Mon. July 16

Top US spy says Trump is full of shit
USA Today
— The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers,” Dan Coats said in a statement. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

Lava “bomb” injures 23 aboard Hawaii tour boat

Real estate startup tells 6,000 workers: No meat

Russian arrested, called link between NRA and Kremlin
Raw Story
Maria-Butina.jpg— Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Monday against a Russian national who is a key link to the National Rifle Association.
— Mariia Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday in Washington, DC, but her indictment was sealed, being revealed after President Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
— The DOJ also seemed to refer to the NRA by noting part of Butina’s role “as an agent of Russia inside the United States” who was “infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

Workers’ wages drops as companies spend on stock buybacks
CBS News
— Worker pay in the second quarter dropped nearly one percent below its first-quarter level, according to the PayScale Index, one measure of worker pay. When accounting for inflation, the drop is even steeper. Year-over-year, rising prices have eaten up still-modest pay gains for many workers, with the result that real wages fell 1.4 percent from the prior year, according to PayScale. The drop was broad, with 80 percent of industries and two-thirds of metro areas affected.

Since 2006, wages have risen 12.9 percent overall in the US. But when you factor in inflation, “real wages” have actually fallen 9.3 percent. In other words, the income for a typical worker today buys them less than it did in 2006.

Good for America, bad for Sinclair as FCC doubts mega-TV deal
√ So, even the corrupt FCC opposes this deal … or is there a deeper game being played here?
— FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced Monday he has “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media, saying he would send the transaction through a lengthy administrative process often viewed as a deal-killer.
— As originally proposed in May 2017, the $3.9 billion deal would see conservative-leaning Sinclair, already the largest U.S. TV station owner, gobble up 42 Tribune stations in key markets like New York and Chicago, adding to its existing footprint of more than 170 stations and giving the company access to nearly three-quarters of U.S. households.

Chicago cops release video of fatal shooting

How “security experts” lost plutonium … it’s been missing a year
San Antonio News Express
— Sent by the Feds to retrieve one of the most dangerous materials on earth, they left it in their rental car while they snoozed at a motel. Hmm.

3 charts show how Russians view the US
The Conversation 
… poll shows a Russian public with rather negative views of the American president and the United States. However, the majority of Russians want ties with the United States to strengthen and a sizable portion are optimistic that U.S.-Russian relations will improve.

Podesta, Dems neglected simple security fix
that might have kept Russkies out in the cold

Alabama sheriff accused of holding “parties” and screwing underage girls
— Police are investigating Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin for allegedly having sex with underage girls during drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow law enforcement officers and other adult men in the early nineties.
— Entrekin denies it.
— He’s the same guy who’d profited $750,000 by cheaping out on prisoner meals.

Candidate for Georgia governor: It’s who can be the craziest
NY Times
— In a private conversation secretly recorded in May and made public on Monday, Casey Cagle, the Republican lieutenant governor, was captured criticizing the over-the-top tone of his party’s primary. He said that it had become focused on “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”

Casey Cagle: Crazy enough for Georgia?

Bolton: Punishment of Syria will continue until morale improves
— Speaking to ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton stated that Washington would maintain its military presence in Syria as long as Iran continues to be a threat to the region.

walmart workers§ You know WalMart’s management is dumb, but are they really this dumb? I mean, a court battle with 80,000 cashiers over the right to, uh, sit down while they’re working? My God!
Courthouse News Service

Rand Paul: So what? We all hack each others’ elections
Politicus USA
— The Russians are “not going to admit  it in the same way we’re not going to admit we were involved in the Ukrainian elections or the Russian elections.”
— Sen. Rand Paul


— (Via Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he saw no reason to believe Russia had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help him win, and Vladimir Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

— (Via Twitter) “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”
— John O. Brennan, former CIA director

Trump, toast of the Kremlin. Or is he simply toast?


