Weekender

Another Trump jackass led braying into the night
US News & World Report (AP)

xRyan-Zinke-800x430
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, will leave the administration at year’s end. Zinke is leaving weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promised to intensify probes into his shameless conduct.

Court Pulls Permit For Pipeline Crossing Appalachian Trail
NPR
— U.S. Forest Service “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” when it issued permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to build through parts of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests and a right of way across the Appalachian Trail.
— “This conclusion,” they wrote in a unanimous judgment, “is particularly informed by the Forest Service’s serious environmental concerns that were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines.”

Passenger Jet Damaged in Possible Midair Drone Hit
Bloomberg

drone jet


US troops now indefinitely in Syria, for how long, nobody’s saying
Stars & Stripes
———> Another in the long series of America’s undeclared, unconstitutional lawyers. Where do all the Supreme Court’s conservative defenders of the Constitution stand? Well, for the most part, they’ve been sitting since WW II.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution
The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;


At funeral, priest shames boy who committed suicide
USA Today
— “There were actually a couple of younger boys who were Maison’s age who left the church sobbing,” Jeff Hullibarger said. The bereaved father at one point walked to the pulpit and whispered to the priest, “Father, please stop,” but their pastor continued with statements denouncing the way their son’s life ended, the couple said.

hulligarger
Maison Hullibarger

Sinclair Broadcasting, in act of genuine compassionate conservatism, fires 22-year-old reporter after she was diagnosed with cancer
alex georgeThe Chattanoogan.com
— A popular young reporter for NewsChannel 9 has been terminated by Sinclair Broadcasting as she battles cancer.
— Alex George wrote on her Twitter account on Friday, “Hi all, I want to clarify for those who asked. I want to assure you that treatment is going incredibly well. The decision was not made by me it was @WeAreSinclair. They terminated my contract.”

Federal judge: Obamacare unconstitutional
Denver Post
— A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger on Friday into the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law.
— The opinion by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor overturns all of the sprawling law nationwide.
— The ruling came on the eve of the deadline for Americans to sign up for coverage in the federal insurance exchange created under the law.
— Since the suit was filed in January, many health-law specialists have viewed its logic as weak but nevertheless have regarded the case as the greatest looming legal threat to the 2010 law, which has been a GOP whipping post ever since and assailed repeatedly in the courts.
— The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional in 2012 and 2015, though the first of those opinions struck down the ACA’s provision that was to expand Medicaid nationwide, letting each state choose instead. No matter how O’Connor ruled, legal experts have been forecasting that the Texas case would be appealed and could well place the law again before the high court.

FROM BLOOMBERG: A federal judge’s Friday evening ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional was a first-round victory for opponents of the law. But it will need to survive review by higher courts to have any effect on the program that’s credited with expanding health insurance to about 19 million people in the U.S.


 Nearly all sexual harassment at work goes unreported –
and those who do report often see zero benefit

The Conversation
— Based on national survey data, we estimate that about 5 million people experience sexual harassment at work every year, yet on average only around 9,200 file a charge with the EEOC or state Fair Employment Practices Agencies. In other words, 99.8 percent of people who experience sexual harassment at work never file a sexual harassment charge.

Wisconsin’s Walker signs sweeping lame-duck GOP bills
AP
——–> US seems to excel at electing stupid, destructive cowards.
— Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican-written legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, brushing aside complaints that he is enabling a brazen power grab and ignoring the will of voters.
— Walker signed the bills just 24 days before he leaves office during an event at a state office building in Green Bay, about 130 miles from his Capitol office.


Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder
Reuters
— Facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talc caused cancer, J&J insists on the safety and purity of its iconic product. But internal documents examined by Reuters show that the company’s powder was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J kept that information from regulators and the public.


Nurse Denied Life Insurance Because She Carries Naloxone
NPR
nurse.jpg

“But I’m a nurse, I use it to help people,” Isela remembers telling her agent. “If there is an overdose, I could save their life.”


Bitcoin scammers send bomb threats worldwide, causing evacuations
The Verge


Weekly Standard: RIP
CNN
— The Weekly Standard, the magazine that espouses traditional conservatism and which has remained deeply critical of Trump, will shutter after 23 years, Clarity Media Group, the owner of its publisher announced Friday morning. It will publish its final issue on December 17.


Chicago, NY, LA losing 100+ people daily
Bloomberg

exodus.jpg


Euros to May: Get lost
CNBC
— Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Theresa May will go back to London empty-handed on Friday, after racing to Brussels to try to get a few more concessions from the European Union.
— The prime minister was hoping to get “legal and political” reassurances from the other 27 member countries regarding the Irish backstop — the biggest stumbling block preventing progress in the Brexit process.
——> The centuries of Britain’s callous, brutal treatment of the Irish have finally come back to screw them over, royally. British greed divided Ireland in the first place, and now it’s a divided Ireland that will likely cause the Brits a disastrous crash-out Brexit. 

California politician/doctor arrested after daughter reports spanking to teacher
CBS News
— “She was really angry that he spanked her. She woke up angry. And she went to school angry. And she wanted to be heard,” mother Elizabeth Arambula said.
— Joaqin Arambula, a board-certified physician, maintains his innocence. “I’m a healer by nature, I’m a doctor. And it’s not in my nature to actually be assertive and aggressive like that.”
——> Don’t you just love when people say “that wasn’t really me, I’m not like that.” ?


