Saturday / September 24, 2016

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About Damn Time! Channeling Sanders, Clinton Proposes Whopping Billionaire Estate Tax

Clinton also adopted tax structure advocated by Sanders during primary campaign.

By Nika Knight
Common Dreams (9/23/16)

In a nod to her former opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday proposed steeply elevating the estate tax for the wealthiest Americans.

The former Secretary of State now advocates an estate tax of 65 percent, and said she would lower the cutoff for the estate tax to those estates worth more than $3.5 million—a tax structure first put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who ran against Clinton during the Democratic presidential primary.

“Secretary Clinton understands that it is appropriate to ask the top three-tenths of 1 percent, the very wealthiest people in this country, to pay their fair share of taxes so that we can provide a child tax credit for millions of working families and lower taxes for small businesses,” Sanders told Wall Street Journal after the policy change was announced.

Clinton had previously proposed a 45 percent estate tax rate; the current rate is 40 percent and only applies to estates worth over $5.4 million.

Clinton’s proposed reforms would elevate the estate tax rate to its highest level since 1981, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Share the Stolen Wealth?

Time To Share The Stolen Wealth Of The Nation

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2015. Open source and free to use with link to )

“Beyond all that,” writes Slate, “Clinton has said she would largely do away with the step-up in basis at death, a rule that allows lucky heirs to avoid paying capital gains taxes that, say, their parents or uncle or other rich benefactor would have owed had they sold their stock before passing away.”

The Committee for a Responsible Budget, which describes itself as a non-partisan non-profit devoted to informing the public about fiscal policy, calculates that taken together, Clinton’s tax proposals would increase federal revenue by $260 billion over the next decade, and would more than pay for her proposals to expand the child tax credit and to simplify taxes on small businesses.

But given the current makeup of Congress, it seems unlikely that Clinton’s reforms will come to pass: “House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to eliminate the estate tax altogether,” asSlate observes.

Clinton’s proposal, however, highlights how few Americans are affected by what conservatives often refer to as the “death tax.”

Indeed, Reuters reports that the “nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said this month that only the estates of the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans, about two out of every 1,000 people who die, currently owe any estate tax because the first $5.45 million per person is exempt.”

“In 2014, just 223 estates with a gross value exceeding $50 million filed taxable estate-tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service,” the Wall Street Journal points out.

That statistic means that out only about .00018 percent of all U.S. households paid an estate tax at all in 2014.

“Still, the plan drew immediate protests from conservatives,” reports the Washington Post, “including the Trump campaign, which labeled it an ‘even more dramatic hike in the death tax.'”

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)

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Powerful New Clinton Ad Nails The Impact Of Trump’s Vile Behavior On Our Children


By Rebecca Shapiro
Huffington Post (9/23/16)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is here to show you what a Donald Trump presidency would feel like for young women.

The Democratic nominee’s latest ad, titled “Mirrors,” shows girls of varying ages and backgrounds looking at their reflections as they hear multiple comments from Trump degrading women.

“Donald Trump has spent his campaign, and career, demeaning and insulting women, which is just one of the reasons a majority of American women do not think Trump respects women,” Clinton’s campaign said in a statement.

The spot ends with a sobering question: “Is this the president we want for our daughters?”

Watch the full ad in the video below.

Link to Story and 30-Second Video

Posted in 2016-09-24, Newsletter | Comments Off on Powerful New Clinton Ad Nails The Impact Of Trump’s Vile Behavior On Our Children

Omarosa Manigault: ‘Every Critic, Every Detractor, Will Have To Bow Down To President Trump’

Scan 30

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2016. Open source and free to use with link to )

“It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

By Ed Mazza
Huffington Post (9/22/16)

Donald Trump’s director of African-American outreach has an ominous warning for all who dared to criticize the Republican presidential nominee: Soon, they will have to bow down to “the most powerful man in the universe.”

In an upcoming “Frontline” special, Omarosa Manigault told PBS that the roots of Trump’s presidential campaign may be traced back to the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, when President Barack Obama cracked a few jokes at the real estate mogul’s expense. The quips came after Trump falsely accused Obama of lying about his birthplace and citizenship, thus feeding the discredited right-wing “birther” conspiracy theory.