NYT HEADLINE: Are you ready to fly without a human pilot?
— Which strongly implies it could happen soon, right?
— Article actually says: “Will it happen in the near future? I don’t think so,” said Michael Wiggins, of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Weekend update

Calif. Dems crush Feinstein, 25-year veteran of Senate
… Progressive upstart= 65%, Feinstein = 7%
— The California Democratic Party endorsed progressive candidate Kevin de León for Senate late Saturday in a stunning rebuke of 25-year incumbent and establishment favorite Dianne Feinstein.
— De León, the state Senate president pro tempore, secured 65 percent of the party’s vote, while just 7 percent voted to endorse Feinstein.
— A candidate needed 60 percent of the vote to win the endorsement. Twenty-eight percent voted not to endorse any candidate.

Chicago riot follows police shooting

chicago cops

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: A fatal shooting by Chicago police Saturday afternoon fueled a violent clash between officers and a large crowd of onlookers who threw bottles and rocks as cops swung back with batons. Following the fracas, a comparatively peaceful protest at the Grand Crossing police station stretched into Sunday morning. The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. at 2098 E. 71st St., and police took about five hours to bring things under control. Some people screamed “murderers” as officers lined up against them. 

Musk gives big to keep House in GOP hands
— Elon Musk—maker of a mini-sub that never got used, hypothetical savior of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, general over-promiser and under-deliverer—was one of the biggest donors to a political action committee with the primary goal of maintaining Republican control in the US House of Representatives.super-musk

Elon Musk’s House of Gigacards
MIT Technology Review
— No one has done more than Musk to spur demand for electric cars and residential solar power, disproving naysayers by reaching milestones once thought unattainable. But Musk’s Solar City and Tesla ventures are bleeding cash and spooking investors.

Cell phones and cancer — a whitewash?
Yes there is a possible link
The Guardian
— Not one major news organisation in the US or Europe reported this scientific news. But then, news coverage of mobile phone safety has long reflected the outlook of the wireless industry. For a quarter of a century now, the industry has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists, but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation.
— Indeed, big wireless has borrowed the very same strategy and tactics big tobacco and big oil pioneered to deceive the public about the risks of smoking and climate change, respectively. And like their tobacco and oil counterparts, wireless industry CEOs lied to the public even after their own scientists privately warned that their products could be dangerous, especially to children.

Trump golfs, and huge UK crowds protest
The Independent
√ Leading some to wonder: Why aren’t Americans hitting the streets?


Russkies own Maryland voting system …
… but no worries, officials say
— The FBI has informed Maryland officials that the state’s voter registration system and other online systems operate on a software platform owned by a Russian-financed firm, state officials told the 11 News I-Team Friday afternoon. There is no indication of a breach.
√ No indication of a breach? Let’s all roll over and go back to sleep. 

Tech workers pressure employers to drop ICE ties
— Tech workers from Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon and Google have been putting pressure on their CEOs to cut ties and end contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and other government agencies.

12 Russians indicted for US election hack
— A grand jury in the special counsel probe has returned the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking during the 2016 election — including hacking emails of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday.
— The Justice Department says the 12 defendants are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, and attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. They allegedly did this by spearphishing volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and were able to steal usernames and passwords, eventually hacking into the networks of the Democratic National Campaign Committee and Democratic National Committee.
— In another related allegation, the indictment claims Russian officers hacked a state election board’s website and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters.

Mothers recount the moment their child was taken by thugs with badges

“The last words of my son were ‘Mommy, if they come for me, I’ll hold your feet tight and I will not let you go.”

FEMA admits they screwed up on Puerto Rico hurricane
CBS News
“did not anticipate the massive requirements to deliver electricity, telecommunications, and fuel sector utilities with air and sea movement” on Puerto Rico. Additionally, FEMA did not anticipate the “need to move critical pharmaceutical supplies off Puerto Rico to meet national demands.”
√ Heckuva job, Brownie

Why NATO is a great bargain for America
The National Interest
— In the pre-NATO era, defending against Europe cost America $4.5 trillion in the two world wars alone … the spending America did defending against the European powers that are now U.S. NATO allies would come to $40 trillion today.

Florida police chief told his cops: Frame blacks for crimes
The Independent
— A former police chief and two officers in Florida were charged with federal civil rights violations after pinning a series of burglaries on an innocent black teenager.
— Biscayne Park police department’s former chief Ray Atesanio, as well as officers Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub, plead not guilty this week to falsely charging a black Haitian-American teenager with burglary. But an internal probe of the department in 2014 found that, under the ex-police chief, officers were encouraged to charge blacks with reported crimes.

