December 6, 2017

D.C. police commander admits he did not follow established pre-mass arrest guidelines during Trump inauguration protests. “One bike officer’s body camera showed him plowing at high speed into a protester from behind, forcefully knocking the person face down onto the pavement. Other officers could be seen using batons to beat people who appeared to have been only standing in the street. Defense attorneys and supporters of the defendants have long alleged that the blanket felony charges are in part an effort to minimize civil litigation stemming from police brutality against people attending Trump inauguration protests.”   https://www.unicornriot.ninja/2017/police-commander-behind-j20-arrests-joked-holocaust-lgbts/

District attorney charged in police shooting cover-up. “A New York district attorney was indicted by a state grand jury Friday afternoon on charges of official misconduct and perjury in relation to the investigation of an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of an unarmed black man after a traffic stop.”   https://www.theroot.com/new-york-district-attorney-indicted-in-cover-up-of-poli-1820936571

“Young Marines” – boot camp for elementary school students. “Young Marines is an example of mixing patriotism and militarism, which goes hand in hand with a lot of American culture.”   https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/12/young-marines-blesener/   But this is COMPLETELY different from the “Cubs” of Islamic State!   https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/child-soldiers-or-cubs-shown-latest-isis-video-n310646

Republican Party being torn apart by big donors. “Three extremely wealthy families, the Mercers, the Kochs, and the Adelsons, all prominent donors to the Republican party, now seem locked in a struggle over the future of the GOP.”   https://qz.com/1085077/mercers-vs-kochs-vs-adelsons-the-three-ultra-rich-families-battling-for-control-of-the-republican-party/

Homeless population increasing despite soaring stock market. “Homelessness in the United States went up slightly this year for the first time since 2010.”   https://www.npr.org/2017/12/06/568605069/homeless-population-rises-driven-by-west-coast-affordable-housing-crisis

Japanese government wants to buy cruise missiles “for defense”. “Any decision to buy longer range weapons capable of striking North Korea or even the Chinese mainland would therefore be controversial, but proponents argue that the strike weapons can play a defensive role.”   https://www.untvweb.com/news/japan-wants-missiles-enough-range-strike-north-korea-sources/

EU releases blacklist and greylist of havens for tax dodgers. “The blacklist includes South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates…. Guam…. Namibia…. American Samoa, Barbados, Grenada, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Palau, St Lucia, Samoa and Tunisia.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/05/eu-blacklist-names-17-tax-havens-and-puts-caymans-and-jersey-on-notice

U.S. farmers commit suicide five times more often than the general population. “After the study was released, Newsweek reported that the suicide death rate for farmers was more than double that of military veterans.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/06/why-are-americas-farmers-killing-themselves-in-record-numbers

Deutsche Bank turns over Trump financial records to special prosecutor. “Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, was forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president and some of his family members, who are also Deutsche clients, after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information, according to media reports.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/05/donald-trump-bank-records-handed-over-robert-mueller

Some Honduran police officers refusing orders to break up pro-democracy protests. “We can’t keep confronting people, and we don’t want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/05/we-dont-want-repress-police-honduras-refuse-orders-stamp-out-pro-democracy-protests

Lawsuit alleges some public schools in California are ineffective. “The lawsuit cites the case of Los Angeles Unified School District’s La Salle Elementary, where fewer than 10 of 179 tested pupils met state English standards this year.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-california-literacy-lawsuit-20171129-story.html

Trump administration collusion scandal expands to include Israel. “Thanks to (Robert) Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/05/michael-flynn-jared-kushner-israel-settlements-trump/

11 or more arrested on Capitol Hill during anti-tax bill protest. “On Capitol Hill Monday, scores of protesters flooded the hallways outside the offices of Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/5/headlines/protesters_target_republican_congressional_offices_over_tax_bill

Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” are the founders of the #MeToo movement. “Individual acts of courage by hundreds of women, and some men too, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/time-person-of-the-year-the-silence-breakers-who-started-the-metoo-movement/

Video shows Oregon jailers using attack dog on mentally ill inmate. “The dog can be seen shaking its head back and forth while clenching the man’s arm. Approximately 20 seconds pass before the dog releases its grip on the inmate.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/graphic-body-cam-footage-of-sheriffs-department-siccing-an-attack-dog-on-an-inmate/

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December 6, 2017

December 5, 2017

Trump tweets appear to indicate that he was asking FBI director to overlook Mike Flynn’s deception. “Flynn, who had been one of Trump’s closest and most trusted aides during the campaign and transition [and who also served as a National Security Advisor in the Trump administration], admitted lying to the FBI about pre-inauguration communications with (Russian ambassador) Kislyak, regarding efforts to blunt the Obama administration’s Russia sanctions and a U.N. resolution on Israel…”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-lawyer-says-president-knew-flynn-had-given-fbi-the-same-account-he-gave-to-vice-president/2017/12/03/5c59a620-d849-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html

Man complains about arrest and deportation of his partner to the press, gets arrested himself, claims he was told it was because of his interview. “My (ICE) supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper.”   http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/04/ice-detains-mexican-man-after-speaking-to-newspapers-about-girlfriends-deportation.html

The 1917 Houston Army mutiny was sparked by racial conflict with local law enforcement. “A total of 118 enlisted black soldiers were indicted, with 110 found guilty, 19 hanged and 63 receiving life sentences.”   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42116688

Honduran troops open fire on pro-democracy protesters, at least one killed. “A teenage girl was killed as troops opened fire on unarmed protesters in the Honduran capital on Saturday, after the government declared a 10-day curfew and suspended constitutional rights in an attempt to contain an escalating political crisis fuelled by evidence of electoral fraud.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/02/honduras-troops-shoot-dead-teenage-girl-curfew-election-crisis-protests   Sorry, not newsworthy in the U.S.

