Author Archive

Meet the billionaire funders of the anti-diplomacy lobby

July 21, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Eli Clifton  

"My colleague Ali Gharib and I just published an article in The Nation in which we explore how hawkish, deep-pocketed organizations hold disproportionate influence in shaping the discussion about Iran-policy on Capitol Hill. These groups, in no small part due to their outsize budgets, shape sanctions legislation, dominate witness lists at congressional hearings, and help lead the opposition to the Obama administration’s efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran." (07/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwaapau  

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NYC pain doc convicted of manslaughter for illegal prescriptions

July 21, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A New York City pain management doctor was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and other charges for selling narcotics prescriptions to 20 patients, including two who fatally overdosed. A jury in Manhattan Supreme Court found Stan Li, 60, guilty on nearly 200 criminal counts, including manslaughter, grand larceny and drug trafficking, the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, said in a statement. Authorities in November 2011 arrested Li, who worked as a physician in New Jersey and ran a weekend pain clinic in Queens, following a three-and-a-half-year investigation sparked by complaints about his prescribing practices by his patients’ families and the community." (07/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p3ycbf7  

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

July 18, 2014
posted by

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

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw  

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US Senate votes to extend terrorism insurance backstop

July 18, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to reauthorize a federal terrorism risk insurance program that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Senators voted 93-4 in favor of a bill that gives the federal insurance backstop seven more years. Businesses, owners of sports stadiums and other groups that insure against the risk of terrorist acts have urged lawmakers to renew the program before it expires at the end of the year." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/la4max7  

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US House votes to “allow” marijuana-related banking

July 18, 2014
posted by

Fox News    

"The House voted Wednesday in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana. The 236-186 vote rejected a move by Rep. John Fleming [R-LA] to block the Treasury Department from implementing guidance it issued in February telling banks how to report on their dealings with marijuana-related businesses without running afoul of federal money-laundering laws. Marijuana dealing is still against federal law, so banks who do business with marijuana dispensaries could be accused of helping them launder their money. Federal money laundering convictions can mean decades in prison. The Treasury guidance was intended to give banks confidence that they can deal with marijuana businesses in states where they're legal. Many banks are still reluctant to do so." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mmmq6go  

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The Yes Men secure the homeland

July 18, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by The Yes Men  

"The hosts of the Homeland Security Congress were getting anxious. It was ten minutes past the time former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell was scheduled to begin his big announcement. The defense contractors, law enforcement officials and assorted military personnel in the audience were starting to fidget. 'Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Powell is nearly here,' announced the conference host, a woman named Barbara wearing a bright red power suit. 'Please sit tight for another few minutes -- meet your neighbor! And get ready for what I hear will be an extremely interesting announcement about our nation’s new energy plan.'" [editor's note: This is actually quite funny; the HSC gets punked! - SAT] (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qepzymw  

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MA: State moves on abortion clinic bill

July 18, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"Massachusetts lawmakers are moving quickly on new legislation to protect access to abortion clinics in the wake of the US Supreme Court striking down the state’s 35-foot buffer zones. If the bill passes, only time will tell whether it can survive another free speech challenge. But advocates for abortion rights say it’s responsive to the McCullen v. Coakley decision and could even become a model for other states. The bill allows police to order individuals to withdraw if they substantially impede access to a reproductive healthcare facility. Those individuals would have to stay outside a 25-foot boundary for a maximum of eight hours." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lwaprda  

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Iraq: If at first you don’t succeed … surge, surge again

July 18, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Peter Van Buren  

"America’s new strategy for resolving the Sunni-Shi’ite crisis in Iraq? The Surge -- again. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey sounds as if he were reading off the 2007 script, echoing the divide-and-conquer strategy that was the basis for the Surge: 'If you can separate those [Sunni] groups,” Dempsey said, 'then the problem becomes manageable and understandable.' So, Washington is now sending U.S. officials to meet with Sunni tribal leaders and others. The ultimate goal (after hopefully forcing out foreign fighters from within Sunni ranks in 2014, as in 2007) is political reconciliation between Sunni and Shi’ite. It won’t work, because it hasn't." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o6svlfd  

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Canada: Senator faces fraud charges

July 18, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Canadian authorities have laid 31 charges including bribery and fraud against a senator, the latest turn in an ongoing housing expenses scandal. Senator Mike Duffy is accused of misusing funds from consulting contracts and accepting a payment from an aide to PM Stephen Harper. He was suspended from the Conservative caucus last fall. Authorities say he improperly claimed expenses related to a home in Ottawa, where the Senate sits. The charges include fraud, breach of trust, bribery of a judicial official and frauds on the government." [editor's note: I know, this happens in the U.S. Congress so often it is no longer news - SAT] (07/17/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28355091  

