2018-02-25: News Headlines Leave a reply Eric Ortiz (2018-02-25). A Case of Selective Justice. Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists The FBI is busy. | Over the last year, the feds have been conducting two big investigations. One involves NCAA basketball violations and dozens of high-profile characters (players, schools, agents and businesses) exchanging money that violate college sports' amateurism rules. The other involves allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. | Both stories are treated as A-1 scandals of biblical proportions. They make mere mortals wonder where these superhero crime fighters find the time. Perhaps not investigating mass shooters frees up some hours? | In the NCAA case, the news that college basketball players are getting under-the-table benefits is not a groundbreaking revelation. Everybody knows everybody is getting paid in college basketball. | In the Russia meddling case, the idea of foreign electoral intervention is not the scoop of the century. The United States itself has… Truthout Stories (2018-02-25). Proposed Arizona Law Could Promote Embryonic Personhood. Truthout Stories A new bill in Arizona has some reproductive rights advocates worried that the state is trying to set a precedent that would establish embryonic personhood — a first in the United States. | Proponents argue that the bill "protects a parent's right to his or her in vitro embryos in a divorce proceeding," and is simply a necessary clarification in the law. But because they're backed by national conservative interests that have historically lobbied against reproductive freedoms, critics are viewing their claim with a grain of salt. | SB 1393 might sound innocuous, and like a much-needed fix to a heartbreaking problem: What happens when a couple divorces and they can't agree on what should happen with embryos they froze while they were married? | This… Lee Fang (2018-02-25). Koch Document Reveals Laundry List of Policy Victories Extracted from the Trump Administration. The Intercept In the backdrop of a chaotic first year of Donald Trump's presidency, the conservative Koch brothers have won victory after victory in their bid to reshape American government to their interests. | Documents obtained by The Intercept and Documented show that the network of wealthy donors led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch have taken credit for a laundry list of policy achievements extracted from the Trump administration and their allies in Congress. | The donors have pumped campaign contributions not only to GOP lawmakers, but also to an array of third-party organizations that have pressured officials to act swiftly to roll back limits on pollution, approve new pipeline projects, and extend the largest set of upper-income tax breaks in generations. | "This year, thanks in part to research and outreach efforts across institutions, we have seen progress on many regulatory priorities… Amnesty International (2018-02-25. Amnesty International Annual Report 2017/18. Amnesty International Amnesty International's report, The State of the World's Human Rights 2017-18, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today. Juan Cole, Informed Comment (2018-02-24). Top 10 Signs the U.S. Is the Most Corrupt Nation in the World (2018 Ed.). AlterNet.org American democracy is being corrupted out of existence. | Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly "corrupt" always imply that the United States is not corrupt. This year's report from Transparency International puts the US on a par with Austria, which is ridiculous. All kinds of people from politicians to businessmen would go to jail in Austria today if they engaged in practices that are quite common in the US. While it is true that you don't typically have to bribe your postman to deliver the mail in the US, in many key ways America's political and financial practices make it in absolute terms far more corrupt than the usual global South suspects. After all, the US economy is worth over $18 trillion a year, so in our corruption a lot more money changes hands. 1. A sure. . . WSWS (2018-02-24). Tuition fees review will escalate marketisation of higher education in UK. World Socialist Web Site At the center of discussions is the introduction of market-based pricing for degree courses, based on likely graduate earnings. Staff (2018-02-24). Congress Releases Redacted Democratic Memo. Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists Read the full memo here. | WASHINGTON—After weeks of discussions with the Justice Department, Democrats on the House intelligence committee released Saturday a classified memo that counters GOP allegations that the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference. | The release comes after weeks of back and forth over how much of the document would be redacted. The White House on Feb. 9 objected to its release, citing national security concerns. That sent the Democrats back to negotiations with the FBI over how much of the memo needed to be blacked out. | President Donald Trump had no such concerns about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb 2 over strong objections from the FBI. In that memo, Republicans took aim at the FBI and the Justice Department over the use of… WSWS (2018-02-24). Florida inmate denounces governor, screams "Murderers!" before lethal injection. World Socialist Web Site Despite briefs filed by a group of former judges, Florida Supreme Court justices and other professionals, the US Supreme Court denied a stay of execution. Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig (2018-02-24). Young Courage vs. White Male Rage. AlterNet.org The gun-toting right may have met its match in a new generation. | Gun violence in the United States is so routine, and the responses that follow a mass shooting so scripted, that the political response emerging in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. , school shooting last week have caught the nation off guard. It is never easy to predict when a spark will catch fire, when just the right set of circumstances will turn a miscarriage of justice into the birth of a movement. We have all become so used to tiptoeing around the supposedly sacred right of Americans to arm themselves to the teeth that we expect nothing to change in the wake of gun violence, and we rejoice over the most minuscule measures that chip away at the power of the gun industry. But now the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. . . John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus (2018-02-24). There's a Specific Ideology That Unites Trump With the World's Other Majoritarians. AlterNet.org It's about propping up "besieged majorities" in multiethnic countries. | Washington and New Delhi are having a mutual lovefest these days. Donald Trump is popular in India — where only 17 percent of the population considers the president "intolerant," compared to a global average of 65 percent — and he has warmly welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House. Both leaders are eager to bump up bilateral security cooperation to the next level. Even Donald Trump Jr. is getting in on the act. He's visiting India this week as part of the Trump organization's myriad economic connections to the subcontinent. Indians, treating the president's son as a representative of the White House, are paying a lot of rupees to gain access to his ear. Who can blame them? It's. . . John Feffer (2018-02-24). The Ideology That Unites Trump and the Authoritarians He Admires. MintPress News Washington and New Dehli are having a mutual lovefest these days. Donald Trump is popular in India — where only 17 percent of the population considers the president "intolerant," compared to a global average of 65 percent — and he has warmly welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House. Both leaders are eager to bump up bilateral security cooperation to the next level. | Even Donald Trump, Jr. is getting in on the act. He's visiting India this week as part of the Trump organization's myriad economic connections to the subcontinent. Indians, treating the president's son as a representative of the White House, are paying a lot of rupees to gain access to his ear. | Who can blame them? It's virtually impossible to… South Front (2018-02-24). Video: Military Escalation: Syrian Army Enters YPG-held Part of Aleppo, Turkey Strikes Convoy Entering Afrin. Global Research On February 22, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered into and established a full control of the YPG-held neighborhoods of Aleppo city, according to pro-government sources. A representative of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) confirmed the SAA … Amnesty International (2018-02-24. Amnesty International Annual Report 2017/18. Amnesty International Amnesty International's report, The State of the World's Human Rights 2017-18, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today. Ian Sinclair (2018-02-24). The Power of Western Propaganda. Global Research Guardian columnist and leader writer Natalie Nougayrede wrote an op-ed last month examining propaganda in our supposed age of "lies and distortion." | Focusing on "Russian propaganda" and "Russian meddling" in the West's political systems, Nougayrede argued"citizens who live in … Staff (2018-02-24). Garrison Keillor Downplays Emails With Accuser. Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists MINNEAPOLIS—Garrison Keillor described several sexually suggestive emails he exchanged with a former researcher who accused him of sexual misconduct as "romantic writing" that never resulted in a physical relationship, and the radio host rejected the idea that because he was her boss — and the driving force of a hugely popular radio program — it could be sexual harassment. | The woman responded, via her attorney, that Keillor's power over her job made her afraid to say no to him. | In one of his first extended interviews since Minnesota Public Radio cut ties over the allegations against the former "A Prairie Home Companion" host in November, Keillor said he never had a sexual relationship with the woman, a freelance contributor to the show at the time. | "No button was unbuttoned and no zipper was unzipped," Keillor told The Associated Press. "I… Adam Garrie (2018-02-24). Far-right Terrorists Shoot at DPRK Association in Tokyo. Global Research Members of a far-right Uyoku dantai group in Japan have fired gunshots at the gate of the General Association of Korean Residents. The Association serves as the de-facto consulate of the DPRK in Japan, as the countries have no formal … Dr. Binoy Kampmark (2018-02-24). Arming Educators: Trump, Gun Violence and Schools. Global Research It had been in the works. Instead of engaging in the traditional revulsion associated with a mass shooting, or even digesting the grief of outraged students and grieving parents, US President Donald Trump's solution to guns violence was elementary. … Telesur (2018-02-24). Cuba Is an Example for Fighting Hunger: FAO. Global Research Cuba is an example to the world in fighting hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared Wednesday. | FAO's representative in Cuba, Marcelo Resende, said during an interview with the country's Round Table television program, that … Eric Zuesse (2018-02-24). Globally Top-Respected Experts on Middle East Warn Syrian War May Produce WW III. Global Research Abdel Bari Atwan, the retired editor-in-chief (1989-2013) of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi and author of widely respected books on the Middle East, headlined on February 18th, "A superpower confrontation could be triggered by accident in Syria"… Zero Hedge (2018-02-24). "It Was a Good Laugh" — German Newspaper Publishes Embarrassing "Russian Meddling" Hoax. Global Research It had all the trappings of a bombshell report. The German socialists turning against their conservative former allies — and running headlong into the open arms of Russia's Vladimir Putin. There were secret meetings, armies of Internet trolls and … Tony Cartalucci (2018-02-24). Why US Subversion Flopped in Iran. Global Research At the end of December 2017 the Western media reported "widespread" protests sweeping Iran. Narratives indistinguishable from the US-engineered "Arab Spring" in 2011 flooded headlines and social media regarding a "popular uprising" spurred first by alleged economic grievances before protesters … Bill Boyarsky (2018-02-24). Patrick Soon-Shiong Brings Hope to the Los Angeles Times. Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists The new owner has a chance to do a great public service by reviving the civic treasure, battered by years of dictatorial and incompetent regimes. But he'll soon learn that running a newspaper is not science or showmanship. | The post Patrick Soon-Shiong Brings Hope to the Los Angeles Times appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists. Paul Street (2018-02-23). Where's the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate. counterpunch.org Neo-McCarthyite liberals and other dismal Democrats are clucking about how Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 untouchable Russians for "defrauding" the U.S. by buying some Facebook ads and employing some Internet trolls to "say horrible things" (imagine!) about Hillary Clinton (a horrifically bad politician who was accurately described as a "lying neoliberal warmonger" by a leading U.S. left intellectual trying to get leftists to hold their noses and vote "for" her as the lesser evil) "proves" that Russia engaged in relevant meddling to undermine U.S. "democracy" on Donald Trump's behalf during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. More Lee Fang (2018-02-23). DCCC Goes Nuclear, Slams Democratic Candidate as Corrupt for Same Behavior It Engages in Regularly. The Intercept On Thursday evening, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took the extraordinary step of publicly attacking a prominent Democratic candidate in a contested Texas primary. The party committee's move was made all the more jarring given the background of the candidate, Laura Moser, who in 2017 became a hero of the Trump resistance movement as the creator of Daily Action, a text-messaging tool that channeled progressive anger into a single piece of activism per day. | "Voters in Houston have organized for over a year to hold Rep. [John] Culberson accountable and win this Clinton district," DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly told the Texas Tribune. "Unfortunately, Laura Moser's outright disgust for life in Texas disqualifies her as a general election candidate, and would rob voters of their opportunity to flip Texas' 7th in November." | The comment followed the release of an Democracy Now! (2018-02-23). Headlines for February 23, 2018. Democracy Now! National Rifle Association Attacks Gun Control Advocates, Trump Repeats Call to Arm Teachers in Wake of Florida School Massacre, Deputy Who Failed to Engage Florida School Shooter Retires, Texas School District to Punish Students Protesting Gun Violence, Minneapolis Mayor Joins Student Protests as Orono Schools Lock Down, Russia Delays U.N. Security Council Resolution on Syria Bloodshed, UNICEF Executive Resigns Following Reports of Sexual Harassment, Haiti Suspends Oxfam over Sex Crimes and Cover-Up, Video Shows Dead Palestinian Was Beaten by Soldiers, Rebutting Israeli Claims, Florida: Prisoner Screams "Murderers!" as Lethal Drugs Administered, Alabama Halts Execution of Cancer Sufferer over Collapsed Veins, Texas Grants Clemency to Death Row Prisoner Amid Father's Plea, Special Counsel Mueller Files New Charges Against Manafort and Gates, Missouri Gov. Greitens Indicted on Felony Invasion of Privacy Charge… Janine Jackson (2018-02-23). 'The United States Is Driving a Wedge Between the Two Koreas'. FAIR Janine Jackson interviewed Christine Hong about United States/Korean history for the February 16, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. | Media… Janine Jackson (2018-02-23). 'This Is a Uniquely American Crisis'. FAIR Janine Jackson interviewed Lee Fang about the opioid lobby for the June 10, 2016, episode of CounterSpin; an excerpt was re-aired on February 16, 2018. This is a lightly edited transcript of the re-aired version; a longer transcript is available here. | Media… Amnesty International (2018-02-23). Iran: Young human rights defenders at risk of torture: Shima Babaee and Dariush Zand. Amnesty International Young Iranian human rights defenders Shima Babaee, who is campaigning against compulsory veiling, and her husband Dariush Zand are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Both have been detained in Tehran's Evin prison, without access to family and lawyer following their arrest by the Ministry of Intelligence on 1 February in connection with their peaceful human rights work. They are prisoners of conscience. Human Rights Watch (2018-02-23). Ethiopia: New State of Emergency Risks Renewed Abuses. Human Rights Watch News | Expand | Police officers patrol along a road in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 21, 2018. | © 2018 Reuters | Ethiopia's newly proclaimed state of emergency risks further closing the space for peaceful political activity, Human Rights Watch said today. The action dashed hopes that the release of key political prisoners days earlier was a first step toward more widespread political reforms. The government should promptly repeal or revise restrictions that violate the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression protected under international human rights law. | On February 17, 2018, following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's resignation, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa announced a countrywide six-month state of emergency. The Directive of the State of Emergency contains overly broad restrictions and vague language that will facilitate government abuses, Human Rights Watch said. During Ethiopia's TRNN (2018-02-23). The Nation's Strongest Charter School