Friday, June 12, 2015

Defeat for Obama on trade as Democrats vote against him

News Updates from CLG
12 June 2015
Previous edition: US nuclear missiles could be sited again on British soil in new 'Cold War' with Russia
Breaking! Defeat for Obama on trade as Democrats vote against him | 12 June 2015 | A strange coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans came together to defeat Barack Obama in a vote on trade corporate takeover legislation on Friday afternoon...With Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking in opposition to the bill and going directly against Obama less than three hours after the president begged his party's caucus to support it, the vote on trade adjustment assistance (TAA) - which would provide government aid to workers who had lost their jobs because of free trade agreements - marks not just a major setback for future trade agreements but for Obama's influence in his own caucus.
Obama's secret TPP 'trade assistance' rider includes $700 million in proposed cuts to Medicare --Unions, Seniors Groups Urge Congress Not to Cut Medicare to Fund Trade Assistance | 09 June 2015 | An already difficult road for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the House of Representatives got bumpier on Monday, as controversial Medicare cuts were brought into the mix. Labor unions and senior citizens' groups are launching efforts to lobby House members against a bill that includes 700 million in proposed cuts to Medicarereimbursements for doctors and hospitals. The cuts would be used to fund a 2.5 billion extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance funding, which aids workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade [sic] deals. The TAA extension accompanies legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority, which gives President Barack Obama the ability to "fast-track" trade deals, including TPP, a controversial trade corporate takeover agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations. The Huffington Post has obtained exclusive access to two letters, both sent to House members on Monday, one from labor unionsand one from a number of seniors groups.
Obama's Secret TPP Corporate Takeover Deal Targets Medicare, New Leak Reveals | 10 June 2015 | For the second time in a week, Medicare is complicating an already fraught debate over the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership tradecorporate takeover deal. A recent draft of the health care transparency section of TPP released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday reveals the deal would make Medicare vulnerable to legal challenges from pharmaceutical companies and jeopardize future attempts by the insurer to negotiate lower drug prices. According to an analysis of the leaked document by Jane Kelsey, a law professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, these rules are enough to expose national health authorities to legal challenges under TPP's investor-state dispute settlement process, or ISDS. ISDS empowerscompanies to challenge countries' domestic laws before a tribunal of international judges if they believe the laws unfairly limit investment. The tribunals have the power to impose significant fines on countries if their laws are found responsible for the investment hardship in question.
Mega barf alert! GOP-led House votes to repeal country-of-origin labeling on meat | 10 June 2015 | The Republican-run House passed legislation late Wednesday that would repeal country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef, pork and chicken products. Passage of the [disgusting] measure passed on a vote of 300-131. The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled last month against the U.S. appeal to keep its existing country-of-origin labeling regulation for imported cuts of beef and pork. The regulation, issued in 2013, would require meat labels state where the livestock was born, raised and slaughtered. Consumer advocacy groups who support the labeling requirements warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade corporate takeover pact could further threaten regulations meant to protect public safety.
Pentagon looks at reoccupying chain of Iraqi bases | 11 June 2015 | The Pentagon is considering setting up a network of bases across northern Iraq from which American advisers would assist the Iraqi military campaign against fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [aka I-CIA-SIS]. Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said the US was looking at creating a "lily-pad" of sites that would re-establish a presence in locations used by the US military when it occupied the country. If the Obama administration decides to implement such a plan, it would involve a further increase in the number of US troops that are being sent back to Iraq, Gen Dempsey said.
Obama orders deployment of up to 450 more U.S. troops to Iraq | 11 June 2015 | President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered the deployment of up to 450 more U.S. troops and the establishment of a new training base in Iraq's Anbar province to help 'rebuild' fragile Iraqi forces in preparation for a battle to retake territory lost to Islamic State [aka I-CIA-SIS]. The plan to expand the 3,100-strong U.S. contingent of trainers and advisers in Iraq marks an adjustment in strategy for Obama, who has faced mounting pressure to do more to blunt the momentum of Islamic State insurgents.
Obama weighs adding hundreds more troops in Iraq | 10 June 2015 | The White House is considering a proposal to send several hundred U.S. military personnel to Iraq to accelerate training of Iraq's forces following a major setback against Islamic State militants, a U.S. official familiar with the plan said Tuesday. The addition of hundreds of U.S. personnel would be a significant increase in the U.S. contingent of about 3,000 troops in Iraq, including about 650 trainers.
