Thursday, 6 January 2011

Freedom Fighters for a Fading Empire
What It Means When We Say We Have the World’s Finest Fighting Force
By William Astore

I’m a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a historian who teaches military history.  The retired officer in me warms to the sentiment of our troops as both unparalleled fighters and selfless liberators, but the historian in me begs to differ. Continue

Media as a Branch of Government
The toppling of Saddam's statue as metaphor

By Justin Raimondo

The Internet blew apart the media monopoly, and destroyed the role of the journalist as semi-official gatekeeper. That’s why our rulers have been so eager to regulate it, tax it, and rein it in – and if they succeed in the case of WikiLeaks, they will have won a decisive victory. Continue

Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire

By Jason Leopold

An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration's torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers. Continue

What Drives Delusional Zealotry?
Why Palin's Christian Fortress Must be the 'Greatest Country Ever'

By Robert S. Becker
If a little knowledge is dangerous, a little uninformed faith is downright treacherous.  Continue

Is Free Will Simply a Myth?
The Uncomfortable Truth About Mind Control

By Michael Mosley

In the Sixties, a groundbreaking series of experiments found that 65 per cent of us would kill if ordered to do so. Continue

U.S. Teenager Tortured in Kuwait and Barred Re-entry Into the U.S.

By Glenn Greenwald

Mohamed traveled on an American passport and had valid visas for all the countries he visited. He has never been arrested nor -- until two weeks ago -- was he ever involved with law enforcement in any way, including the entire time he lived in the U.S. Continue

Emerging Bubble Alert:
By Mike Whitney

"Zero-down" loans to "credit challenged" applicants are on the rise. Continue

Privatizing Social Security Again?

By Helen Thomas

This year, 2011, marks the beginning of baby boomers receiving Social Security checks and they should be alerted of past perennial Republican attempts to partially privatize the program. Continue

Australian escapes death sentence after paying Afghan family: Ex-soldier has sentence commuted to 20 years in jail after paying relatives of murdered guard $100,000
Gates sending 1,400 more Marines to Afghanistan: Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said Thursday the Marines are now being notified and are expected to go within weeks.
Iraqi woman killed, female lawyer seriously wounded in Baghdad violence: An old woman was killed and her son wounded when a bomb exploded at the door of their home in Abu Ghraib area, just west of Baghdad
More than 2,000 Iraqi army officers killed in the past few months: Attacks, mainly by silencer guns and explosive devices targeting Iraqi army officers, have surged recently and more than 2,000 officers are reported to have been killed in the past few months.
Iraq Was Heaven Says The Last Jew in Iraq : Ezra Levy is one of the last of his kind - a Jew in Iraq. Ezra challenges the assumption that in an anti-Semitic world, Jews are better off in Israel than elsewhere.
WikiLeaks: Israel demanded bribes for goods entering Gaza: Joint June 2006 cable dispatched by U.S. diplomats in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cites Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, Motorola and Dell as some of the companies subject to corruption at the Karni Crossing.
Cables reveal how US and UK sought to plunder Zimbabwe’s resources: The US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks contain revealing details of how the United States and Britain sought to further their commercial interests in Zimbabwe.
WikiLeaks: Secret whaling deal plotted by US and Japan: American diplomats proposed Japan reduce whaling in exchange for US help cracking down on the anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd, leaked cables reveal
Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran: Clinton to visit Arab allies in Gulf as "Iran fears" intensify: The Obama administration is sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Gulf region this weekend to shore up relations with U.S. allies there as fears about Iran's nuclear program mount.
Ex-CIA officer charged with giving reporter secrets: – A former CIA officer was arrested on Thursday on charges of illegally disclosing national defense information about Iran to a New York Times reporter who wrote a book.
Florida professor arrested after carrying suspicious bagel on airplane: A Florida professor was arrested, handcuffed and removed from a plane when his fellow passengers reported he had a "suspicious-looking bag" in his hands.
Rogoff Says Greek Bailout May Not Prevent Default : Harvard University professor Kenneth Rogoff said Greece may yet default on its debts even after the euro member received a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to help keep it afloat.
Cash-Strapped Greece Cracks Down on Fun: The Greek government announced Thursday it is shutting down bars and nightclubs in Athens that are guilty of tax offenses in an effort to put more teeth into revenue collection.
Gulf oil spill: BP set to avoid gross negligence charge: US commission blames 'systemic' causes for spill and analysts say inquiry unlikely to contradict findings
State Revenue Plunges By 31% In 2009 To $1.1 Trillion As Spending Increases: State government spending rose by 3%, while that pervasive source of backstop funding, the US government, saw its grants to states increase by 13% to $477.7 billion.
Will the New Assaults on Public Employee Unions Undermine All Workers?: Years of demonizing public employee unions as part of a right-wing assault against the labor movement now seems about to pay off.
The Shameful Attack on Public Employees: Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers.
CMBS Delinquencies Hit Record High Despite Market Optimism: The delinquency rate for loans held in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose again in December with the percentage of loans 30 or more days delinquent, in foreclosure, or REO climbing 27 basis points to 9.20 percent
Watchdog: IRS tormenting struggling taxpayers: A government watchdog says the Internal Revenue Service is tormenting struggling taxpayers in the midst of a slumping economy by increasing the number of liens the agency has filed against people who owe back taxes.
IRS's 'hard-core' collection tactics needlessly harm taxpayers, report says: The Internal Revenue Service's increasing use of "hard-core" collection tactics "is inflicting unnecessary harm on financially struggling taxpayers," an in-house critic at the IRS said Wednesday.
Should the IRS consider a lien moratorium?: It doesn't make sense that the IRS is acting so aggressively at a time when the idea of foreclosure moratoriums has entered the mainstream. If we're willing to give people an extended opportunity to get on their feet when it comes to saving their houses, why not do the same with taxes?
LPS: Foreclosure Inventory Rises for Fifth Straight Month: At the end of November, nearly 2.2 million loans were 90 days or more past due but not yet referred to a foreclosure attorney. Of these, one-third have not made a mortgage payment in at least a year.
Now is the time to sell, real estate consultant says: People who have been delaying putting their homes on the market should do it soon because prices may go down 5% to 8% as banks unload a glut of repossessed properties     
New claims for unemployment benefits rise above 400,000: SHOPPING: Retailers report surprisingly weak December
Census: Number of poor may be millions higher: 1 in 6 Americans — many of them 65 and older — are struggling in poverty.
Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals: Blue Shield said, 193,000 policyholders would see increases averaging 30% to 35%, the result of three separate rate hikes since October.

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