Regulations Are Under Attack. The Real News Network Loyola University's associate dean of education, Rob Helfenbein, says corporate-backed forces have long targeted troubled school systems for privatization… WSWS (2018-02-23). Nova Scotia teachers vote massively in favour of "illegal" strike. World Socialist Web Site The province's Liberal government is seeking to ram through changes to the education system that will enhance its managerial power over teachers and facilitate further spending cuts. TRNN (2018-02-23). For 2018, Top Democrats Follow the Big Money. The Real News Network Heading into the 2018 midterms, Democratic leaders are favoring corporate-friendly candidates — even though Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign showed them a different path, Aaron Mate reports… Democracy Now! (2018-02-23). Masha Gessen: Did a Russian Troll Farm's Inflammatory Posts Really Sway the 2016 Election for Trump? Democracy Now! The Justice Department recently indicted 13 Russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The indicted are accused of orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the U.S. election system. The indictment claims the Russians spread negative information online about Hillary Clinton and supportive information about Donald Trump, as well as Bernie Sanders—but some are warning against overstating what Russia accomplished. For more, we speak with award-winning Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her recent piece for The New Yorker is titled "The Fundamental Uncertainty of Mueller's Russia Indictments." Truthout Stories (2018-02-23). Masha Gessen: Did a Russian Troll Farm's Inflammatory Posts Really Sway the 2016 Election for Trump? Truthout Stories The Justice Department recently indicted 13 Russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The indicted are accused of orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the US election system. The indictment claims the Russians spread negative information online about Hillary Clinton and supportive information about Donald Trump, as well as Bernie Sanders — but some are warning against overstating what Russia accomplished. For more, we speak with award-winning Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her recent piece for The New Yorker is titled "The Fundamental Uncertainty of Mueller's Russia Indictments." | TRANSCRIPT | AMY GOODMAN: We begin today's show looking at the Justice Department's recent indictment of 13 Russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The indicted are accused of orchestrating an… CP Editor (2018-02-23). He Spent 40 Years Alone in the Woods, and Now Scientists Love Him. counterpunch.org … David Yearsley (2018-02-23). Market Music. counterpunch.org Music may be the food love, as Shakespeare put it at the opening of Twelfth Night, but he could also have observed that music feeds on money. A few are made rich by their devotion to the art. Many more are impoverished by it. In between these economic extremes, the cultivation of music long served More Global Research News (2018-02-23). Dramatic Increase of Mass Shootings in America: The Role of Prescription Psychiatric Drugs? Global Research This article first published on November 21, 2013 is in relevance to the recent Florida mass shooting. What could be the underlying reason in this dramatic increase of shootings in the US? | "While the data about the ever-increasing random … Dr. Binoy Kampmark (2018-02-23). God, Politics and Billy Graham. Global Research Evangelising is an ugly thing. It assumes indisputable truths, and limits the field of inquiry. Its very assertiveness lies in unquestioning rather than probing, a sheepish acceptance of the truth. The tele-pastor and media choked evangelists, of which the United … Kevin Zeese (2018-02-23). War Preparations Against Venezuela as Election Nears. Global Research Since we published " Regime Change Fails: Is a Military Coup or Invasion Next," we received more information showing steps toward preparing for a potential military attack on Venezuela. Stopping this war needs to become a top priority for … Robert J. Burrowes (2018-02-23). Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe? Global Research The garbage, otherwise labelled 'pollution', that we dump into our atmosphere includes waste products from our burning of fossil fuels and our farming of animals. Primarily this means carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide generated by driving motor vehicles and burning coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, … Andrew Korybko (2018-02-23). The Kurds Have Backed Damascus into a Corner. Global Research Conflict Context | The past week has seen a flurry of conflicting reports about the true status of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied militias in Afrin, with the general conclusion being that Damascus is playing a dangerous game … Global Research (2018-02-23). Independent Media Delivers Truth and Accountability. Global Research Since September 2001, Global Research has been bringing our readers a broad spectrum of voices analyzing global situations, from military threats against Russia and North Korea, the humanitarian crisis in Palestine, to the economic machinations of the financial … Andre Vltchek (2018-02-23). On The Nature of Independent Journalism: Conversation with Andre Vltchek. Global Research "Those who claim to be objective, like the BBC or The New York Times, are actually the most professional propagandists for the Western Empire." | This week I spoke with philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek. Vltchek has … Gilbert Mercier (2018-02-23). Seven Years of Killing Fields in Syria: An Imbroglio of Proxy Wars. Global Research We are reaching the seventh-year anniversary of the tragic conflict in Syria, which seems to evolve and get more complex as time goes on. If nothing else, with the recent downing of an Israeli F16 by the Syrian army of… Eric London (2018-02-23). The Parkland Shooting: Why Are Mass Killings