“It just kept going and going and he just kept hammering him,” Manigault said. “And I thought, ‘Ohhhh, Barack Obama is starting something that I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish.”

She said:

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Manigault made her name as the villain on the first season of Trump’s “Apprentice” reality TV series, but in the clip released online, she sounds a little more like General Zod, the villain in “Superman II.”

The “Frontline” special, “The Choice 2016,” will air on Tuesday. Check local listings for time and channel.

Link to Story and 6-Minute Video

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Here’s Exclusive Aerial Close-up Video Of Train Derailment & Track Washout Near Ferryville

DOT-111 Reader (9/22/16)

Ferryville, WI — [Editorial]  Two days of flooding rain caused numerous mudslides and flash floods along the Upper Mississippi River Basin. First responders, emergency management and the WI DOT were on the lookout for problems along Wisconsin’s roads but one must wonder why BNSF allowed trains to travel through areas hit with up to nine inches of rain without first inspecting the rail lines. What were they thinking? Especially when railroads such as BNSF haul oil and ethanol trains with over 3 million gallons aboard through environmentally sensitive areas. Laws need to be enacted that prevent trains from transporting hazardous materials in flood warned areas until complete inspections can be preformed. We can not and should not allow railroads to put profit ahead of safety.

Link to 2+-Minute Video Of Aerial View Of Derailment (Note extent of washout. These are the tracks on which millions of barrels of toxic Bakken and Ablerta tar sand crude are being run through our communities every day.)



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Dakota Access Blackout Continues On ABC, NBC News

Image result for red rock protest


“On the sacred land 
there’s a battle brewing.”

Neil Young, “Indian Givers”.

By Jim Naureckas
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (9/22/16)

The Sacred Stone Camp established by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota has brought together thousands of demonstrators in opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile conduit designed to carry some 200 million barrels of crude oil per year from fracking fields in North Dakota to Southern Illinois. An unprecedented coalition of hundreds of  Native American tribes has faced down attack dogs and pepper spray in defense of sacred and historic sites, irreplaceable water resources and the planet’s climate.

The action has won the support of environmental groups, some labor activistsand numerous celebrities, and has halted pipeline construction at least temporarily. The Obama administration issued a statement calling for a work stoppage and saying, “This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

News blackout

Nevertheless, to this day, ABC News and NBC News have yet to broadcast a word about the pipeline struggle, according to searches of the Nexis news database.

FAIR noted on September 7 that CBS, alone of the three major broadcast news networks, had aired anything on Dakota Access—and that was a lone report onCBS Morning News (9/5/16), amounting to 48 words read at 4 o’clock in the morning. Since then, CBS has returned to the story repeatedly—including two medium-sized reports on the network’s flagship news show, CBS Evening News (9/8/16, 9/10/16).

The pipeline issue did receive lengthy (by TV news standards) and sympathetic reports on MSNBC‘s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (8/25/16,8/29/16, 9/6/16, 9/9/16) and Maddow (9/9/16) . It also appeared on CNN, including The Lead  With Jake Tapper (9/5/16) and Anderson Cooper 360 (9/8/16). Even Fox News brought it up (Special Report, 9/15/16), challenging Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as to why she had been charged with vandalism for spray-painting construction equipment at the protest. The PBS NewsHour  took a more than cursory look at the Dakota Access controversy on September 16.

As of this writing, no TV outlet included in the Nexis database has mentioned that independent journalist Amy Goodman was charged with trespassing for reporting on the pipeline protest (, 9/15/16)—though Lawrence O’Donnell (Last Word, 9/6/16, 9/9/16) did twice mention the footageGoodman shot for Democracy Now! of Dakota Access guard dogs with bloody mouths after being used to attack protesters. Nor has any national newspaper reported on North Dakota’s legal assault on newsgathering.

Rock legend Neil Young released a song called “Indian Givers” in support of the Dakota Access mobilization. The chorus of the song repeats, “I wish somebody would share the news.”

I wish more corporate media decision-makers were Neil Young fans. [See video below. DC Editor]

Link to story and 5-Minute Video

Posted in 2016-09-24, Newsletter | Comments Off on Dakota Access Blackout Continues On ABC, NBC News

Tribes Across North America Unite In ‘Wall of Opposition’ To Alberta Tar Sands

Image result for first nations opposition to tar sands

(Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr)

“We are in a time of unprecedented unity amongst Indigenous people working together for a better future for everyone.”