Monster DeVos loses, cheated students win $150 million
Politico
… Dep’t of Ed forced to offer more protections for student loan borrowers affected by a school closure or defrauded by their college.

Chief justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation
The Hill
— Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told CALmatters that she had been deliberating her decision for a while but made up her mind after watching the backlash following multiple sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.


4,000-Year-Old Game Board Carved into the Earth Shows How Nomads Had Fun
Live Science
…. Archaeologists at the park knew about the holes in the rock shelter, but not that they had been used as a board game.The holes are cut into the rock of the shelter in a distinctive pattern that shows how they were used, Crist said. “There is no doubt in my mind — the games played for about 1,500 years, and very regular in the way that it’s laid out,” Crist said.


Trump Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal Prosecutors
Wall Street Journal
— Probe looking into whether committee misspent funds and top donors gave money in exchange for access to the administration.
— The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions.
>>> …. and foreign donations under new scrutiny….
NY Times


7-year-old girl died in border patrol custody after journey to U.S.

(Axios)


Thursday

—–> OMG! NO! GOV’T SHUTDOWN?
dog-pony-juggleIs it okay if we don’t get real, real excited over the prospect of federal workers being forced to take time off? It has happened before and the Republic has survived. The “news” about this has the stench of a Dog & Pony Show.


Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees

(The Atlantic) The White House again wants to expel certain groups of protected immigrants, a reversal after backing away from the policy months ago.
— In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.
— The new stance mirrors White House efforts to clamp down on immigration writ large, a frequent complaint of the president’s on the campaign trail and one he links to a litany of ills in the United States.


15,000 Migrant Children Now Held At Nearly Full Shelters Prisons
NPR
———-> Dear NPR: If you can’t leave, it’s a prison.
… “Detention is never in the best interest of a child, especially when it’s extended,” said Jennifer Podkul, senior director for policy and advocacy at Kids In Need of Defense. “It’s bad for the child’s mental and physical health.”

Teen suspect shot dead at Indiana school
ABC
— A teenage suspect is dead after a shooting outside an Indiana middle school Thursday morning, police said. The single shooter exchanged gunfire with police before killing himself, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. John Bowling. No other students were injured in the incident at Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond, police said.

schoolshoot
Parents wait to pick up their children after students were bused from Dennis Intermediate School in Indiana.

Russkie spy suspected in NRA, election intrigue pleads guilty
Reuters
butina-booking— A woman accused of acting as a Russian agent to infiltrate a powerful gun lobby group and influence U.S. policy toward Moscow pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy in federal court on Thursday in a deal with prosecutors that could give them insight into Russian meddling in American politics.
— Maria Butina, a Russian former graduate student at American University in Washington who publicly advocated for gun rights, entered the plea at a court hearing in Washington before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. She also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.


Oklahoma Senator pumped Pentagon spending, then bought defense stock
CNN
— Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, purchased thousands of dollars in defense stock after successfully pushing the Trump administration for more Defense Department spending.
— According to his Senate financial disclosure report, Inhofe listed a purchase of $50,000-$100,000 in stock in US defense contractor Raytheon. Inhofe’s communications director said he canceled the transaction when he became aware of it.
— The purchase will raise conflict of interest questions because Inhofe is now the leader of the Senate committee that approves the Pentagon’s budget.


They broke into a coal mine to steal copper —
— it took four days to rescue their sorry asses
NY Post
found-in-mine.jpg


Thousands of Asian girls vanishing into sex slavery
Many leave their villages only to return in coffins
AP
— In deeply Christian East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, the church has become one of the few advocates for the dead and disappeared. With the impoverished province home to the highest number of trafficking cases in the country, nuns and priests have transformed themselves into counter-trafficking crusaders.


Employees at Amazon’s New NYC Warehouse Launch Union Push
Bloomberg
— A committee of employees at Amazon’s recently opened Staten Island fulfillment center is going public with a unionization campaign, a fresh challenge to the e-commerce giant in a city where it plans to build a major new campus.


The Guardian: FBI spies on peaceful climate change protesters


1,000 groups have yanked cash from fossil fuels
Earther
A coalition of environmental groups who monitor divestment released a report at the Poland climate talks showing that the number of groups pulling their money out of fossil fuels had reached 1,000. Together, these groups manage nearly $8 trillion worth of funds.


PRI: Judge halts Keystone XL pipeline,
citing ‘complete disregard’ for climate


Cash-grab frenzy on NJ highway as armored car spills its load
Fox News


‘They don’t care’: Facebook fact-checking sucks, journalists flee
The Guardian
> Journalists paid to help fix Facebook’s fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platform
— “They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” said Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a fact-checking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck … They clearly don’t care.”


Hmmm. Turns out, it’s in the interest of dating apps not to find you a mate, but to keep you single and searching. Whoda thought?
LMT Online hop over WaPost paywall

‘Lesbian’ most searched term on big porn sites
NBC News
— Women were 151 percent more likely than men to watch “lesbian” videos, according to Pornhub, which boasts 92 million daily visitors.

