U.S. court will not halt NSA phone spy program before ban switchover to privatized bulk data collection | 29 Oct 2015 | A U.S. appeals court on Thursday refused to immediately halt the government's bulk collection of millions of Americans' phone records during a "transition" period to a new federal scheme that bans the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said it would not disturb Congress' decision to provide a 180-day period for an "orderly transition" to a new, targeted surveillance system from the sweeping National Security Agency program that the court found illegal on May 7...The law reined in the government's data collection authority and requires phone companies, not the NSA, to hold bulk phone records.
12 people at Palo Alto hotel sickened by irritating odor | 29 Oct 2015 | An irritating odor from an underground parking garage at the Westin Hotel Palo Alto sickened 12 people Thursday night. Eight people were decontaminated and transported to Stanford Hospital. Four additional patients were also transported to the hospital. Hazmat crews entered the hotel and tried to determine the cause the of odor, but could not find the exact cause.
Iraq: We Didn't Ask for U.S. Ground Operations | 28 Oct 2015 | The Iraqi government said Wednesday it didn't ask for -- and doesn't need -- the "direct action on the ground" promised by the Pentagon. The revelation came a day after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the U.S. may carry out more unilateral ground raids in Iraq to target ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] militants. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's spokesman told NBC News that any military involvement in the country must be cleared through the Iraqi government, just as U.S.-led airstrikes are. "This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the U.S. Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations," spokesman Sa'ad al-Hadithi told NBC News.
Jeb Bush's Campaign Blueprint | 29 Oct 2015 | Even before Jeb Bush's uninspiring debate performance Wednesday night, his sputtering presidential campaign was working to prevent defections. Bush's top lieutenants convened with donors in sopping wet Houston on Monday to calm their fears and retrench for the unforgiving haul ahead. After the confab, Bush's team distributed a 45-page PowerPoint presentation to select reporters, summarizing an optimistic view of the race, touting the Republican candidate's cash and organization, and assuring supporters that early polls are rarely indicative of ultimate success...The full presentation, obtained exclusively by U.S. News, spans 112 pages and includes a trove of new details, including Bush's internal polling, his vote goal in Iowa and his advertising plan for January.
Russian aircraft approach USS Ronald Reagan, prompting US fighter jet scramble | 29 Oct 2015 | The USS Ronald Reagan scrambled its fighter jets earlier this week after two Russian naval reconnaissance aircraft flew within one nautical mile of the U.S. aircraft carrier as it sailed in international waters east of the Korean Peninsula, according to 7th Fleet officials. In the latest in a series of incidents involving Russian aircraft, two Tupolev Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew as low as 500 feet Tuesday morning near the Reagan, which has been conducting scheduled maneuvers with South Korean navy ships. Four F/A-18 Super Hornets took off from the Reagan’s flight deck in response to the Russian advance, 7th Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Cole said Thursday.
US fighter jets intercept Russian warplanes near US aircraft carrier | 29 Oct 2015 | US Navy officials scrambled four fighter jets on Tuesday to intercept two Russian TU-142 Bear warplanes flying within one mile of the SS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan, Stars and Stripes first reported. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told Reuters on Thursday afternoon that the incident was considered safe. "There was nothing to indicate they were posing a direct threat," he said. At the time, US Navy officials were carrying out training exercises with South Korean ships.
Edward Snowden: EU parliament votes to 'drop any criminal charges' against whistle-blower | 29 Oct 2015 | The European parliament voted to lift criminal charges against American whistle-blower Edward Snowden on Thursday. In an incredibly close vote, EU MEPs said he should be granted protection as a "human rights defender" in a move that was celebrated as a "chance to move forward" by Mr Snowden from Russia. The international whistle-blower was forced to flee to the former Soviet state after exposing massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency.
Scots nuclear power plant worker caught studying BOMB-MAKING websites at work | 27 Oct 2015 | A worker at a Scots nuclear power plant has been caught studying bomb-making websites at work. The staff member was marched off the premises at Hunterston B, West Kilbride, this morning after a shocked colleague raised the alarm. Police are now investigating the worker accessing "inappropriate material" while working at the nuclear facility...The contractor works as a 'special entry assistant' at the power station, and his role involves him going into the heart of the plant to assist tradesmen.