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The Republican immigration position just got more ridiculous

July 18, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Bill Scher  

"Today Speaker Boehner warned that Congress may not be able to pass legislation to help address the influx of Central American child migrants, because too many Democrats are unwilling to alter the 2008 human trafficking law, and give President Obama’s Border Patrol agents expanded power to return unaccompanied minors home without judicial reviews. I’ve previously explained ... that Boehner’s position is startlingly hypocritical. For months he said he could not pass comprehensive immigration reform because President Obama could not be trusted to enforce any border security provisions. Then last week he effectively declared he wanted to pass legislation that trusted Obama to enforce border security provisions. Boehner’s proposed law would give Border Patrol discretion when dealing with children coming from nations other than Mexico and Canada." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nes47r3  

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NY: Transit strike averted, tentative deal reached

July 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"A threatened strike on New York's Long Island Rail Road was averted on Thursday when the transit authority and labor unions reached a tentative contract agreement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 'It is my pleasure to announce today that we have settled a four-year dispute,' Cuomo said at a news conference, flanked by leaders from the eight unions representing about 5,400 workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the region's public transit. " (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kxzn652  

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Standing up to disaster capitalism in Detroit

July 17, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by John Nichols  

"As Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed 'emergency manager' were steering Detroit into bankruptcy last fall, the public-policy think tank Demos released a groundbreaking report on the city's financial circumstance -- and how to address it. Demos recognized that deindustrialization, high unemployment and an exodus of residents had left the Detroit 'uniquely vulnerable: the current bankruptcy filing is the result of a severe decline in revenue, caused by the 2008 financial crisis, and cuts in annual state revenue sharing starting in 2011. Risky Wall Street deals further jeopardized the city’s public finances by threatening immediate payments that the city could not afford.' Now, as the Detroit Water and Sewage Department is drawing international criticism for shutting off water service for low-income families, activists are asking why the people are being forced to pay while the Wall Street banks live large." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kx3hc7f  

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CA: Despite drought, some homeowners warned about “brown lawns”

July 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"Some homeowners following the state's new drought-conscious motto that brown is the new green are being warned by local governments that they could be slapped with fines because of those dried up lawns. In an attempt to get Californians to take the drought seriously, the state water board voted this week for mandatory outdoor watering restrictions that carry the threat of $500 fines. 'Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community,' said Felicia Marcus, the board's chairwoman." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m5zqbcc  

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The continuing agonies of the super-rich

July 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"As we well know by now, being rich in America is tough. Imagine driving your Porsche out the Goldman Sachs garage, intent on a relaxing weekend at your Hamptons retreat, only to find some wretched Occupy sympathizer giving you a dirty look through the haze of patchouli and resentment that surrounds him. Who could endure it? No wonder they keep comparing their fearful existence to that of the Jews of late-1930s Germany." (07/16/14)

http://prospect.org/article/continuing-agonies-super-rich  

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Getting the government out of your wedding

July 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Some years ago, I officiated at a wedding. It was a Quaker wedding, and since there are no Quaker ministers, the happy couple needed a kind of master of ceremonies to keep the program moving along. They handled most everything themselves; my job was mostly to say things like, 'Now we're going to do the vows' and such. ... I've also been to a wedding or two that was officiated by a friend of the couple's who got ordained in the Universal Life Church (only $28.99 for the Ordination Package), which is what you do in many states if you want to perform a wedding but you aren't a member of the clergy in one of the religions your state decides is legitimate." [editor's note: One step at a time, until they are totally out of the issue? - SAT] (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/neoz2be  

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Giant hole in Siberia: UFOs, meteors … or “climate change”?

July 17, 2014
posted by

Raw Story    

"A mysterious giant hole has appeared in northern Siberia, prompting wild speculation about meteors, UFOs, and underground cities. The likely explanation is less supernatural, scientists say, but no less extraordinary. The Siberian Times reported the hole (more than 260 feet across and of unknown depth) was spotted from helicopters flying over the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula. A team of Russian scientists is on its way to investigate the crater, which is apparently large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into -- although none have." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/na4xrjn  

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The truth is, you’ve never had the “right to be forgotten”

July 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Jack Shafer  

"A recent ruling by Europe’s top court has given its people a 'right to be forgotten.' Google and other search engines must now delete 'inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant, or excessive' information from search queries when a European individual requests it, even when the info is true. This isn’t a classic case of censorship: the 'offending' pages produced by newspapers and other websites will go untouched. Google and the other search engines just won’t be allowed to link to them." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p37ht7z  