Apple announces new $1 billion Austin campus ….
…. Without resorting to a theatrical, year-long city auditioning process
The Verge


‘Idiot’ trends on Google after CEO explains why Trump’s photo appears in searches
NY Daily News


Taylor Swift used facial recognition software to detect stalkers at LA concert
Rolling Stone
— Taylor Swift fans mesmerized by rehearsal clips on a kiosk at her May 18th Rose Bowl show were unaware of one crucial detail: A facial-recognition camera inside the display was taking their photos. The images were being transferred to a Nashville “command post,” where they were cross-referenced with a database of hundreds of the pop star’s known stalkers, according to Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues including Madison Square Garden and the Forum in L.A.


Environmental changes wrecking the livelihoods of Great Lakes fishers
EcoWatch
… By this summer, Akiwenzie had had enough. Fishing was becoming difficult, unprofitable and unsafe. There was little reason to go out anymore. When his boat’s motor broke, it was going to cost him at least $12,000 to replace it. Instead, he packed up his nets.
… “For the past two months, I’ve spent a lot of time grieving,” said Akiwenzie. “For 15 years, I’ve fed 150 families, and I got to know people and faces. All of a sudden, to not do that anymore is like losing 150 people in your family all at once.”


Tax cuts putting US in a hole
Yahoo/Moody’s Investors Service
— The deficit rose from $666 billion in 2017, before the tax cuts, to $779 billion in 2018, when the tax cuts had been in effect for eight months. The deficit is likely to approach $1 trillion this year, an unprecedented gap for an economy that’s supposedly booming. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, unemployment was roughly as low as it is now, but the government ran a budget surplus for four years in a row.


Mutiny fails … Captain May steers SS Brittania toward the rocks of Brexit
The Guardian


US says China behind Marriott mega-hack
AFP


US keeps drifting toward a cashless society
Pew Research


National Enquirer takes federal immunity deal
CNBC
— More trouble for Trumpty Dumpty

Wednesday

 

Trump’s chump Cohen gets 3 years in prison

CNBC
cohen-sketch-px-trix— Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for crimes that include ones which put Trump into legal peril.
— “I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to — The personal ones to me and those involving the president of the United States of America,” Cohen said in federal court in Manhattan before he was sentenced.
— “Blind loyalty’ to Trump ‘led me to take a path of darkness instead of light,” Cohen said.
— And that loyalty, Cohen told a judge led to his effort to cover up president’s ‘dirty deeds.”
— Judge William Pauley, before imposing sentence, said, “Mr. Cohen pled guilt to a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct.”
— And each of these crimes standing alone warrant considerable punishment,” Pauley said.
–The sentence of 36 months was on the low end of what prosecutors had suggested was appropriate for Cohen’s crimes, but much more than the sentence of no time locked up that Cohen’s lawyers were asking for.


OMG, now California wants to tax texting
Mercury News


Investigation of generic drug pricing now involves 16 companies, 300 drugs
ConsumerAction

DEA Agent Arrested, suspected In Decade-Long drug, weapons conspiracy
US Dep’t of Justice


Vatican’s Third-Most Powerful Official Convicted as Choir Boys pervert
Black Christian News


N.J. sting uses Amazon boxes, GPS to catch porch pirates
AP


Chicago mayor: Legalize pot, build casino to deal with pension shortfall
USA Today


Retired judges scold ICE: Stop arresting people at courthouse
AP
— 
Dozens of retired state and federal judges called Wednesday on U.S. immigration officials to stop making arrests at courthouses of people suspected of being in the country illegally, saying immigrants should be free to visit halls of justice without fearing they will be detained.
— Nearly 70 former judges from 23 states — including federal judges and state supreme court justices — said in a letter sent to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello that courthouse arrests are disrupting the criminal justice system.


Brit’s Conservatives try to boot May over failed Brexit talks
NPR
-U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job as members of her Conservative Party seek to oust her in a no-confidence vote. May has been unable to shore up support for the Brexit deal she negotiated with the European Union.
— “I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got,” May said outside of 10 Downing Street.

Baylor frat boy goes free after sex assault
Fox News

NY doctor may have abused more than 1,000 victims over 40 years
CBS News
— Patients and relatives of those treated at a famous research hospital in New York want to know why Rockefeller University stayed quiet about a prominent doctor who died 11 years ago and is believed to have abused children for decades. Attorneys representing those individuals now say there may be over 1,000 victims in what may be the largest case of sexual abuse by one person in U.S. history.

Stormy Daniels ordered to pay Orange Clown $290,000 legal fees
Splinter

Oakland sues Raiders, NFL alleging ‘illegal move’ to Las Vegas
S.F. Chronicle
— Oakland filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the relocationof the Raiders to Las Vegas, calling the move illegal and demanding compensation for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
— The long-awaited suit against the Raiders, the National Football League and every other team in the league seeks damages for the “unlawful decision to boycott Oakland,” but does not ask for the Raiders to remain in the city. Oakland claims the NFL and its teams collude as an “illegal cartel” to demand that cities bankroll new stadiums with public funds or be shut out of the marketplace with team relocations.

