Author Archive

Christmas comes early for war profiteers

September 19, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Leonard C. Goodman  

"Today, while the radical warrior cult that now calls itself Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is taking over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, our tax dollars are simultaneously supporting ISIS militants in Syria (who have been siphoning off aid intended for more moderate rebels), bombing ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq, and arming Syrian rebels and the Kurdish peshmerga to fight ISIS. It’s all win/win for the war industry and lose/lose for the American taxpayer. Corporations are amoral by design. While many good and decent people sit on corporate boards, their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize returns for shareholders, not to do right by the American people. This is why alliances between corporations and the state are historically so dangerous. Yet we have allowed corporate interests to capture both major political parties and to drive public policy, with disastrous results, including perpetual war." [editor's note: I don't disagree with Goodman, really ... I'm just surprised that he seems to think that having a state could end up any other way than with greedheads capturing it. Power attracts the power-hungry - TLK] (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mhbuo6c  

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Air Force does quick about face on “So help me God”

September 19, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Faster than a new recruit can shout 'Sir, yes sir!' the US Air Force has reversed its policy requiring new recruits and those reenlisting to conclude a swearing-in oath with 'So help me God.' The trouble for the Air Force started when a Tech. Sgt. at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada with 10 years’ service wanted to reenlist. As an atheist, he didn’t see why he had to swear an oath to a deity he didn’t believe in. It seemed to violate the religious establishment clause of the US Constitution. And besides, none of the other branches of the US military required it, nor did the honor code at the US Air Force Academy turning out shiny, new Second Lieutenants." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l9fj3g7  

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Why this will be the unaccountable war

September 19, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Yesterday the House voted 273-156 to train and equip Syrian rebels, a part of President Obama's plan to combat ISIL, and today the Senate is expected to do the same. While it might look on the surface like Congress taking a stand and accepting responsibility for this new engagement, in fact, this is likely to be a war with no accountability for any political figure other than Barack Obama himself." [editor's note: Great, and since he can't run for re-election now, nobody can be held accountable in the long run for this imperial travesty - SAT] (09/18/14)

http://prospect.org/article/why-will-be-unaccountable-war  

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Oracle’s Ellison steps down, two CEOs named

September 19, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Long-serving Oracle boss Larry Ellison is stepping down after 37 years, the technology giant announced on Thursday. Mark Hurd and Safra Catz have been named as successors, with both being given the chief executive title. Mr Ellison, 70, who is estimated to be the world's fifth wealthiest man, will stay on as executive chairman and chief technology officer. He co-founded what would become Oracle with Bob Miner and Ed Oates in 1977." (09/18/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29262718  

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An all-American ass-whoopin’

September 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"America! You know what you need? Besides better bourbon, less Jesus and fewer conservatives? That’s right: A good whoopin’. A serious spanking. Maybe even one of those terrifying, NFL-grade spankings so vicious it raises welts and yelps and not a little blood, all administered with a belt, or a tree branch, or the backhand of wrathful ol’ Almighty himself. But don’t worry! It’s all out of love. Isn’t it always? Besides! Americans love spankings. We relish inducing fear, pain, smacking each other around to impart some sort of life lesson. ... But the creature we love to hit most of all? Those small, defenseless humans, the ones who weigh less than 50 pounds and have barely learned to walk or form complete sentences, much less understand that smacking each other out of some warped concept of 'love' is, you know, just what we do." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n7rfqqu  

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Turkey stays on sidelines of fight against Islamic State

September 19, 2014
posted by

Reuters [UK]    

"Few countries are in a better position than Turkey to help the United States fight Islamic State. The moderate Islamic country shares a 750 mile border with Syria, is a NATO member and a long-time ally of America. But don’t hold your breath for Turkey’s support. For a long time, Turks have resented the 'curse of strategic significance' related to its forming NATO’s southern flank. They felt it enabled the military to keep a watchful eye over their politicians. Likewise, it fueled the politicians' sense of impunity that shielded them from the need for reform. This was part of the reason why, at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Turkey refused to provide logistic support for the U.S.-led invasion to bring down Saddam Hussein." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lentxu5  

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CA: Alleged arsonist arrested in El Dorado County

September 19, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with intentionally igniting the massive King Fire, which has burned 71,000 acres of Sierra foothills east of Placerville while sending up a cloud of smoke visible as far as the Bay Area, officials said Thursday. El Dorado County authorities took Wayne Allen Huntsman into custody Wednesday on suspicion of felony arson and jailed him in lieu of $10 million bail. Huntsman is a resident of Pollock Pines (El Dorado County), a community in the heart of the fire area. How and why Huntsman allegedly started the destructive blaze near Pollock Pines were not specified in charging papers Thursday, and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to comment on details of the case." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mv4aj3y  