Doctor who trained U.S. troops and got $10.5M from govt is suspended for macabre techniques, 'sexual gratification' procedures | 08 June 2015 | Since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2000, Dr. John Henry Hagmann has helped train thousands of soldiers and medical personnel in how to treat battlefield wounds. His company, Deployment Medicine International, has received more than 10.5 million in business from the federal government. The taxpayer-funded training has long troubled animal rights activists, who contend that Hagmann's use of live, wounded pigs to simulate combat injuries is unnecessarily cruel. But an investigation by Virginia medical authorities alleges that pigs weren't the doctor's only training subjects...The report alleges Hagmann told students to insert catheters into the genitals of other trainees and that two intoxicated student were subjected to penile nerve block procedures...The report alleges that Hagmann also "exploited, for personal gain and sexual gratification" two participants who attended a July 2013 course at his Virginia farm.
Poland says Washington stonewalling CIA secret prison investigation --CIA used techniques including water-boarding and mock executions on terrorism suspects at secret overseas facilities | 12 June 2015 | The United States is ignoring a request from Poland to hand over the full version of a Senate report that could shed light on allegations the CIA abusedtortured 'al Qaeda' suspects at a secret prison in the north of the country, according to Polish prosecutors...Polish prosecutors say they formally asked the U.S. Justice Department for a full, unredacted copy of the report to help their criminal investigation into allegations the CIA ran one of the facilities in a Polish forest. "The U.S. side did not send Poland a full version of the report...despite our written request," said Piotr Kosmaty, a representative of the Appellate Prosecutor's office in the city of Krakow, which is handling the investigation. "We have not received any legal assistance from the American side," he told Reuters.
Israel's Spy Virus 'Duqu' Targeted Hotels Used for Iran Nuclear Talks | 10 June 2015 | When a cybersecurity firm discovered it had been hacked last year by a virus widely believed to be used by Israeli spies, it wanted to know who else was on the hit list. The Moscow-based firm, Kaspersky Lab ZAO, checked millions of computers world-wide...Each European hotel was infiltrated by the virus before hosting high-stakes negotiations between Iran and world powers over curtailing Tehran's nuclear program. The spyware, the firm has now concluded, was an improved version of Duqu, a virus first identified by cybersecurity experts in 2011, according to a Kaspersky report and outside security experts. Current and former U.S. officials and many cybersecurity experts say they believe Duqu was designed to carry out Israel's most sensitive intelligence collection.
Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last year | 11 June 2015 | The Israeli military has cleared itself of culpability in one of the most controversial incidents in last summer's Gaza war: a missile attack that killed four children on Gaza beach and injured a number of others. Israel's advocate general's office said the attack, which led to the death of four boys aged between nine and 11 was a "tragic accident"...Although the attack was witnessed by a Guardian reporter, no attempt was made by the Israeli military investigators to seek a statement.
Al-Qaida 'cut off and ripped apart by Isis' | 10 June 2015 | Two of al-Qaida's most important spiritual leaders have told the Guardian that the terror group is no longer a functioning organisation after being ripped apart by Isis [I-CIA-SIS]. In a wide-ranging interview, Abu Qatada, a Jordanian preacher who was based in London before being deported in 2013, and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, regarded as the most influential jihadi scholar alive, say the al-Qaida [al-CIA-duh] leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is cut off from his commanders and keeping the group afloat through little more than appeals to loyalty. Senior insiders in Jordan add that al-Qaida around the Middle East has been drained of recruits and money after losing territory and prestige to its former subordinate division. The ongoing war between al-Qaida and Isis has left the US struggling to catch up with the tectonic shifts within the global jihadi movement, intelligence insiders told the Guardian.
Suicide bomber attacks vehicle carrying senior police officer in northwest Pakistan, killing 1 | 11 June 2015 | Police in Pakistan say a suicide bomber has attacked a vehicle carrying a deputy commander of police in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing one person and wounding three others. Peshawar police chief Mian Muhammad Saeed says the deputy commander, Malik Tariq, was among those wounded inThursday's attack. He says the attacker was riding on a motorcycle and blew himself up as Tariq's vehicle passed through Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan.
Insane in the membrane: Woman jailed for 'Twitter terrorism'| 11 June 2015 | A young woman who admitted being a "Twitter terrorist" on a massive scale has been jailed for three and a half years. Alaa Esayed, 22, posted more than 45,000 tweets in Arabic on an open account to her 8,240 followers between June 2013 and May 2014, with many encouraging violent jihad. Esayed, from Kennington, south London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday after pleading guilty to encouraging terrorism and disseminating a terrorist publication.
Senate Democrats Block GOP's Waiver of Liability Measure for Companies Who Share Data With Govt | 11 June 2015 | U.S. Senate Democrats blocked a proposal to shield companies from lawsuits when they share cyber-attack information with each other and federal agencies. The Senate on Thursday voted 56-40, falling short of the 60 votes required to advance the measure, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to bring up as an amendment to the annual defense policy bill. Democrats, including ranking intelligence committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein, of California, are demanding that the Senate consider it separately from the defense legislation.