Tens of thousands of anti-corruption protesters fill streets in Israel. “Mr Bitan’s questioning comes a day after tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night for an anti-corruption rally calling on Mr Netanyahu to resign.”   https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-netanyahu-tel-aviv-david-bitan-police-protests-corruption-ally-questioned-thousands-a8089526.html

Pro-democracy protesters march in Hong Kong. “Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Lester Shum and Raphael Wong Ho-ming were among the convicted Occupy leaders chanting ‘No fear of the authoritarian era. Oppose political persecution’ during the march.”   http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2122688/joshua-wong-and-fellow-occupy-activists-join-protest-march

Trump’s lawyer says the President cannot obstruct justice. “Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd sought to excuse the president’s tweet in part by telling Axios and NBC News on Monday that the ‘president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case’.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-bold-new-legal-defense-for-trump-presidents-cannot-obstruct-justice/2017/12/04/b95cb262-d91c-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html   All hail King Donald the First!

FBI asked ATF to retrieve weapons from 4,000 gun buyers last year, who had been approved to purchase them in error. “…the thousands of gun seizure requests highlight persistent problems in a system where analysts must complete background checks within three days of the proposed purchase.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/04/exclusive-feds-issue-4-000-orders-seize-guns-people-who-failed-background-checks/901017001/

Protesters demand charges against police in fatal shooting of fleeing car theft suspect. “The group held signs that said, “Justice For Jayson (Negron)” and expressed disappointment that no charges have yet been filed in the case that has been under investigation since the May 9 shooting on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport.”   http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-br-waterbury-jayson-negron-killing-protest-20171204-story.html

Video of D.C. Park Police shooting of fleeing suspect turned over to FBI. “Bijan Ghaisar, 25, was shot by US Park Police on November 17 following a police pursuit along the George Washington Parkway. According to a US Park Police Spokesperson, Ghaisar never shot at officers. Ghaisar’s family attorney also claims that he never had a gun.”   http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/virginia/new-information-released-in-fatal-us-park-police-shooting/496751490

Supreme Court allows Trump “Muslim ban” to go into effect pending further legal decisions. “The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.”   http://time.com/5048705/supreme-court-trump-travel-ban-enforcement/

Philippines, China and India enforcing “respect for the national anthem” laws. “In Asia, countries tend to put emphasis on collective interests above any individual or sub-group interests, and [national] sovereignty is put at the extreme top.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/asia-national-anthem-laws-jail-2017-11

E-mail shows that Trump official who told Congress she was unaware of contacts with Russian officials was apparently aware of contacts with Russian officials. “(K.T.) McFarland told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July that she did not discuss or have any knowledge of Flynn’s contact with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak… In the (December 29) email, she reportedly tells another campaign aide that Flynn planned to talk to Kislyak later that day.”   http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/363213-mcfarland-contradicts-herself-on-knowledge-flynns-contacts-with

Environmental groups sue government over return of federal monument lands to Utah. “Trump had announced on Monday in Salt Lake City that he would follow (Secretary of the Interior) Zinke’s recommendations and reduce Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/monument-trump-utah-shrink-conservation-tribes-sue/index.html

Republican U.S. senator Chuck Grassley says ultra-rich deserve huge estate tax break because they don’t waste all their money on “booze or women or movies”. “In a Monday afternoon tweet, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said, ‘Just so we’re clear, Senator Grassley, here’s what my constituents are spending ‘every darn penny’ on: Rent. Groceries. Prescriptions. College tuition.'”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/04/senator-slammed-booze-and-women-comment-amid-call-all-out-blitz-stop-goptaxscam   Actually, working class consumption is the real engine that drives the economy and creates jobs, not millionaires and billionaires squirreling away their money in tax havens.

Despite warnings from allies, Trump administration goes ahead with Korean military exercises. “China and Russia had proposed that the United States and South Korea stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programmes.”   https://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/us-drills-push-korea-to-brink-of-nuclear-war-36379918.html

Steelers-Bengals game called “brutal” due to injuries, penalties. “The Pittsburgh Steelers edged their AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on Monday night but the game was overshadowed by ugly moments of violence that did little to lessen the NFL’s reputation for brutality.”   https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/05/steelers-bengals-ryan-shazier-injury-nfl

Democrats and Republicans show they can work together – filling the swamp. “The Orwellian-named (Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act) would actually deregulate several parts of the financial sector and unravel consumer protections in a corrupt alliance between Republicans and pro-Wall Street Democrats.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/04/elizabeth-warren-challenges-democrats-deregulating-wall-street/

U.S. politicians reportedly received $4.5 million in donations from firms lobbying on behalf of foreign governments in lead up to 2016 election. “Foreign lobbyists and their firms’ political action committees were also responsible for packaging a total of $5.9 million in donations for candidates and party committees, through an influence-enhancing tactic known as ‘bundling’.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/foreign-lobbyists-contributed-more-45-million-candidates-2016-elections-2623418

Google to hire 10,000 moderators to remove offensive content missed by AI. “Among these were disturbing vignettes — like footage showing screaming kids getting mock-tortured — that went viral.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/youtube-child-abuse-videos-prompt-google-hire-thousands-moderators-2623756   Looks like the robots are not ready to take our jobs quite yet.