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MI: 5th-grade boy arrested with gun, list of names

September 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Authorities say a fifth-grade boy found with a loaded pistol at a middle school in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula had created a list of classmates' names. The Traverse City Record-Eagle and MLive.com report that the title of the list, found on the back of a homework assignment belonging to the boy, suggested he wanted to harm those on the list. The boy, however, told authorities he didn't intend to harm anyone." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mkawpzr  

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China has not one property problem, but many

September 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by John Foley  

"China’s real estate market is big enough that it can have not one property problem but many. A Breakingviews ranking of the forty biggest cities, according to different kinds of risks, shows there are huge differences between local markets. It’s not much consolation, though. A conflagration of regional problems could be just as bad as one big national one." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qgsefh6  

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A very British divorce?

September 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation    

"On the train north to Edinburgh, two songs kept running through my head. The first was 'Big Yellow Taxi,' Joni Mitchell’s breakup ballad with its wry warning: 'You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.' In the past two weeks the British have finally, belatedly, realized that when they wake up tomorrow morning the “Great” in the country’s name may have already gone for good. I’ve written about how Margaret Thatcher’s toxic policies, Tony Blair’s malign neglect and the bitter legacy of decades of deindustrialization brought Scotland, the cradle of Britain’s industrial revolution, to this point. But before the votes are counted, I want to acknowledge that whatever happens tomorrow, something has already been lost." (09/18/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/181666/very-british-divorce  

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DNA study reveals third group of ancient ancestors of modern Europeans

September 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Europeans are a mixture of hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists, and also a third wave of migrants from north Eurasia. Strands of DNA taken from ancient corpses have revealed an unexpected addition to the ancestral roots of modern Europeans. The first Homo sapiens arrived in Europe around 45,000 years ago, and these hunter-gatherers were replaced by early farmers who brought agriculture to the continent more than 7,000 years ago from Anatolia and the Levant in the near east." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jwh7gal  

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What’s the matter With Kansas education policy?

September 18, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Since The Wizard of Oz, the term 'we’re not in Kansas anymore' has been shorthand for saying we’ve changed the usual surroundings for a new, disorienting terrain. For school children who actually live in Kansas, that would likely be a relief. Since the nation’s Great Recession, public education in Kansas has seen state funding cut repeatedly since 2009. This has left students and teachers in that state bereft of what would normally be viewed as 'the basics' by anyone who has a modicum of understanding of how to run an effective school system, with swelling class sizes and elimination of basic programs like art, music and athletics. Unfortunately, Kansas is not the only place in America where public school conditions are causing students to wish they could be transported to the yellow brick road." (09/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mcsa24c  

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Avoid classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in Middle East

September 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman  

"Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it. History shows that outside meddling only intensifies sectarian fury. Stopping internecine war begins at home. President Barack Obama imperils Americans by trying to excise an abscess that can be cured only from the inside out. The decision to re-engage in Iraq, and the wider Middle East, also contradicts the president’s other, bigger objective: to exit the nanny business." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lqwokkb  

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On Constitution Day, a reminder that political & economic chaos a good thing

September 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News Forum
by Lawson Bader  

"I am tired of pundits blaming our political and economic ills on politicians’ inability to get along. If lawmakers would only 'get together and work things out,' their line of thinking goes, the economy would improve, unemployment would evaporate, and Americans could move on with their more prosperous, more fulfilled lives. Progressives have a point when they argue that refusal to compromise on principle helped to end slavery, gain women the right to vote, and extend civil rights protections to all Americans. How, they ask, can you compromise on moral questions? And the question posed to that infamous gathering in 1789 was decidedly a moral one. Our Founders did not pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor simply to read Shakespeare while sipping low-tax East India Company tea." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l64sx6p  

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Most Alaskans to get nearly $1,900 in oil money

September 18, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"It's a highly anticipated day of the year in Alaska, when residents learn how much money they'll receive from the state's oil-wealth savings account -- a payout people receive just for living in The Last Frontier. This year's share of nearly $1,900 is the sweetest since the Great Recession and the third-richest ever. Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend with great fanfare Wednesday. 'This is all good news for Alaskans,' he said at an Anchorage press conference. The $1,884 payout to be distributed Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phqdpoo  

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Stockholm syndrome, Syrian ransom

September 18, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"The video of a Syrian captor beheading American freelance journalist James Foley 'has done more damage than any ransom ever could,' former Iranian hostage Sarah Shourd warned on CNN recently. Foley’s parents have been vocal about their frustration in knowing that their son remained a hostage as European countries like France paid a reported average of $3 million-plus to free their citizens. The family wants to establish an organization to provide information to other families, presumably to get around a no-ransom policy." (09/17/14)

 

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Beaches: How government pushes people in the wrong direction

