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IRS workers were told to flag 'progressive' groups, memos show

IRS workers were told to flag 'progressive' groups, memos show 24 Jun 2013 Internal Revenue Service employees used other politically-loaded terms besides "tea party" when they culled applications for tax-exempt status and then subjected them to extra scrutiny -- including the words "progressive" and "blue," according to agency memos. The lists with key words to watch for, released Monday by congressional Democrats, are the first documents showing that IRS employees were instructed to flag other types of nonprofit groups engaged in politics, not just conservative ones. "Common thread is the word 'progressive,'" said "Be on the Lookout" memos sent to workers in the tax-exempt division of the IRS. "Activities appear to lean toward a new political party. Activities are partisan and appear as anti-Republican." One memo, heavily redacted by the IRS, also tells employees to watch for groups engaged in advocacy on disputed territories in the Middle East, saying the applications "may be inflammatory" and "signify propaganda."

Supreme Court halts use of key provision in landmark Voting Rights Act

Supreme Court halts use of key provision in landmark Voting Rights Act 25 Jun 2013 A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday invalidated a crucial component of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, ruling that Congress has not taken into account the nation's racial progress when singling out certain states for federal oversight. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice [sic] John G. Roberts Jr. and the other conservative members of the court in the majority. The court...said Congress must come up with a new formula based on current data to determine which states should be subject to the requirements. Proponents of the law, which protects minority voting rights, called the ruling a death knell. It will be almost impossible for a Congress bitterly divided along partisan lines to come up with such an agreement, they said.

Supreme Court guts key part of landmark Voting Rights Act

Supreme Court guts key part of landmark Voting Rights Act 25 Jun 2013 The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday gutted a core part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act and challenged Congress to come up with a replacement plan to protect blacks and other minorities in places where discrimination still persists rather than target former slaveholding states in the South. In a 5-4 ruling with the court's conservatives in the majority, the justices [sic] ruled that Congress had used outdated facts in continuing to force nine states, mainly in the South, to get federal approval for voting rule changes affecting blacks and other minorities. The court ruled in favor of officials from Shelby County, Alabama, by declaring unconstitutional a section of the law - most recently updated by Congress in 2006 - that set the formula that decides which states and locales with a history of racial discrimination need federal approval to change voting laws.

Deadly piglet virus spreads to nearly 200 U.S. farm sites

Deadly piglet virus spreads to nearly 200 U.S. farm sites 24 Jun 2013 A swine virus deadly to young pigs, and never before seen in North America, has spiked to 199 sites in 13 states - nearly double the number of farms and other locations from earlier this month. Iowa, the largest U.S. hog producer, has the most sites testing positive for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus: 102 sites, as of June 10. The total number of pig deaths from the outbreak since the first cases were confirmed May 17 is not known.

Afghanistan presidential palace attacked in Kabul

Afghanistan presidential palace attacked in Kabul 25 Jun 2013 Militants have attacked the presidential palace and government buildings in the Afghan capital, Kabul. More than half a dozen explosions were heard as they clashed with security personnel at the palace's eastern gate, the defence ministry and a CIA station. The police said all of the attackers were killed. The Taliban said they carried out the assault.

Senate $38 Billion 'Border Plan' Boosts Immigration Law Prospects

Senate $38 Billion 'Border Plan' Boosts Immigration Law Prospects 24 Jun 2013 The Senate advanced the costliest plan ever to bolster security corpora-terrorists' coffers at the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing enough Republican support to indicate that a broad revision of immigration law will pass by week's end. The 67-27 vote allows the measure to move forward. It would double the size of the U.S. Border Patrol and require another 350 miles of fencing at the boundary with Mexico -- at a[n INSANE] price tag its authors say will reach $38 billion. "Some people have described this as a border surge," said Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who proposed the measure...

Leahy: Border security measure reads 'like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton'

Leahy: Border security measure reads 'like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton' 22 Jun 2013 Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has panned a proposal to fast-track billions of dollars in spending on 'border security' as a boondoggle for government contractors. Leahy said a proposal drafted by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) "reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton." The amendment requires implementation and activation of $4.5 billion in technology and equipment to achieve full surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border. Leahy criticized the GOP-sponsored language for waiving standard federal contracting rules.

Justices Step Up Scrutiny of Race in College Entry

Justices Step Up Scrutiny of Race in College Entry 25 Jun 2013 Courts must take a skeptical look at affirmative-action programs at public colleges and universities, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, in a decision that is likely to set off a wave of challenges to race-conscious admissions policies nationwide. The 7-to-1 decision avoided giving a direct answer about the constitutionality of the program, used by the University of Texas at Austin, that was before the court. The program will continue for now, but the justices ordered an appeals court to reconsider the case under a demanding standard that appears to jeopardize the program.

Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance

Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance --Fugitive whistle-blower reveals for first time he took job at US government contractor with the sole aim of collecting proof of spying activities 25 Jun 2013 Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone - to obtain evidence of Washington's cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal. For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency's secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media. "My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post on June 12. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."

NORAD plans Wednesday training flights east of Denver

NORAD plans Wednesday training flights east of Denver --NORAD has been monitoring domestic air traffic since the 9/11 attacks [and, on that day, too, until Dick Cheney gave the order for NORAD to stand down and to allow the attacks to proceed]. 24 Jun 2013 If you live east of Denver, you may get a free air show Wednesday as aircraft from the North American Aerospace Defense Command fly overhead during a training exercise. The training flights are planned to test NORAD's ability to deal with aerial threats. NORAD is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base. The flights will involve F-15 interceptors and C-21 transport planes, NORAD said in a news release.

