Shorter Question Everything
• Massive police raids make Toronto mayor sweat. More than 40 people were arrested in dramatic early-morning police raids in Toronto. Chris Hayes examines the details and finds out how bad they are for Toronto’s embattled right-wing mayor Rob Ford.
• Rightwing crackhead Toronto mayor Rob Ford also enjoys turfing seniors out into the street: Rob Ford got TCHC facts wrong while angrily defending evictions. Ford, who skipped Wednesday’s debate, says he disagrees with “many things” in Fiona Crean’s damning report on how public housing treats seniors. Gesticulating and shouting, he defended the TCHC for eviction practices the TCHC has already conceded were improper in the wake of an investigation by ombudsman Fiona Crean. “I don’t care if you’re 2 years old, 20 years old or 200 years old, you’re not going to live for free,” Ford said. Of TCHC chief executive Gene Jones, he said, “Obviously he has fixed the problem. Is it perfect? No.” Turning to a left-leaning critic, he yelled, “You! You’re the problem!” TCHC failings led to the eviction of a senior, Julio Fernandez, who died of a heart attack three weeks later. But he did not appear to have read the report in detail. Ford said Crean had made “50, 100” recommendations, though she made 30. He said he is certain TCHC employees try to make face-to-face contact with seniors before evicting them, though Crean found such contact has often been forgotten. And he claimed that there were a mere 13 seniors evicted in 2011, compared with 32 in 2008 — though Crean says there were 25 seniors evicted for unpaid rent in 2011, and 50 in 2012. Ford missed most of the debate on the report on Wednesday. He participated Thursday but skipped the vote. The report was endorsed 34-2, with Councillor Doug Ford and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday against. Councillor Gord Perks, a Ford opponent, said Ford was “confused, uninformed, angry, and quite frankly hurtful to the individuals who have lost their homes and their families.: “It breaks my heart that our housing company is throwing people who can’t look after themselves out on the street and the mayor of Toronto denies the problem, clearly hasn’t read the report, and thinks the only thing that matters is whether he gets a personal phone call,” Perks said.
• Project Traveller raids connected to nightclub murder: Toronto police. Police say raids carried out in Toronto and Windsor on Thursday are connected to the murder of a man associated with an alleged video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking drugs. A related photo shows Ford with his arm around Anthony Smith, 21, who was shot dead outside a downtown nightclub in March. Police haven’t said if Ford was in any way part of their year-long investigation but they did say that one of the 28 suspects arrested in Thursday’s raids faces a previous murder charge in Smith’s death.
• Sensenbrenner, “author of the Patriot Act”, furious that he wasn’t briefed on NSA programs, skipped the briefings. In a letter to Attorney-General Eric Holder last week, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin asked: “How could the phone records of so many innocent Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation as required by the Act?” In a separate newspaper column, Sensenbrenner went further, claiming the administration was abusing the law. Maybe Sensenbrenner wouldn’t have been as surprised had he attended classified briefings on the National Security Agency’s program over the last three years. Two letters from the leadership of Senate intelligence committee in 2010 and 2011 obtained by MSNBC show that a series of closed-door briefings and reports on the Patriot Act were made available to lawmakers from both houses. A senior Obama administration sent MSNBC a list showing at least six classified briefings or meetings on the Patriot Act between 2009 and 2011. And a former Justice department official who participated in briefings said they offered specifics on the exact issues that Sensenbrenner claims were withheld. Since details of the NSA surveillance program came to light in newspaper articles in The Guardian and The Washington Post, a number of members of Congress have complained that they were not briefed. Some, it turns out, left briefings early or never showed up. Sensenbrenner, who has been among the most insistent and aggressive in his claims that he was not informed, didn’t attend at all. “While some members of Congress were briefed, particularly those on the intelligence committees, most, including myself, were not,” Sensenbrenner wrote in a column for The Guardian newspaper. Sensenbrenner did not disclose, as his spokesperson did for this story, that he chooses not to attend the briefings.