Military spending $100 million on research into how to intentionally kill off targeted species using gene editing technology. “The dual-use nature of altering and eradicating entire populations is as much a threat to peace and food security as it is a threat to ecosystems.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/us-military-spends-100-million-species-killing-gene-research-2623532

Tennessee high school baseball team accused of threatening to “string a nigger up” and “hang the nigger-lovers” on social media, no criminal charges so far, prompting student protest. “The students said they were protesting the lack of action by school administrators, who ordered the students who sent the (messages) to write a 10-page paper as punishment.”   http://wreg.com/2017/12/04/haywood-high-school-students-stage-walkout/   What are these kids thinking, and how did we get here? Where is all this hate coming from?

Arson suspect reportedly blamed “random black guy” for trying to burn down his (presumably ex-) girlfriend’s house. “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says that they were also clued in because Madrigal drew the shape of a heart with lighter fluid on the fence that was located near his girlfriend’s bedroom window.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/teen-arsonist-who-torched-his-girlfriends-house-tried-to-blame-a-random-black-guy-for-his-crimes/

Calgary customer reportedly calls dark-skinned (presumably immigrant) cashier a “bomb-making motherf&%$er” for accidentally scanning the same item twice. “The customer was originally just irate at the fact that it was double-scanned and he wanted a manager,” said Lemmon, who recorded the incident. “Upon the manager getting there, it turned to a complete hate-fuelled tirade.”   https://globalnews.ca/news/3894178/video-captures-racist-tirade-at-calgary-superstore/

Fox & Friends guest reportedly accuses Colin Kaepernick of funding terrorists with jersey sales profits. “Colin Kaepernick gives money to terrorists,” Jackson said in Friday’s episode. “So look at the people he has donated money to, these are radicals in many cases. Very anti-American, ethnocentrically racist black organizations.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/fox-news-says-colin-kaepernick-funds-terrorists/   Meals on Wheels, Coalition for the Homeless, Justice League NYC, Lower East Side Girls Club, business suits for released inmates, American Friends Service Committee…

International Criminal Court prosecutor says UK troops likely committed war crimes against detainees. “Following a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available… there is reasonable basis to believe that members of the UK armed forces committed war crimes, within the jurisdiction of the Court, against persons in their custody.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/reasonable-basis-british-war-crimes-iraq-icc-201029373.html

10 arrested in murder of “Panama Papers” journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta. “The murder on 16 October sent shockwaves through the island and alarmed the EU, which was already concerned about the rule of law on Malta. The bloc’s smallest member state has often been branded a haven for dubious foreign money.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/04/daphne-caruana-galizia-malta-journalist-eight-arrested-murder-inquiry

Death toll in shootings of Honduran pro-democracy protesters rises to at least 3, dozens reportedly injured. “Protesters accuse the electoral commission of rigging the vote in favor of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is a close U.S. ally.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/4/honduras_protesters_defy_military_crackdown_and

Democratic Party official says GOP tax bill will create a permanent aristocracy in U.S. “So this is really, I think, more about reordering our society, creating a hereditary aristocracy in the United States and really taking our country and leading it down a path where we will one day see a very tiny group of very, very, very rich elite people in an ocean of desperate people just trying to hang on and make it every single day…”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/4/rep_keith_ellison_gop_tax_bill

 

December 5, 2017

December 3, 2017

Jury acquits illegal immigrant who accidentally shot San Francisco woman on pier of murder charges. “Ballistic experts testified that the bullet ricocheted (off the ground presumably) about 15 feet (4.5 meters) from where Zarate was sitting and then traveled another 80 feet (24 meters) before striking Steinle in the back and piercing her heart (consistent with the defendant’s claim that the gun went off accidentally while he was handling it).”   http://m.startribune.com/jury-reaches-verdict-in-san-francisco-pier-shooting/461129233/?section=nation

NSA data reportedly being used to secretly and illegally convict terrorism suspects. “A nationwide review of federal court records by The Intercept found that of 75 terrorism defendants notified of some type of FISA spying since Section 702 became law, just 10 received notice of Section 702 surveillance. And yet Section 702 was credited with “well over 100 arrests on terrorism-related offenses” in a July 2014 report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the federal entity created to oversee intelligence authorities granted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/30/nsa-surveillance-fisa-section-702/

Judge wants answers over indefinite detention of U.S. citizen abroad. “A visibly frustrated federal judge ordered the Trump administration to tell her — by 5 p.m. Thursday — whether an American citizen the government has detained incommunicado for months has been advised of his constitutional rights and whether he has asked for legal representation.”   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unnamed-american-isis-suspect-court-hearing-aclu-trump_us_5a2044dee4b0392a4ebc2396

