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GOP single-payer amendment fails in Senate

GOP single-payer amendment fails in Senate | 27 July 2017 | The Senate resoundingly rejected a Republican effort to get Democrats on the record regarding their support -- or lack thereof -- for a single-payer healthcare system. Senators voted 0-57 on the amendment from GOP Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to implement a government-funded healthcare system. Democratic Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) joined all Republicans in voting "no," while 43 Democrats voted "present."

U.S. judge refuses to halt New York nuclear power plant subsidies

U.S. judge refuses to halt New York nuclear power plant subsidies | 25 July 2017 | A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by energy companies and trade groups to stop New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) from providing billions of dollars in subsidies to prop up struggling nuclear power plants in the state. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan rejected claims that federal law preempted New York and its Public Service Commission from offering credits to promote clean energy [?!?] and reduce reliance on fossil-fueled or gas plants. The plaintiffs said the credits could boost electric bills for New York's "captive ratepayers" by $7.6 billion over 12 years, and violate the "dormant" Commerce Clause by impeding Congress' power to regulate commerce among states.

Senate aims for a 'skinny' Obamacare repeal as other options fail

Senate aims for a 'skinny' Obamacare repeal as other options fail | 26 July 2017 | Republican U.S. Senate leaders, struggling to keep a seven-year-old promise to end Obamacare, turned their focus on Wednesday to passing a slimmed-down "skinny" repeal measure that would throw the issue into negotiations with the House of Representatives. The last-ditch effort came as senators voted 45-55 against a straight repeal of Obamacare, which provided for a two-year delay in implementation to give Congress time to work out a replacement. Seven Republicans opposed the measure.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is released from the hospital six weeks after he was critically injured

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is released from the hospital six weeks after he was critically injured in the Congressional baseball shooting | 26 July 2017 | House Majority Whip Steve Scalise - who was critically wounded in a shooting at a baseball practice last month - has been discharged from a Washington hospital. MedStar Washington Hospital Center says the six-term Louisiana Republican was released from the hospital on Tuesday and is beginning 'intensive inpatient rehabilitation.' It isn't identifying the facility.

Trump announces ban on transgender people in U.S. military

Trump announces ban on transgender people in U.S. military | 26 July 2017 | President Trump said he will ban transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity, a reversal of the Obama administration decision that would have allowed them to serve, he announced on social media on Wednesday. Citing the need to focus on victory, Trump said that the military cannot accept the burden of higher medical costs and "disruption" that transgender troops would require. "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

NSA's Google Scum-bags Relegated Wednesday's CLG Newsletter to Spam Bin

NSA's Google Scum-bags Relegated Wednesday's CLG Newsletter to Spam Bin | 26 July 2017 | Dear CLG Readers: If you didn't receive Wednesday's CLG Newsletter, check your spam bin. Apparently, NSA's Google dirt-bags decided that you should not read this edition (which included KBR burn pits lawsuit and Fukushima news, etc.), and marked it as 'spam.' If you seek a re-send, please let me know: lori@legitgov.org. --LRP

Judge clears way for Trump commission to collect voter data

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."

San Antonio death toll in 'horrific' human trafficking reaches 10

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.

'I did not collude with Russians,' says Jared Kushner

'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."

U.S. Navy Vessel Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Ship in Persian Gulf

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.

Senate Votes Down Broad Obamacare Repeal

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

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.

Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country

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.

Texas Senate votes to curb transgender access to public bathrooms

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.

US House of Representatives approves new sanctions against Russia

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.

Judge Clears Military Contractor KBR in Sprawling Burn Pits Case

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.

8 civilians killed in US-Afghan strike against ISIS - Afghan provincial authority

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.

Hazmat situation prompts evacuations at San Jose motel

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.

Contest Winner Disqualified Over Pro-Trump Instagram Post

Contest Winner Disqualified Over Pro-Trump Instagram Post | 23 July 2017 | A Kansas makeup artist says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. Screenshots taken by Gypsy Freeman show she was declared the winner last month of an Instagram "Saint + Sinner Contest" sponsored by the makeup line, which was founded by tattoo artist and former reality show star Kat Von D. Freeman's entry was an Instagram image of an angelic figure beside a girl in an all-black outfit and thick mascara, the Wichita Eagle reported...But curious Instagram users found Freeman's pro-Trump post from November.

Armed Chinese jets drive off US spy plane over Yellow Sea

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.

'Russian situation is completely overblown' - new WH communications director

'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.

Death toll in suspected Texas human smuggling case rises to nine

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).

EU concerned over US bill on Russia sanctions, warns of 'unintended consequences'

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

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.

Protests erupt at Minneapolis mayor's press conference announcing police chief resignation

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.

US contributed to creation of ISIS, now tries to claim victory over it - Iraqi VP

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 Afghanistan. The 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.

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

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."

New York Times reporter accuses white women of racism on city sidewalks for not making space for him when walking

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'.

Feds Say FPL Can Store Nuclear Waste Below Miami's Drinking Water Because It's 'Not Likely' to Leak

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

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.

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