“If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries.

And then there’s this:

Trade wars promise big boost for 3D printing
The Conversation
Even five years ago, using a 3D printer to create products at home could beat the costs of Chinese-manufactured products by 90 percent or more. A recent study I co-authored found that even inexperienced consumers could make their money back within six months after investing in a $1,250 3D printer. By printing just one product a week over the course of five years, a consumer could not only recoup all the costs associated with buying and running the printer: They would save more than $12,000. These savings only increase as trade wars raise prices higher.
>>> China’s trade surplus with US hits record in June

Big Brother WalMart to snoop on cashiers
The Guardian
— Checkout counter sensors, if implemented, could let managers monitor customer interactions and track employee performance,
— A patent filed this week described a system of sensors “distributed throughout at least a portion of a shopping facility.” Audio of both workers and customers could potentially be used to determine “if employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly” and aid in increased “cost savings” and “guest satisfaction”, the document said.
√ I have a few suggestions for increasing “guest satisfaction” at WalMart. Oh, never mind.

Meth comes roaring back
Atlanta Journal Constitution
— From 2011 to 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency found the average price per gram in the U.S. fell from $98 to $58, though one user recalls the drug being even cheaper. Meanwhile purity rose from 85.5 to 93.5 percent, making it stronger and deadlier.

Bend Oregon: Last refuge of the Blockbuster store
USA Today
— About a quarter of the customers at the last Blockbuster store are tourists. It’s a bit of a destination. It’s kind of a freak show. Some take

Pea or potato based food linked to heart problems in dogs
NBC News
“We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy, in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients,” said the FDA’s Dr. Martine Hartogensis.

Jury awards women $4.7 billion in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder case
— The St. Louis Circuit Court jury awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs, who said the company failed to warn about the cancer risks.
— Company will appeal, of course.
— “Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies.”

Charges against Stormy Daniels dropped
Courthouse News Service
stormy_daniels— According to Columbus Police report, Daniels was arrested along with two other dancers in an undercover sting operation.
— The trio were arrested when they “illegally” touched three different undercover vice detectives, according to the statement by Columbus Police.
√ Columbus, Ohio, the crime-free city that can spare 3 detectives to spy on a strip show.

Americans wary of Putin; Most Russians like Trump
Pew Research
… and other findings of a recent survey.

Pentagon performs Trump damage control with NATO
The Hill


Trump talks crazy in London

Thurs. July 12

Secret money funds 40% of Congressional ads
USA Today
— Secret donors funded more than four out of every 10 television ads that outside groups broadcast this year to influence November’s high-stakes congressional elections, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Kantar Media data.
— Leading the way: Organizations affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, whose conservative donor network plows hundreds of millions of dollars into politics and policy debates each election cycle.
— Two Koch-affiliated groups account for more than one-quarter of the House and Senate advertising from groups that don’t disclose their donors.simpleline

“I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Via Raw Story

1.6 billion opioid pills shipped to MO in 6 years
(And the DEA didn’t notice?)
The Hill
— More than a billion doses of opioids flowed into Missouri during a six year period, contributing to the state’s raging opioid epidemic, according to a report released Thursday by Sen. Claire McCaskill.
— “It’s staggering. Over six years we averaged 260 pills for every man, woman, and child in Missouri.”

Half of parents admit cell phone use while driving their kids

Russian spies built local-news sites in US
to build trust in advance of fake-news onslaught
— NPR has reviewed information connected with the investigation and found 48 such accounts. They have names such as @ElPasoTopNews, @MilwaukeeVoice, @CamdenCityNews and @Seattle_Post.
— “This effort is not over,” said Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican on the Senate intelligence committee. “It continues to this very day, where the Russians are trying to sow the seeds of discontent in our society, take advantage of the polarization that exists.”

Stormy’s lawyer howls setup after her strip show arrest
— Adult film star Stormy Daniels, who is locked in a court battle with so-called Trump, was arrested after allegedly “fondling” patrons at a strip club — a move her lawyer calls a “politically motivated” setup.

