-four-year-investigation-reveals-what-was-hidden-us-senate

Federal appeals court rules that victims of police brutality cannot be held to non-disclosure agreements. “We hold that the non-disparagement clause in (Ashley) Overbey’s settlement agreement amounts to a waiver of her First Amendment rights and that strong public interests rooted in the First Amendment make it unenforceable and void.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/gag-order-not-enforceable-in-police-brutality-settlement/

Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers argue that not allowing the billionaire to await his trial in his $77 million mansion would be discrimination against the wealthy. “Those reservations (about inequity and unequal treatment in favor of wealthy defendants), though admirably motivated and sincerely held, raise substantial equal protection concerns.”  https://www.courthousenews.com/lock-me-up-in-my-new-york-mansion-jeffrey-epstein-says/

Customs and Border Protection agrees not to make passengers on domestic flights ‘show their papers’. “The settlement is a win for Delta airline passengers who brought a 2017 federal lawsuit in Brooklyn where they claimed that agents had held them earlier in the year on the tarmac at JFK airport, refusing to let them off the plane that had flown them to New York City from San Francisco until they show their IDs.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/cbp-to-end-suspicionless-id-checks-on-domestic-flights/

Federal appeals court reverses lower court ruling that cleared San Diego police officer in fatal shooting. “Three hours after the shooting, homicide investigators questioned (Officer Neal) Browder on the scene. He told the investigators he did not see any weapons and didn’t mention feeling threatened by (Fridoon) Nehad. But five days later with his attorney present, Browder reversed course and said Nehad had a knife and was ‘aggressing’ toward his police cruiser.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/ninth-circuit-revives-suit-over-san-diego-police-shooting/

 

July 12, 2019