By Lauren McCauley
Common Dreams (9/22/16)

In a historic show of unity, more than 50 First Nations across North America on Thursday signed a new treaty alliance against the expansion of tar sands mining and infrastructure in their territory.

Citing the threats to water and land through a spill or pipeline leak, as well the industry’s undeniable impact on “catastrophic climate change,” the treaty (pdf) states, “Tar Sands expansion is a collective threat to our Nations. It requires a collective response.”

“Therefore,” it continues, “our Nations hereby join together under the present treaty to officially prohibit and to agree to collectively challenge and resist the use of  our respective territories and coasts in connection with the expansion of the production of the Alberta Tar Sands, including for the transport of such expanded  production, whether by pipeline, rail or tanker.”

Leaders gathered in Vancouver, which sits on Musqueam Territory, as well as on Mohawk Territory in Montreal for simultaneous ceremonies to cement the continent-wide agreement, which specifically unites the tribes in opposition to all five current tar sands pipeline and tanker project proposals—Kinder Morgan, Energy East, Line 3, Northern Gateway, and Keystone XL—as well as tar sands rail projects.

Canada’s National Observer reported, “At the signing on Musqueam land in Vancouver, the lineup of chiefs waiting to put their names down filled up an entire room. It was a powerful ceremony, and participants clad in the regalia of their nations traveled from across [British Columbia] and northern Washington to be part of the growing movement.”

“What this Treaty means is that from Quebec, we will work with our First Nation allies in B.C. to make sure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline does not pass and we will also work with our Tribal allies in Minnesota as they take on Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion, and we know they’ll help us do the same against Energy East,” said Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon.

As Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee observed, “a pipeline cannot hope to pass through a unified wall of Indigenous opposition,” nor can it find an alternate route around it.

“We are in a time of unprecedented unity amongst Indigenous people working together for a better future for everyone,” added Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative.

Indeed, the signing comes amid a historic display of strength and solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline, with thousands of representatives from more than 185 tribes across Canada and the U.S. joining the Standing Rock Sioux encampment in North Dakota.

The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion also comes the same day that a landmark report confirmedthat tar sands mining in Alberta has poisoned the air and sickened local First Nations communities in that region.

“In this time of great challenge we know that other First Nations will sign on,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, who signed the document, referring to the threat of climate change.

“Indigenous people have been standing up together everywhere in the face of new destructive fossil fuel projects, with no better example than at Standing Rock in North Dakota,” he continued.

As the treaty itself states, the tradition of reaching across tribal borders follows generations of similar agreements.

“We have inhabited, protected, and governed our territories according to our respective laws and traditions since time immemorial,” it reads. “Many such treaties between Indigenous Nations concern peace and friendship and the protection of Mother Earth. The expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands, a truly massive threat bearing down on all of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and beyond, calls now for such a treaty.”

 (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)

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Terns Flee Warming Temperatures In Epic Migration North To Alaska

Image result for caspian terns USFWS


Researchers startled to discover Caspian terns an incredible 1,000 miles further north than species had been previously recorded.

By Oliver Milman
The Guardian (9/23/16)

Eyebrows would be raised if American crocodiles, found on the southern tip of Florida, decided to relocate to New York’s Fifth Avenue or Moroccan camels suddenly joined the tourist throng outside Buckingham Palace in London. Yet this is the scale of species shift that appears to be under way in Alaska.

In July, researchers in Cape Krusenstern national monument on the north-west coast of Alaska were startled to discover a nest containing Caspian terns on the gravelly beach of a lagoon. The birds were an incredible 1,000 miles further north than the species had been previously recorded.

“There was plenty of shock, it is a very unusual situation,” said Dr Martin Robards, Arctic program director at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which found the nest. “We checked with Caspian tern experts and they were all very surprised they were this far north. We get Arctic terns here but these terns are much bigger, they really stand out.”

The terns, usually found in Washington state, successfully bred and chicks have now flown the nest. While it remains to be seen whether Caspian terns will become ensconced long-term within the Arctic circle, the epic relocation is emblematic of how warming temperatures are causing a huge upheaval in the basic rhythms of Alaska’s environment. Next week, scientists will gather at the White House’s first ever Arctic science meeting to deliver the confronting news.