So Common in the United States? Global Research On February 14, an American horror story played out in southeastern Florida when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people, including 14 students. | In April 1999, the country was stunned by the mass killing … Hans Stehling (2018-02-23). Can the United Nations Survive? Global Research The contempt of the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (currently under investigation for fraud and corruption) for the UN Security Council has shown the international community that any UN member state can ignore Security Council Resolutions, such … Dr. Rudolf Hà§nsel (2018-02-23). The School Massacre in Florida. Media Violence, War Culture. Global Research On February 14, at the Parkland High School in Florida (USA), the 19th school shooting took place at a US school in the just-started 2018. It was one of the deadliest: fourteen students and three teachers were literally executed by … Eric Zuesse (2018-02-23). U.S. Propaganda Cites NATO's PR Agency's Confirmation That "Evidence Is Overwhelming" Russia Manipulated U.S. Elections. Global Research "There's no possible way you can say that [Russia's manipulation of the 2016 U.S. elections] didn't happen," says Ben Nimmon, of the Atlantic Council, which was set up by the U.S. Government in 1961 during the Cold War, … Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet (2018-02-23). Listen: A Wave of Global Disappointment in Democracy Brought Trump to the White House. AlterNet.org Harvard's Yascha Mounk explains how lack of faith in democracies is spreading around Europe. | The Chauncey DeVega Show is the official podcast of Salon. com politics writer Chauncey DeVega. The weekly show features a relaxed and free-form conversation with artists, authors, musicians, researchers, academics, journalists, activists, actors and directors. Yascha Mounk is the guest on this week's special fundraising month episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a lecturer on political theory at Harvard University's Government Department, a postdoctoral fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund, and a nonresident fellow at New America's Political Reform Program. Mounk is the author of three books including the forthcoming The People versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It. He writes a column at Slate in addition to hosting The Good Fight podcast. In this week's. . . Peter Koenig (2018-02-23). The Venezuelan "Petro" — Towards a New World Reserve Currency? Global Research As this article goes to print, Globovision TV quotes Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announcing the launch of a new cryptocurrency, the "Petro Oro". It will be backed by precious metals. The launch of the new cryptomoney is scheduled for the … Prof. Marjorie Cohn (2018-02-23). Trump Sets Deadly Precedent by Hiding Rationale for Bombing Syria. Global Research Pressure is mounting as the Trump administration continues to refuse to reveal its legal justification for bombing Syria in April 2017, despite increased scrutiny from Democratic senators and a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. | Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) wrote a … Manlio Dinucci (2018-02-23). VIDEO — L'Arte della Guerra — Ha già votato la Nato prima di noi. Global Research C'è un partito che, anche se non compare, partecipa di fatto alle elezioni italiane: il Nato Party, il Partito dellla Nato, formato da una maggioranza trasversale che sostiene esplicitamente o con tacito assenso l'appartenenza dell'Italia alla Grande Alleanza sotto comando … Michael Bader, AlterNet (2018-02-23). It Will Take a Political Revolution to Cure the Epidemic of Depression. AlterNet.org We need to change the nature of work, community and wealth distribution. | In addition, over 50 years of research into the neurobiology of mood disorders strongly suggests that genetic and biological factors usually accompany, if not underlie these painful affective states. As a result of these assumptions, the treatment of depression today usually relies heavily on pharmacology, and drug companies have spent billions making sure this explanation is widely accepted. Some one in five US adults is taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem; nearly one in four middle-aged women in the United States is taking antidepressants at any given time; and around one in 10 boys at American high schools are being given powerful stimulants to make them focus. Since it's well known that psychological events produce biological changes, it remains debatable whether or not disorders of our biochemistry. . . Jeffrey St. Clair (2018-02-23). They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted. counterpunch.org My sense of anticipation was hyped. Robert Mueller had just indicted the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, along with several of the trolls who slaved away tirelessly in their cubicles in St. Petersburg in a plot to despoil American democracy. Having recently survived a hit-and-run collision with a suspected Russian troll, who had recklessly driven the internet highways with a false id (Alice Donovan), I was eager to see what the former FBI man had uncovered. More Nicole Karlis, Salon (2018-02-23). Too Much Booze is Biggest Risk Factor for Dementia: Study. AlterNet.org Heavy drinking is the "most important risk factor" for dementia, according to a new study | Heavy drinking could increase one's chances of developing dementia, a condition characterized by memory loss and brain impairment, a new study claims. The research, published in the journal Lancet Public Health, and comprised of a nationwide study in France considered to be the largest of its kind, analyzed over one million adults in France released from hospitals who were diagnosed with dementia between 2008 and 2013. Researchers were aided by the French National Hospital Discharge database. Researchers winnowed the 1 million patients down to a sample size of 57,000 people with early-onset