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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CLG: US House of Representatives approves new sanctions against Russia



News Updates from CLG
26 July 2017
 
Previous edition: Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad 'rebels' in Syria
 
CLG Exclusive: A Critique of 'Social Justice' Ideology: Thinking through Marx and Nietzsche  --By Michael Rectenwald 20/07/2017 In an earlier essay, I offered a brief sketch of the genealogy of social justice mechanisms and beliefs. To date, however, I have yet to examine the philosophical premises of the creed, or formally to offer a theoretical framework or set of frameworks for critiquing and refuting it. This essay represents a first effort at doing both. First, I will briefly trace a Soviet and a few postmodernist contributions to social justice ideology. Then, I will turn my attention to two major thinkers: Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche -- in order to find ways that the two thinkers may be adduced to provide resources for understanding and critically assessing the social justice ideology.
 
US House of Representatives approves new sanctions against Russia | 25 July 2017 | The House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to pass new sanctions against Russia, and require congressional approval before US President Donald Trump can ease or remove existing ones. The bill also includes sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Lawmakers voted 419-3 to approve legislation seeking to punish Russia over a host of [alleged] issues...If signed into law, the measure will effectively cement the existing sanctions against Russia by requiring the administration to get permission from Congress before lifting or easing the economic penalties against Moscow.
 
U.S. Navy Vessel Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Ship in Persian Gulf | 26 July 2017 | A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf, the first such incident to happen under President Donald Trump. Iran's Revolutionary Guard later blamed the American ship for provoking the situation. The encounter involving the USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone-class patrol ship based in Bahrain as part of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is the latest confrontation between Iranian vessels and American warships...Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation by itself.
 
Armed Chinese jets drive off US spy plane over Yellow Sea | 24 July 2017 | A US spy plane flying near the eastern coast of China was intercepted by two Chinese fighter jets and had to change course, US officials said. The surveillance aircraft was flying over international waters between China and South Korea. The incident took place on Sunday, unnamed US officials told reporters on Monday. An EP-3 ARIES signals intelligence plane was flying about 90 miles (140km) south of the port city of Qingdao, when it was approached by two J-10 interceptors, armed with air-to-air missiles.
 
US contributed to creation of ISIS, now tries to claim victory over it - Iraqi VP | 22 July 2017 The recapture of Mosul is an achievement of the Iraqi people while the US is trying to highjack it and claims it was them who "led that war," Iraq's Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has told the RIA Novosti news agency. "Yes, they supported us with aviation, but the main credit goes to the Iraqi soldiers, people's militia, Iraqi air force," al-Maliki stated in his interview with the Russian news agency. He added that he "regrets and denies [Americans] claiming the victory [in Mosul] is their achievement."...While the US has provided support to the Iraqi army and allied forces, it has contributed to the emergence of IS in the first place, al-Maliki claimed, adding that Washington now seeks to establish military bases on Iraqi territory in order to maintain influence in the region. "IS resembles the Taliban which was created by the US administration to counter the USSR in AfghanistanThe same way, IS was created to counter the Iraqi stance, which did not agree to blockade Syria, was against no-fly zones in Syria and against American military bases," he stated.
 
8 civilians killed in US-Afghan strike against ISIS - Afghan provincial authority | 25 July 2017 | At least eight civilians, including women and children, were killed in a US-Afghan military operation against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province involving an airstrike, local authorities said Sunday. "Yesterday at Haftkinana village in the Meyaji Baba district, when there was Afghan national army operation ongoing, 40 ISIS militants were killed because of the US operation and 8 people wounded, 8 killed following US operation, including women and children," Noor Ahmad Habibi, press-secretary of Nangarhar Province, province said.
 
Judge Clears Military Contractor KBR in Sprawling Burn Pits Case | 20 July 2017 | A federal judge in Maryland on Wednesday dismissed a massive collection of cases brought against a government contractor by veterans and their family members who say the military's use of open burn pits at bases during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan left them with serious illnesses. The case against KBR, a government contractor and former Halliburton subsidiary, arrived in Maryland federal court in 2009, when the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation sent 63 different complaints to the court for consolidation. Of the 63 complaints filed in federal courts, at least 44 sought a nationwide class certification. The complaints all made the same basic claims - that KBR ran massive burn pits at operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq into which its employees dumped tires, trucks and even medical waste.
 
EU concerned over US bill on Russia sanctions, warns of 'unintended consequences' | 23 July 2017 | Brussels has urged US lawmakers to coordinate their anti-Russia actions with European partners, as Washington steams ahead with a new bill to expand sanctions against Moscow. "Unilateral measures" could undermine transatlantic unity and have "unintended consequences," the EU warned. On Saturday, US Republicans and Democrats reached agreement to clear any further hurdles for proposed legislation which seeks to apply additional sanctions on Russia. The measure, if signed into law, will also give Congress veto powers to block any easing of Russian sanctions by the president.
 