Senate passes budget-busting Republican tax cut bill. “Trump and GOP lawmakers have repeatedly touted the bill as a boon for the middle class, despite several independent analyses that found it’s skewed toward corporations and the wealthy.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/senate-republicans-nearing-vote-tax-bill-after-1-trillion-snag-n825591

Turkish president accused of involvement in plot to evade U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. “Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors in the trial, has accused several Turkish officials, including (President) Erdogan and some of his ministers, of taking part in a scheme to evade the sanctions.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-turkey-zarrab/turkeys-erdogan-says-u-s-courts-cannot-put-turkey-on-trial-idUSKBN1DW0CB

Former Trump National Security Advisor pleads guilty to concealing communication with Russian ambassador. “Prosecutors told U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras on Friday that (Mike) Flynn spoke with a “senior official” in President’s Trump’s transition team at the Mar-a-Lago resort to discuss what he should communicate to the Russian ambassador during a series of December 2016 calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.”   http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/362861-flynn-plea-brings-mueller-closer-to-the-white-house

Federal agencies have been monitoring activity of Black Lives Matter protesters due to imaginary links to “black supremacist extremists”. “Here, we’re seeing the conflation of an event, of a violent event (the shootings of five Dallas police officers), that had nothing to do with the movement, to then being given this identity as black supremacist extremists…”   http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20617:Feds-Secretly-Monitoring-the-Black-Lives-Matter-Movement

Pro-democracy groups call for investigation into Honduran presidential election. “We write to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to support credible, independent investigations into any and all claims of state-involvement in electoral fraud and violence during and since the November 26th elections.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/02/us-outrage-grows-risk-honduran-election-theft-50-groups-join-call

Bernie Sanders blasts Republican tax bill. “Mark my words. If passed, the Republicans will then rediscover the ‘deficit crisis,’ and push aggressively for massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education — higher education in particular — nutrition, affordable housing and more.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/02/bernie-sanders-takes-his-protecting-working-families-tour-road

Trump administration backs out of ban on cluster munitions. “‘This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the U.S. way out of line with the international consensus—cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks (unexploded bomblets) pose to civilians,’ said Patrick Wilcken, researcher on arms control and human rights at Amnesty International.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/01/trump-dod-scraps-plan-ban-cluster-bombs-maim-children-and-civilians-worldwide

U.S. accused of under-reporting “collateral damage” in war against IS. “(Airwars), which was formed by journalists to track the war, found that 5,961 civilians were killed by air strikes in Iraq and Syria between August 2014 and October 2017. The official estimate of the Defense Department stands at 801…”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/01/military-obscures-bloodshed-number-civilians-killed-us-bombs-soaring-say-watchdogs

At least 12 Iranian soldiers reportedly killed in Israeli missile attack on Syria. “Five missiles were said to have been fired by Israel, one of which destroyed the arms depot situated near El-Kiswah and two of which were intercepted by the Syrian government’s “military position,” according to SANA, Syria’s state-run news agency.”   http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/161747-171202-12-iranians-killed-in-israeli-strike-in-syria-arabic-media-reports

Two black, Chicago area men released after 23 years in prison on murder charge after DNA analysis shows no match. “Semen from (Antwinica) Bridgeman’s underwear matches someone linked to at least three assaults, prosecutors have said previously. That person has not been publicly identified.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-dna-clears-inmates-20171130-story.html

Republican tax cut bill resembles disastrous Kansas experiment. “(Governor Sam Brownback) turned a billion-dollar surplus into a billion-dollar deficit.”    http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article154962419.html

Texas prisoners barred from reading ‘The Color Purple’, ‘Freakonomics’ and ‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’, but Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is ok. “(The popularized statistics and economics book) Freakonomics, by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, is banned because it contains “racial content” the TDCJ deemed capable of provoking “offender disruption”.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/02/texas-prisons-ban-books-mein-kampf-color-purple

U.N. investigating extreme poverty in the U.S. “The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/01/un-extreme-poverty-america-special-rapporteur

Republican list of economists who support their tax plan not exactly what it seems to be. “A (University of Georgia) representative told The Intercept that no one with the name Gil Sylvia is employed there. There is a Gil Sylvia working as a marine resource economist at Oregon State University.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/gops-list-of-economists-backing-tax-cut-includes-ghosts-office-assistants-ex-felons-and-a-sprinkling-of-real-economists/

NFL pledges $89 million for criminal justice reform, but still no job for Colin Kaepernick. “As long as Colin Kaepernick is effectively banned from the NFL for protesting injustice and police brutality in America, no player should agree to any deal that weakens their power to not only bring him back, but ensure that what has happened to him never happens to another player again.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/12/02/colin-kaepernick-nfl-ban-criminal-justice-players-shaun-king/

Koch brothers worried about farm subsidies, but happy to receive tax subsidies. “Oil and gas conglomerate Koch Industries and its subsidiaries have received at least $422,796,782 in local, state and federal subsidies beginning in 2007, according to research by the Checks and Balances Project using the subsidy tracker built by Good Jobs First.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/koch-brothers-receive-400-million-subsidies-want-government-out-thanksgiving

Hidden in GOP tax bill is provision to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel extraction. “One little-known provision would open one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil and fracked gas drilling.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/1/gop_quietly_moves_to_open_arctic