dementia — meaning those who developed it before the age of 65 — and found that more than half had been diagnosed with alcohol-use disorder or had brain damage that may have. . . Project Censored (2018-02-23). $21 Trillion Missing From US Federal Budget. Global Research A whopping $21 trillion was found to be missing from the US federal budget as of this past year. Michigan State University professor Mark Skidmore and a group of graduate students made the discovery after overhearing a government official say … Vladimir Terehov (2018-02-23). Political Breakthrough Possible on the Korean Peninsula. Global Research On February 10 of the current year, the reception of the delegation of DPRK (the most representative one since the Korean War) by the South Korean President, as well as the subsequent negotiations of the parties became one of the … Sharon Lerner (2018-02-23). Lawsuit Reveals How Paid Expert Helped 3M "Command the Science" on Dangerous Chemicals. The Intercept On Tuesday, 3M settled a suit filed by the state of Minnesota for $850 million, averting a much-awaited trial over the company's responsibility for massive amounts of waste containing perfluorinated chemicals, which it had dumped in the state for more than 40 years. | The suit charged that the Minnesota-based company, which made the perfluorinated chemicals for use in Scotchgard, firefighting foam, and other products, "acted with a deliberate disregard for the high risk of injury to the citizens and wildlife of Minnesota." | The complaint details how chemicals from the plant seeped into Minnesota's drinking water and accuses the company of covering up the knowledge that its perfluorinated products, including PFOA, PFOS, PFBA, and FPBS, accumulate in people's bodies and present a health hazard. According to expert testimony filed in the case, tens of thousands… Amnesty International (2018-02-23). Philippines: Detained Duterte critic must be freed immediately. Amnesty International The Philippines authorities must immediately drop all charges and release prisoner of conscience Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of President Duterte who has been jailed on politically motivated drug charges, Amnesty International said ahead of the anniversary of her arrest. | Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on 24 February 2017 on three separate spurious charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. In the lead up to her arrest, President Duterte and other supporters had led a vicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Senator and falsely tried to implicate her in the drug trade. | | "The… George Ochenski (2018-02-23). The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity. counterpunch.org Evincing an almost unbelievable ignorance of environmental science, last week Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump's head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters "we know humans have most flourished during times of warming trends. So I think there are assumptions made that because the climate is warming that necessarily is a bad thing. Do More Human Rights Watch (2018-02-22). Bahrain: 5 More Years for Jailed Activist. Human Rights Watch News | Expand | Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing at court in Manama, February 11, 2015. | © 2015 Reuters | (Beirut) — The Bahrain High Criminal Court on February 21, 2018, sentenced the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years in prison for criticizing torture in a Bahrain prison and Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. The new sentence is in addition to the two-year sentence that Rajab is already serving on other charges related to peaceful expression. | "The new prison sentence for Nabeel Rajab is only the latest chapter in years of persecution and efforts to silence an activist solely for his efforts to sound the alarm on human rights abuses," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Rajab… Intercepted (2018-02-22). Video: Glenn Greenwald and James Risen Debate the Trump/Russia Investigation. The Intercept James Risen and Glenn Greenwald have both won Pulitzer Prizes. They both have found themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for their journalism. And they both write for The Intercept. But Jim and Glenn have taken very different approaches to covering the Trump/Russia story. In this one-hour special video edition of Intercepted, they go head-to-head in a debate. Glenn is one of the most high-profile critics of the official story bolstered by the U.S. intelligence community, the Democrats, and many media outlets, including some of this country's most powerful papers and news channels. Jim battled both the Bush and Obama administrations — under threat of imprisonment — for refusing to name his sources in some of the most sensitive national security reporting of the modern era. Jim recently broke a key story on a secret NSA channel to Russia and his first column for The Intercept, about the Trump/Russia investigation, posed the question: Is Donald Trump a traitor? | The post Video: Glenn Greenwald and James Risen Debate the Trump/Russia Investigation appeared first on The Intercept. Democracy Now! (2018-02-22). "The Time to Act Is Now": Florida School Shooting Survivors Confront Trump, Rubio on Gun Control. Democracy Now! "The time to act is now." That's the message of survivors of last week's school shooting in Florida. On Wednesday, the nation witnessed grieving students, parents and teachers powerfully confront the president and lawmakers over gun control in pointed—and often tense—televised exchanges. The day began with students across the United States—from Minnesota to Colorado to Arizona—walking out of class to demand stricter gun laws. Meanwhile, survivors of the shooting descended on the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee to demand lawmakers pass legislation addressing gun violence before the legislative session ends. In the afternoon, President Trump—along with Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—hosted a listening session with survivors of recent shootings, including students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Wednesday evening, survivors of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School sparred with politicians during a town hall hosted by CNN. WSWS (2018-02-22). Growing opposition to public education cuts in Oklahoma. World Socialist Web Site Teachers are calling for a statewide "sickout," while students at two schools have staged recent walkouts. Rachel M. Cohen (2018-02-22). Betsy DeVos Is Helping Puerto Rico Re-Imagine Its Public School System. That Has People Deeply Worried.. The Intercept Many in Puerto Rico worry that the government is treating this more as an opportunity to disrupt education, rather than stabilize it. | The post Betsy DeVos Is Helping Puerto Rico Re-Imagine Its Public School System. That Has People Deeply Worried. appeared first on The Intercept. Amnesty International (2018-02-22). State-sponsored hate spurs new era of social activism. Amnesty International The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights. | | Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression. | The report, The State of the World's Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world… Human Rights Watch (2018-02-22). India Gets Another Chance Protecting Transgender Rights. Human Rights Watch News | Expand | Participants hold placards during a protest demanding an end to what they say is discrimination and violence against the transgender community, in Bengaluru, India October 21, 2016. | © 2016 Reuters | The Indian government will introduce a revised Transgender Persons Bill in the session of parliament beginning March 5. The legislation promises to enshrine the hard-fought battle for legal recognition and access to social services for India's transgender community — rights long denied. | An earlier draft of the bill, introduced in 2016, mandated an "expert evaluation" for transgender people who wanted to be legally recognized according to their gender identity and offered an inaccurate and stigmatizing definition of "transgender." Indian transgender communities, as well as Human Rights Watch, flagged concerns over the draft law. | A parliamentary committee… Aída Chávez (2018-02-22). GOP Senator Says Impeachment of Judges Who Struck Down Gerrymandered Map Is "a Conversation That Has to Happen" The Intercept In the wake of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that struck down a Republican congressional map as unconstitutionally gerrymandered, Sen. Pat Toomey said that impeachment of the justices is "a conversation that has to happen." | The GOP map had given Republicans a nearly 3-1 congressional majority in a state that leans Democratic; the court's new map will still give Republicans a significant advantage, but slightly less of one. For Toomey, that amounted, he said, to a "blatant, unconstitutional, partisan power grab that undermines our electoral process." | "I think state House members, state senators, are going to be speaking among themselves and their constituents," Toomey said. "Does that rise to the level of impeachment? That's ultimately their decision but it's a conversation that has to happen." @SenToomey was asked about impeachment talk surrounding the PA Supreme Court on their gerrymandering decision. Amnesty International (2018-02-22). Venezuela: Further information: Prisoner of conscience gets medical care: Villca Fernández. Amnesty International Prisoner of conscience Villca Fernández finally received medical care after having been denied urgently needed medical treatment since June 2017. Since 26 January 2018, prison authorities have transferred Villca Fernández to a military hospital on several occasions for continued treatment. Democracy Now! (2018-02-21). Headlines for February 21, 2018. Democracy Now! Syria: 200 Killed in Two Days of Gov't Bombing in Eastern Ghouta, Florida Lawmakers Vote Down Debate on Assault-Style Weapons Ban After Parkland Massacre, Trump Calls for Rule Change to Ban "Bump Stocks" After Parkland Shooting, Woman Accusing Trump of Sexual Assault in Trump Tower Demands Release of Security Camera Footage, Woman Accusing Justice Clarence Thomas of Sexual Harassment Calls for His Impeachment, Guess Co-Founder Steps Down After Kate Upton Accuses Him of Groping Her, NYT: Kushner and Kelly Face Off over Security Clearances, Mahmoud Abbas Calls for International Conference to Restart Peace Process, Bahraini Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison, U.N.: Hundreds of Thousands Flee Violence in Southeast Democratic Republic of Congo, Minnesota Reaches $850 Million Settlement with 3M over PFCs, Polk Awards Honor Weinstein Exposé, Revelations on U.S. Raid in Yemen… Amnesty International (2018-02-21). Bahrain: Shameful attack on freedom of expression as Nabeel Rajab sentenced to five years in prison for tweets . Amnesty International | The sentencing of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years in prison today for peacefully expressing his opinions online illustrates the Bahraini authorities' utter contempt for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International. | The sentence relates to posts on his Twitter account in 2015 as well as retweets about alleged torture in Bahrain's Jaw prison, and the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. | "The conviction of Nabeel Rajab today is a slap in the face to justice. This sentence demonstrates the authorities' ruthless determination to… TRNN (2018-02-21). What's Behind the Taliban's Call for Talks? The Real News Network The Taliban's letter, which urged the American people to pressure Trump to begin peace talks, is "more of a reflection of internal Taliban politics than a very meaningful and sincere request to talk," says Thomas Johnson, former advisor to NATO forces in Afghanistan. Amnesty International (2018-02-21). Slovakia: Man at risk of torture if extradited to Russia: :Aslan Yandiev. Amnesty International