September 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"Mike Huckabee bought a beachfront lot here in 2009, a year after his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. A longtime friend and political ally of the former Arkansas governor bought the lot next door. They planned to build $3 million vacation villas side-by-side, each with a pool and sweeping views of Walton County’s renowned sugary sand beaches and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The only hitch was that their lots lay on a severely eroding beach. Under state regulations, they couldn’t build on the seaward side of the sand dune nearest to the surf. And after seven hurricanes in six years, the surviving 'frontal dune' sat too close to the street to allow space behind it for the friends’ 11,000-square-foot (1,020-square-meter) compounds." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pbdhpvx  

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Scotland’s referendum on austerity

September 18, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Thursday’s Scottish referendum vote is often framed in terms of the politics of nationalism –- and the desire of a people for self-determination. And of course there have always been, and there still are, impassioned Scottish nationalists. But the reality that becomes overwhelmingly clear in the last hours before the referendum vote (which polls suggest will see an exceptionally high turnout and a close finish) is that this process is being shaped by the politics of austerity. This is highlighted by the campaigning of supporters of a 'yes' vote and, increasingly, this is being acknowledged in the last-minute promises being made by British Prime Minister David Cameron and the most fervent foes of a Scottish break with the United Kingdom." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l7xwjud  

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TN: Dad forced son to drink alcohol until he passed out

September 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"Police say an East Tennessee father forced his son to drink alcohol Saturday night until he passed out as a punishment after he caught the 15-year-old drinking. WBIR-TV reports Sweetwater police have charged 35-year-old Mark Allen Hughes Tuesday with aggravated child abuse and neglect and with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A witness told police that Hughes gave his son vodka shots and said, 'Take it. Take it. Drink up. You’re going to learn,' WATE.com reported." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o2etpaz  

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Just what America needs, more Senators who can handle themselves in a firefight

September 18, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Let's be honest: the job of a United States senator does not involve much in the way of gunplay. There's a lot of speechifying, a lot of talking, a lot of trying to stay awake in hearings, and a whole lot of fundraising. But shooting in the course of your duties? Very little, if any at all. I suppose it's possible that we might one day see something like a scene out of a G.I. Joe movie, where terrorist commandos take over the Capitol building and the only thing standing between them and the fall of the United States of America is Barbara Mikulski and her .50-cal Desert Eagle, putting down bad guys like poison-pill amendments at a subcommittee markup...but probably not. Which is part of the reason why I love ads with candidates shooting stuff so much." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mn8968e  

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AZ: El Caudillo de Maricopa must return military toys

September 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio downplayed his department’s impending loss of military-grade weaponry that he was defending just last month, KTVK-TV reported. ... Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department have four months to return about 200 weapons, including M-16 and M-14 rifles, as well as two armored vehicles, five helicopters, and 158 pairs of night vision goggles they have acquired through the Defense Department’s Excess Property Program, commonly known as the '1033 program.' The department will reportedly ask for an extension on one of the helicopters, saying that one they ordered as a replacement will not be ready until March 2015." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kp3hl7t  

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Australia launches anti-terror raids over plot to kill

September 18, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Australian police have carried out major anti-terror raids triggered by a call from a senior Islamic State militant for 'demonstration killings,' Prime Minister Tony Abbott says. The raids, involving at least 800 heavily-armed officers, took place in Brisbane and Sydney. Fifteen people were arrested and one person charged with 'serious terrorism-related offenses,' police said. Police say the anti-terror operation was the largest in Australian history." (09/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29245611  

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Fed: No interest rate hike until 2015

September 18, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"The day when the Federal Reserve boosts interest rates is drawing closer, even though that day is still a 'considerable time' off, to use official Fed-speak. That’s at least one way to read the modern-day smoke signals sent by the US central bank Wednesday. Three months have passed since the Fed’s June meeting, yet its chart showing the timing of rate hikes anticipated by Fed policymakers hasn’t changed much: The expectations remain centered heavily in 2015." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m3fony2  

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Capping carbon costs nothing

September 18, 2014
posted by

Our Future Blog
by Bill Scher  

"The big climate news in advance of next week’s U.N. climate summit is a new global commission report that finds the investments needed to avert a climate crisis would likely not result in any net cost. According to the New York Times, 'an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years” but that’s only “an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure. ... When the secondary benefits of greener policies (like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills) are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money.'” (09/16/14)

http://ourfuture.org/20140916/capping-carbon-costs-nothing  

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In Scotland, “aye” means no to England

September 17, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"'Should Scotland be an independent country?' reads the referendum on which Scotland will vote Thursday. Voters have two choices: yes or no. Queen Elizabeth II went so far as to tell Scots on Sunday, 'I hope people will think very carefully about the future.' The queen was savvy to urge Scots to look ahead, not behind." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovob7be  

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