Tuesday

In Lefty Heaven, a Hell of a fight over college union
The Guardian
— A liberal arts college in Iowa is taking a hardline anti-union approach that could put student unions at private American colleges and universities in jeopardy across the whole country.
— Grinnell College filed an appeal last week to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the regional office in Minneapolis denied its request to stop a student union vote on 27 November.
— Students at the college had overwhelmingly voted in favor of unionizing all student workers on campus.
>>>>> Newly unionized Slate staff votes to strike


Neo-Nazi Charlottesville killer sentenced to life in prison
Vice News
— James Alex Fields, the young neo-Nazi convicted of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer during last year’s violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
— After about four hours of deliberating, a jury on Tuesday returned their sentencing recommendations to Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore, who issued Fields’ fate of life in prison.


N. Dakota surpasses Venezuela in oil production
Wall Street Journal


No one on the inside can talk about what’s happening
at the tent city for 2,300 migrant kids

RevealNews.org
— TORNILLO, Texas – About 40 miles southeast of El Paso, past the billboards for fast food joints and rugged desert hills, residents of this small community sometimes can see the lights of the nearby detention camp glowing in the night.
— Some of them have brought gifts for the roughly 2,300 children inside, only to be turned away by guards.
— Months after the government erected a tent city in the desert, most of what happens inside the encampment remains hidden, even from curious neighbors in the nearby town of 1,600 residents. The only images of the minors in the camp, standing outside in an orderly line or playing soccer, have been released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

protesters tent city
Religious leaders and other protesters rally outside the gates of the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, on Nov. 15. The secrecy surrounding the camp has frustrated town residents and alarmed lawyers and advocates who question its conditions.

The Great American Dog & Pony Shows
Congress grandstands, Google pretends to care
And not worth a link…
— Demented Trump says US troops will build border wall
— Paranoid loon Alex Jones makes PR squawks in DC


More than 130 arrested in green protest at Pelosi’s office
Fox News


Federal judge: Constitution protects recording of cops, gov’t officials
Courthouse News Service
— “On the core constitutional issue, the Court holds that secret audio recording of government officials,including law enforcement officials, performing their duties in public is protected by the First Amendment, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions,” Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris wrote in a 44-page ruling.


Nun “best friends” admit stealing $500,000 for Vegas trips
The Guardian

sisters.jpg
Under mounting pressure and a national media glare, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles now plans to support criminal charges against two nuns accused of embezzling as much as $500,000 from St. James Catholic School in Torrance.
The reversal comes amid a “deeper” investigation into the alleged actions of Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang. (Contra Costa Times)

New Trump proposal will weaken federal clean water rules
Axios
— The 2015 regulation limited farmers from certain types of plowing and planting certain crops on land near wetlands or streams, and mandated that farmers seek permits from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers that could run off into the water.
— Trump’s proposal will not get rid of federal protections on larger bodies of water, which were in place prior to the Obama-era rule, but it will chip away at protections of smaller streams and wetlands that don’t drain into or are directly adjacent to those larger bodies of water.
— The bottom line: “Those changes represent a victory for farmers and rural landowners, who lobbied the Trump administration aggressively to make them,” writes Davenport.
— What’s next: The administration will seek public comments on the new rule for 60 days, after which it may revise the proposal before implementing the finalized plan next year.

Federal judge: Constitution protects recording of cops, gov’t officials
Courthouse News Service
— “On the core constitutional issue, the Court holds that secret audio recording of government officials,including law enforcement officials, performing their duties in public is protected by the First Amendment, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions,” Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris wrote in a 44-page ruling.


You make decisions quicker and based on less information than you think
The Conversation
… the widespread availability of information does not mean that you actually use it even if you have it. In fact, decades of research in psychology and behavioral science find that people readily make data-poor snap judgments in a variety of instances. People form lasting impressions of others in the span of milliseconds, evaluators judge teachers in less than a minute and consumers make shopping decisions based on little deliberation. Even voting decisions can seemingly be predicted from preliminary impressions formed during incredibly brief time periods.

At Climate Change Conference, US pitched coal
Time
— In a closely watched event Monday on the sidelines of official negotiations, U.S. officials touted natural gas and argued in support of coal’s place in the electricity mix.

Feds spending like drunken fools as deficit balloons
The Hill
— The country’s budget deficit in the first two months of fiscal 2019, which began Oct. 1, was 50 percent higher than in the same period the previous year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), though the figure was inflated by timing.
— In October and November, the federal government spent $303 billion more than it took in, compared to $202 billion in the same period of fiscal 2018, according to the CBO.
— Tax revenues were just 3 percentage points higher than the previous year, largely because of the GOP tax law, while spending surged 18 percent.


Thousands of Florida votes not counted
AP


Monday

Location data from a gas station app sold for $9.50 per 1,000
CNET
— Imagine if someone offered to pay less than a penny for your location history.
— That would include where you’ve been and when you were, down to the exact latitude and longitude. That sensitive information would go to advertisers in many fields, including politics, health care, restaurants and entertainment.
— Chances are, you’d say no to that offer — but that’s exactly how much Reveal Mobile, a location-based marketing and analytics firm, agreed to pay for data from GasBuddy, an app designed to help you find the cheapest gas station prices in your area.

