Everything Else - Global News Tracker
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08-02-2018, 12:13 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker

Jamie Kalven
February 7 2018, 9:46 a.m.

"ON DECEMBER 13, I entered the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago prepared to be taken into custody and jailed for contempt. At issue was a subpoena demanding I answer questions about the whistleblower whose tip prompted me to investigate the fatal 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Were it not for that individual, who had disclosed the existence of dashcam video of the incident and provided a lead that enabled me to locate a civilian witness, we would not know the name Laquan McDonald. Once I had secured the autopsy report that revealed the boy had been shot 16 times, I published an article in Slate challenging the police account of the shooting. Months later, when the video was finally released, a cascade of events ensued: The superintendent of police was fired, as was the head of the agency that investigates police shootings; the state’s attorney was voted out of office; the United States Department of Justice initiated an investigation of the Chicago Police Department; and the officer who shot McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder.

It was in the context of the murder case that I was subpoenaed. The judge, Vincent Gaughan, permitted Van Dyke’s lawyers to seek to compel me to testify on the basis of their claim, for which they offered no evidence, that the source had given me documents protected under the Garrity rule, which protects public employees from being compelled to incriminate themselves during internal investigations conducted by their employers.

From the outset, I made it clear that I had received no Garrity-protected documents and that I would refuse to answer any questions that might reveal the identity of the source. There was nothing heroic about this stance. It was not a choice. I was simply doing my job as a reporter.

The litigation was complicated by a gag order — more delicately referred to as “decorum order” — that Gaughan had imposed at the outset of the Van Dyke proceedings. As a result, some of the pleadings in this legal controversy over freedom of the press were sealed."
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08-02-2018, 12:15 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker

Lee Fang, Nick Surgey
February 7 2018, 5:00 a.m.

"WHILE WAITING FOR a nomination to the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, a coal lobbyist, cozied up with the senators who would decide upon his appointment in the most direct way possible: giving them money.

Wheeler, who was first rumored to be tapped for the EPA last March, raised funds for Republican senators on the committee that makes the preliminary decision on confirming appointments to the agency.

Fundraising documents obtained by The Intercept and the watchdog group Documented show that Wheeler hosted campaign fundraisers for two members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works — Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. — last May. The event for Inhofe was held at Rosa Mexicano, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C., and the event for Barrasso took place at Wheeler’s office on K Street in the capital. Federal Election Committee records show both senators received donations of Wheeler’s law firm PAC last year. Barrasso received $2,500 and Inhofe’s leadership PAC received $1,000.

In October, Wheeler was formally nominated to serve as the deputy administrator of the EPA, the No. 2 slot at the agency. His confirmation hearing was in November; the Senate panel approved his nomination, but it never went before the full chamber for a final vote. His nomination came back before the committee at the start of the new legislative session last month and a vote is expected Wednesday.

Wheeler manages the energy and natural resources practice at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels. His lobbying energy clients have included the coal company Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal firm in the United States, as well as Xcel Energy, a major utility interest group. Public disclosures show that Wheeler most recently lobbied for the firm in August 2017."
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08-02-2018, 12:16 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
State moves step closer to downsizing Delta tunnels project

January 16, 2018 12:07 PM

Updated January 17, 2018 11:59 AM

"California officials have moved closer to scaling back the troubled Delta tunnels project, officially notifying potential construction contractors that they’re considering limiting the project to one tunnel.

In a memo to engineering firms and other contract bidders last Friday, the Department of Water Resources said it is considering building the tunnels project in phases, with the first phase consisting of “one main tunnel instead of two.”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has been floating the idea of a downsized tunnels proposal since October, when funding problems became increasingly evident. Major farm irrigator Westlands Water District refused to help pay for the $17.1 billion project. Then the Santa Clara Valley Water District said it would only consider investing in a lower-cost, phased-in project that starts with a single tunnel.

Although Santa Clara didn’t shut the door on supporting a second tunnel eventually, its refusal to offer Brown’s plan a full-fledged endorsement was pivotal. Brown was counting on Santa Clara because it’s a major Northern California agency that serves 1.9 million customers. Most of the other agencies that would pull water from the tunnels, and would pay for construction, are in the San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California."
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08-02-2018, 02:11 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Hate speech thrives underground.

Illegal content and terrorist propaganda are still spreading rapidly online in the European Union — just not on mainstream platforms, new analysis shows.

Twitter, Google and Facebook all play by EU rules when it comes to illegal content, namely hate speech and terrorist propaganda, policing their sites voluntarily.

But with increased scrutiny on mainstream sites, alt-right and terrorist sympathizers are flocking to niche platforms where illegal content is shared freely, security experts and anti-extremism activists say.

Among the sites now favored for sharing illegal content there are Twitter clone Gab.ai, video-sharing site web.tv and message board Justpaste.it (which has signed on to the European Commission’s voluntary content-policing program), most of which are known to feature neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, sexist or ISIS-inspired terrorist content, according to a review conducted by the Counter Extremism Project...

