Truthout, By Dahr Jamail, January 11
Beginning in mid-January, Navy SEALs will be practicing unannounced and clandestine combat beach landings across Washington State’s Puget Sound and many other coastal areas of that state.
The simulated combat exercises, which will include the use of mini-submarines and other landing craft, will deposit Navy SEALs carrying “simulated weapons” on 68 beach and state park areas in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington’s west coast, unbeknownst to most of the relevant government agencies tasked with overseeing these areas.
Internal Navy emails, two slide shows (which can be viewed in full here and here) and other documents obtained exclusively by Truthout reveal the vast extent of the operations. They also reveal the fact that the Navy labeled the relevant files as “For Official Use Only” and emails as “Attorney-Client privilege,” a move that exempts such documents from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Raw Story, By Bethania Palma Markus, January 15
|When you’ve lost Fox News…
An investigation by the International Business Times has turned up evidence that the campaign of GOP candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has been illegally coordinating campaign stops with a super PAC supporting her — in direct conflict with FEC laws prohibiting such collaborations.
According to IBT, candidates can receive political donations from individuals, but the amount is capped at a few thousands dollars. Super PACs, however, can receive unlimited amounts from donors. Super PACs are thus barred from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns directly.
Representatives with Carly for America say they do not coordinate with her campaign. In September, the New York Times reported that Fiorina’s campaign has aggressively exploited a loophole in elections law by publishing a public Google calendar showing the events she has planned. A representative from the super PAC told the Times that members simply look at Fiorina’s calendar and show up.
CNN, By Jeremy Diamond, January 9
Rock Hill, SC – A Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Donald Trump’s campaign event on Friday by police after she stood up in silent protest during Trump’s speech.
Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant sitting in the stands directly behind Trump, stood up Friday during Trump’s speech when the Republican front-runner suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing war in Syria were affiliated with ISIS.
Major Steven Thompson of the Rock Hill Police Department told CNN Hamid was kicked out of the event because the campaign told him beforehand that “anybody who made any kind of disturbance” should be escorted out.
After Hamid and three others, all wearing stars reminiscent of those worn by Jews during the Holocaust, were escorted out by police and Trump campaign officials, Trump commented on the disturbance.
“There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump said. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”
Auto-start video at the link.
Related…: This Powerful Video Just Released About Donald Trump is Sending Chills Up and Down People’s Spines – very slick.
If you follow my Facebook page, you will notice a number of links to articles discussing marijuana legalization. And if you haven’t yet figured it out, I am a proponent of legalization.
Dallas Morning News, By Dianne Solís, January 3
Immigration advocates and the Guatemalan and Salvadoran governments are warning people this weekend that raids by federal authorities have begun and are targeting Central Americans who have recently entered the U.S. without authorization.
Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement don’t generally confirm what they consider ongoing operations. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, reemphasized their priorities in a statement this morning that referred to policy priorities made in November 2014 in this memo.
The Washington Post first reported on Dec. 23 that raids would begin in early January targeting Central Americans who had orders of removal issued by a federal immigration judge. They would focus on those who entered the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2014, in numbers so large it was called a surge.
Los Angeles Times: Families are taken into custody as push to deport immigrants denied refuge begins
ABC News, By Jim Avila, January 3
President Obama plans to announce executive actions he will take on gun control on Tuesday, a source told ABC News.
Obama had announced during his weekly address Friday that he planned to discuss gun control options with Attorney General Loretta Lynch after he returned from his Hawaiian vacation, which ended today.
“A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence,” he said in the address. “And on Monday, I’ll meet with our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options.”
ABC News, By Rebecca Santana, January 2
Metairie, LA — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday the idea of religious neutrality is not grounded in the country’s constitutional traditions and that God has been good to the U.S. exactly because Americans honor him.
Scalia was speaking at a Catholic high school in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana. Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 is the court’s longest serving justice. He has consistently been one of the court’s more conservative members.
He told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that there is “no place” in the country’s constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence.
“To tell you the truth there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?” he said. “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?”
He also said there is “nothing wrong” with the idea of presidents and others invoking God in speeches. He said God has been good to America because Americans have honored him.
Via Freak Out Nation: Pro-Religion Nut Wants Reintegration
AP, January 2
Burns, OR — A peaceful protest Saturday in support of an eastern Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson was followed shortly afterward by an occupation of a building at a national wildlife refuge.
Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights, told The Oregonian he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for people to come help him. Below the video is this statement: “**ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”
Ammon Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely.
“We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” Ammon Bundy said. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”
Related, Charlie Pierce: How Cliven Bundy Changed Our National Politics, Esquire, December 10, 2015
Wikipedia: Malheur Incident.
Twitter: Ammon Bundy – Leave our land alone.
New York Times, By Nicholas Fandos, December 25
Washington – Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found.
American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Those deals and others ensured that the United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market.
Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion.
Global Post, By Sharif Abdel Kouddous, November 30
Sanaban, Yemen — Ayman al-Sanabani beamed as he entered his family’s home on his wedding day. He was greeting his new bride, Gamila, who was in a bedroom surrounded by friends. Ayman sat beside her for several minutes, receiving warm words of congratulations.
It would be the young couple’s first and only encounter as husband and wife.
The terrifying power of a bomb is how it can alter life so dramatically, so completely, so instantaneously. How it can crush concrete, rip apart flesh, and snuff out life. The moments before the pilot pulls the trigger and sends the missile screeching down choreograph the final dance with fate: another step forward into a room, a turn around a corner, a walk outside to get some air — trivial actions that determine everything afterward.
This power is a fact of life in Yemen now. It is brought forth by a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States. The airstrikes have been relentless since March, a period now of eight months. They are supposed to be targeting a local rebel group, but appear largely indiscriminate, regularly hitting civilian targets. Thousands of people have been killed. Human rights groups say some of these strikes amount to war crimes.