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Federal judge: California death penalty unconstitutional

July 17, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle    

"A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. For most of the 748 current Death Row inmates, 'systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature cold ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death,' said U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/no4fxmz  

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Congressional staff finds 40 minutes of poor in America exhausting

July 17, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Emily DiVito  

"Working in Congress might be hard -- but being poor is so much harder. That’s the lesson several members of Congress and congressional staff members were able to learn in a poverty simulation held on Capitol Hill Tuesday, put together by Catholic Charities USA with the support of the Entergy Corporation. Catholic Charities has done these simulations elsewhere to give people insight into the total stress, confusion, and backbreaking toughness of being poor in America. With Congress responsible for dictating the legislation that can help, or hurt, poor and working families, this experience could not come at a better time. At the start of the event, about 50 participants took on different identities and were told of their financial and familial circumstances before being thrust into the difficulties of life below the poverty line. During the course of each of four 10-minute 'weeks,' they were responsible for paying rent, buying food, taking the children to school, and either working full-time jobs or applying to them." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nb2s88q  

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CA: Drought-hit state to fine water wasters

July 17, 2014
posted by

BBC News [UK state media]    

"Officials in California have approved fines of up to $500 (£292) a day for residents who waste water, as the state faces its worst drought in nearly four decades. The measures have been introduced to stop water being wasted on lawns, landscaping and car washing. Water consumption rose by 1% in the year up to May, despite an appeal for people to make a 20% reduction. About 75% of water used in California is for agricultural purposes." (07/16/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28323539  

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The neverending syndrome: From Vietnam to Iraq

July 17, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Joel Bleifuss  

"The disintegration of Iraq into warring ethnic and religious factions has become an occasion for the neocons to resume their campaign for endless empire. On June 17, on CNN, Paul Wolfowitz, Bush’s deputy secretary of defense and one of the architects of the Iraq War, said that if President Obama would only admit his mistakes in Iraq, 'the blame game would stop immediately.' But should it? Wars reverberate throughout history. A failure to remember how wars were started leaves the door open for similar misadventures in the future." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nnk7yhf  

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Report: Military ramps up use of underwater drones

July 17, 2014
posted by

Christian Science Monitor    

"They can range from a svelte 100 pounds to several thousand. They can be snub-nosed, bullet shaped brutes that can dive six miles deep or buoyancy-propelled machines that can gracefully glide for several months at a time. And they can perform a myriad of tasks ranging from tracking pollution to mapping terrain for oil and gas exploration. They are autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), the aquatic answer to the airborne drones that track terrorists in Yemen and, if Amazon has its way, could be delivering DVDs and dog food to your back patio." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/muudob8  

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#Not all conservative white guys

July 16, 2014
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle
by Mark Morford  

"Now here’s a cherished lament, a shockingly obvious statement that, nevertheless, most liberal writers like me apparently fail to acknowledge whenever I decry the latest moral or social abomination from the right, or the church, or the NRA, or Texas, or Koch Industries or Monsanto or crazed fans of Doritos Locos Tacos, et al. Do you recognize it? 'We’re not all like that,' certain piqued members of these very groups will quickly exclaim, in response to articles/charts/facts throwing a harsh light on their concomitant dogma, or hate speech, or homophobia, or tacit acceptance of racism, violence, social regression, mistreatment of women and trees and dogs. As if this makes a difference. As if this changes everything." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pellcdw  

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CDC chief pressured over “dangerous pattern” of lapses

July 16, 2014
posted by

Reuters    

"U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday faulted a 'dangerous pattern' of safety lapses at government laboratories handling deadly pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu, calling for an overhaul of controls at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee cited new information on breaches previously unreported by CDC, which is under scrutiny for the potential exposure of more than 80 lab workers to live anthrax bacteria in June. No one has fallen sick due to the lapses." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mhkk56g  

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Is Canada’s new anti–sexwork bill unconstitutional?

July 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Michelle Chen  

"If Canada’s Conservative government gets its way, the country could soon get slapped with a new anti-prostitution bill that -- while promising to rescue sex workers from harm -- might end up hurting far more than it would help. In a landmark decision last year, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down many of the country’s major statutes against prostitution -- a ruling that could have effectively decriminalized sex work. In response, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is now pushing C-36, a bill that would once again broadly criminalize the buying of sex, largely restoring a regime of anti-prostitution enforcement that the high court already deemed unconstitutional." (07/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pfsedxb  

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