Your apps know where you were last night,
and they’re not keeping it secret

NY Times (via an Indian Express hop over the paywall)
> The database reviewed by The New York Times, a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company, reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.
— The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails — each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark, New Jersey, to a nearby Planned Parenthood. Another represents a person who travels with New York’s mayor during the day and returns to Long Island at night.
— Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7am and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, 46, a math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.
— An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than 1 million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. While Magrin’s identity was not disclosed in those records, The Times was able to easily connect her to that dot.
— The app tracked her as she went to a Weight Watchers meeting and to her dermatologist’s office. It followed her hiking and staying at her ex-boyfriend’s home, information she found disturbing. “It’s the thought of people finding out those intimate details that you don’t want people to know,” said Magrin, who allowed The Times to review her location data.
— Like many consumers, Magrin knew apps could track people’s movements. But as smartphones have become ubiquitous and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people’s daily habits has spread and grown more intrusive.


Trump lackeys hid report showing Wells Fargo was screwing student borrowers
Politico
——> Trump and Wells Fargo. Perfect together.
— The so-called Trump administration for months concealed a report that showed Wells Fargo charged college students fees that were on average several times higher than some of its competitors.
— The “unpublished” report was obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request. It was produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau office previously led by Seth Frotman, who quit as the bureau’s top student loan official in protest of Trump administration policies. Frotman said in his resignation letter that CFPB leaders had “suppressed the publication” of the report.


Russkie’s plea deal gonna make many dudes nervous
… and maybe expose the NRA for what it is
CNN
burtina

Maria Butina is accused of trying to infiltrate Republican political circles and party leaders during the 2016 campaign in order to advance Russian interests, and prosecutors have said the former American University student was in touch with politically powerful Russians about her activities in the US.


Supremes spurn wing-nut effort to abort Planned Parenthood
USA Today
— Despite its new, more conservative tilt, the court let stand federal appeals court rulings that allowed the reproductive health organization to contest laws in Louisiana and Kansas that stripped its Medicaid funds.
— The court’s refusal to hear the case represents a setback for conservative interest groups in many states that have sought aggressive action against Planned Parenthood and abortion providers in general. Notably, Chief Justice John Roberts and new Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not join the dissent.


Facebook Employees Are So Paranoid They’re Using Burner Phones to Talk to Each Other
NY Mag
“People now have burner phones to talk shit about the company — not even to reporters, just to other employees,” one former employee said. Another described the current scene as a “bunker mentality,” meaning that after nearly two years of continuous bad press some people are, to borrow a phrase, leaning in as hard as they can to cope. “It’s otherwise rational, sane people who’re in Mark’s orbit spouting full-blown anti-media rhetoric, saying that the press is ganging up on Facebook,” said the former employee.
>>>> No sex, please, this is Facebook
 “Facebook‘s new ‘sexual solicitation’ policy is horrifying. It bans, among other things, erotic art (even non-explicit), talking about kink, talking about your boobs or butt, mentioning your preferences in sexual partners, ‘sexualized slang,’ and ‘vague suggestive statements.’ ”

Idiot penpal of lunatic killer Dylann Roof arrested in bomb plot
NY Post
— 
An Ohio woman who corresponded with Charleston, SC, church shooter Dylann Roof was accused Monday of planning to commit “an upscale mass murder” at a Toledo bar, according to reports.
— Elizabeth Lecron, 23, one of two people arrested in terrorism-related cases, was charged with purchasing bomb-making materials that the FBI said she intended to use at the drinking joint, the Toledo Blade reported.
— Toledo police received a tip about Lecron’s social media activity and alerted the Northwest Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force, US Attorney Justin Herdman said Monday.
>>>> FLASHBACK to March: It runs in the family. Roof’s sister busted with drugs, weapons after vicious social media post.

Chinese court bans sale of iphones
CNBC
—–> Gee, that wouldn’t be a political move, would it?


Death of Guatemalan toddler detained by ICE sparks $60 million legal claim
ABC News


Designer babies? Eh
The Conversation
— I study the prediction of complex diseases and human traits that result from interactions between multiple genes and lifestyle factors. This research shows that geneticists cannot read the genetic code and know who will be above average in intelligence and athleticism. Such traits and diseases that result from multiple genes and lifestyle factors cannot be predicted using just DNA, and cannot be designed. Not now. And very unlikely ever.

US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia (all oil producers) sabotaged climate deal
The Independent
— The US has allied with major oil producers Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to intercept the adoption of a crucial climate change report by world leaders at a UN conference.
— Experts have condemned these “climate villains” after their efforts plunged talks into chaos at the critical COP24 climate summit in Poland over the weekend.
The four nations blocked the full endorsement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, which was commissioned at a previous COP meeting.
Their actions triggered a diplomatic standoff that went on long into Saturday night, and set an ominous tone as ministers arrive for the second week of the climate event.
>>>>> FROM THE GUARDIAN: Global investors managing $32 trillion issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.

May chickens out on Brexit vote, chaos ensues
Reuters
maydoll


Scientists identify vast underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms
The Guardian
— The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to “deep life” studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of that found in all the world’s oceans.
— Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with between 15bn and 23bn tonnes of micro-organisms, hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet.
— Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory say the diversity of underworld species bears comparison to the Amazon or the Galápagos Islands, but unlike those places the environment is still largely pristine because people have yet to probe most of the subsurface.
— “It’s like finding a whole new reservoir of life on Earth,” said Karen Lloyd, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “We are discovering new types of life all the time. So much of life is within the Earth rather than on top of it.”

