Sunday, May 24, 2015

Obama Takes Unexpected Setback on Trade Agenda as Fast Track Passes Senate

Obama Takes Unexpected Setback on Trade Agenda as Fast Track Passes Senate
News Updates from CLG
23 May 2015
Previous edition: Pentagon sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq
Obama Takes Unexpected Setback on Trade Agenda as Fast Track Passes Senate | 23 May 2015 | President Barack Obama's trade agenda suffered a setback Friday evening during a series of last-minute maneuvers in the Senate. While the upper chamber eventually passed a bill that would help Obama streamline a trade pact with 11 Pacific nations, the final product threw a wrench into the president's plans ... But a key crackdown on human trafficking survived the legislative jujitsu. The White House considers the provision a deal-breaker, as it would force one of the nations involved in the TPP talks -- Malaysia -- out of the agreement. An immigration-related amendment authored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) never got a vote, making it far more difficult for Obama to win over skeptical tea party Republicans in the House. [Obama's agenda is disrupted because a nation that deals in slaves cannot be included given the last-minute insertion of a clause barring human trafficking. Let that irony sink in. Here it is again: Obama is disappointed because a slave-trading nation will be excluded from the TPP. Just call Obama the anti-Lincoln of U.S. Presidents. --MDR]
Senate approves Obama's secret fast-track "trade" bill, includes "Sharia law" nation of Brunei | 22 May 2015 | President Obama's trade corporate welfare agenda received a critical boost from the U.S. Senate late Friday with a bipartisan vote in favor of a "fast track" trade bill. "It's important to President Obama, and it's important to a lot of us here in the chamber," said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a lead sponsor of the bill. The Senate voted, 62-37, to approve a six-year renewal of trade promotion authority (TPA), which provides an expedited process to submit trade pacts to Congress. The bill now heads to the U.S. House, which is expected to begin work on the bill in June.
Judge Won't Give Public Access to Senate Report on CIA Torture | 21 May 2015| Civil libertarians cannot force a full disclosure of the nearly 7,000-page Senate report on the CIA's use of torture in interrogations, a federal judge ruled Thursday. The 6,963-page "Final Full Report" by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has been in a quasi-limbo since Republicans took control of Congress at the beginning of this year...With only a 480-page executive summary and 20 conclusions on the report released publicly, the American Civil Liberties Union went to federal court to get the report fully released, along with an internal CIA study commissioned by former Director Leon Panetta, under the Freedom of Information Act. 
ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan and smuggling it into US [Oh dear. Better renew the Patriot Act and ensure the NSA's bulk data collection continues.] | 22 May 2015 | Islamic State has claimed it is 'infinitely' closer to buying a nuclear bomb from Pakistan and smuggling it into the US. An article, apparently penned by British hostage John Cantlie for the terror group's magazine, Dabiq, says the scenario is 'more possible today than it was just one year ago'. In an article entitled 'The Perfect Storm', it is claimed ISIS has billions of dollars in the bank and describes a 'hypothetical operation' which involves it buying a nuclear bomb 'through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials' in Pakistan. It describes how the device could be smuggled into North America overland and by boat.
I-CIA-SIS flashback: First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA 'on way to battlefield' --The first cell of Syrian 'rebels' trained and armed by the CIA is making its way to the battlefield, President Barack Obama has reportedly told senators. | 03 Sept 2013 | During a meeting at the White House, the president assured Senator John McCain that after months of delay the US was meeting its commitment to back moderate elements of the opposition. Mr Obama said that a 50-man cell [I-CIA-SIS], believed to have been trained by US special forces in Jordan, was making its way across the border into Syria, according to the New York Times. The deployment of the rebel unit seems to be the first tangible measure of support since Mr Obama announced in June that the US would begin providing the opposition with small arms.

Attorney for ISIL suspect: Feds waving 'bloody flag of terrorism' | 22 May 2015 | The attorney for one of seven men charged with supporting terrorism accused the government Fridayof "waving the bloody flag of terrorism" during a hearing in federal court to determine whether his client could be released before trial. In the most contentious and politicized hearing since a group of Twin Cities men were charged with plotting to leave the country to fight alongside terrorists in Syria, both sides hashed out in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis whether Abdirahman Yasin Daud, 21, should be released before he stands trial on charges of supporting terrorists. "The government came out here waving the bloody flag of terrorism," Daud's attorney, Bruce Nestor, said, mentioning atrocities and beheadings by U.S. allies. "What about the 5,000 Americans who died in Iraq under false pretenses?"