December 3, 2017

November 30, 2017

Manila police caught on video executing drug suspects. “The security camera footage not only contradicts the police account of the Barangay 19 killings. It also provides further evidence of another drug-war tactic: the disabling of surveillance cameras at crime scenes by the police.”   https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/philippines-drugs-surveillance/

Trump retweets anti-Muslim hate videos. “The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, said in a statement that Trump is ‘clearly telling members of his base that they should hate Islam and Muslims’.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-theresa-may-britain-first-20171129-story.html   Trump could be banned from Britain under UK law against fostering hate. “In (Theresa) May’s previous role as home minister, she added two Islamophobic American bloggers, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, to a list of “extremists” barred from travel to the country, on the grounds that their presence could ‘foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the U.K.'”    https://theintercept.com/2017/11/29/president-united-states-spent-morning-retweeting-british-fascists/

Air Force admits it failed to flag “several dozen” of its members for exclusion from gun purchases. “The Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, said in recent days that his service (also) failed in a “significant amount” of cases to alert the FBI to soldiers’ criminal history.”   https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-11-28/air-force-lapse-in-kelley-case-was-part-of-pattern

Coast Guard accused of holding men detained in international waters in chains for months without legal representation or family contact. “…they are detaining hundreds of suspected smugglers every year and then chaining those men aboard Coast Guard cutters by short chains, chains around their ankles, chained to the decks of these ships or along the side of these ships, and holding them aboard Coast Guard cutters for weeks or months while the ships continue their drug interdiction patrols, and eventually transferring these men back to the United States to face prosecution here.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/28/floating_guantanamos_how_the_coast_guard

Honolulu tells medical marijuana users to hand in their firearms. “Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition.”   http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/11/28/breaking-news/honolulu-police-tell-legal-marijuana-users-to-turn-in-their-firearms/

Trump accused of lying about tax “reform” bill. “In 2019 the richest 1% of taxpayers would receive 60% of the pass-through tax breaks and 44% of the corporate tax breaks.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/29/here-are-four-biggest-lies-trump-told-his-final-tax-scam-sales-pitch

White House lawyer who justified takeover of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reportedly represented payday loan company before CFPB just last year. “CFPB alleged that NDG, which issues and collects payday loans online, made “false threats” to consumers that non-payment would result in wage garnishment, arrest, or imprisonment.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/27/white-house-memo-justifying-cfpb-takeover-was-written-by-payday-lender-attorney/

Atlanta police issued citations to groups feeding the homeless. “Atlanta police officers told charitable individuals that they can no longer feed the homeless without applying for and receiving a permit… for the ‘operation of a food service establishment’.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/29/atlanta-feeding-homeless-permit-police/

Department of Homeland Security taking bids for facial recognition scanners. “According to solicitation documents, the pilot program challenges bidding companies to accurately identify three individuals in a car traveling at roughly 25 mph through raised car windows and light rain, with one of the passengers in the vehicle’s backseat.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/29/facial-recognition-homeland-security-borders/

Trump accused of appointing “acting” directors to federal agencies to maintain control. “At key federal agencies that were designed to be insulated from political influence, he has refused to appoint officials to full terms, and instead appointed acting directors — a status that gives the officials fewer job protections, and allows Trump to more easily remove them if they displease him.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/how-trump-uses-acting-directors-give-himself-more-power-less-scrutiny-2621588

Large Chicago bakery forced to fire 800 illegal employees. “Cloverhill Bakery, which used an unnamed staff recruitment agency to hire its work staff and did not bother double-checking if all of them had proper documentation needed to work in the U.S., ended up losing 35 percent of its work staff after the raid.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/immigrants-food-industry-mcdonalds-bun-maker-fires-800-illegal-workers-now-struggling-2621792

Royal Oak, Michigan man files lawsuit claiming he was attacked by court officers when he tried to pay a $10 parking ticket in pennies to avoid a credit card fee. “Sevy, in his lawsuit, says the court officers assaulted him, unlawfully arrested him, and violated his right to free speech in what he considered a “symbolic protest” in paying an “unjustified” ticket.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/guards-choke-michigan-man-who-tried-pay-parking-ticket-pennies-2621782   Video report here shows attack:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RQbAp9BTpM

Political activists in the U.S. report receiving threatening robocalls in response to their social media activity. “Citizens for Trump has not yet responded to questions about whether it is behind the calls or, if it is, how it is choosing whom to target.”   https://gizmodo.com/people-are-getting-robocalls-about-their-derogatory-t-1820819203

U.S. military still denies killing Somali villagers. “The August 25 massacre at Barire village in Somalia was a major problem for the Somali government, who initially denied that anything happened but then admitted that 10 civilians were killed in joint US-Somali operations against the village.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/11/29/despite-mounting-evidence-pentagon-denies-us-troops-killed-somali-civilians/

Mainstream media accused of overlooking roots of Libya’s slave markets. “…even the few news reports that do acknowledge NATO’s complicity in the chaos in Libya do not go a step further and detail the well-documented, violent racism of the NATO-backed Libyan rebels who ushered in slavery after ethnically cleansing and committing brutal crimes against black Libyans.”   http://fair.org/home/media-nato-regime-change-war-libya-slave-markets/

