Category Archives: Special Reports

This Sinclair-Tribune merger is a rotten deal for America

What’s to be done about ‘the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of?’

Gather around, everyone, and let me tell you a story about rules. And greed and hypocrisy. Continue reading

What country is this? Forced blood draws, cavity searches and colonoscopies

Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot, spy on, probe, pat down, Taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation. Continue reading

Jeff Sessions is bringing back civil forfeiture with a bang

Here's how the police can take your assets even if you haven't been convicted of a crime.

In mid-July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy rollback that’s getting criticism from both sides of the aisle, and the center, too. As The Washington Post notes undoing this Obama-administration policy is a big deal—and means big money. Continue reading

Media largely ‘blind’ to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor communities

Texas’s minority and low-income communities have been disproportionately harmed by Hurricane Harvey, but you wouldn’t know it from following the coverage of America’s mainstream media outlets. Continue reading

Where have all those great infrastructure jobs gone?

The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era local hiring plan for public works.

Remember back in the heady days of the campaign when then-candidate Donald Trump promised to create 25 million jobs with his economic plan? Many of these jobs were to come from a massive reboot to American infrastructure. He promised a 10-year, trillion-dollar program that would solve many of America’s aging infrastructure woes as well as add new, better jobs for millions of American workers. The promise actually had some bipartisan appeal—both sides of the aisle acknowledge the poor state of our roads, bridges and rails and obviously support job creation. But, of course, any plan does require congressional backing. Trump soon created a White House advisory group, the Council on Infrastructure, populated with both practiced politicians and industry bigwigs to help with the initiative. Continue reading

The Trump/Kushner ‘Trojan horse’ inside the CIA has agency on alert

The Central Intelligence Agency is no stranger to “moles” feeding highly-classified intelligence to outside parties. The Cold War and subsequent years saw moles within the CIA being ferreted out by U.S. counter-intelligence officers. However, what is unprecedented is the fact that the current CIA director, former Kansas Tea Party Republican Representative Mike Pompeo, is suspected by CIA counter-intelligence officials of conveying critical intelligence on certain key CIA operations to Donald Trump and his close associates, including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. It is well known that Kushner and his ex-con father, Charles Kushner, enjoy close relations with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Mossad. Continue reading

Will Trump’s ‘troop surge’ in Afghanistan bleed over into Indian stand-off with China?

There are intelligence indications and warnings that President Trump’s “troop surge” in Afghanistan may also include the deployment of U.S. special warfare troops to the Indian side of the Chinese border. Currently, Indian and Chinese troops are facing off in a dangerous game of brinkmanship in three regions of the Himalayan range: the tri-border Dokalam Pass between China, the Indian state of Sikkim, and Bhutan; the Lipulekh Pass between the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Nepal, and China; and the Pangong Lake area of Ladakh in the territory of Kashmir, sovereignty over which is disputed between India, China, and Pakistan. The Pangong Lake stand-off resulted in a rock throwing spree between Chinese and Indian border troops last week. Continue reading

Harvey triggers ‘unbearable’ pollution as refineries spew cancer-causing chemicals

‘Air pollution is one of the unseen dangers of the storm.’

As the catastrophic flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate Texas, reports of “unbearable” smells are beginning to emerge from the state, sparking growing concerns of the long-term health effects that could result from toxic waste and fumes being spewed from temporarily closed oil refineries. Continue reading

Drug company-funded anti-suicide groups on campus raises questions

Many are baffled why the suicide rate in the United States is rising despite antidepressant use being at an all time high. Suicide has risen to 38,000 a year, says USA Today, after falling in the 1990s despite almost a quarter of the population in some age groups taking antidepressants and use of some psychiatric drugs growing by 700% in the military. Shouldn’t suicides be going down? Continue reading

How Pharma keeps health care costs astronomical

In 2009, CBS news reported that drugmakers had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to raise awareness of fibromyalgia which it called, “a murky illness, helping boost sales of pills recently approved as treatments and drowning out unresolved questions—including whether it’s a real disease at all.” Eli Lilly and Pfizer had donated more than $6 million to “nonprofit groups for medical conferences and educational campaigns,” reported CBS. While fibromyalgia, like most diseases given such “awareness” certainly exists, the timing and estimation of how many people “suffer” was totally orchestrated by Pharma and its many patient front groups. Continue reading