“I’ve been up here 25 years and the amount of change that has occurred in Alaska is shocking,” said Robards. “We’ve been focusing on things such as the temperature and sea ice here but now we are thinking ‘oh my God what is going on with the wildlife?’”

Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the US, with the winter temperature 6F (3.3C) warmer than it was 60 years ago. Snow and ice has retreated, spring is coming earlier. The landscape is changing and so are its residents.

“To be 1,000 miles further north attests to how much the globe has warmed,” said Terry Root, a biologist and senior fellow at Stanford University. “Birds follow their physiology, nothing else. If they think they should move, they move. Alaska has warmed so much that it is causing havoc to a lot of nature.”

While most species aren’t able to move as far as terns, scientists are noticing shifts across Alaska. Moose and beavers have moved north of the Brooks Range and onto the Arctic plain, which increasingly offers suitable vegetation as the region warms up and greens.


“I’ve been up here 25 years and the amount of change that has occurred in Alaska is shocking. We’ve been focusing on things such as the temperature and sea ice here but now we are thinking ‘oh my God what is going on with the wildlife?’”


Red foxes have moved in and have started to outcompete Arctic foxes. A similar thing may happen if the beefy Caspian terns start to push out their smaller cousins. The relationship between grizzly bears and polar bears may be a little more amicable – as their range starts to overlap there have been reports of a hybrid “pizzly” bears in the Arctic.

But the situation for polar bears is otherwise grim – they are losing life-sustaining sea ice critical for hunting and breeding across the Arctic. They are being forced onto land, where they risk starvation. This desperate scenario is shared with walruses, which have already suffered a 50% drop since the 1980s. In recent years tens of thousands of the tusked beasts have had to crowd ashore, with many perishing in stampedes.

The melting on land is just as stark. Over the past decade, Alaska has lost 850 gigatonnes of water from its shrinking glaciers, enough to raise the global sea level by 2.9mm. We are living through the fastest Arctic glacier decline in at least 6,000 years, according to Dr Martin Sharp, professor of Earth and atmospheric science at the University of Alberta.

“If the warming trends continue then we expect to see continuous retreat,” Sharp said. “We are seeing the complete loss of glaciers, areas that had ice caps in the 1950s don’t have them now. That trend will probably increase.”

Locked into unhappy cycle

Alaska is being locked into an unhappy cycle of events. As the declining glaciers lose albedo, or reflectivity from sunlight, they absorb more heat and therefore melt further.

The vegetation poking through thawing permafrost aids the spread of wildfire which in turn releases more carbon dioxide – flames have recently licked areas of Alaskan forest previously unburned for thousands of years. The amount of area burned each year in the state is expected to double by 2050 even if the world acts swiftly on climate change.

Summer Arctic sea ice is forecast to winnow away completely by the 2030s, which will be a boon for tourism operators looking to traverse the opening north-west sea passage. The Crystal Serenity cruise ship, with passengers that paid up to $100,000 for a cabin, arrived safely in New York last week after a 32-day journey through this newly reliable corridor.

But this decline threatens more traditional pursuits. Indigenous communities are finding the thinning ice too treacherous for fishing, while the 1,000-mile Iditarod dog sled race faces an uncertain future. After record winter warmth, Alaska baked as the season turned to spring – the temperature from January to April was an incredible 11.3F (6.2C) warmer than the long-term average taken from the 20th century.

Still, Alaska and neighboring Canada may well prove a haven for overheated animal species in the future. The state will still be cooler than the lower 48 states and has plenty of wilderness.

“The Caspian tern is a success story in many ways,” said Root. “Unfortunately, many animals won’t be able to move. There’s only so far a salamander can crawl or a gopher tortoise can walk. We stand at the beginning of a mass extinction event.

“One of the most important wildlife corridors runs between Mexico and the US, so Donald Trump’s stupid wall could be a huge problem for nature. At least we won’t have a border like that with Canada, I guess.”