Aslan Yandiev was detained by the Slovakian authorities on 20 January 2011, shortly before the Prosecutor General's office of the Russian Federation submitted a request for his extradition. He is now at risk of imminent extradition to Russia following the Minister of Justice's decision on 7 February to authorise it. If extradited to Russia, Aslan Yandiev would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. WSWS (2018-02-20). Iowa state government preparing mid-year budget cuts. World Socialist Web Site For the second year in a row, Iowa's legislature is preparing to enact budget cuts slashing funding for public education and social services. RT (2018-02-20). Trump directs DOJ to ban 'bump stock' gun accessories. RT US News President Donald Trump has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to outlaw bump stock devices on guns. The announcement comes after renewed calls to take action in the wake of the Florida school shooting. | Read Full Article at RT.com Democracy Now! (2018-02-20). Mueller Probe Heats Up: 13 Russians Indicted, Ex-Trump Aide to Plead Guilty, Focus on Kushner Grows. Democracy Now! There have been a number of significant developments in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump administration. CNN is reporting Mueller is now investigating Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and his attempts to secure financing for his family's business while working on the president's transition team. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is reporting former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to plead guilty and testify against Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager. Under the deal, Gates will plead guilty to money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. These developments come just days after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election by orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the U.S. election system. We speak to Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net. CounterSpin (2018-02-16). Christine Hong on North Korean Peace Threat, Lee Fang on Opioid Lobby. FAIR Media… Democracy Now! (2018-02-14). Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Trump's Immoral Budget Punishes the Poor, Sick & Elderly. Democracy Now! President Trump's $4.4 trillion budget proposes deep cuts to education, healthcare and social safety net programs—while massively increasing the Pentagon's budget. Trump's plan would slash the Department of Education's budget by more than 10 percent. It would sharply reduce income-based student loan repayment plans, while ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Trump's budget would cut more than $17 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP—barring food stamp recipients from buying fresh fruit and vegetables, and instead providing only a boxed food delivery program. The budget would also phase out federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public and community radio and TV stations. This comes as McClatchy reports the Trump administration is considering a plan that would not only impose work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, but which would also put a lifetime limit on adults' access to Medicaid. Meanwhile, Trump's budget would see a 13 percent rise in spending on weapons and war, bringing the Pentagon's budget to $686 billion. We speak to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee and vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Democracy Now! (2018-02-14). Headlines for February 14, 2018. Democracy Now! WH Discussed Promoting Rob Porter Months After Receiving FBI's Report on Alleged Domestic Violence, Second Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump from Canceling DACA, ICE Seattle Official Charged with Stealing Immigrants' Identities to Commit Credit Card Fraud, Trump's Lawyer Personally Paid to Silence Ex-Porn Star About Encounter with Trump, U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Claim Russia Planning to Meddle in 2018 Election, After 3-Year Bombing Campaign, U.S. Refuses to Commit Money to Iraq's Reconstruction, Israeli Justice Minister: Maintaining Jewish Majority More Important Than Human Rights, Israeli Police Recommend Indicting PM Netanyahu on Corruption Charges, Imprisoned Reuters Journalists Win PEN Award for Reporting on Massacre in Burma, Ethiopia: Top Oromo Opposition Leader Freed from Prison, British Judge Again Upholds Arrest Warrant Against Julian Assange, CAIR Sues Southwest for Removing Passenger from Plane for Speaking Arabic, Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White Faces Questions About Sexual Harassment Suit… Democracy Now! (2018-02-13). "It's Hard to Believe, But Syria's War Is Getting Worse": World Powers Clash as Civilian Deaths Soar. Democracy Now! Tensions across northern Syria are escalating sharply amid a series of clashes between external and internal powers, including Israel, Iran, Turkey, Russia and the Syrian government. On Saturday, Israel shot down what it says was an Iranian drone that had entered Israel's airspace after being launched in Syria. Israel then mounted an attack on an Iranian command center in Syria, from where the drone was launched. One of the Israeli F-16 military jets was then downed by a Syrian government anti-aircraft missile. Meanwhile, also in northern Syria on Saturday, a Turkish Army helicopter was shot down by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters near the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, where Turkey has launched a bombing and ground offensive. All this comes as the United Nations is warning of soaring levels of civilian casualties in Syria. For more, we speak with Anne Barnard, The New York Times bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon. Her recent articles are titled "Israel Strikes Iran in Syria and Loses a Jet" and "It's Hard to Believe, But Syria's War Is Getting Even Worse." And we speak with Syrian-Canadian researcher Yazan al-Saadi.