FCC plan would charge people $255 to complain about their cable service
— If the change is approved this week, the FCC will effectively be telling “consumers with limited means” that they “need to start an expensive and complicated formal legal process” before the FCC will seriously address their complaints.

A serious shortage of airline pilots in US
The Conversation
— As air travel is predicted to double, a variety of factors conspire to limit the pipeline of new pilots.

Papa John’s founder quits over racial slur.
Fine. But the pizza still sucks
Twitter comments:

— “Guess we know what pizza Jeff Sessions is gonna be ordering for staff appreciation day.”
— “Shitty ingredients. Shitty racism. Papa John’s.”
— “It seems weird that Papa John was fired instead of frozen and reheated.”

Gov’t contractor admits kids jailed in vacant office building
Center for Investigative Reporting
— It was, an MVM Inc. spokesman said, “a regrettable exception” to the company’s policy to find a hotel instead.


dog-pony-juggleSupreme-to-be Kavanaugh feeds meals to the poor
The Daily Mail (but we don’t link bullshit stories)
” Despite Kavanaugh’s grueling week leading up to his nomination … he managed to uphold the prior commitment he made with with St. Maria’s Meals program.”
√ Since his class helped create the poor by tilting the entire system toward the prosperous, yeah, maybe he’s feeling a little Catholic guilt.

US says “all eligible” children reunited with parents
No link. The AP falls for this one.
The Trump administration (which lies consistently) says all eligible (this phrase renders the statement meaningless) small children separated from their families as a result of its zero-tolerance immigration policy (they threw in a propaganda phrase while they were at it) have been reunited with their parents.
But nearly half of the children under 5 remain separated from their families (how about an actual number?) because of safety concerns, the deportation of their parents and other issues, the administration said. (Oh yes, they are SO concerned with keeping these kiddies safe.)

Wed. July 11

TSA thugs getting rude with you? Tough, says court
— Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses.

Ben & Jerry’s sued over pesticide issue
— According to the lawsuit, the ice cream is made from milk sourced from the same kinds of farms as most other dairy products and the final product contains the pesticide glyphosate. (aka Roundup)

Charge: Monsanto hid Roundup/cancer link
Courthouse News Service
— On the second day of a California trial over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused a Bay Area man’s terminal cancer, his lawyers tried to convince a jury Tuesday that Monsanto suppressed research showing Roundup may be carcinogenic and ghostwrote research to defend itself in future cancer litigation.

Charge: Company deliberately sold black farmers bad seed
WMC Action News
… why is it then that white farmers are buying Stine seed and their yield is 60, 70, 80, and 100 bushels of soybeans and black farmers who are using the exact same equipment with the exact same land, all of a sudden, your seeds are coming up 5, 6, and 7 bushels?”

FBI says:
Chinese engineer nabbed at airport
trying to sneak out self-drive car secrets

USA Today

Snooping malls sending license plate info to ICE
The Week
— Surveillance systems at more than 46 malls in California are capturing license plate information that is fed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported Tuesday.
— One company, Irvine Company Retail Properties, operates malls all over the state using a security network called Vigilant Solutions. Vigilant shares data with hundreds of law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and debt collectors — including ICE, which signed a contract with the security company earlier this year

Facebook fined 7 minutes revenue for Cambridge-Analytica scam
— A UK government office that investigated the Cambridge Analytica scandal has announced its intention to fine Facebook $663,000 for contravening the law by failing to safeguard that user information.

Merkel hits back at Trump’s insane tirade against Germany
The Guardian
— Angela Merkel has pushed back against Donald Trump’s extraordinary tirade against Germany on the first day of the Nato summit in Brussels, denying her country was “totally controlled” by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.

More news from the whacked-out future:
The pods would move like trains to collect passengers, then add wings at the airport.