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Connecticut State Troopers Unwittingly Film Themselves Fabricating Charges Against Protester

Image result for Michael Picard protest police

Picard didn’t back down and instead stood up for his right to stand on a public sidewalk and redress his grievances. That was too much for Connecticut State Police. (


Democracy Now! (9/22/16)

Did Connecticut state troopers unwittingly record themselves fabricating charges against a protester? That’s what a new lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Connecticut claims. On September 11, 2015, Connecticut resident Michael Picard was reportedly peacefully protesting at a traffic checkpoint in West Hartford when state trooper John Barone walked over to Picard and slapped Picard’s camera out of his hand. Barone then confiscated Picard’s legally carried pistol and pistol permit.

When Picard picked up his camera and resumed filming, Barone erroneously claimed that filming the police is illegal. He proceeded to confiscate Picard’s camera and take it back to his police cruiser, placing it on the car’s roof. What the troopers didn’t realize was that the camera was still working and recording their full conversation. In the recording, Barone can be heard discussing with Sergeant John Jacobi how to justify charging Picard, saying at one point, “gotta cover our ass.” We speak with Dan Barrett, the ACLU of Connecticut’s legal director.

Link to Story and 6-Minute Video


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Dept. Of Much Needed Humor – Trump Warns Clinton Will Rig Debate By Using Facts

By Borowitz
The New Yorker (9/23/16)

TOLEDO (The Borowitz Report)—At a campaign rally on Friday, Donald Trump warned that Hillary Clinton is scheming to “rig the debate by using facts” in their first televised face-off, on Monday.

“You just watch, folks,” Trump told supporters in Toledo, Ohio. “Crooked Hillary is going to slip in little facts all night long, and that’s how she’s going to try to rig the thing.”

“It’s a disgrace,” he added.

The billionaire drew a sharp contrast between himself and the former Secretary of State by claiming that his debate prep “involved no facts whatsoever.”

“I am taking a pledge not to use facts at the debate,” he said, raising his right hand. “I challenge Crooked Hillary to take that pledge.”

He also warned that unless CNN, which is hosting the debate, promises to forbid the use of facts, he might pull out of Monday’s contest. “I’m only going to debate if I’m treated fairly, and facts don’t treat me fairly,” he said.

At CNN, a spokesperson assured Trump that the network would do everything in its power to keep the debate “as free of facts as possible.”

“We have a well-established practice at CNN,” the spokesperson said. “If the candidates start straying into facts, data, or other verifiable information, we have instructed the moderators to cut them off.”

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Posted in 2016-09-24, Newsletter | Comments Off on Dept. Of Much Needed Humor – Trump Warns Clinton Will Rig Debate By Using Facts

Friday / September 23, 2016

Image result for paul simon


And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

– Paul Simon, Sounds of Silence (1964)

Posted in 2016-09-23 | Tagged | Comments Off on Friday / September 23, 2016

After A Hard Rain A Short Note Of Thanks


Hwy. 82 Near the Village of Retreat in Vernon County Wisconsin – Let’s all give a moment of thanks for all our neighbors who are hardworking local, state and federal public employees and there for us in the recent hard rains and flooding. Our communities depend upon the police officers and EMTs, the road crews and emergency dispatchers, the dam managers and engineers, local town boards and those in the Weather Service to keep us informed and safe.  They have all performed their sacred public duties with great dedication. Thank you. (Daily Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2016.)

Posted in 2016-09-23, Newsletter | Comments Off on After A Hard Rain A Short Note Of Thanks

Gathering Of Ghouls: Weapons Makers Hold Lavish Lovefest For Pentagon Official Who Manages Arms Sales

Image result for Admiral Rixey weapons merchants


The bloody business of America.


By Zaid Jilani & Alex Emmons
The Intercept (9/19/16)

HERE’S WHAT PASSES for funny in a room packed full of weapons-industry executives and lobbyists: When Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey — the man in charge of the Pentagon agency that administers foreign arms sales — said “I know you don’t go after human rights violators for potential customers.”

The line produced chuckles in the room.

Rixey was the guest of honor at a reception Wednesday hosted by the Senate Aerospace Caucus, a group of more than a dozen senators who “work to ensure a strong, secure, and competitive American aerospace sector,” according to their mission statement online. The event in a sumptuous Senate reception room was cohosted by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the lobbying group for weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

Rixey is the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Pentagon agency charged with overseeing the Pentagon’s relations with the militaries of U.S. allies. As such, DSCA plays a key role in many foreign military sales to other countries, often acting as an intermediary and looking for a producer in the United States.