At NPR, an army of temps faces a workplace of anxiety and insecurity
The Washington Post
… For decades, the public broadcaster has relied on a cadre of temporary journalists to produce its hourly newscasts and popular news programs. Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR. Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them. Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.
— And there are a lot of them. According to union representatives, between 20 and 22 percent of NPR’s 483 union-covered newsroom workforce — or 1 in 5 people — are temp workers.


JAIL TO THE CHIEF?

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”
Rep. Adam Schiff
as reported by The Hill


Look out below! The financial bubble in one chart

central-bank-balance-sheets-209-trillion-2018-12-05

If you can’t clearly see how the above chart explains the massive price inflation over the past years in stocks, bonds and real estate, you’ll have no chance of understanding what’s coming next.  Best of luck to everyone choosing to avoid paying attention to this critical information.
Zero Hedge

NY Times: White House zombie Kushner advised murderous Saudi prince on “how to weather the storm.”
— They’re text buddies, of course, and on a first-name basis.


typewriter-realnews-line


Suspicion: Russian bot conspiracy helped kill Net Neutrality 
Buzzfeed
— The Justice Department is investigating whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News has learned.
— Two organizations told BuzzFeed News, each on condition that they not be named, that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments.

Weekend

China kinda pissed, wants its arrested exec freed
CBS News
— China summoned the Canadian ambassador to protest the detention of a top executive of leading Chinese tech giant Huawei, calling it “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature” and warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is being held in Vancouver last Saturday and faces extradition to the U.S., where she could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.


FRENCH REVOLUTION?


From the UK Telegraph:

It’s street riots in Paris … tear gas … hundreds arrested.
France24

Yellow-vest protests grow in Belgium, Netherlands
AP
>>> London cops prepare for riots over “Brexit Betrayal” march

champs-elysees-first-clash_0


Dem senators demand probe of sweetheart deal for billionaire child rapist
NY Daily News
— Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually molesting dozens of girls — some as young as 14 — faced up to life in prison before his legal team hammered out the generous agreement in 2008, which landed him in Palm Beach County Jail for only 13 months, with work-release privileges.

Heading for the worst case scenario: President Traitor
Wired
— Mueller’s court filings, when coupled with other investigative reporting, paint a picture of how the Russian government, through various trusted-but-deniable intermediaries, conducted a series of “approaches” over the course of the spring of 2016 to determine, as Wittes says, whether “this is a guy you can do business with.”
— The answer, from everyone in Trumpland—from Michael Cohen in January 2016, from George Papadopoulos in spring 2016, from Donald Trump, Jr. in June 2016, from Michael Flynn in December 2016—appears to have been an unequivocal “yes.”

Humpty-Trumpty was playing with the Russkies all along
AP
— President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Russian who offered “political synergy” with the Trump election campaign and proposed a meeting between the candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the special counsel said Friday.
— Court filings from prosecutors in New York and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office lay out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggest the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his campaign by playing to both his political aspirations and his personal business interests.

Prosecutors say Trump directed illegal payments during campaign
MSN/NY Times
— Federal prosecutors said on Friday that President Trump directed illegal payments to ward off a potential sex scandal that threatened his chances of winning the White House in 2016, putting the weight of the Justice Department behind accusations previously made by his former lawyer.
— The lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, had said that as the election neared, Mr. Trump directed payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr. Trump. But in a new memo arguing for a prison term for Mr. Cohen, prosecutors in Manhattan said he “acted in coordination and at the direction of” an unnamed individual, clearly referring to Mr. Trump.
— In another filing, prosecutors for the special counsel investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference said an unnamed Russian offered Mr. Cohen “government level” synergy between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign in November 2015. That was months earlier than other approaches detailed in indictments secured by prosecutors.
— And in a separate case on Friday, the special counsel accused Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, of lying about his contacts with an individual they accuse of ties to Russian intelligence, and about his interactions with Trump administration officials after he was indicted on criminal charges.
— Together, the filings laid bare the most direct evidence to date linking Mr. Trump to potentially criminal conduct, and added to an already substantial case that Russia was seeking to sway the 2016 election in his favor.
— Mr. Trump sought on Friday to dismiss the news, wrongly claiming it “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

“Friendly Fire” Killed Sheriff’s Sergeant At Thousand Oaks, Calif., Shooting Scene
NPR
— When Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer responded to a shooting last month in Thousand Oaks, Calif., they faced a barrage of gunfire from a suspect.
— But officials announced Friday that the sergeant’s fatal wound was a result of a shot fired by his fellow law enforcement officer.

