President Barack Obamas administration has been working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia, despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in repairing relations with Washington or halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.This month, Obamas National Security Council finished an extensive and comprehensive review of U.S policy toward Russia that included dozens of meetings and input from the State Department, Defense Department and several other agencies, according to three senior administration officials. At the end of the sometimes-contentious process, Obama made a decision to continue to look for ways to work with Russia on a host of bilateral and international issues while also offering Putin a way out of the stalemate over the crisis in Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence agencies conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens over a five-year period, a practice that earned them a sharp rebuke from a secret court that called the matter a “very serious” constitutional issue.The criticism is in a lengthy secret ruling that lays bare some of the frictions between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. intelligence agencies obligated to obtain the court’s approval for surveillance activities.The ruling, dated April 26 and bearing the label “top secret,” was obtained and published Thursday by the news site Circa.It is rare that such rulings see the light of day, and the lengthy unraveling of issues in the 99-page document opens a window on how the secret federal court oversees surveillance activities and seeks to curtail those that it deems overstep legal authority.The document, signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, said the court had learned in a notice filed Oct. 26, 2016, that National Security Agency analysts had been conducting prohibited queries of databases “with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the court.”
A group known as “Concerned Clergy for Choice” and others recently gathered in the New York state capital to advocate for access to abortion and contraception, and to express support for the sexually-centered organization Planned Parenthood.“As pastors, we believe in New Yorkers’ ability to get the health care that is supported by their religious teachings and personal beliefs,” Director Dennis Ross, a Reformed Jewish rabbi, told the Legislative Gazette. “People of all faiths believe in safe and legal abortion, access to contraception and sex education, and we know Planned Parenthood is an essential healthcare provider.”
If youre a white person, you have no business running a restaurant that serves Asian, Latin, African, or Indian cuisine.Thats according to the creators of a “white-owned appropriative restaurants” list, which accuses several Oregon establishments of engaging in cultural appropriation—a tool of “a white supremacist culture.”The list, a Google Docs spreadsheet, includes about 60 Portland-area restaurants, the names of their white owners, and the kind of cuisine they serve. (For example, the list informs us that Burmasphere “was founded by a white man who ate Burmese food in San Francisco.”) The spreadsheet also lists competing restaurants that are owned by people of color and urges customers to try them instead
In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.The Russian document mentioned a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter — a conversation that if made public would cast doubt on the inquiry’s integrity.
Senator Rand Paul is promising to file a resolution of disapproval to block an arms deal with Saudi Arabia as soon as the administration formally notifies congress, Senate sources tell Big League Politics.On Friday, it was reported that Trump is planning to announce the arms deal during his trip to the nation over the weekend. The terms have not been officially announced, and value ranges from being reported as $100 billion to as much as $300 billion.The action by the Kentucky senator will force a congressional vote on the executive action. He will reportedly be citing the war in Yemen, terror funding, and the nation’s human rights abuses among the reasons to block this deal.
An illegal immigrant student at the University of California, Berkeley, suggested “beating the shit out of white people” Thursday.Juan Prieto, an English student at UC Berkeley, made the remark on Twitter two days after receiving Berkeley’s Robert J. and Mary Catherine Birgeneau Recognition Award for Service to Undocumented Students.
Residents at three public housing areas now have a mini-fleet of free Zipcars to make their way around Sacramento.On Friday, Sacramento launched a pilot program that put eight shared electric Kia Souls at public housing sites. Up to 300 residents can apply for on-demand access to the vehicles, with no charge for maintenance, insurance or juicing up the battery.The program is funded through a $1.3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board using cap-and-trade funds that businesses pay to offset their carbon emissions.Local leaders said it will provide green transportation options to disadvantaged areas where even simple tasks like getting groceries can be a challenge.“Not having a car … it can be a real strain to get places safely,” said Thomas Hall, spokesman for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, which is running the program in partnership with car-share company Zipcar and other governmental agencies.