In other words, when foreign countries want to buy U.S. weapons, the DSCA finds them — either in U.S. stockpiles, but more often by signing lucrative contracts with defense contractors. According to Rixey, over the past year, the DSCA has approved upwards of $47 billion in such contracts, for weapons transfers to countries like Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Scan 8

(Daily Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2015. Open source and free to use with link to )

The AIA chair, Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson, showered Rixey with praise. “As director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Adm. Rixey performs a crucial role in this effort. Thank you admiral for all that you do, to help, and thank you for being here tonight, but for all that you do in helping us to sell our products and to partner with countries around the world,” she said.

AIA President David Melcher also had warm words. “Joe Rixey’s done tabletops with industry and with his own team, he’s done the right things to try and move this thing along, and I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce somebody who really is trying to make a difference and make government work,” he said.

In his own remarks, Rixey lauded the relationship between the DSCA and industry. “We at DSCA are thankful that we have the support of our counterparts within the United States government and with defense industries as we look to find areas we can continue to collaborate, improve efficiencies, and overall effectiveness,” he said.

Yum-yums for death merchants

Rixey was joined by caucus co-chairs Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., who praised the industry for its role in overseas weapons sales on both foreign policy and economic grounds. As they spoke alongside representatives from the weapons industry, guests were treated to an open bar, and an assortment of food that included artisan cheeses, chocolate covered strawberries, and macarons.

“The aerospace industry helps keep the world safe and stable by strengthening our relationships with our allies and building our partners’ capabilities,” Murray told the arrayed lobbyists. “I want to thank all of you again for being here tonight and your interest in what I consider to be one of — if not the most — important industries in my home state of Washington, and America.” Boeing is the largest private employer in Washington state.

Moran asked AIA for its help in passing appropriations bills.

“If you can help us advocate both here in the Senate and with our colleagues in the House, beg us, insist, hold the proverbial gun to our head to make certain that we do appropriations bills when we return in December,” he said.

Officials from the group thanked the senators for their support. Murray has long been an advocate for robust spending on aerospace industry priorities, as has Moran.

“On behalf of the entire industry we thank you very much for your support,” Hewson told Moran and Murray.

The 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act was meant to stop lobbyists from treating lawmakers and government officials to fancy dinners, or lavish parties. But the law had many loopholes — including a notorious “toothpick rule” allowing them to serve as much finger food as guests can eat.

Link to Story

  • “Indifferent To Yemen’s Misery,” Senate Approves Massive Arms Deal For Bloody Saudi War Crimes – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to dismiss a bipartisan bill that would have blocked a massive $1.15 billion weapons shipment to Saudi Arabia, to the dismay of peace groups and rights advocates who have called on the U.S. to end its support for the brutal Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen. The bipartisan resolution to block the weapons sale failed 71-27, with two senators not voting. Hey, we’remaking money, here! During the floor debate, many of those in favor of the weapons sale echoed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: “This is a sale that benefits us.” Although even Corker admitted Saudi Arabia is not a “perfect ally” and that many civilians had been killed in Yemen, he argued that the massive sale of new weapons should be approved because it will benefit the U.S. economically. Corker further claimed that arming the Saudi regime serves U.S. geopolitical interests by pushing back against the Iranians, who support the anti-Saudi Houthi factions in Yemen. Voting in favor of the arms deal were right-wing senators such as Corker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alongside several centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). But many progressives said that they were at least heartened to see the much-ignored issue of Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses in Yemen be debated publicly on Capitol Hill—and urged elected officials to sustain that debate. … Read the Rest
Posted in 2016-09-23, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off on Gathering Of Ghouls: Weapons Makers Hold Lavish Lovefest For Pentagon Official Who Manages Arms Sales

This One Photo Tells You All You Need To Know About Policing In America



‘We’ve always known the police are not in service – they just aren’t even bothering to hide it anymore.’ (Photograph: Adam Rhew/AFP/Getty Images.)

An image from Charlotte, scene of yet another killing, encapsulates the message black people receive daily from the officers who are supposed to protect them.