Ambassadors of United States, Britain and France to skip Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony this year. “The anti-nuclear (weapons) group (ICAN) which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize accused the United States, Britain and France on Wednesday of snubbing its disarmament work by planning to send only second-rank diplomats to the award ceremony next month.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-nobel/u-s-britain-france-accused-of-snubbing-anti-nuclear-nobel-prize-idUSKBN1DT37R

Journalism group files lawsuit to force government to reveal its surveillance of journalists. “Instead of the normal media guidelines, the FBI apparently had separate—and secret—rules for using National Security Letters to target journalists.”   https://www.cjr.org/watchdog/government-surveillance-journalists.php

29 “Dirty War” officials sentenced to life in prison in Argentina. “Human rights groups estimate Argentina’s (right-wing) military government killed up to 30,000 people during the (1976-1983) dictatorship.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/argentine-court-sentences-29-life-dictatorship-crimes-003210299.html

About 9,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Iraq says Pentagon. “In its quarterly report, the Pentagon said there were nearly 9,000 U.S. troops in Iraq—more than 3,000 more troops than the military has officially acknowledged.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/29/headlines/pentagon_admits_there_are_nearly_9_000_us_troops_in_iraq

Lawyers protest immigration arrests at courthouses. “In New York City, lawyers with the Legal Aid Society staged a walkout at the Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents snatched a man from the hallway of the courthouse and took him into ICE custody.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/29/headlines/lawyers_stage_walkout_at_brooklyn_criminal_court_to_protest_ice_arrests_at_courthouse

November 30, 2017

November 28, 2017

Tobacco industry finally placing court ordered ads – after 11 year delay. “The “corrective statements” to be aired beginning 26 November are part of a 2006 judgment against tobacco companies, which found companies such as RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris broke anti-racketeering laws, lied about how cigarettes harmed health and denied their efforts to market cigarettes to children.”   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/26/tobacco-mea-culpa-companies-to-run-corrective-statements-on-smoking

Supreme Court to hear case involving privacy of “third party” records. “Visiting a website, sending an email, buying a book online – all of these things requiring sharing sensitive data with internet service providers, merchants, banks and others. If this kind of commonplace and unavoidable information-sharing is sufficient to extinguish constitutional privacy rights, the digital-age fourth amendment will soon be a dead letter.”   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/27/supreme-court-cellphone-data-carpenter-first-amendment

Arizona judge orders press to conceal identity of prosecutor. “…if you ever go to court accused of a crime, you deserve to know that the identity of the person prosecuting the case will be public — not hidden behind a judge’s order of secrecy.”   https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2017/11/21/judge-bars-prosecutor-name-violates-right-to-know/882407001/

New York Times accused of blaming Edward Herman, in his obituary, for downplaying atrocities that happened after his book was published. “In the obituary, the Times’ Sam Roberts wrote of the classic book that Ed co-wrote with Noam Chomsky, ‘Manufacturing Consent was severely criticized as having soft-pedaled evidence of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and, during the Bosnia war, Srebrenica’. The problem with this statement is that Manufacturing Consent was published in 1988—years before the 1994 Rwandan genocide or the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.”   http://fair.org/home/nyts-obit-for-ed-herman-requires-a-correction/   Looks like the NYT has corrected their error.

Russia passes law categorizing foreign news media as “foreign agents”. “It will now allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of “foreign agents” and to disclose their funding sources.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-media-restrictions/russias-putin-signs-foreign-agents-media-law-idUSKBN1DP0I2

Supreme Court declines to hear case on Maryland law that bans military-style rifles. “The justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-wont-review-marylands-law-banning-sales-of-assault-weapons/2017/11/27/ad68ce42-d380-11e7-95bf-df7c19270879_story.html   Is speech that is too harshly critical of the government the next clearly protected constitutional right that will be quashed by the courts?

Former White House communications director reportedly threatens to sue student newspaper editorial writer for defamation. “It’s not surprising that a Trump disciple who briefly led a virulently anti-media White House would try to shut down an opinion column critical of him. It is surprising, however, that the Fletcher School would keep such a person on the advisory committee.”   https://www.salon.com/2017/11/27/big-tough-anthony-scaramucci-threatens-to-sue-university-newspaper-over-op-ed/

New York Times widely criticized for profile of white nationalist. “The newspaper maintained that the story did not intend to “normalize” white nationalist views by giving Hovater a platform, but to reveal how such hateful views have become “far more normal” in the U.S.”   http://thehill.com/homenews/media/361866-nyt-regrets-offending-so-many-readers-after-profile-of-nazi-sympathizer

Dictionary website names “complicit” word of the year. “Dictionary.com defines “complicit” as ‘choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing’.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/11/27/complicit-is-the-2017-word-of-the-year-according-to-dictionary-com/

EU approves use of chemical found in herbicide Roundup for five more years. “Critics say it’s carcinogenic and negatively affects biodiversity, but many farmers say there is no viable, cost-effective alternative and that banning it will push food prices up.”   http://www.dw.com/en/weed-killer-glyphosate-eu-license-extended-for-further-five-years/a-41549110

Russian president unveils monument to victims of Stalinism (without mentioning Stalin). “With tears in her eyes, 78-year-old Zoya Puchkina described how her father was arrested in 1943 after a colleague at the factory where he worked reported him for saying the country had not been ready for war.”   https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-unveils-monument-victims-political-repression-154601051.html