Republicans go on the attack in feisty presidential debate | 28 Oct 2015 | Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush suggested rival Marco Rubio resign his Senate seat on Wednesday at a testy economic debate marked by frequent personal attacks and several heated clashes over tax policy. With time running short until the first nominating contest in three months, the 10 Republicans in the evening's main debate were anxious to stand out, and several were quick to leap to the attack. The candidates frequently talked over each other and the moderators in their haste to make points.
GOP Establishment's Rick Wilson: Donor Class Must 'Put a Bullet in Donald Trump' | 28 Oct 2015 | On Tuesday evening, establishment Republican consultant [sociopath] Rick Wilson said the GOP establishment donor class must find a way to "put a bullet" in GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that "Trump is still a very powerful force right now" because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his "nativist" message. Wilson insisted that the donor class "can't just sit back on the sidelines and say, 'Oh well, don't worry, this will all work itself out.' They're still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump," Wilson said. "And that's a fact." [Hello, U.S. Secret Service?]
Runaway U.S. military blimp causes havoc in Pennsylvania | 28 Oct 2015 | A high-tech U.S. military [JLENS, or Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System] blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania, dragging its 10,000-foot-long cable behind it and knocking out power to thousands. The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming loose shortly after mid-day from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Baltimore. It came down several hours later in two parts in Montour County, Pennsylvania, the U.S. military's North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) told reporters.
Gulf will be too hot for humans by 2070: study | 27 Oct 2015 | The Arabian Gulf and parts of Iran will suffer heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival if climate change is unchecked, according to a new scientific study. The extreme heatwaves will affect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran and will pose a deadly threat to millions of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia when the Haj will fall in summer. The study shows the extreme heatwaves, more intense than anything ever experienced on Earth, would kick in after 2070 and that the hottest days of today would by then be a near-daily occurrence.
Arrest video fallout: Spring Valley High Officer Ben Fields fired | 28 Oct 2015 | The South Carolina deputy who slammed a disruptive student on the floor and tossed her several feet has been fired. Other students in the classroom at Spring Valley High School caught the incident on video. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suspended Deputy Ben Fields without pay, and then fired him Wednesday. Fields violated police regulations when he threw the girl, the sheriff said.
Republicans officially nominate TPP lobbyist Paul Ryan for House speaker | 28 Oct 2015 | House Republicans on Wednesday nominated Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, long seen as one of the party's brightest stars [but, in actuality, a Grade 'A' sociopath], to become their next speaker and standard-bearer. The internal party vote to choose a successor for outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner took place behind closed doors in an afternoon meeting. According to a tally announced inside the room, Ryan won support from 200 of the 247-member GOP conference. A House floor vote to select the new speaker is set for Thursday morning, bringing an end to a five-week scramble to find Boehner's replacement.
House GOP leaders push for floor vote on Obama-embraced budget that includes cuts to Medicare, Social Security | 28 Oct 2015 | Republican leaders are pushing a House floor vote on their budget package on Wednesday, after making last minute changes to the bill to quell discontent over its cost. If the deal makes it to the floor, it is likely to pass, if only because House GOP leaders need just 40 to 50 Republicans to back it. Democrats and GOP moderates have embraced the agreement, which raises the so-called "sequester" budget caps for two years for defense and domestic spending [with cuts to Medicare and Social Security] and increases the country's borrowing limit until March 2017...A senior Democratic aide said that Paul Ryan's staff was involved in drafting Social Security Disability program changes cuts and the Medicare portion of cuts in the bill.
JLENS blimp has come free of its tether at APG, now floating over Pennsylvania; fighter jets monitoring | 28 Oct 2015 | One of the two military surveillance blimps that has been watching the East Coast from Maryland has broken free of its mooring at Aberdeen Proving Ground and is now drifting over Pennsylvania, authorities said. Two F-16 fighter jets from an Air National Guard base in Atlantic City, N.J., are monitoring the unmanned aircraft, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command is working with the Federal Aviation Administration "to ensure air traffic safety," a spokesman said. The blimp is drifting at an altitude of 16,000 feet. The 243-foot-long, helium-filled JLENS aerostat detached from its mooring at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground at about 11:54 a.m. Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Army installation said. It was trailing approximately 6,700 feet of cable.
Officer fired for violating policy in S.C. classroom arrest | 28 Oct 2015 | The white sheriff's deputy caught on video flipping a black high school student out of her classroom chair in Columbia, South Carolina, has been fired, a sheriff said on Wednesday. Deputy Ben Fields violated agency policy when he picked up the teenage girl and threw her across a classroom as he attempted to make an arrest, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told a news conference. Videos filmed by students showed Fields, 34, slam a 16-year-old girl to the ground and drag her across a classroom at Spring Valley High School on Monday after she apparently refused to hand her mobile phone to a teacher or leave the room.
