Jan 14 2014

Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on Congressional Budget Deal, Report on US Govt Collusion with Sinaloa Cartel, And Police Acquittal in Kelly Thomas Case

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Democrats and Republicans have agreed on a $1.1 trillion budget deal for this fiscal year. The bill, which comes on the heels of a short term budget passed in December, is a complicated set of compromises that runs more than 1,500 pages long. While Democrats got most of the funding for the Affordable Care Act, as well as rent subsidies for the poor and for the overhaul of financial regulations, Republicans won new funding for military hardware, abstinence education programs, and a 7% across-the-board cut to day-to-day government agency spending. The Associated Press reports that the bill also includes “about $6 billion more in Pentagon war funding than the $79 billion [Obama] requested.” The House is expected to vote on the bill this week. Click here for an Associated Press report about the story.

The Mexican newspaper El Universal has just published a damning new investigative report showing collusion between US government authorities and the notorious Sinaloa Drug cartel, headed by El Chapo Guzman during the years 2000 to 2012. An arrangement is alleged to have been made to allow Sinaloa to smuggle billions of dollars worth of drugs into the US in exchange for information on rival drug cartels. The paper has published documents apparently including testimonies from a member of the US Justice Department as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency, and showing that DEA agents met with members of Sinaloa more than 50 times over the past dozen years. Click here for a Business Insider report about the story.

Two former law enforcement officers in Fullerton, Orange County, were acquitted yesterday of all charges in the fatal beating of a mentally ill homeless man named Kelly Thomas. The case attracted local attention after videos of Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli beating Thomas emerged. According to the LA Times, “jurors agreed with defense attorneys that the officers were trying to subdue an unruly suspect, not beat him to death.” Thomas’ mother said, “They murdered my son and they got away with it.” Ron Thomas, the victim’s father, hopes the federal government will file charges at this point. Click here for an LA Times article about the story.

News update: Twenty three year old Travion Blount, who was serving 6 life sentences and 118 years in Virginia for an armed robbery where no one was hurt or killed, had his sentence reduced to 40 years by outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell. Blount, who began serving his sentence at age 15, will be released from prison at the age of 55.

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