American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned
Wall Street Journal
SHANGHAI—Fifteen years ago in California, a tall technology geek named Steve Mushero started writing a book that predicted the American dream might soon “be found only in China.” Before long, Mr. Mushero moved himself to Shanghai and launched a firm thatAmazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. certified as a partner to serve the world’s biggest internet market.
— These days, the tech pioneer has hit a wall. He’s heading back to Silicon Valley where he sees deeper demand for his know-how in cloud computing. “The future’s not here,” said the 52-year-old.
— For years, American entrepreneurs saw a place in which they would start tech businesses, build restaurant chains and manage factories, making potentially vast sums in an exciting, newly dynamic economy. Many mastered Mandarin, hired and trained thousands in China, bought houses, met their spouses and raised bilingual children.
— Now disillusion has set in, fed by soaring costs, creeping taxation, tightening political control and capricious regulation that makes it ever tougher to maneuver the market and fend off new domestic competitors. All these signal to expat business owners their best days were in the past.

More secrets leak from Mk-Ultra, CIA’s secret, illegal mind control project
The Sun
— DISTURBING details of secret mind-control experiments carried out by the CIA have been revealed in newly released documents – that officials have been trying to hide for decades.
— The new documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal how the CIA experimented on both humans and animals using drugs, hypnosis and electronic devices as part of the top secret – and illegal – mind control project MKUltra.
— Shockingly the swathes of information still missing or redacted in the records could mean the CIA is STILL carrying out the experiments to this day, according to experts.
— One document details how the CIA planned to drug “criminals awaiting trial held in a prison hospital ward” in a bid to develop “improved techniques in drug interrogation”.
— Another document details the CIA’s interest in developing ways to cause amnesia in humans using experiments “no matter how weird, inconclusive or unusual”.
— It goes on to detail how they were looking to find ways of developing hypnotic speaking techniques which would control the minds of “large audiences” and “heighten group susceptibility”.

What we know about the alleged ballot tampering plot in North Carolina
Vox
— Republican Mark Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by less than 1,000 votes on Election Day. But those results are tainted by explosive allegations involving a local political operative who was working for the Harris campaign and a scheme to collect and possibly tamper with absentee ballots.
— Taken together, the evidence we have points to a highly unusual, coordinated system for collecting absentee ballots in the Ninth District. But what happened to the ballots, whether it amounts to illegal activity, and how much the Harris campaign actually knew about the plot are the most important questions left to answer.
— The state elections board has set a hearing for December 21 to review the evidence of possible fraud. It is within the board’s legal authority under state law to call a new election if the basic fairness of last month’s election is in doubt.

Wisconsin sabotage: Republicans approve 82 Scott Walker nominees in one day
Salon
— Some haven’t been vetted or subject to a public hearing.

Redskins quarterback, in hospital with broken leg, faces serious complications
NBC Sports

Marlboro man bets big on marijuana
Seattle Times/AP
— One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion buy-in.
— Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.

Six Michigan doctors indicted in mega-fraud
Fox Local
—  Indictment says: defendants submitted more than $272.6 million to Medicaid, $182.5 million to Medicare and $9.2 million to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan for medically unnecessary services and equipment.

Trial of James Fields
Whack-job who mowed down Charlottesville protester: “It doesn’t matter.”
The Hill
>>>>>>>>>> Friday night update: Guilty
— The self-professed neo-Nazi accused of killing a woman with his car during a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., attacked the victim’s mother during taped phone calls from jail.
— James Alex Fields Jr., 21, is currently on trial for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer, a woman who was killed when Fields rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters.
— Jurors heard a taped phone call between Fields and his mother from jail in December 2017 going after Heyer’s mother Susan Bro.
— Fields accused Bro of publicly slandering him and called her a “communist” and “anti-white supremacist.”
— “She lost her daughter,” his mother reminded him.
— “It doesn’t (expletive) matter,” Fields said.

Trump’s housekeeper: a border-hopping immigrant
NY Times
MORALES
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo.
— Because of the “outstanding” support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.
— Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.
…. she made the decision to come forward because of mistreatment by her direct supervisor at the golf resort, including what she described as “physical abuse” on three occasions.

KELLY’S A GONER?…. White House Chief of staff John Kelly is expected to step down in the coming days, according to two administration officials. Kelly, a retired Marine general who joined the White House staff in July 2017, has weathered several months of rumors that the president wants him out.  …. TRUMP PICKS BUSHIE FOR ATTY GEN’L  William Barr to be the new attorney general, a post he held in the 1990s. A well-known conservative lawyer, Barr held the role under President George H W Bush from 1991 to 1993. …

.FOX HACK TO BE REP AT UN  … Heather Nauert’s meteoric rise is unusual considering that she has been in government for less than two years, and has never specialised in international relations.

neverletyoudown


EBOLA OUTBREAK SPREADS TO BIG CITY
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight.
— Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages.

GAMBLING HABITS
— Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance Calif. allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, officials and parents said.
— The figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni at a meeting Monday night.

The U.S. Just Became a Net Oil Exporter for the First Time in 75 Years
Bloomberg

Former MLB Players Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo Killed in Venezuela car crash
CNN/Bleacher Report
BREAKING:

Venezuelan authorities have arrested four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings following the crash. State governor Julio León Heredia says authorities believe the former MLB players were the victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants.

Company laid their pipeline on private land, without permission or payment, but that’s just fine, says Louisiana judge.
Courthouse News Service
…  landowner Theda Larson Wright is entitled to 37 cents for the land and timber Bayou Bridge took and Peter K. Aalestad and his sister Katherine Aalestad should each receive $2.17.
…. More from the Pelican State: Electricity supplier Entergy New Orleans claims in court that a Virginia-based public relations firm hired actors instead of recruiting supporters to speak at public meetings in favor of a proposed power plant, spurring a costly investigation into whether the utility knew its backers were paid.

