Category Archives: News

Biggest near-Earth asteroid recorded by NASA will make a pass in September

Source: Sacramento Bee

"If Monday's approaching solar eclipse has you excited about astronomy, there's some good news: Not even two weeks later, another rare feat will pass us by. And miss us, thankfully. An asteroid called Florence will pass within 4.5 million miles of Earth on Sept. 1, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in a Thursday press release. That's 18 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. If that doesn't sound impressive, consider its size: At 2.7 miles, Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth since NASA began tracking near-Earth asteroids. And this particular asteroid won't come this close again until 2500, NASA says." (08/18/17)

Brooklyn pastor resigns from Trump's evangelical advisory board

Source: Religion News Service

"The Rev. A.R. Bernard has resigned from the White House's evangelical advisory council, the first departure from that board in the wake of President Trump's widely-condemned comments on a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Bernard owed his departure to a 'deepening conflict of values' with the administration. The lead pastor at the Christian Cultural Center, the largest evangelical church in New York City, Bernard tweeted out his letter of resignation from the high-profile board on Friday (Aug. 18). Its members endured criticism this week for standing by Trump after he appeared to many on Tuesday to draw a moral equivalence between protestors and counter-protestors in Charlottesville." (08/19/17)

Lebanon: Regime, Hezbollah declare offensives on Islamic State at Syrian border


Source: CNBC

"The Lebanese army launched an offensive on Saturday against an Islamic State enclave on the northeast border with Syria as the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah announced an assault on the militants from the Syrian side of the frontier. The Lebanese army operation got underway at 5 a.m. (0200 GMT), targeting Islamic State positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery, and helicopters, a Lebanese security source said. The area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under insurgent control. The operation by Hezbollah and the Syrian army targeted the area across the border in the western Qalamoun region of Syria." (08/19/17)

Lawsuit: Poland Spring Water is committing "colossal fraud"

Source: USA Today

"A lawsuit claims that Poland Spring Water is deceiving consumers with evergreen labels that say their bottle contains '100 percent natural spring water' that hails from Maine. The legal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut claims that parent company Nestle Waters North America is bottling common groundwater that doesn't meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of spring water. … A Nestle Waters representative says the water meets all relevant federal and state regulations for spring water. Nestle Waters settled a 2003 Connecticut lawsuit claiming Poland Spring’s water was not sourced deep in the Maine woods. The lawsuit comes as the Stamford, Connecticut-based company embarks on an expansion in Maine, as well as during rising U.S. demand for bottled water." (08/18/17)

CIA torture architects settle lawsuit (you get to pay)

Source: Daily Mail [UK]

"Two CIA torture psychologists, who were paid $80 miliion by the government to develop interrogation techniques, made a secret settlement to avoid going to trial. James Mitchell and John 'Bruce' Jessen were contracted by the agency to design the department's harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror following the September 11 attacks. The two psychologists were sued by two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, alleging they were illegally tortured using the men's methods." [editor's note: Unfortunately, the US government had an indemnification agreement with the evildoers, guaranteeing that taxpayers would cover any civil legal liabilities for their work – TLK] (08/18/17)

ACLU announces it won't be defending civil liberties anymore

Source: Vice News

"If you want to bring guns to a protest, don’t expect the American Civil Liberties Union to represent you. The 97-year-old civil rights organization, which has been the Trump administration's No. 1 adversary in the courts, announced the policy late Thursday, in the wake of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville. The ACLU team in Virginia had worked with the white supremacist organizers of the 'Unite the Right' protest to secure the permit necessary for a legal gathering. Many of the attendees were carrying guns, there were violent clashes with counterprotesters, and one person was killed when an alleged white-supremacist attendee plowed his car into the crowd. 'If a protest group insists, 'No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,' well, we don't have to represent them. They can find someone else,' ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero told the Wall Street Journal." (08/18/17)

Trump lifts Cyber Command status

Source: New York Daily News

"President Donald Trump said on Friday he was elevating the status of the Pentagon's U.S. Cyber Command to help spur development of cyber weapons to deter attacks and punish intruders. In a statement, Trump said the unit would be ranked at the level of Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations. … Cyber Command had been subordinate to the U.S. Strategic Command, which is also responsible for military space operations, nuclear weapons and missile defense. Once elevated, Cyber Command would have the same status as U.S. Strategic Command and eight other unified commands that control U.s. military forces and are composed of personnel from multiple branches of the armed services. … Trump also said the defense secretary was also considering separating the U.S. Cyber Command from the National Security Agency (NSA)." [editor's note: Not sure of the full implications yet, but I'm betting they're not good – TLK] (08/18/17)

Atlas V launches TDRS-M relay satellite for NASA

Source: SpaceFlight Insider

"A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket roared off the pad with NASA's newest communications spacecraft, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite M (TDRS-M). Liftoff took place at 8:29 a.m. EDT (12:29 GMT) on August 18, 2017. The launch occurred about 26 minutes into a 40-minute window due to an issue detected on the vehicle's Centaur upper stage engine, the RL10C. Thermal conditioning took a bit longer than planned. The pre-chill eventually took place, clearing the way for a successful liftoff and eventual satellite deployment." (08/18/17)

A note from the publisher …

Hey, everyone …

Here's a short special Saturday edition (five news stories, five commentaries, two podcasts), for two reasons:

  1. Because we can; and
  2. Because every once in a while it's a good idea to remind you that RRND is a reader-supported publication, that you're a reader, and that you can return value for value to the freedom movement's daily newspaper at …

Have a great weekend!

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review News Digest

Venezuela: Maduro's puppet "constituent assembly" claims power to legislate

Source: Reuters

"Venezuela's new legislative superbody on Friday gave itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress and fueling criticism by government adversaries that socialist President Nicolas Maduro is consolidating a dictatorship. In practice, the move does little to change the existing situation. The Socialist-dominated Supreme Court has stripped power from the congress and shot down nearly every law it has approved since it was taken over by the opposition in 2016. But the decision suggests the constituent assembly, elected in July in a vote boycotted by the opposition, is more interested in limiting the opposition's influence than carrying out its official task of rewriting the nation's constitution." (08/18/17)