Guardian view on Germany’s grand coalition: continuity carries risks.

Since Brexit is the biggest problem facing the UK, it is easy from this side of the Channel to imagine it is also the greatest challenge facing the European Union. It is not. EU leaders have yet to find lasting fixes to structural weaknesses in the single currency. Continental politics is plagued by xenophobic nationalism, which is intimately connected to the absence of consensus on how to deal with mass migration from beyond Europe.

This has all been complicated by the absence of a government in Berlin since elections last year. So today’s announcement of a provisional “grand coalition” deal between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, led by Martin Schulz, amounts to progress. But the restoration of something close to business as usual in Berlin is cause for temporary relief, not celebration. The SPD membership can reject the deal. Collaboration with Mrs Merkel has bleached the German centre-left of its dynamism and identity. Mr Schulz was satirised in the election for the lack of a distinctive message. (He is standing down as party leader to become foreign minister.)...

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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08-02-2018, 11:50 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
The whole tunnel issue in California is interesting. The design issues alone are daunting. I once had to design an inlet structure that met California requirements. The inlet for only one tunnel will be huge. The tunnel itself will be complicated and expensive.

I think Jerry is trying to at least leave one great physical project with California like his father did. I am not sure if he cares if it is useful or not.
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08-02-2018, 08:26 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2018 08:30 PM by Kaneda.)
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
(08-02-2018 11:50 AM)JAH Wrote:  The whole tunnel issue in California is interesting. The design issues alone are daunting. I once had to design an inlet structure that met California requirements. The inlet for only one tunnel will be huge. The tunnel itself will be complicated and expensive.

I think Jerry is trying to at least leave one great physical project with California like his father did. I am not sure if he cares if it is useful or not.

Yeah, I'm not going to lose any sleep if this project gets downsized. Not that I've been following this issue day-to-day, but from what I've read this project has too many skeletons in the closet for me fully to get behind.

From the Wikipedia page on the project:

Quote:The proposed cost for the tunnels is $15 billion, with $8 billion additional devoted to habitat restoration. The project was to be funded by revenue bonds created by the agencies who benefit, and paid by the farmers and urban water users who benefit from the project, not taxpayers as a whole, and thus not requiring legislative or voter approval. However, an audit by the U.S. Department of the Interior released in September 2017 revealed that $50 million of the taxpayers' money was funneled into the project.

... Moving along...

Quote:The Water Fix project was proposed to address the issues of the water system infrastructure in California being "unreliable and outdated". The proposal also prepares for possible threats to the water system such as climate change and seismic activity.

Currently, water is exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The water flows through a maze of river channels and sloughs before entering the Clifton Court Forebay north of Tracy. From here, the Banks Pumping Plant pumps water into the California Aqueduct and the South Bay Aqueduct; the nearby C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant pumps water into the Delta-Mendota Canal. If not diverted, the water would flow into San Francisco Bay. The freshwater/saltwater gradient has moved inland because of the 5 to 7 million acre feet (6.2 to 8.6 km3) of water being removed from the delta each year for delivery to the Central Valley and Southern California.


Though the Water Fix proposal aims to resolve some issues with the California water system, there are many it does not address. The plan does not consider the possibility that there could be less flow in the Sacramento River, nor does it address how to allocate water to fisheries found in the Delta, some of which are already struggling because of current water exports from the Delta. There are also no plans to deal with the extreme subsidence that is happening in the Delta.

And here's a list of endangered of threatened species that will be affected by this thing:

The whole thing seems shady as hell. Granted, there may be short-term benefits in this for certain farmers and Southern Californians, but it sounds like the farmers in the delta are going to get royally screwed on this, and that in the long run, it's going to sew the seeds of an ongoing financial and ecological disaster.
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08-02-2018, 10:19 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
You can tell my car by the "Save the Delta stop the Tunnels" (it has been reduced to one) sign on the rear bumper. This has been an interesting story, I am not sure it has gotten national attention, it should. The problems with water availability nationwide are significant, think Ogallala aquifer
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10-02-2018, 01:18 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2018 01:38 AM by Kaneda.)
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
No Time for Complacency over Korea War Threat
Exclusive: Although the North Korea crisis has largely faded from the headlines, the chances of war breaking out are still unacceptably high – requiring greater attention from both the peace movement and Congress, notes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall
February 7, 2018

"Like the proverbial calm before the storm, war scares on the Korean peninsula have temporarily gone quiet while its two governments make nice over the 2018 Winter Olympics. But when the games end, count on the Trump administration reviving its ultimatum to North Korea: Stop all nuclear and missile testing and begin to denuclearize, or face a devastating, preemptive attack.