F-16 Fighter Jets Scrambled to Track Military Blimp Drifting Over Pennsylvania --NORAD unsure of 'explosive capability' (MSNBC) | 28 Oct 2015 | The Pentagon said Wednesday that U.S. fighter jets were tracking an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that tore loose from its ground tether in Maryland and drifted north over Pennsylvania. Details were sketchy, but a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at about 12:20 p.m. EDT. Two F-16 fighter jets from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in New Jersey were monitoring the craft, which was traveling north at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.
Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off --'If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.' (Sun Sentinel Editorial Board) | 27 Oct 2015 | After five years in the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio does not like his job. A long-time friend told The Washington Post "he hates it." Rubio says hate might be too strong a word, but he sure acts like he hates his job. Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead...Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job.
Dennis Hastert pleads guilty to federal charge | 28 Oct 2015 | Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday to evading currency-reporting requirements, but no further details came out about the underlying wrongdoing that led him to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four banks over 2 ½ years. Hastert entered his plea during a hearing before a judge in Chicago federal court. The judge set sentencing for Feb. 29. Hastert faces probation or up to 6 months in prison. Neither side anticipates calling witnesses for the sentencing.
Spring Valley High School officer suspended after violent classroom arrest | 27 Oct 2015 | A student slammed to the ground by a South Carolina school resource officer "bears some responsibility," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Tuesday. The student's violent arrest was captured in videos that went viral and sparked widespread outrage...Lott said he expects to make a decision within the next 24 hours about the officer's continued employment.
Senate Passes CISA, the Surveillance Bill Masquerading as a Cybersecurity Bill --List of dirt-bags who voted for CISA | 27 Oct 2015 | After rejecting all the good privacy amendments to CISA, the Senate has now officially passed the legislation by a 74 to 21 vote. The Senate basically just passed a bill that will almost certainly be used mainly for warrantless domestic surveillance, rather than any actual cybersecurity concern. Here is the list of senators who voted for greater domestic surveillance:
- Alexander (R-TN)
- Ayotte (R-NH)
- Barrasso (R-WY)
- Bennet (D-CO)
- Blumenthal (D-CT)
- Blunt (R-MO)
- Boozman (R-AR)
- Boxer (D-CA)
- Burr (R-NC)
- Cantwell (D-WA)
- Capito (R-WV)
- Carper (D-DE)
- Casey (D-PA)
- Cassidy (R-LA)
- Coats (R-IN)
- Cochran (R-MS)
- Collins (R-ME)
- Corker (R-TN)
- Cornyn (R-TX)
- Cotton (R-AR)
- Donnelly (D-IN)
- Durbin (D-IL)
- Enzi (R-WY)
- Ernst (R-IA)
- Feinstein (D-CA)
- Fischer (R-NE)
- Flake (R-AZ)
- Gardner (R-CO)
- Gillibrand (D-NY)
- Grassley (R-IA)
- Hatch (R-UT)
- Heinrich (D-NM)
- Heitkamp (D-ND)
- Hirono (D-HI)
- Hoeven (R-ND)
- Inhofe (R-OK)
- Isakson (R-GA)
- Johnson (R-WI)
- Kaine (D-VA)
- King (I-ME)
- Kirk (R-IL)
- Klobuchar (D-MN)
- Lankford (R-OK)
- Manchin (D-WV)
- McCain (R-AZ)
- McCaskill (D-MO)
- McConnell (R-KY)
- Mikulski (D-MD)
- Moran (R-KS)
- Murkowski (R-AK)
- Murphy (D-CT)
- Murray (D-WA)
- Nelson (D-FL)
- Perdue (R-GA)
- Peters (D-MI)
- Portman (R-OH)
- Reed (D-RI)
- Reid (D-NV)
- Roberts (R-KS)
- Rounds (R-SD)
- Sasse (R-NE)
- Schatz (D-HI)
- Schumer (D-NY)
- Scott (R-SC)
- Sessions (R-AL)
- Shaheen (D-NH)
- Shelby (R-AL)
- Stabenow (D-MI)
- Thune (R-SD)
- Tillis (R-NC)
- Toomey (R-PA)
- Warner (D-VA)
- Whitehouse (D-RI)
- Wicker (R-MS)
U.S. troops to begin 'direct action on the ground' in Iraq and Syria - Defense secretary | 27 Oct 2015 | Defense Secretary Ash Carter today revealed that the U.S. will openly begin "direct action on the ground" 'against' ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] forces in Iraq and Syria. In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday, Carter said "we won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL...or conducting such mission [sic] directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground." ...This may mean some American soldiers "will be in harm's way, no question about it," Carter said last week.