• Senators skip classified briefing on NSA snooping to catch flights home. A recent briefing by senior intelligence officials on surveillance programs failed to attract even half of the Senate, showing the lack of enthusiasm in Congress for learning about classified security programs. Many senators elected to leave Washington early Thursday afternoon instead of attending a briefing with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and other officials. The exodus of colleagues exasperated Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who spent a grueling week answering colleagues’ and media questions about the program. “It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing — we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there — and people are leaving,” she said. Lawmakers have been quick to call for increased congressional oversight of the phone and Internet monitoring programs, but many have been unwilling to skip flights or make other scheduling sacrifices to learn more of the secret details.
• Glenn Greenwald, in trying to duck the fact that he lied about “direct access” in his Guardian claims, just lies and says he never claimed “direct access” was true, even though “direct access” was some of the more explosive claims from those articles.
Now: The Guardian has not revised any of our articles and, to my knowledge, has no intention to do so. That’s because we did not claim that the NSA document alleging direct collection from the servers was true
Then: The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. …Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users’ communications under US law, but the Prism program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies’ servers. …the Prism program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers. …The Prism program allows the NSA, the world’s largest surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders. With this program, the NSA is able to reach directly into the servers of the participating companies and obtain both stored communications as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users.
• A popular Communist Party-backed newspaper is urging China’s leadership to get more information from former defense contractor Edward Snowden rather than send him back to the U.S., because his revelations about secret U.S. surveillance programs concern China’s national interest.
• And then hand them over to the Chinese?: It seems that the whole PRISM “scandal” rests on more than a few lies and misunderstandings. By the way, if Greenwald was accurate last night on MSNBC, and if the Booz Allen Hamilton claim that Snowden worked for them only a few months, where did he find the time to get “outraged” over the not-secret program and then download the documents? Could it be he walked into the job specifically to steal secrets?
• PROPAGANDA ALERT?: Naomi Wolf: My Creeping Concern That The NSA Leaker Is Not Who He Purports To Be
• Snowden: “The decision by a former National Security Agency contractor to divulge classified data about the U.S. government’s surveillance of computers in mainland China and Hong Kong has complicated his legal position, but may also make China’s security apparatus more interested in helping him stay here, law and security experts said on Friday.”
• PRISM Isn’t Data Mining and Other Falsehoods in the N.S.A. “Scandal”. First, the much-ballyhooed PRISM program is not a program and not a secret, and anyone who says it is should not be trusted because they don’t know what they’re talking about. PRISM is the name for the government computer system that is used to handle the foreign-intelligence data collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
• Man, the Chief of Staff of the Australian Army is not kidding around when it comes to sexual harassment. AustralianArmyHQ – Message from the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army following the announcement on Thursday, 13 June 2013 of civilian police and Defence investigations into allegations of unacceptable behaviour by Army members.
• Seventy-one officers, including six generals, have defected from the Syrian army to Turkey, a Turkish official said on Saturday, the biggest single mass desertion of senior soldiers from President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces in months. It was not immediately clear why the group had deserted.
• Troops In Bin Laden Raid Revealed, Defense Report Says. U.S. special operations forces who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden were in uniform and wearing nametags during a CIA award ceremony attended by the writer of the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” a Pentagon inspector general’s report said Friday. The report, however, omits a number of revelations disclosed in an early draft that was made public more than a week ago, including that then-CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the raid commander during his speech at the agency’s June 2011 event. It also no longer includes revelations that the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, Michael Vickers, divulged the name of an individual involved in the bin Laden raid to the filmmakers.
• Ohio abortion bill would require women to share income data with doctors. Women’s health advocates in Ohio are furious over a new bill that would require a 48-hour waiting period before abortions and for women seeking the procedure to go over their financial situation with their doctors. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the bill would mandate that women looking to undergo an abortion tell their doctor how much they make and how much income carrying the pregnancy to term would cost them. Patients would also be required to undergo an ultrasound and hear a verbal description of the fetus from their doctor during that waiting period. “There’s no health implication of that for the woman and for the fetus,” Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio president Stephanie Kight told WSYX-TV on Friday. “It’s just another way of shaming her.” Physicians would be required to tell their patients that their risk of breast cancer would increase after an abortion, and that fetuses and embryos can feel pain. If it becomes law, abortion providers would face first-degree felony charges and a $1 million fine if they did not fulfill those requirements.