Silicon Valley … is this economic powerhouse about to collapse, ala Detroit?
The Conversation
— Today there are 23 active Superfund toxic waste cleanup sites in Santa Clara County, California. Its culture is equally unhealthy: Think of the misogynist harassment campaigns, the entitled “tech bros” and rampant sexism and racism in Silicon Valley firms. These same companies demean the online public with privacy breaches and unauthorized sharing of users’ data. Thanks to the companies’ influences, it’s extremely expensive to live in the area. And transportation is so clogged that there are special buses bringing tech-sector workers to and from their jobs. Some critics even perceive threats to democracy itself.
— In a word, Silicon Valley has become toxic.

Kavanaugh pretty much figures presidents are untouchable
Which may help explain …
— the 2009 Minnesota Law Review article he wrote advocates for a congressional statute that would exempt the president from civil suits while in office, as well as immunizing him from criminal investigation and prosecution. He does use some pretty strong language about the prospect of a criminal trial of a sitting president, saying it would “cripple the federal government”—an assessment that one could imagine leading a Supreme Court justice to step in to avert such a prospect.

No single origin of human race, scientists say
The Guardian
… the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

Branson is booming, except if you’re caught in the motel trap
— This summer, millions of vacationers are expected to visit Branson, Mo., to see acts like singer Tony Orlando or the Oak Ridge Boys. It’s boom time for the tourist destination, but for many of the workers who keep the good times rolling, a severe shortage of affordable housing forces them into rundown extended stay motels.
… At the end of the day, she returns to a musty extended stay motel where she and her three children and pets live. Their one room has a single king-size bed where the family sleeps together. She does laundry in the bathtub. For a kitchen, they have a mini-fridge and a microwave. Outside, drug dealers and prostitutes stalk the parking lot.

“They will die in Tallinn” Estonia prepares for (inevitable?) war with Russia.
— Estonians still have vivid memories of the price of occupation, and this perspective sharpens strategic planning in unexpected ways.



Pfizer pretends to back down on drug price in fake Trump fear
(Shamelessly promoted by NPR)

Tue. July 10

US could learn from India how to provide better, cheaper health care
 … the poor and uninsured actually represent a huge source of untapped value and transformation. In India, poverty has driven a handful of private Indian hospitals to pursue breakthrough innovations in health care delivery that let them provide medical services on par with the best U.S. hospitals for a fraction of U.S. prices. What’s more, they often give away care to those who can’t afford even their minimal prices.

India Healthcare
At Narayana Health in Bangalore, India, a typical heart surgery costs thousands of dollars less than it would in the U.S., and the hospital performs 60 percent of pediatric surgeries free or at a discounted price to those who can’t pay.

Trump pardons ranchers who inspired wildlife refuge takeover
The Hill

… Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, after both were convicted on arson charges, sparking the 2016 occupation of a wildlife refuge.

Schumer lays out path to block Kavanaugh
— “I believe if we can prove to the American people … that this nominee will lead to a court that repeals women’s reproductive freedom, repeals ACA with its protections for pre-existing conditions, we will get a majority of the Senate to vote for it.”
√ I’ll believe this when I see it. Expect a dog & pony show with no results.
>>> The fix was in all along
— Trump’s paid liar Raj Shah denied the White House made any assurances to Kennedy that his replacement would be his former clerk Kavanaugh.

Demand for air-conditioning to go off the charts
— Soaring global need for cooling by 2050 could see world energy consumption for cooling increase five times as the number of cooling appliances quadruples to 14 billion—according to a new report by the University of Birmingham, UK.

These 11 retailers probably won’t survive for long
USA Today
Sears, J.C. Penney, Barnes & Noble …

Oil rigs may end their days as valuable artificial reefs
Eureka Alert
— A submerged camera at an old worn out oil rig shows an extensive life of flatfish, cod and bottom fauna in all its forms. A life usually not see in these parts of the North Sea, where the oil rig awaits decommissioning after 25 years.

Fast food joints try to (figuratively) chain workers to their jobs
NY Times
— Attorneys general in 10 states are moving to investigate whether a clause in fast-food franchise agreements is preventing workers from switching jobs, locking them into low-paying positions and contributing to widespread wage stagnation.

US Customs thug sweats woman because …
… she didn’t take her husband’s name

Raw Story
Never happened, agency said. Nope. Wasn’t us. Get your ears checked, lady.