Shia insurrection in Saudi Arabia: The battle for Awamiya

Since May 2017 an ongoing insurgency has been raging in the Shia heartland town of Awamiya in eastern Saudi Arabia and its only thanks to the BBC being allowed to enter the area and film the destruction that the world can see how the House of Saud’s war against the Shia population of Yemeni has now expanded to include the Shia population of eastern Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

Demanding ban on killer robots, tech experts warn of opening ‘this Pandora’s Box’

‘Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,’ robotics and artificial intelligence experts warn

More than 100 robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) experts published on Monday an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots. Continue reading

Stop suicide by helping Big Pharma, says shady suicide prevention group

Next month, hundreds across the country will participate in “Out of the Darkness” walks to raise awareness about suicide and to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Continue reading

Covering up the massacre of Mosul

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul. Continue reading

‘Swamp’s doing fine’: Amid White House turmoil, Trump cozies up to right-wing donors

Billionaires Robert Mercer, Joseph Craft, and Diane Hendricks all dined with Trump last week

His party is publicly rebuking him, corporate executives are rushing to distance themselves from his administration to safeguard their own reputations, and rumors of more White House departures are swirling after Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s ouster. But it appears that President Donald Trump can still count on one bedrock of stability: major right-wing donors. Continue reading

Neocolonialism can now be added to Trump’s ‘rap sheet’

The Trump administration and its spokespeople have dusted off many sordid relics of America’s past and now colonialism can be added to the Trump “rap sheet.” Not content with calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, which would abolish the direct election of U.S. senators, and dabbling in Jim Crow policies with a regressive civil rights policy, the Trump administration nominated as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas San Diego businessman and early Trump supporter Doug Manchester. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Manchester called the independent Commonwealth of the Bahamas a U.S. protectorate. On July 10 of this year, the Bahamas celebrated 44 years of independence. Continue reading

War of words between US and North Korea

Illegal sanctions, provocative US military exercises, installation of THAAD missile systems in South Korea, and a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could be prelude to something much more serious—possible war on the Korean peninsula. Continue reading

President Trump doubles as syndicate Godfather

An investigation of President Trump’s current and past business dealings has revealed that the real estate tycoon has effectively served as a syndicate “Godfather” for some three decades. In 2009, when Ivanka Trump married Jared Kushner, the scion of the Kushner real estate family, the marriage was more of a business merger between the Trump and Kushner business empires. The title of “Godfather” of the sprawling Trump-Kushner real estate empire fell to Donald Trump with Kushner Companies founder Charles Kushner, the father of Jared, racking up a federal criminal record for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering, and Jared taking over the reins of the firm. Continue reading

Trump business linked to major corruption scandals on 5 continents

Justice Department Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC that could be looking into Donald Trump’s complicated but suspicious financing of his businesses, as well as his presidential campaign. The U.S. Senate has recognized the gravity of the grand jury probe of Trump and his campaign and White House advisers by maintaining the body in “pro forma” session throughout the August recess. The move prevents Trump from firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with a recess appointee who could fire Mueller. Continue reading

Mueller’s newest prosecutor provides focus on Trump’s syndicate ties

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has appointed as a 16th investigator on his team a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn who helped prosecute a number of gangsters who also invested in properties owned by Donald Trump. Continue reading

Anti-choice states are worse for women and children, says study

States that don't prioritize reproductive rights, don't prioritize healthcare for women and children in general

A new study challenges the conservative idea that abortion restrictions are put in place by legislators who simply want to protect women’s health and safety. Continue reading

Researchers: Trump tweets reveal ‘neurotic’ and ‘unstable’ leader

Newly published study looks at how language of Trump's tweets compares with that of over 100 CEOs and entrepreneurs

What do the frequent tweets from Donald Trump say about his online personality? Continue reading

The end of the ‘New American Century’ pronounced by the Pentagon

The US Department of Defense is fond of issuing reports, many of which contain a massive amount of Pentagon jargon and gobbledygook terms. But, one recent report, while not lacking in typical gibberish, contains one clear and unambiguous message. The neoconservative “New American Century” pet project, which saw the United States engage in quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as an unending “global war on terror,” is dead and buried. Continue reading