Interpol circulates list of 173 suspected members of Isis suicide brigade --Agency believes the fighters could have been trained to bomb Europe as revenge for military defeats in Middle East | 21 July 2017 | Interpol has circulated a list of 173 Islamic State fighters it believes could have been trained to mount suicide attacks in Europe in revenge for the group's military defeats in the Middle East. The global crime fighting agency's list was drawn up by US intelligence from information captured during the assault on Isis territories in Syria and Iraq. European counter-terror networks are concerned that as the Isis "caliphate" collapses, there is an increasing risk of determined suicide bombers seeking to come to Europe, probably operating alone.
 
Thousands of extra IDF troops put on call in West Bank amid Temple Mount tensions | 20 July 2017 | The Israeli army will put thousands of extra troops on alert in the West Bank ahead of Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, fearing that clashes over security measures implemented at the holy site will spread. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Thursday that it would be putting five extra battalions on call in the West Bank, adding that they could be deployed if backup is needed, the Jerusalem Post reported. The army fears that clashes could erupt on Friday, as Muslims make their way to the Temple Mount for prayers. Jerusalem police will also be reinforced by thousands of special police forces, according to Haaretz.
 
U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel | 19 July 2017 | A group of 43 senators -- 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats -- wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country's decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of 250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of 1 million and 20 years in prison. The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill "was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee."
 
Feds Say FPL Can Store Nuclear Waste Below Miami's Drinking Water Because It's 'Not Likely' to Leak | 21 July 2017 | Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is already leaking dangerous salt water into the aquifers that are Miami's largest source of drinking water. Despite that alarming fact, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently ruled that FPL can move forward with a plan to build two new nuclear reactors and store nuclear waste -- including radioactive material -- in an area just below those same aquifers. Environmentalists warn a leak would threaten the water supply of 2.7 million people, but the feds last week ruled that such a leak is "not likely," and that even if one were to occur, it "would likely be detected and resolved prior to any significant release to the Upper Floridan Aquifer," one of Miami-Dade County's two water stores.
 
Tepco Spots Possible Nuclear Fuel Debris at Another Fukushima Reactor - Kyodo | 21 July 2017 | Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the operator of Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, may have found nuclear fuel debris below the damaged No. 3 reactor, one of three that had meltdowns in the 2011 disaster, Kyodo News reported on Friday. Tepco detected black-colored material that dangled like icicles that could be nuclear debris near the bottom of the reactor's pressure vessel that contained the highly radioactive melted fuel rods, the report said, citing unnamed sources...The company in January spotted possible nuclear fuel debris below the damaged No. 2 reactor at the plant.
 
Moderately strong earthquake hits off Japan's Fukushima | 20 July 2017 | A moderately strong earthquake struck off the coast of Japan's Fukushima on Thursday but no fresh damage to the crippled nuclear power plant there was reported and there was no risk of a tsunami, officials said. The 5.8-magnitude quake hit at 9:11 am local time off Fukushima prefecture in the Pacific Ocean with the epicentre located 34 kilometres under the sea, according to the US Geological Survey. "We have found no (new) abnormality so far" at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, said a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator.
 
'I did not collude with Russians,' says Jared Kushner | 25 July 2017 | President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, described himself to Senate investigators on Monday as a political and foreign policy neophyte who met with Russians as part of a hectic and unconventional presidential campaign, not as part of a plot to steer the election. "All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign," Kushner told reporters on the White House grounds after two hours behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. "I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did."
 
'Russian situation is completely overblown' - new WH communications director | 23 July 2017 | The scandal around the US officials allegedly colluding with the Russian government has been "overblown" and serves to "to take the president off his agenda," Donald Trump's new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci has said ... On Sunday, the newly appointed White House communications director appeared on CNN's 'State of the Union' program addressing questions on alleged Trump-Russia interactions ... "I was there early on in the campaign. I didn't have any interactivity with the Russians. I didn't see anybody have interactivity with the Russians. It is a completely bogus and nonsensical thing," Scaramucci said. "You guys have to manufacture these scandals to take the president off his agenda," he added.
 
Senate Votes Down Broad Obamacare Repeal | 25 July 2017 | The Senate voted narrowly on Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but hours later, Republican leaders suffered a setback when their most comprehensive plan to replace President Barack Obama's health law fell far short of the votes it needed. The Tuesday night tally needed to reach 60 votes to overcome a parliamentary objection. Instead, it fell 43-57. The fact that the comprehensive replacement plan came up well short of even 50 votes was an ominous sign for Republican leaders still grappling with a formula to pass final health care legislation this week.
 
Senate votes to start debate on Obamacare repeal as Pence is forced to break tie | 25 July 2017 | The Senate on Tuesday voted by the narrowest margin to move forward with its Obamacare repeal push, a significant step for Republicans that still leaves senators searching for an agreement on how best to follow through on a campaign promise that has defined most of the last decade. Vice President Mike Pence was forced to break a tie as the Senate voted 51-50 to start debate on proposals to change the landmark health-care law. The vote comes after weeks of setbacks for Republicans as party divisions stalled multiple versions of their plans to overhaul the American health-care system...The procedural vote starts a complicated period in which senators will float varying alternatives for reshaping Obamacare.
 