Scientists release sterile mosquitoes … and slash disease

Judge: Feds can’t jail migrants forever, even if they’d like to
Courthouse News Service

Toronto’s chief doctor: Decriminalize all drugs
The Guardian
— The idea of treating drugs as a public health and social issue rather than a criminal one has been steadily gaining steam across Canada. Earlier this year, Canada’s New Democratic party became the country’s first major political party to officially champion the idea.

You’re not bigger, it’s the airline restrooms getting smaller
New 737 lavatory by Rockwell Collins Source: Rockwell Collins— Airlines say the new restrooms are just a few inches smaller … but the tighter fit is sparking complaints from pilots,  flight attendants and  travelers. Consultant Samuel Engel said taking his 4-year-old son to the restroom during a recent four-hour flight was like a yoga exercise.
— “We’re both compact people, but I still had to basically straddle him to be able to fit in the lav together.”

Labor shortage? Meh. Not really
Business Insider
…  A labor shortage is also an antidote to needless credentialism in the economy.
— When unemployment is high, firms get picky, requiring a college degree for a job that used to require a high school diploma, or screening out employees with criminal records or long spells of unemployment. When workers are scarce, employers are forced to be more flexible — and that means the economy works better for a broader swath of people.



caged kids



Mon. July 9

Former US intelligence officer:
We’re in danger of losing the republic
nance— “We’re entering a very dangerous period in American history. It is terrifying. …The Russians have a plan and a strategy. They have been executing the strategy for 15 years, by finding Donald Trump and building him up as a character and fostering his betrayal of the United States of America. They clearly set out to destroy American democracy and Donald Trump is the man to do it. We are, as of this November, on the cusp of possibly losing the American constitutional republic forever.”
— “The Russians have been doing this in Europe with ultra-right-wing groups, fascist groups and others that have their origins with the Nazis. The Russians aren’t Communist anymore. They are ultra-conservative Christian nationalists.”
— Malcom Nance, author, The Plot to Destroy Democracy

Illinois governor profits from ICE prison
— Gov. Bruce Rauner this year reported turning a profit from a health care group that services U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, including facilities that hold immigrant families with children.
— The multi-millionaire Republican governor disclosed earnings from a private equity fund that owns Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit health care provider that has millions of dollars in government contracts with jails and prisons across the country, including immigrant detention centers.

Why the Supreme Court is out of step with America
By Kevin J. McMahon
Professor of Political Science, Trinity College
The Conversation
— Consider Neil Gorsuch. He was supported by a majority of senators – 51 Republicans and three Democrats. But the votes earned by those 54 senators only added up to a total of 54,098,387.
— The 45 senators who opposed Gorsuch, all Democrats, collected 73,425,062 votes in their most recent elections – a nearly 20 million-vote difference.
There are now three Supreme Court justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Gorsuch – that fit the description of a “minority justice.” And they are the only three in the nation’s history.


China makes only $8 per Iphone,
which is why Trump’s trade war is doomed

The Conversation
— Thanks to the globe-spanning supply chains that run through China, trade deficits in the modern economy are not always what they seem.

Trump is right, with giant trade deficit, US can’t lose trade war
The National Interest
— The conventional wisdom of the international expert class is that “you can’t win a trade war.” What they really mean is that you can’t win a trade war in a fair game.
— But if one country starts with a massive trade deficit, the existing rules are written to favor its opponents. And when the country with the trade deficit just happens to be the most powerful country in the world, there are multiple paths to victory.


tom-falseLIE: “80 percent of those who do file for asylum aren’t qualified for it.”
— Jeff Sessions, so-called Attorney General
TRUTH: “Many cases are denied for procedural reasons not related to the merit of the claim, or because the applicants are unrepresented or poorly represented … ”
— Jennifer Gordon, law professor, Fordham Law School.

