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The super high cost of national security: DC Report investigative news roundup

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U.S. Defense Spending Is Double What You Think

TomDispatch contributors William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger have run the numbers. The U.S. spends $1.25 trillion a year on the national security state—up $200 billion since they last added up the figures for everything from the Pentagon to Homeland Security to Veterans Affairs in 2017.

“Our final annual tally for war, preparations for war, and the impact of war comes to … more than double the Pentagon’s base budget. If the average taxpayer were aware that this amount was being spent in the name of national defense—with much of it wasted, misguided, or simply counterproductive—it might be far harder for the national security state to consume ever-growing sums with minimal public pushback. For now, however, the gravy train is running full speed ahead and its main beneficiaries—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and their cohorts—are laughing all the way to the bank.

Leonard Leo, Right-Wing Court Stacker

For two decades, Leonard Leo has been on a mission to turn back the clock to a time before the U.S. Supreme Court routinely expanded the government’s authority and endorsed new rights such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Now, as President Trump’s unofficial judicial adviser, he told the audience at the closed-door event in February that they had to mobilize in “very unprecedented ways” to help finish the job.

“We’re going to have to understand that judicial confirmations these days are more like political campaigns,” Leo told the members of the Council for National Policy, according to a recording of the speech obtained by The Washington Post. “We’re going to have to be smart as a movement.”

Rich People and Corporations Are Hiding Trillions

Gabriel Zucman a 32-year-old French-born economist on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley has found billions of dollars moving into and out of big economies and smaller ones such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.  He is the world’s foremost expert on where the wealthy hide their money. He and Berkeley colleague Emmanuel Saez now estimate that the top 0.1% of taxpayers—about 170,000 families in a country of 330 million people—control 20% of American wealth, the highest share since 1929. Zucman has also found that multinational corporations move 40% of their foreign profits, about $600 billion a year, out of the countries where their money was made and into lower-tax jurisdictions.

Facebook and Your Cellphone Company Are Watching You

A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the social network courts carriers, along with phone makers—some 100 different companies in 50 countries—by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself. Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads.

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Trump flips out and threatens ‘obliteration’ after Iran calls him retarded

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday angrily hit back at Iran after the nation accused him of being "retarded."

Writing on Twitter, the president accused Iran of making a "very ignorant and insulting statement" against him, which he said "only shows that they do not understand reality."

The president then threatened the nation with "obliteration" if it didn't wise up.

"Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force," he wrote. "In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!"

....Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!

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Condo owner sends recording of monkey noises to prospective renter — and repeatedly calls her the N-word

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Giulia Ozyesilpinar, the owner and operator of the Ocean Five Condo Hotel in Miami Beach, went on a racist tirade this week against a prospective renter because she didn't promptly respond to her WhatsApp messages.

The Miami New Times reports that London resident Monifah Brown had booked a condo at Ocean Five with some friends who were planning to go with her to a summer vacation in Miami.

However, after booking the condo, Ozyesilpinar sent her messages saying that she was having problems processing her credit cards. After Brown didn't initially respond to those messages, Ozyesilpinar sent her a racist message telling her that she was hurting the reputations of other black people.

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‘Incoherent’ Trump blistered by ex-National Security Council member for acting as Putin’s unwitting stooge

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In a ferocious column for Politico, a former member of the National Security Council who served under both President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton called out Donald Trump for what he called the president's "incomprehensible" policies when it comes to Russia.

According to Andrew S. Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment, the American president is likely the best friend Russian President Vladimir Putin could wish for.

Pointing out that Trump's meeting with Putin in Osaka is only days away, Weiss, who worked on Russian affairs in the State Department, said the get-together is happening just as three government officials with the most experience dealing with Russia -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford, the NSC’s in-house Russia expert Fiona Hill, and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman -- are leaving the administration.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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