Time magazine bought by group of investors which includes Koch brothers. “The deal was made possible, in part, by an infusion of $650 million from the private equity arm of Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers known for using their wealth and political connections to advance conservative causes.”   https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/26/business/dealbook/time-inc-meredith-corporation-koch-brothers.html

Wells Fargo traders may have cheated foreign exchange customers in pursuit of bonuses. “Of the approximately 300 fee agreements for foreign exchange trades reviewed internally by Wells Fargo, only about 35 firms were billed the price they had been quoted, the employees told the Journal.”   https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/27/wells-fargo-bankers-overcharged-clients-for-higher-bonuses.html

Facebook announces use of artificial intelligence to detect suicidal posts. “The idea of Facebook proactively scanning the content of people’s posts could trigger some dystopian fears about how else the technology could be applied. Facebook didn’t have answers about how it would avoid scanning for political dissent or petty crime, with Rosen merely saying ‘we have an opportunity to help here so we’re going to invest in that’.”   https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/27/facebook-ai-suicide-prevention/

Apartment complex manager uses “abandonment” clause to evict single mom, throw all of the family’s belongings into dumpsters.  “The manager showed us an abandonment clause in the lease that she says gives her the authority to change the locks and take back the apartment, without having to go through the legal process of filing eviction.”   http://kfor.com/2017/11/21/family-comes-home-to-find-their-furniture-and-belongings-in-dumpster/

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has two bosses. “Two public servants — one a holdover from the Obama administration, the other a rushed temporary appointee by President Trump — messily and publicly vied to lead an agency that has fought for consumers while under political assault by Republicans. Its future as an independent agency rests on who leads it next.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/27/us/politics/cfpb-leandra-english-mulvaney.html

 

November 28, 2017

November 26, 2017

People around the world march against violence against women. “People in Turkey, France, Chile, Italy, Mozambique, Sweden, Spain and other countries marched this weekend in support of the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, commencing two weeks of campaigning for gender equality.”   https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/thousands-of-demonstrators-across-the-world-protest-violence-against-women

German court approves plan to destroy ancient forest to expand coal strip mine. “Cries of protest erupted in the Cologne Administrative Court on Friday after the judge ruled that development plans for the Hambach open-pit mine did not breach environmental legislation and could go ahead as planned.”   http://www.dw.com/en/german-activists-lose-bid-to-halt-hambach-mine-expansion/a-41517134

Lutheran youth pastor fatally shoots his family on Thanksgiving. “A domestic dispute turned deadly when a man shot and killed his wife, her daughter, and the daughter’s boyfriend at their Virginia home on Thanksgiving evening, police said.”   http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/virginia-pastor-guns-family-thanksgiving-triple-murder-article-1.3655061

Another Japanese company admits falsifying product specifications. “Buyers of Japanese industrial goods from Boeing Co. to Airbus SE were once again scrambling to confirm whether safety had been compromised after Mitsubishi Materials said three of its units had faked data on products that may have been delivered to more than 250 customers.”   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-23/mitsubishi-materials-says-two-of-its-units-falsified-parts-data-jaccl2us

Chinese bike share bubble bursts, billions had been invested. “…a mangled pile of bicycles covering an area roughly the size of a football pitch, and so high that cranes are need to reach the top; cast-offs from the boom and bust of China’s bike sharing industry.”   https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/25/chinas-bike-share-graveyard-a-monument-to-industrys-arrogance

Trump tweets that Egyptian mosque bombing just proves how much we need a Muslim ban and a wall along the Mexican border. “…. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/25/trump-uses-mosque-attack-promote-muslim-ban-death-toll-tops-300

Republicans spoofing themselves with their “tax reform” bill. “If Democrats were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Republican positions, they might call it “The Take from the Poor to Help Billionaires Act of 2017″…. It’s currently making its way through Congress.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/11/26/gop-tax-reform-caricature-becomes-reality/

Malibu church pressured to stop feeding homeless people. “…Malibu United Methodist Church — facing pressure from the city — in recent weeks took a U-turn, deciding twice-weekly dinners for homeless people would stop after Thanksgiving.”   http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-malibu-homeless-soup-kitchen-20171124-story.html

Man claims Amelia Earhart and her traveling partner were executed by the Japanese military. “The (Chamorro resident’s) uncle said that the two were in the Saipan prison for two or three days before they were killed.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/11/25/amelia-earhart-and-and-fred-noonan-were-prisoners-saipan-and-killed-according-uncles-tale/894412001/

Mall shuts down, seven arrested after police brutality protest in St. Louis. “The protest was part of an economic boycott effort announced in early November by African-American clergy and activists over issues from police treatment of blacks to bank loan practices to infrastructure neglect in the northern part of St. Louis.”   http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/st-louis-galleria-closes-after-protest-and-arrests-on-black/article_41c18a2b-9c2a-59d3-9fd6-211cd5d055bd.html

Human rights group estimates more than 340,000 killed during Syrian civil war. “…119,000 pro-government fighters (have been) killed, including Syrian troops, militia members, and Hezbollah fighters. On the rebel side, about 59,000 “rebels” were reported killed, along with 62,200 Islamists.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/11/24/observatory-estimates-340000-killed-in-syrian-war/