Psychiatric group tells members it’s ok to break silence on Trump’s bizarre behavior

Easing ‘gag order’ on public diagnosis, professional association entrusts mental health experts to use their ‘knowledge responsibly’

As President Donald Trump continues to behave bizarrely and erratically—attacking his own attorney general, launching into a political tirade during a speech to Boy Scouts, bringing his 11-year-old son into the burgeoning Russia controversy—a professional association of psychoanalysts is telling its members to drop the so-called Goldwater rule and comment publicly on the president’s state of mind if they find reason to do so. Continue reading

Trump lashes out as Mueller’s investigators close in

In a July 19 audio-taped interview with three reporters from The New York Times, a paper that has been disparaged by strongman President Donald Trump as a failing business reporting “fake news,” Trump had harsh words for the entire upper echelon of the Department of Justice. Trump lambasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the “Russia probe” and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for being a secret Democrat from “Baltimore.” Trump also attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller, former FBI director James Comey, and acting FBI director Andrew McCabe. Trump made it clear that he would have not chosen Sessions as his Attorney General had he known he would recuse himself from Russian investigatory matters. Continue reading

The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed Palestinians into a corner

In early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. Continue reading

‘The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America’

A Q&A with author Nancy MacLean about the elusive James McGill Buchanan.

Author Nancy MacLean has unearthed a stealth ideologue of the American right. Her book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” tells the story of one James McGill Buchanan, a Southern political scientist and father of “public choice economics.” MacLean details how this little-known figure has had a massive impact on the ideology of the far right. None other than Charles Koch looked to MacLean’s theories for inspiration. They are libertarian—but with a twist: bluntly, it “entails restrictions on the freedom of the great majority in order to protect property rights and the prerogatives of the most well off.” MacLean shows how this idea can be traced down through the last 60 years of right-wing politics, starting with Brown v. The Board of Education and continuing with the Koch brothers’ empire. And she demonstrates that those followers and those in thrall to the Koch billions are pumping up their fight under the new administration. Continue reading

New lawsuit aims to stop Trump’s ‘sham commission’ dead in its tracks

Suit filed a day after White House releases commenters' personal information in comments that show hatred for voter commission

As the White House releases 112 pages of colorful comments—and personal information—after it asked for the public to weigh in on its so-called Election Integrity Commission and received an overwhelmingly negative response, a new lawsuit aims to protect voters’ privacy rights by stopping the controversial commission’s sweeping data demand. Continue reading

Public interest in the communications of ‘the commons’ about to be dealt a fatal blow

Ever since the dawn of modern telecommunications, the American public has been guaranteed by law certain inalienable rights. The law that established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Communications Act of 1934, enshrined for all Americans the principle of universal access to communications services. Subsequent laws have expanded universal access from telephones to other services, such as high-speed Internet. There is a particular right of universal access to communications for those living in rural and insular areas, and low-income Americans. The other FCC law that guaranteed Americans the right of access to the communications conduits of the public commons, in this case, the public airwaves, was the Fairness Doctrine of 1949. The doctrine required holders of public broadcast licenses to provide honest, equitable, and balanced views of public importance. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine in order to please the wealthy GOP donors who owned various media conglomerates. Continue reading

Living the American dream in a trailer park

Home to some 20 million people—6 percent of Americans—they are the nation’s largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing, offering a shot at the American dream to people who can’t afford a traditional home.

All too often, they’re the butt of jokes and stereotypes—mobile home parks and the “trailer trash” who live in them. Continue reading

As Don Jr. lawyers up, words like ‘collusion’ and ‘treason’ fly

‘It looks like clear proof of collusion,’ says Watergate prosecutor

Following the latest explosive details about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during last year’s campaign, in which he hoped to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton, legal experts are saying the encounter could be proof that “collusion”—or even “treason”—took place. Continue reading

It’s settled: Trump either did or did not accept Putin’s denial of election interference

Presidents met, but reliable account of discussion is absent

President Donald Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin Friday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in Hamburg, Germany, but what exactly was said remains unclear. Continue reading