• Democrats in the Texas legislature accused Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Friday of vetoing a bill that would have given women more chances to fight pay discrimination. The measure, HB 950, would have allowed women to sue their employers in state court beyond the current 180-day period after receiving a paycheck they claim was unfair and sue for two years of discriminatory payments. It passed in the state House in April 2013 and the state Senate in May 2013. But a spokesperson for state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who wrote the House version of the bill, said she was told by Perry’s office that he struck it down.
• Threatening IRS officials isn’t likely to help teabaggers with the IRS. A current and a former top tax official have been physically threatened in recent weeks as the scandal over Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups has gathered steam, people familiar with their situation say. Ousted IRS acting commissioner, Steven Miller, has received such threats, according to a source familiar with his situation. The source declined to elaborate on the nature or the source of the threats.
• Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is touted as a top GOP presidential prospect in 2016, thinks it should be legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation.
• Joe Scarborough: New NRA ad is ‘race bait’. Is the National Rifle Association’s new attack ad on Sen. Joe Manchin racially charged? “Listen, I have been critical of those on the left when they have used race. And it’s happened—it happens every election, to race bait,” Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said. “I’m going to be critical when people on my side do the same thing. This is an example. Look at the hands. Look at the side of the face.” The NRA’s latest ad targets the West Virginia Democrat for co-sponsoring legislation expanding background checks. “It’s so obvious,” Scarborough said. “Look at his hands. It looks like he is a coal miner from West Virginia. Look how dark they made his hands.” Scarborough accused the makers of the 30-second ad of shading the president to make him look darker in color on-screen.
• Gallup reported yesterday, “Americans’ confidence in Congress as an institution is down to 10%, ranking the legislative body last on a list of 16 societal institutions for the fourth straight year. This is the lowest level of confidence Gallup has found, not only for Congress, but for any institution on record.”
• Williams Olefins plant: A petrochemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana that exploded on Thursday, killing one person and injuring 73, has not been inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the past two decades.
• Brad Wall accused of smearing Justin Trudeau. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s comments about speaking fees given to Justin Trudeau have upset the federal Liberal party, and it’s calling for an apology. Wall, however, said Friday he stands behind his comments, insisting he is merely seeking accountability from Trudeau over a $20,000 fee collected for a speaking engagement in Saskatoon in 2012. In a news release issued Friday, an official from the Liberals characterized Wall’s comments as a smear against Trudeau. “Premier Wall needs to immediately apologize for this smear,” the release said, and suggested Wall was keen to enter federal politics as a Conservative. “It looks like the race for Mr. Harper’s job is on.”
• Conservative double billing: Auditors probing Sen. Pamela Wallin’s expense claims are trying to determine whether the former Conservative senator billed both the Senate and any of the boards she sat on for trips that had nothing to do with Senate business. Questions about potential, allegations of which helped get Sen. Mike Duffy pushed out of the Conservative caucus, were left unanswered Friday, one day after Wallin broke her silence in a broadcast interview.
• Guatemalan authorities expressed concern about the power of organized drug gangs Friday after eight police officers were shot dead inside their station. On Thursday night, gunmen shot eight officers dead and kidnapped the chief of police in Salcaja, about 200 km (125 miles) from Guatemala City. According to national police chief Gerson Olivia, investigators believe the officers were disarmed and could have been positioned face down on the ground before being riddled with bullets.
• Guantanamo: Last week, House Republicans once again barred the Obama administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Today, against a backdrop of a terrible hunger strike, a Democratic effort to do the right thing was easily defeated in the face of mindless, reactionary conservative opposition.
• Iran: “Iran’s electoral authorities reported heavy turnout in presidential voting on Friday, extending polling hours three times to accommodate what appeared to be a late surge of interest.”
• Getting it right: Iran Interior Ministry has extended the voting deadline for the country’s 11th presidential as well as the fourth city and village councils elections for a third time by one more hour to 2200 local time (1730 GMT).