How many U.S. troops are in Syrian? It’s hard to say. “Less than a month ago, Gen. James Jarrard told reporters the US had about 4,000 troops in the country, though the Pentagon at the time claimed he was wrong and the real number was only 503.”   http://news.antiwar.com/2017/11/24/pentagon-to-admit-to-2000-troops-in-syria-number-likely-far-higher/

 

November 26, 2017

November 24, 2017

Still no apparent motive in Las Vegas mass shooting. “(Sheriff Joe) Lombardo says authorities found about 4,000 unused rounds (of ammunition) in the suite.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/las-vegas-shooting-stephen-paddock-gunman-fired-over-1100-rounds-sheriff-says/

California man released after 38 years in prison after DNA evidence clears him of murder. “Coley’s first trial in 1979 resulted in a hung jury, with jurors unable to resolve an impasse that left them 10-2 in favor of guilt… He was tried again in 1980, found guilty and sentenced to life without parole.”   http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/23/man-convicted-1978-california-double-murder-pardoned-after-dna-test.html   From the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

Murdered detective was to testify in court the next day in case involving eight fellow officers accused of taking money from suspects and cooperating with drug dealers. “Slain Baltimore homicide Detective Sean Suiter was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in the case against a squad of indicted officers on the day after he was shot, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday evening.”   http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-baltimore-detective-update-20171122-story.html

Baltimore neighborhood where detective was shot put on “lockdown” for days. “As police cars lined the perimeter of Harlem Park for days, residents were unable to enter their neighborhoods without showing IDs.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/23/baltimore-police-shooting-lockdown/

Few details released in D.C. area shooting by Park Police. “Did he have a weapon? Did he threaten the police? How many times was he shot? How many officers shot him? Who is he? What hospital is he in? What is he charged with? Did any body-worn or in-car cameras capture the event? Park Police won’t say.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/11/21/silence-again-surrounds-a-police-shooting-in-fairfax-county-this-time-by-u-s-park-police/  Reminds me a lot of the case of the “Otto Warmbier of Japan”, the American who went into a coma and died a month later after being arrested by Tokyo police in 2015. We still don’t know who he was or what happened to him, and I have been waiting for a response to my State Department FOIA request for 2 1/2 year now. Mainstream media are not interested in the story.

Chicago police officer sentenced to 5 years in shooting of fleeing teens. “(Marco) Proano, 42, who was convicted of excessive force for firing 16 times into a moving vehicle filled with teens in December 2013, became the first Chicago police officer in decades, if not ever, to be sentenced to federal prison for an on-duty shooting.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-cop-shooting-sentencing-20171120-story.html

Chicago police officer criticized by civilian oversight board for allegedly advocating civil war on Facebook, vilifying Muslims. Officer Brian Hansen allegedly posted “countless horrific images and posts espousing the belief that all Muslims should die.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-cop-facebook-comments-20171121-story.html

U.S. is one of only three countries to vote against condemning fascism at U.N. “The resolution called (for combating) the “glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.”   http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-doesnt-care-about-nazis-us-voted-against-un-resolution-720489

Man who shut off pipeline found guilty, was not allowed to mention climate change in court. “I was disappointed and surprised by the verdict, but even more disappointed that I was not allowed a ‘necessity defense,’ and that I wasn’t allowed to talk about climate change as it related to my state of mind.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/22/blocked-discussing-climate-change-valve-turner-faces-10-years-prison-after-felony

New York’s attorney general accuses FCC of not cooperating in investigation into fake comments opposing internet neutrality. “For six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities…  yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/22/fcc-under-fire-ignoring-massive-scheme-corrupt-net-neutrality-comment-process

More than 1/3 of women surveyed say they have been sexually harassed at work. “A survey conducted in mid-November by PBS NewsHour, NPR, and Marist found that 35 percent of women and 9 percent of men have “experienced sexual harassment or abuse from someone in the workplace”.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/21/out-spotlight-and-across-industries-surveys-reveal-pervasive-sexual-harassment-women

Trump’s “full schedule of meetings and phone calls” apparently took place at his golf course. “Just over an hour (after the White House press office announcement that Trump would be busy working all day), the Trump motorcade set off from Mar-a-Lago, arriving at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach at 9:26 a.m.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/22/donald-trump-golf-mar-a-lago-thanksgiving-meetings

Many Android apps include user tracking programs. “Exodus security researchers identified 44 trackers in more than 300 apps for Google’s Android smartphone operating system.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/11/24/staggering-variety-of-clandestine-trackers-found-in-popular-android-apps/

Republicans and Democrats reach across the aisle to enable payday lenders to evade state interest rate limits. “The bill would allow lenders to ignore state interest-rate caps by partnering with a national bank.”   http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/350-percent-interest-rate-senators-bankrolled-payday-lenders-can-live-2616276

RT interviews Dick Russell on JFK files. “…what happens then, the very next day that this cable arrives (at CIA headquarters, from its Mexico City office, about Oswald’s meeting at the Soviet embassy), the FBI, for some unknown reason yet, takes Oswald, removes his name, from their watch list as a ‘person of interest’.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM_kl-nW5bI   This is the RT that Google doesn’t want you to find.

 

November 24, 2017