NEWS REPORT (22 April 2018)

Vol. 1, №4

The mass media’s main functions are to divide, distract, and disinform. This is how the powerful control the people. If we want change, we need to know what has to be changed. To know what must be changed, we have to consume news intelligently. To consume news intelligently, we need filter out the distractions. Only then can we see how power works, in real time.

This week, while the mass media was talking about Barbara Bush, these things happened:

INTERNATIONAL

Afghanistan.

· Brietbart reported that SIGAR, the U.S. special inspector for Afghani operation, found that the U.S. is purchasing fuel from Iran, in violation of the U.S.’s own sanctions on that country.

· Yale News reported that a joint Yale and Princeton study found that the billions invested in Afghani job training has been ineffective to prevent young people from joining the Taliban.

· The Daily Times reported that the Taliban is ready to launch its spring offensive. They control as many districts now as they did in 2015.

· The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that, so far this year, the U.S. has struck Afghani targets 37 or 38 times, killing between 196 and 237 people.

· Forces Network reported that the U.S. military is drawing up recommendations on future action in Afghanistan, to transmit to President Trump this week.

Syria. Military.com reported that U.S. military efforts have stalled in the wake of last week’s bombings of chemical weapons facilities.

Yemen.

· Reuters reported that 20 people were killed in an airstrike by the US/KSA coalition. The attack hit a car transporting 20 passengers south of Taiz province, locals told Reuters. Six bodies had been identified but the rest were charred beyond recognition.

· Army Times reported that U.S. Senators grilled the Department of Defense on the effect of the U.S. involvement in the coalition. DOD witnesses testified that they are advising the KSA on “best practices” to avoid civilian casualties, but they are not tracking the actual number of civilian casualties.

Nigeria. Reuters reported that the annual Flintlock joint military exercises focused on defeating Islamic militants, more so than in prior years.

Congo. Human Rights Watch reported that the Congolese government has refused to attend a U.N.-sponsored conference in Geneva, convened to raise $1.3 billion emergency assistance to the nearly 13 million people there affected by government security forces violence. The Congolese government denies there is a humanitarian crisis. Critics say this claim is intended to attract foreign investment in copper and cobalt extraction.

Cuba. AP reports that the National Assembly unanimously voted to elect Miguel Diaz-Canel to replace Raul Castro as President.

Korea. Common Dreams reported that North and South Korea are exploring an end to the Korean War, which technically still continues. The 1950–53 war ended in a truce.

Russia. AP reported that the Russian government has blocked millions of IP addresses, in an attempt to take the messaging app Telegram offline.

NATIONAL

AUMF. Defense One reported that Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a bill that would expand the president’s authority to use military force, by authorizing force against groups that are “associated” with listed groups, as determined by the president, wherever the groups are located.

John Doe. The Hill reported that the Trump administration is appealing a district court ruling that the U.S. cannot transfer a U.S. citizen to Saudi of Arabia for prosecution. The defendant, known only as John Doe, was captured in Syria fighting for ISIS and is currently being held in Iraq.

Opioids. Stat reported that Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce this week a bill that would make drug company executives criminally liable for marketing opioids for medically unreasonable treatment.

Wells Fargo. Yahoo Finance reported that the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, jointly fined the bank $1 billion for manipulative practices in mortgages and automobile loans.

Banks. AP reported that the six largest banks collectively profited $3.59 billion in the first quarter of 2018, as a result of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

LOCAL

Wisconsin. Mother Jones reported that Attorney General Brad Schimel attributed President Trump’s 2016 victory in that state, to its restrictive voter I.D. law. “How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that … President Trump was going to win Wisconsin if we didn’t have voter ID to keep Wisconsin’s elections clean and honest and have integrity?”

Texas. CNN reported that an eighth-grade teacher at Great Hearts Monte Vista, a charter school in San Antonio, assigned students to list the “positive aspects” and “negative aspects” of slavery. The school superintendent apologized for the insensitive nature of the assignment. The teacher was placed on leave.

Tennessee. Think Progress reported that Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign a bill imposing a work requirement for “able-bodied” Medicare recipients. By the state’s own count, over 23,000 people will lose coverage, which is paid for by the federal government.

Puerto Rico. Buzzfeed News reported that two power failures knocked out electricity across the island. One was caused by a fallen tree, the other by contractor error.

Oregon. Eater Portland reported that employees at the Burgerville restaurant chain are prepared to petition the National Labor Relations Board to recognize their union. Eater Portland reported that they would be the first recognized fast-food workers’ union.

New York.

· The Times-Union reported that nurses at the Albany Medical Center have voted to join the state nurses’ union.

· The Boston Globe reported that flight attendants at JetBlue have voted to join the Transport Workers’ Union of America.

Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Education Commissioner Scott Pruitt resigned after a four-hour closed-door meeting. Pruitt was appointed under previous Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat. The commission is currently composed of appointees of Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican. Pruitt was replaced by Wayne Lewis, an advocate for charter schools.

Kansas. AP reported that a federal district court judge held Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court, for failing to comply with prior orders relating to the state’s restrictive voter I.D. laws. Kobach will be forced to pay the ACLU’s attorneys’ fees.

Illinios. The Chicago Tribune reported that staff writers for The Onion, a Chicago-based parody website, voted to join the Writers’ Guild of America East. Writers for the Tribune have also given notice of their intent to unionize.

Colorado. The Denver Post reported that residents have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to require Suncor Energy to disclose the amount of hydrogen cyanide gas it is emitting. This comes after the state environmental agency set limits higher than EPA reporting requirements, effectively exempting Suncor from having to report its emissions.

California.

· The ACLU of Southern California reported that state Assembly Member Shirley Weber introduced a bill that would change police use of force guidelines, so that police may only use deadly force when “necessary,” as opposed the current standard, which allows police to use deadly force when “reasonable.”

· Bloomberg reported that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti laid out a $430 million plan to assist the city’s homeless population. The plan would build transitional centers, and assist communities providing short term shelters.

Arizona. NPR reported that teachers voted to walk out, demanding increased school funding. The walk-out will begin on April 26.

Alabama. AP reported that a train with cars laden with human feces from New York, was stopped in Parrish on its way to a landfill, waiting to be transferred to trucks. West Jefferson, a neighboring town, had previously obtained an injunction against transferring the waste in their jurisdiction. Permissive land use laws allow dumping untreated sewage in Alabama landfills. Parrish Mayor Heather Hall said, “It smells like rotting corpses, or carcasses. It smells like death.”

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Patrick Goggins

Lawyer, writer, musician, bon vivant. Born in Flint, Michigan during the Cuban Missile Crisis.