Given the sheer number of leaks from the Trump White House, we would almost certainly know by now if the President were simply bluffing about his intent to pursue a “military option”—otherwise known as war—to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. Instead, we’ve heard nothing but confirmation from his senior advisers, within and without the administration, about Trump’s commitment to use deadly force if Pyongyang does not yield.

Millions may die if the White House launches such a war. Given the huge stakes, Americans should be protesting in the streets, and members of Congress should be threatening to shut down the government, until the administration commits to peaceful resolution of the Korea issue. Instead, like anesthetized animals awaiting slaughter, most of us seem to be passively accepting our fate."

U.S. Misses Opportunity for Korean Peace at Olympics
Despite President Moon’s efforts to encourage diplomacy, the childish anti-diplomatic behavior of Vice President Pence undermined an opportunity for peace diplomacy at the opening of the Olympic Games, writes Kevin Zeese.

By Kevin Zeese
February 9, 2018

"President Moon Jae-in said at a carefully planned dinner to honor Kim Yong Nam, the North Korean president’s sister, and Vice President Mike Pence that he hoped the Winter Olympics would be remembered as the “day peace began.” But Vice President Pence did his best to make sure that did not happen, missing the opportunity to further peace on the peninsula created by Moon. Dismissing the historic opening created by North and South Korea, Pence handled the situation instead like a childish teenager.

At a dinner reception where President Moon sought an opportunity for dialogue between U.S. officals and North Koreans, Pence went through great – and somewhat awkward – lengths to avoid talking to them. According to Reuters, when Pence arrived late to the reception he told Moon he planned to leave directly after a photo session but Moon asked him to “come and say hello to friends.” Moon was trying to create a dialogue to advance peace but Pence went around the table and shook hands with everyone except Kim Yong Nam of North Korea.

“There are some who would not want to be in the same room together if it wasn’t for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” Moon said. “But what is more important than anything is that we are together.” Politico described it as a close call for Pence: “Vice President Mike Pence’s Olympic visit to Pyeongchang, South Korea, began Friday with a close call with the North Korean officials, whom the vice president appeared to avoid at a diplomatic reception before the opening ceremonies.”"
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10-02-2018, 01:21 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker

Alleen Brown, Ryan Grim, Matthew Cole
February 9 2018, 1:29 p.m.

"IN JANUARY 2017, the FBI began interviewing Rob Porter’s former romantic partners, part of the standard process for granting security clearance to high-level White House aides. On the day of her scheduled interview with the FBI, Porter’s former wife Colbie Holderness said her husband was approached by a friend of Porter. “He stated that she is not obligated to speak with the FBI,” Holderness’s husband, Skiffington, wrote in a recollection of the encounter that he sent to the FBI a few days later.

Colbie Holderness told The Intercept that she understood the contact as pressure to keep quiet about how Porter physically abused her during their marriage. The encounter was one of the earliest moves by an array of powerful men who succeeded for over a year in protecting Porter from the legal and personal consequences of domestic abuse — until The Intercept and the Daily Mail interviewed his two ex-wives. After the media reports began coming out, Porter resigned.

Individuals with a history of beating up their romantic partners are not supposed to be allowed to obtain the top security clearance required for the job Porter was awarded. As White House staff secretary, Porter would go on to become one of the most quietly powerful men in President Donald Trump’s administration, controlling the flow of information that landed on Trump’s desk, according to media reports. Righthand man to Chief of Staff John Kelly, Rob Porter was thought of as above the fray of White House drama, a “master of discretion.”"
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10-02-2018, 01:28 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
"It's Just Not The Same" - People Are Fleeing The Bay Area At The Fastest Rate In Years

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:45

The exodus has gotten so severe, that a San Jose-based U-Haul company business says one of the biggest problems is getting its rental moving vans back because so many are on a one-way ticket out of town.

Quote:Carole Dabak spent 40 years living in San Jose and now she’s part of the mass exodus that is showing no signs of slowing down.

"I loved it here when I first got here. I really loved it here. But it's just not the same," Dabak said.


Dabak cites crowding, crime and politics as the reasons for her own exodus.

Another departing resident, Russell Hancock who works with Joint Ventures Silicon Valley (JVSV), said even professionals can't afford a home in the Bay Area - let alone service workers.

Quote:“You can’t even contemplate getting into the housing market here,” Hancock said. “And I don’t mean just service workers, but highly skilled professionals. The tech elite are having a hard time affording reasonable housing in Silicon Valley. That makes it difficult for employers to recruit.”

JVSV's own study of the out-migration says workers are moving to Sacramento, Austin, and Portland for a number of reasons. But the number one reason is the lack of housing.

One woman who spoke with CBS says she plans to sell her home for about $1 million, buy a much larger place near Nashville for less than half the price, and live closer to family and friends.

Of course, in a city where couples making $138,000 qualify for subsidized "affordable housing" - and are willing to attend countless meetings and wait hours in line to enter their names into lotteries with little chance of success - none of this should be surprising.
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