Sarah Huckabee Sanders named new White House press secretary | 21 July 2017 | Sarah Huckabee Sanders was named the new White House press secretary Friday afternoon following the resignation of Sean Spicer. Spicer resigned Friday after President Donald Trump appointed New York financier Anthony Scaramucci to communications director. In a tweet, Spicer said he would continue in his role until August. Sanders, as Spicer's deputy, had recently taken more of a prominent role in the White House communications as she took over the daily briefings and turned them into off-camera events. Scaramucci told reporters Friday that Trump thought Sanders does a "phenomenal job."
 
Judge clears way for Trump commission to collect voter data | 24 July 2017 | A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud to resume collecting detailed voter roll information from the states. The commission asked states last month to provide publicly available data including registered voters' names, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers, but it later told them to hold off until a judge ruled on a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in the District of Columbia, denied the advocacy group's request to block the data collection in a ruling that commission vice chairman Kris Kobach called "a major victory for government accountability, transparency and the public's right to know about the integrity of our elections processes."
 
Spicer resigns as White House press secretary; Scaramucci to be communications director | 21 July 2017 | White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday in a move apparently tied to the hiring of a new top communications aide, marking a major shakeup in the president's press shop at an already tumultuous time. Spicer's departure was confirmed just moments after President Trump met with the man being tapped for White House communications director, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci. Speculation about Spicer's status with the White House has run rampant for months, but the appointment of Scaramucci was seen as a deciding factor in his resignation.
 
Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country | 25 July 2017 | Imran Awan, a House staffer at the center of a criminal investigation potentially impacting dozens of Democratic lawmakers, has been arrested on bank fraud and is prevented from leaving the country while the charges are pending. A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning...Awan pled not guilty on Tuesday to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
 
Hazmat situation prompts evacuations at San Jose motel | 24 July 2017 | One person is being treated and 29 people have been evacuated from an Extended Stay motel on San Ignacio Avenue in San Jose due to a hazmat situation Monday morning. Officials said the substance has been identified as pepper spray.
 
San Antonio death toll in 'horrific' human trafficking reaches 10 | 24 July 2017 | A 10th person has been confirmed dead after immigrants were trapped inside a tractor-trailer at a Walmart parking lot, officials confirmed Monday morning. Several people are still in critical condition at local hospitals. Eight immigrants initially were found dead inside the closed trailer just after midnight Saturday.
 
Death toll in suspected Texas human smuggling case rises to nine | 23 July 2017 | At least nine men were found dead on Sunday alongside dozens of people discovered inside a sweltering tractor trailer parked at a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas, in what authorities called a case of "ruthless" human trafficking ... Thirty people, many in critical condition and suffering from heat stoke and exhaustion, were removed from the trailer, which lacked air conditioning or a water supply, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said. Temperatures outside the vehicle topped 100 degrees F (37.8 C).
 
Protests erupt at Minneapolis mayor's press conference announcing police chief resignation | 21 July 2017 | In a raucous press conference on Friday evening Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced the resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Jane Harteau. The resignation came in the wake of the fatal shooting of an Australian woman by a police officer on July 15. "We need new leadership at MPD," Hodges said. "I asked Chief Harteau for her resignation, she tendered it and I accepted it." The presser quickly turned into a back and forth debate with a protester who was in attendance.
 
Class and Race Profiling in the Vaccine Culture War | 17 July 2017 | The Vaccine Culture War is heating up. Ground zero is America, Europe and other economically developed countries, where the pharmaceutical industrial complex is raising an iron fist to protect multi-billion dollar profits by disempowering the people. In America, professors and doctors in academia and government are profiling parents by class and race to shame and discredit those challenging vaccine orthodoxy...That "punish the mothers" Op Ed was preceded by a May 8 Boston Herald editorial revealing just how far the persecution of people advocating for vaccine safety and informed consent has gone. The Boston Herald editorial staff called for the execution of individuals who exercise free speech about vaccine risks and failures. As in, it should be "a hanging offense" to inform parents (especially to inform parents in "immigrant communities") that vaccines carry an unpredictable risk of injury or death and often fail to work as advertised.
 
Texas Senate votes to curb transgender access to public bathrooms | 25 July 2017 | The Republican-controlled Texas Senate gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a bill that restricts bathroom access for transgender people, endorsing a piece of legislation denounced by civil liberties advocates as discriminatory. Final Senate adoption of the bill was possible later on Tuesday or Wednesday...The preliminary vote in the Senate was 21-10, with one Democrat crossing the aisle to vote with the Republican majority in favor of the measure, Senate Bill 3.
 
New York Times reporter accuses white women of racism on city sidewalks for not making space for him when walking --Greg Howard said white women are the only group who don't courteously move --Howard theorizes that it's because white women have 'been taught that they should fear black men' | 22 July 2017 | A New York Times reporter is facing blowback after an article in which he accused white women of racism for not yielding to him on city sidewalks. Greg Howard, a writer for the Sunday Metropolitan Section, in a Wednesday essay titled Was That Racist?, said white women in particular will not make space for him when he's walking down the street. He also added that there are times when he's had to step off the sidewalk and into the road, making him 'feel small'.
 
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