China furious after US Navy destroyer passes disputed islands in South China Sea | 27 Oct 2015 | China has slammed the US for ignoring repeated warnings and allowing one of its destroyers to sail close to artificial islands created by Beijing in the South China Sea. It said the USS Lassen's actions "damage peace and stability in the region." "These actions of the US warship are a threat to the sovereignty and security of China, and safety of people living on the islands; they damage peace and stability in the region. In this regard, the Chinese side expresses extreme dissatisfaction and strongly protests," the statement posted on China's Foreign Ministry website says, according to Interfax.
WikiLeaks' third tranche of released CIA director's emails --Unidentified Brennan Group | 26 Oct 2015 | Table of 22 people, including John Brennan, that are members of a currently unidentified group. The list includes details for contact, previous employment, compensation, security clearance and identity. According to the document, Brennan himself was previously employed at "The Analysis Corporation". (16 November 2008: Metadata Authors: kyle_r, reedy_j)
US defies Beijing, sends warship near artificial islands built by China in South China Sea | 27 Oct 2015 | The US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a US defence official said, in a challenge to China's territorial claims in the area. The official said the USS Lassen was sailing near Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago, features that were submerged at high tide before China began a massive dredging project to turn them into islands in 2014...The second official earlier said the ship would likely be accompanied by a US Navy P-8A surveillance plane and possibly P-3 surveillance plane, which have been conducting regular surveillance missions in the region.
Trump 2nd place Iowa Poll a SHAM - paid for by Club for Growth Action | 24 Oct 2015 | The poll that placed [Republican presidential candidate Donald] Trump in second place in Iowa was a fake--paid for by the Club for Growth Action and differs from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll over the weekend that has Trump in first place in Iowa by five points. Bragging in a press release, the Club For Growth raved about spending a million dollars in ads exposing Trump and used a skewed poll of 574 people to show their ads were effective...Trump was approached just before he launched his campaign by Club for Growth to run trash ads against the GOP for a million dollars. Trump turned them down and has since filed a 'Cease & Desist Demand' letter for their defamation attempts at his character during his political campaign.
38 pct of Fukushima evacuation workers exposed to radiation above limit | 26 Oct 2015 | The Japanese government on Monday said 38 percent of evacuation-related first responders and those involved in decontamination and clean-up operations in the days following the 2011 multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility were exposed to radiation above the annual public limit. According to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office on just under 3,000 personnel involved in operations within the 20-km evacuation zone around the stricken plant from March 12, a day after a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami which breached the nuclear facility's barriers, causing the worst commercial nuclear disaster in history, 38 percent were found to have been exposed to radiation levels of 1 millisievert or more. Of them, the survey revealed that 19 percent were exposed to between 1 to 2 millisieverts, while 5 percent from the sample were exposed to between 5 and 10 millisieverts.
'Russia after terror groups in Syria, only hitting confirmed targets' - MoD | 25 Oct 2015 | Hundreds of terror targets have been eliminated in Syria after almost a month of Russia's military campaign. A Ministry of Defense spokesman told RT that Moscow only wants to eliminate extremist groups and is only hitting confirmed targets. "The [Russian] planes hit targets which have been confirmed to be the terrorist objects using several intelligence sources," Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told RT. He also mentioned that the Russians have been using aerial reconnaissance, as well as intelligence from space.
Chris Christie is kicked out of Amtrak quiet car for talking too loudly on his phone while clutching strawberry smoothie | 25 Oct 2015 | Governor Chris Christie has apologized after getting kicked out of an Amtrak quiet car on Sunday morning for talking too loudly on his phone while clutching a strawberry smoothie from McDonald's. A spokeswoman for the New Jersey governor, Samantha Smith, said the Republican presidential hopeful accidentally took a seat in the car while traveling from Washington DC on Sunday morning. Another passenger on the 9.55 Amtrak train from Washington to New York City, Alexander Mann, was on the quiet car when Christie got on and he noticed the pink smoothie, according to Gawker.
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