Thursday

‘Shocking’ Huawei Arrest Threatens to Upend Trump-Xi Trade Truce
Bloomberg
welcome_meng_wanzhou— On the same day So-called Trump and Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce in Argentina, some 7,000 miles away Canadian authorities made an arrest that now threatens to make the U.S.-China conflict much worse.
— The U.S. is seeking the extradition of Wanzhou Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., after convincing Canada to arrest her on Dec. 1. Canada confirmed she was in custody shortly after the Globe and Mail reported she had been arrested in connection with violating sanctions against Iran.
— China promptly reacted with outrage after the news broke, demanding that both countries move to free Meng. Later, the foreign ministry said it was waiting for details on why she was arrested, and said trade talks should continue.
— It’s hard to overstate the significance of her arrest in Beijing: Meng is the daughter of the founder of Huawei, a national champion at the forefront of Xi’s efforts for China to be self-sufficient in strategic technologies. While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented.
— “The timing and manner of this is shocking,” Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group, said by phone. “It’s not often the phrase OMG appears in our internal email discussions. ”

Trade BS has cost Nebraska $1 billion
Omaha.com
—-> Who’d ye vote for again, Nebraska? Remind me. Oh, yeah, he “gets things done” all right.

This program actually works
to dramatically reduce
the killing of young men

And it’s spreading around the world.

The Guardian
… 
gives the men a stark choice. Stop the violence and a whole range of assistance will come their way: nappies for the kids, the right paperwork for a job, even help with relocation to get out of the damaging environment in which they live. Carry on, and prison awaits – or worse.
— Relatives and representatives of local services also attend. At the New Haven meeting, one social services coordinator, Letitia Charles, pointed at the audience as she asked the young men: “Have you ever heard it takes a village (to raise a child)? Look around you. You have a village.”
— The dialogue approach is based on carrots and sticks. The police also use peer pressure dynamics in criminal gangs to reach all members, not just the individuals present at the call-in.

The Insect Apocalypse is here: What does it mean for the planet?
NY Times (Paywall)

Term limits for Supreme Court? Ds and Rs think maybe it’s time
The Hill
— A bruising battle over the court’s latest appointee and a recent health scare involving the oldest justice has renewed interest in the age-old debate over whether there should be term limits for the Supreme Court.
— It’s an idea that’s been floated before, but senators on both sides of the aisle now say it’s one that’s worth discussing in public.
— “I would sure love to have the debate,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), 67, told The Hill last week. “I don’t know exactly how I would come down, but it’s certainly worth talking about.”
— Fellow Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), 72, said he’s intrigued by the idea.
— “The institutional stalwart inside me says no way, but, you know, we’re living in a different world, literally, than the Framers ever envisioned and maybe we need to think about it,” he said. “I haven’t reached any conclusions yet.”

Americans Prefer Watching to Reading the News –
and Mostly Through Television

Pew Research
— Three-quarters of Americans who prefer watching the news opt for TV, but since 2016, slightly more watchers name the internet as their platform of choice

24 Amazon workers sent to hospital after robot unleashes bear spray
ABC News

“For Profit” (ahem) college shutdown surprises 20,000 students, employees
AL.com
—–> Let me guess. Tuition refunds will be slow in coming?

Texas border patrol killer headed for death penalty
Houston Chronicle
— The Texas border patrol supervisor who confessed to killing four women in September may receive the death penalty, authorities said.
— U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz, 35, was indicted Wednesday on charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful restraint and evading arrest or detention in the deaths of four sex workers in September, according to Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz.
— Ortiz, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran, allegedly told investigators he killed the women in an effort to “clean up the streets” in Laredo, Texas.
ortizdeaths

U.S. trade deficit hits the highest level in a decade
Axios

Ever the friends of working families ….
Michigan Republicants undermine minimum wage, paid sick leave
The Hill

California rule requires solar power for new homes
Orange County Register
— Energy officials estimated the provisions will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, about $8,400 from adding solar and about $1,500 for making homes more energy-efficient. But those costs would be offset by lower utility bills over the 30-year lifespan of the solar panels.

NY women raise $1.5 million to pay medical debts of the poor
Jezebel
— Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon are two New Yorkers who are passionate about the New York Health Act, a bill that would bring universal health care to the state. Jones and Kenyon are 80 and 70 years old, respectively, but according to the New York Times, they didn’t want to just wait around for that to happen—so they rallied their friends and neighbors and raised $12,500 for the non-profit R.I.P. Medical Debt.
— R.I.P. Medical Debt buys up people’s old medical bills and forgives them. With Jones and Kenyon’s donation, the organization bought up $1.5 million in medical debts, belonging to thousands of people in need across New York. The non-profit focuses on alleviating the debts of those who really cannot afford to pay their bills, like those who earn less than two times the federal poverty level.

Study: Half of US adults have had close family member jailed
BBC
——> The only answer — let’s lock more people up.

As Evacuation Orders Lift, Some Paradise Residents Return Home To Devastation
NPR

“Stolen Pencil” data espionage campaign targets professors
Axios