Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia Releases Woman Detained For Wearing Miniskirt In Viral Video

Aya Batrawy · Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 3:59 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that a woman who was detained after wearing a miniskirt in a video that went viral has been released without charge.

The decision not to press charges was a rare win for supporters of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, who criticized the public outcry against her. It also comes as Saudi Arabia overhauls its prosecution system under a new, young heir to the throne who has taken steps to try and modernize the country and its public image.

The viral video and the reaction to it in Saudi Arabia prompted police to bring the woman in for questioning for wearing “immodest clothes” in violation of the kingdom’s conservative Islamic dress code.

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Number of terrorist attacks around the world is down, despite Trump's fear-mongering

Xeni Jardin · Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 2:30 pm

What's left of the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday the number of terrorist attacks worldwide and deaths from such attacks dropped in 2016 for the second straight year. The global downward trend is attributed to decreases in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.


Conservatives love to blast government for heavy-handed policy.

Robert Reich

In reality, it’s big corporations that are imposing increasingly harsh and arbitrary constraints on workers.

As Elizabeth Anderson explains, companies today have unprecedented power over the lives of their employees (unprecedented since World War II).

1. Managers tightly regulate mundane aspects of the workplace like bathroom breaks and casual conversation. Apple conducts security inspections on retail employees before they can leave for the day.
2. Companies can charge workers more for health care if they fail to diet or exercise.
3. Some employers even pressure their employees to support political candidates and causes.
4. Outright wage theft is also on the rise--at least two-thirds of low-wage workers have fallen victim.
5. Non-compete clauses make it impossible for many workers to get better jobs.
How have we gotten to this point? As corporations have amassed economic and political power they've successfully lobbied to erode workers' rights, eliminate safety protections, and weaken enforcement. Companies have also cracked down on labor unions, depriving workers of a voice against abusive practices.

Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and have the basic right to organize for better wages and working conditions. Without this, our democracy is a sham.


“Clinton sold uranium to Russian” (A quote from a wackadoo this morning … ):

This has been running around for a while, and is part of the efforts to debunk or trivialize the Trump-Russia connection.

The allegation is that somehow Hillary Clinton, all by herself, sold or gave 20% of the US’ uranium reserves to the Russians for a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Let’s spend a brief moment deconstructing the levels of crazy here.

1. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton couldn’t sell or give away assets of the United States. She didn’t have the authority. (That belongs to Congress.) No one in charge of the U.S. uranium stockpile would go, “oh, this has Hillary’s signature, load ‘er up boys!” It’s just not how it works.

2. 20% of US uranium is a lot. It’s not something one casually moves about in a shipping trailer. The notion that any such operation could take place without vast planning and organization involving dozens of agencies ranging from national security to police departments, is just ridiculous. Had any such thing happened, it would not have been in secret. It couldn’t have been.

3. Umm, why would the Russians need to buy or acquire our uranium? They have vast amounts of it. In fact, there’s a worldwide glut of the stuff: it’s available cheaply. So even if they were running short they could get it without risking a confrontation with the United States.

But Trump alleged it about a Clinton, and since all the wackadoos know the Clintons are Satan with a smile, the wackadoos parrot the nonsense. In any case, neither facts nor logic are going to dissuade their fantasy lives from being fully lived.

Trump-Russia isn’t normal. It isn’t comparable to ordinary politics and usual. No matter what the wackadoos say.


I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration.

From top climate policy official to accounting. Welcome to Trump's Department of Interior.

On July 19, the former top climate policy official at the Department of Interior filed a complaint and a whistleblower disclosure form with the Office of Special Counsel. The official, Joel Clement, says the Trump administration is threatening public health and safety by trying to silence scientists like him. (Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)

By Joel Clement July 19 at 4:10 PM

Joel Clement was director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Interior Department until last week. He is now a senior adviser at the department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.

Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,” the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

I am not an accountant — but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up. A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers. Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs.

I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.

On Wednesday, I filed two forms — a complaint and a disclosure of information — with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. I filed the disclosure because eliminating my role coordinating federal engagement and leaving my former position empty exacerbate the already significant threat to the health and the safety of certain Alaska Native communities. I filed the complaint because the Trump administration clearly retaliated against me for raising awareness of this danger. Our country values the safety of our citizens, and federal employees who disclose threats to health and safety are protected from reprisal by the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

Removing a civil servant from his area of expertise and putting him in a job where he’s not needed and his experience is not relevant is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Much more distressing, though, is what this charade means for American livelihoods. The Alaska Native villages of Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik are perilously close to melting into the Arctic Ocean. In a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the land upon which citizens’ homes and schools stand is newly vulnerable to storms, floods and waves. As permafrost melts and protective sea ice recedes, these Alaska Native villages are one superstorm from being washed away, displacing hundreds of Americans and potentially costing lives. The members of these communities could soon become refugees in their own country.

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Condoms don't work, smoking doesn't kill, GOP is saving Medicaid—the world class lies of Mike Pence (jen Hayden) · Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 9:28 pm

Mike Pence recently sent the political punditry world on fire when he addressed the National Governors Association and made the outrageous and fictitious claim that the disastrous Republican wealthcare bill “strenghtened and secured Medicaid.”
Let me be clear: The Senate health-care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society. #BetterCare
— Vice President Pence (@VP) July 14, 2017
In fact, the Republican bill would slash nearly $1 trillion and devastate Medicaid funding and the citizens, mostly children, elderly and the disabled who rely on it:

The results, according to independent analyses, would be major reductions in federal spending on Medicaid over time. States would be left deciding whether to raise more money to make up the difference, or to cut back on medical coverage for people using the program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the changes would lead to a reduction in spending on Medicaid of more than $800 billion over a decade.


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