South Korea's Park postpones U.S. trip as MERS cases rise | 10 June 2015 | South Korean President Park Geun-hye postponed a U.S. visit on Wednesday to supervise the handling of an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as two more people died and 13 new cases were reported, lifting the total number of patients to 108. Park's office said the coming week would be a "watershed" for the country's response to the disease. The outbreak has fuelled public anxiety, with thousands in quarantine and the number of schools closing rising to 2,474, including 22 universities.
Valves with 'multiple faults' in EPR nuclear reactor pose meltdown risk, inspectors warn --Flamanville third-generation EPR nuclear reactor - the same model Britain plans to use for two new plants at Hinkley Point - has multiple faults in crucial safety valves, inspectors warn | 09 June 2015 | Nuclear safety inspectors have found crucial faults in the cooling system of France's flagship new-generation nuclear power plant on the Channel coast, exposing it to the risk of meltdown. The third-generation European Pressurised Reactor currently under construction in Flamanville is the same model that Britain plans to use for two new plants at Hinkley Point in Somerset. France's nuclear safety watchdog found "multiple" malfunctioning valves in the Flamanville EPR that could cause its meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US.
Nuclear power station cancer warning: Breast cancer rates are FIVE TIMES higher at Welsh plant - and twice as high at Essex and Somerset sites, experts reveal | 09 June 2015 | Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned. In three separate studies, a team of scientists looked at the rates of various cancers in populations living close to Trawsfynydd power station in North Wales, Bradwell in Essex and Hinkley Point in Somerset. They discovered breast cancer rates, in particular, were higher than expected national averages at all three sites. At Trawsfynydd, rates of the disease were five times greater than average, while in Essex and Somerset women had double the risk of developing breast cancer.
'It's like a military state:' Towns under lockdown as army of law enforcement officers hunt two escaped prisoners --Towns hit by rumors, roadblocks, buzzing helicopters, troopers in schools, residents under lockdown | 11 June 2015 | (New York) Life in the sleepy hamlets and towns shadowed by the Adirondack Mountains has been transformed by incessant rumors, roadblocks, buzzing helicopters, troopers in schools, residents under lockdown and the invasion of a small army of law enforcement officers. "It's like a military state," said Steve Lashway, who runs a meat market and deli in Dannemora...Thomas LaSalle, 31, said he has been told to stay locked in his house as the manhunt continues. Some residents could only leave their homes with a state police escort. Armored vehicles drive by now and then.
Tamir Rice: judge finds cause for murder charge over police killing of 12-year-old | 11 June 2015 |  A judge in Ohio said on Thursday he had found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year... Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland municipal court said there were grounds to prosecute officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide.
McKinney officer regrets pool incident but viewed teens as 'possible suspects' | 10 June 2015 |The Texas police officer who manhandled black teenagers at a pool party has apologised for his conduct via a lawyer, who said the officer arrived at the scene in an emotional state because he had just attended two suicide calls. Eric Casebolt's attorney, Jane Bishkin, said in a news conference that earlier in his shift he had gone to an apartment complex where an African American man had shot himself in the head in front of his family in the pool area. He then attended a call where a teenage girl was threatening to jump off her parents' roof.
Black Lives Matter, other activist groups to convene in Cleveland for national conference | 10 June 2015 | Black Lives Matter and other activist groups are scheduled to convene in Cleveland for The Movement for Black Lives national conference. The inaugural event is scheduled for July 24-26 at Cleveland State University. Up to 1,200 people from across the country are expected to attend, according to ACLU for Ohio Policy Manager Shakyra E. Diaz. Groups scheduled to attend include Cleveland Action, Ferguson Action and Million Hoodies Movement for Justice. 
North Carolina Allows Officials to Refuse to Perform Gay Marriages | 11 June 2015 | North Carolina lawmakers on Thursday enacted a law that allows state court officials to refuse to perform a marriage if they have a "sincerely held religious objection," a measure aimed at curtailing same-sex unions. The Republican-controlled House voted 69-41 on Thursday to override a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, who refused to sign the marriage bill in May. The State Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans, overrode Mr. McCrory's veto June 1. The law, which takes effect immediately, allows magistrates, along with assistant and deputy registers of deeds, to refuse to perform a marriage without facing punishment or charges of willfully failing to discharge their duties.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs controversial religious objection adoption bills | 11 June 2015 | Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly signed controversial legislation allowing adoption agencies that contract with the state to decline service to prospective parents on religious grounds. The three-bill package, widely opposed by LGBT advocates, had reached his desk less than 24 hours earlier after approval Wednesday in the Republican-led Legislature. The new laws, signed just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Michigan's gay marriage ban, seek to codify existing Department of Human Services policy and will take effect in 90 days.
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