2 Anaheim men arrested by Joint Terrorism Task Force for allegedly trying to join ISIS | 22 May 2015 | (CA) Two Anaheim men were arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for allegedly planning to join ISIS [I-CIA-SIS]. Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, were arrested lateThursday night on a charge of conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group. According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed Friday in court, Badawi and Elhuzayel used social media to discuss ISIS and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the U.S. to join ISIS.
Obama Signs Congress Review of Iran Nuclear Deal Bill Into Law | 22 May 2015 | President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday legislation giving lawmakers a chance to review any nuclear deal the White House seeks to hammer out with Iran. The U.S. and five other world powers have crafted a delicate framework with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons. The law gives Congress at least a month to review the details of an agreement. During the review, the president would be prevented from lifting congressionally imposed sanctions on Iran.
GOP-Led Senate Blocks Bill That Would Have 'Ended' NSA's Bulk Collection of Domestic Phone Records | 23 May 2015 | The Republican-led Senate blocked a House bill that would have ended the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records. The Senate, struggling to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs early Saturday, also rejected a short-term extension of the USA Patriot Act. The back-to-back votes left lawmakers without a clear fallback, although current law doesn't expire until midnight May 31.
Ireland legalizes gay marriage in historic vote | 23 May 2015 | Ireland became the first country Saturday to legalize same-sex marriage by national referendum, a vote that has highlighted the dramatic pace at which this traditionally conservative Catholic nation has changed in recent times. Just 22 years after decriminalizing homosexuality, more than 60% of voters approved the measure, with just three of the 43 constituencies left to declare results Saturday afternoon, state broadcaster RTE said. Electoral officers reported an unusually high number of people showed up for Friday's vote.
Murray Abbott, Missing Morgan Stanley Trader, Found Dead in Toronto | 11 May 2015 | Murray Abbott, an institutional sales trader at Morgan Stanley in Toronto who had been missing since April 25, was found Monday by the shore of Lake Ontario near the city's Beaches neighborhood where he lived. He was 36. His death wasn't suspicious [?], Mark Pugash, a Toronto Police Service spokesman, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. Abbott was a vice president and one of 16 people on the institutional equities desk at Morgan Stanley's Canadian wealth-management division. [This is the (approximately) 72nd -- mostly young -- banker to be found dead of 'suicide' or 'mysterious circumstances' in the past couple of years? Banking: What a dangerous profession!]
Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor | 21 May 2015 | Legislators in Kansas, not trusting the poor to use their m-ney wisely, have voted to limit how much cash that welfare beneficiaries can receive, effectively reducing their overall benefits, as well. The legislature placed a daily cap of 25 on c-sh withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw m-ney from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits. Since there's a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families will get substantially less m-ney. It's hard to overstate the significance of this action.
Suit: New York City allowed Rikers Island corrections officers to commit rapes, sexual abuse | 22 May 2015 | Two inmates from one of America's most [in]famous jails say New York City allowed Rikers Island corrections officers to commit widespread sexual assault. The women filed a federal lawsuitTuesday against one of the jail's corrections officers and the city saying the officer repeatedly raped them. The women say when they tried to report the assaults, they were told nothing could be done. Part of the suit reads the officer threatened to allow other inmates to beat the women if they reported assault.
Cleveland officer not guilty over deaths of two people shot at 137 times by police | 23 May 2015 | A Cleveland police officer who stood on the hood of a car and fired his gun 49 times through the windshield at two unarmed passengers has been found not guilty on two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Michael Brelo was also found not guilty of felonious assault, and discharged. On Saturday morning, Cuyahoga County judge John P O'Donnell said prosecutors failed to prove without a reasonable doubt that bullets fired by officer Brelo were the cause of death of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, or that Brelo had no fear for his own life during the volley of gunfire that ended a high-speed car chase on 29 November 2012.
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