“Beta cities” in US interior attracting more than their share of US young adults
Christian Science Monitor
— “People are starting to look at what you might call beta cities – Grand Rapids; Madison, Wisc.; Des Moines, Iowa.; and Orlando, Fla. – places that, in my generation, young ambitious people didn’t go,” says Joel Kotkin, executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

√ A report from the weekend that’s worth repeating
US opposes breast feeding, 

stunning World Health officials
NY Times
Reasons To Breast Feed— A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
— Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
— Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

>>> “What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health.”<<<

At $3,500, San Francisco rent is world’s highest, study says

Another sneaky Trump move against Affordable Health Care

Trump’s driver sues, claims upaid overtime
The Hill

The Well-Regulated Militia
Houston toddler, 2, shoots himself dead (AP)
Fresno toddler, 2, shoots himself dead (ABC News)

Weekend updates

US opposes breast feeding, 
stunning World Health officials
NY Times
Reasons To Breast Feed— A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
— Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
— Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

>>> “What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health.”<<<

Many thousands in US could be denied passports over tax debt
The Hill
— Hundreds of thousands of Americans stand to be denied new or renewed passports under a 2015 law requiring the IRS and State Department to deny passports to Americans with more than $51,000 in overdue tax debt.
— For now, agency officials stressed that they are just denying applications for new or renewed passports, and were not revoking passports from any Americans with outstanding debt.

Minister, and Trump cultist, finds himself on deportation list
San Diego Union-Tribune
— He supports the Republican agenda on both fiscal and social issues and still supports Trump.
— “Everything that he’s said against immigrants — it’s not that I’m in favor, but bad people don’t belong here,” Ramirez said. “In order to make America great, you have to have people contributing to this country.”
√ That’s the thing with these cultists. 

US says talks went great
N. Korea says they sucked

Inhaled formaldehyde lately? Thank the EPA
The Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency report that warns that most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor in the course of daily life to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other ailments.

Hybrid embryos, and the prospect of saving a lost species
northern white rhino

How America’s first dogs disappeared,
and left a legacy of contagoius cancer

— Dogs were present in North and South America long before the arrival of European colonists. These dogs were widespread across the continents, varying in size and shape, and were largely the only domestic animals associated with Native American groups. They were not domesticated from North American wolves but instead padded their way into the Americas from Asia alongside humans at least 10,000 years ago.

New on the national scene, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already starts in with the lies
tom-false“ICE is required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night and that number has only been increasing since 2009.”
√ The reality is bad enough, without gross exaggerations like this. We do not need more liars in government.

US Army accused of discharging immigrant soldiers
— Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged.
— The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable.

US once led the world in taking in refugees, but no more
Pew Research


— “911 What”s your emergency?”
— “My home is flooding and I’m trapped.”
— “Sorry, the cops are having a hurricane party right now.”
Miami Herald.


Barrett emerges as favorite of social conservatives
The Hill
Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as the favorite candidate for social conservatives in the debate over who should replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
— Barrett — a 46-year-old appellate judge — checks multiple boxes for the right.
— Her age will allow her to influence the court for decades, she’s unabashedly conservative and deeply religious, and her gender, conservatives hope, will make it harder for critics to paint her as extreme on women’s rights and health care.
— But picking Barrett would guarantee an explosive confirmation fight in the Senate and likely spark a broader, all-out culture war months before a midterm election where Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress.

China strikes back at US tariffs, but its shoppers are wary
NY Times
— “Of course I want China to fight back,” said Cathy Yuan, 32, who was shopping at an upscale Shanghai supermarket on Friday. “We are defending our rights as a nation.”
— Other shoppers sounded warier. Fresh American beef and other high-end imports — goods that are likely to become more expensive as more tariffs are imposed — lined the shelves.
— “High-quality fresh food is already quite expensive, and with tariffs, prices will go up even further,” said Wan Yang, a 27-year-old seafood dealer who imports black cod and king crab from Alaska.
— Health and hygiene concerns have led China’s well-off shoppers to prefer food imported from the United States or elsewhere.

Texas ready for legal pot? This candidate for office says yes

Back to life: California’s Net Neutrality bill
Courthouse News Service
√ You know, the one that the corporations killed.

The Tunnel that could break New York
Politico Magazine
How politics, and Donald Trump, turned America’s most important repair job into a $30 billion grudge match.


Forget Summer Fridays. These companies offer cool summer perks
dog-pony-juggle— Summer Fridays are nothing new.
— And in a tight job market where employers are struggling to find workers, companies are getting more creative with the seasonal perks they offer in order to stand out from their competitors.