By Ijeoma Oluo
The Guardian (9/21/16)

A line of police officers stand in the dark on a Charlotte, North Carolina, highway. They look like an occupying force with their helmets and face shields and various weaponry strapped all over their armored clothing. A large bus illuminates them with its headlights. The front of the bus declares in bright lights: “NOT IN SERVICE”.

It’s as if these police responding to protests of Tuesday’s shooting death of Keith Scott are carrying with them a lighted banner that declares what black Americans already know: they are not in service. Not for us.

It’s the message that police have always been sending black Americans. Blacks make up about 13% of the US population, and yet accounted for 27% of the approximately 1,146 people killed by police in 2015. “Not in service” is the message we got when Tamir Rice was killed, when Freddie Gray was killed, when Eric Garner was killed. This was the message we got when Terence Crutcher was killed this week while asking for service. We understand that if our police force really does exist to protect and serve, it does not exist to protect and serve us.

When I or any of my black friends discuss issues of police brutality online, we receive a common response: “Well see what happen next time you need the police and they aren’t there to protect you.” But we’ve already seen what happens – it’s our current reality.

Terence Crutcher needed the police when he was killed by them. Veteran Anthony Hill needed the police when he was killed by them. Elliott Williams needed the police but he was instead taunted by them as he slowly died in a jail cell without food and water. Quintonio LeGrier needed the police and had called them three times when he and his neighbor were killed by them. We already live in a world where we can’t call the police when we need them, because we know that there is a good chance that we or our loved ones will be killed for it.

The police have become even more open in their declarations that they are not here to serve us. They have threatened not to provide police protection to athletes who dare protest police brutality by not standing during the national anthem. They stopped doing their jobs in New York when the mayor dared to question why so many black men have died by their hands. In Seattle, police demanded higher pay and more benefits before they would start implementing measures to stop abusing the public. In West Virginia, they have started firing police officers for not killing black men. The message has been simple: we are not in service for black people, and if you question us, we won’t be in service for you either.

And as grieving black people gathered in the streets to protest yet another killing of a black man by police officers, police in North Carolina made it perfectly clear, once again, that they are not here for us. Charlotte police say Keith Scott was armed when they encountered him while trying to execute a warrant on somebody else. Scott’s family insists that he never carried a gun and was in fact afraid of them. They say that Scott was simply reading a book in his vehicle while waiting for his son’s school bus to arrive. Those who are served by the police may be more likely to believe them over Scott’s family.

But those of us who are not served by the police remember that the gun reportedly found on Che Taylor was traced to a sheriff’s deputy. We remember that officer Michael Slager was caught planting a weapon on the body of Walter Scott after he was shot in the back while running away. We remember that Samuel DuBose was politely interacting with police during a traffic stop when officer Ray Tensing shot him in the head and then immediately claimed to his superiors that DuBose had tried to run him down. We remember that officers claimed that 19-year-old Laquan McDonald was threatening them with a knife, until video revealed that he was running away from officers when he was shot 16 times.

We’ve always known the police are “not in service” – they just aren’t even bothering to hide it anymore. Black Americans know that the police don’t serve us. But who do they serve? And if they serve you, is this really what you asked for?

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Posted in 2016-09-23, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off on This One Photo Tells You All You Need To Know About Policing In America

History They Don’t Want You To Know: Tulsa Still Faces Loss & Trauma From 1921 Riot That Left 300 Dead On Black Wall Street

Image result for 1921 Tulsa black wall street riots


Democracy Now! (9/22/16)

As protests continue over the police killing of Terence Crutcher, we look at how Tulsa, Oklahoma, is no stranger to racial strife. On May 31, 1921, a white mob killed as many as 300 people, most of them black, after a black man was accused of assaulting a white elevator operator. Over two days, white mobs set fire to homes, businesses and churches in Greenwood, a thriving African-American business district known at the time as the Black Wall Street of America. When the smoke cleared, the area lay in ruins.

Many blacks left and never returned. The National Guard rounded up thousands of others and held them at various locations around the city. We speak with author and attorney Hannibal Johnson, who examines this history in his book, “Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District.”

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Posted in 2016-09-23, Newsletter | Tagged | Comments Off on History They Don’t Want You To Know: Tulsa Still Faces Loss & Trauma From 1921 Riot That Left 300 Dead On Black Wall Street