Six arrested in French anti-terrorist raid: source

Six arrested in French anti-terrorist raid: source 25 Jun 2013 Six people were arrested in the Paris region on Monday in coordinated raids on members of a suspected radical Islamist cell allegedly planning "terrorist acts" on French soil, a source close to the investigation told AFP. The suspects, aged between 22 and 38, were "all known to police for serious delinquency" and are being detained by the police anti-terrorist unit in the Paris suburb of Levallois. The members of the suspected Islamist cell include one man from Benin, another from the Comoros and four French nationals, a source close to the case said.

Snowden Passed Through Norway to Iceland - Pirate Party Norway

Snowden Passed Through Norway to Iceland - Pirate Party Norway --Organization Pirate Party Norway claims that accused spy Edward Snowden landed at Oslo Gardermon Airport last night. 24 Jun 2013 The party leader Øystein Jakobsen would meet with Snowden when he landed on Sunday evening, according to the party's twitter account. "We have received information from our international umbrella party, the Pirate Parties International (PPI), that he will stop in Norway. The reason is that this is probably the quickest and easiest way to fly to Iceland," says Tale Østrådal from the Pirate Party to TV2 Norway. Øsrådal also said that Pirate Party in Iceland confirmed Snowden's stay in the country.

Fed official likens current market behavior to 'feral hogs'

Fed official likens current market behavior to 'feral hogs' 24 Jun 2013 Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said Monday in an interview that "feral hogs" are testing the central bank, as bond yields have spiked higher. "Markets tend to test things," Fisher told the Financial Times. "We haven't forgotten what happened to the Bank of England [on Black Wednesday]. I don't think anyone can break the Fed... But I do believe that big money does organize itself somewhat like feral hogs. If they detect a weakness or a bad scent, they'll go after it."

Report: Man who executed Saddam Hussein killed in Iraq

Report: Man who executed Saddam Hussein killed in Iraq 22 Jun 2013 One of the executioners involved in the hanging of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been killed, the outlawed Baath Party said in a statement on Friday. While not providing a date for when the executioner was killed, the statement identified him as Mohammed Nassif al-Maliki, who allegedly appeared in the video of Saddam's execution. The statement said Maliki was the masked man standing on the left side of the former Iraqi strongman and slipping the noose around his neck.

Feds: Nuclear waste may be leaking into soil from Hanford site

Feds: Nuclear waste may be leaking into soil from Hanford site 22 Jun 2013 An underground tank holding some of the worst radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site might be leaking into the soil. The U.S. Energy Department said workers at Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation detected higher radioactivity levels under tank AY-102 during a routine inspection Thursday. Spokeswoman Lori Gamache said the department has notified Washington officials and is investigating the leak further. An engineering analysis team will conduct additional sampling and video inspection to determine the source of the contamination, she said.

400 US troops about to be deployed to Egypt

400 US troops about to be deployed to Egypt 22 Jun 2013 The spokesman of the Egyptian armed forces clarified Saturday circulating news of 400 US troops about to be deployed to Egypt. "The 400 US soldiers coming to Egypt as mentioned in the media are part of the periodical renewal routine for the US faction of the 13-state multinational force deployed in Sinai since the peace treaty. They are not armed with military operations gear," spokesman of the Egyptian military Ahmed Ali said Saturday. A number of US news websites had reported in the past two days that a group of US soldiers will be deployed to Egypt in the near future for a nine-month peacekeeping mission aimed at "curbing riots...if protests and riots reach the point of threatening Israel's security."

NBC's Gregory: Why shouldn't Greenwald be charged?

NBC's Gregory: Why shouldn't Greenwald be charged? 23 Jun 2013 NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory got a rise out of Glenn Greenwald on Sunday by asking the Guardian reporter why he shouldn't be charged with a crime for having "aided and abetted" former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden. Greenwald replied on the show Sunday that it was "pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies." [Gregory's no journalist, so the point *is moot.*]

U.S. revokes NSA leaker Snowden's passport

U.S. revokes NSA leaker Snowden's passport 23 Jun 2013 The former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a highly classified surveillance program has had his U.S. passport revoked, an official said Sunday. Edward Snowden's passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia and while that could complicate his travel plans, the lack of a passport alone could not thwart his plans, the U.S. official said. If a senior official in another country or with an airline orders it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport, the official said.

Giant panda twins born in SW China

Giant panda twins born in SW China 23 Jun 2013 A female giant panda has successfully given birth to panda twins in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the first pair ever born globally this year, local conservation workers said Sunday. A panda named Haizi gave birth to the first cub at 4:54 p.m. Saturday and the second one ten minutes later, according to workers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Reserve. The mother has yet to release the first cub from her embrace, but staff said it should be a healthy cub, given its large size and the volume of the sounds it has been making.

In WikiLeaks Probe, Feds Used a Secret Search Warrant to Get Volunteer's Gmail

In WikiLeaks Probe, Feds Used a Secret Search Warrant to Get Volunteer's Gmail 21 Jun 2013 The Justice [sic] Department used a secret search warrant to obtain the entire contents of a Gmail account used by a former WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland, according to court records released to the volunteer this week. The search warrant was issued under seal on October 14, 2011, by the Alexandria, Virginia federal judge overseeing the WikiLeaks grand jury investigation there. The warrant ordered Google to turn over "the contents of all e-mails associated with the account, including stored or preserved copies of e-mails sent to and from the account, draft e-mails, deleted e-mails [...] the source and destination addresses associated with each e-mail, the date and time at which each e-mail was sent, and the size and length of each e-mail." The warrant also ordered Google not to disclose the search to anyone. The target of the search was Herbert Snorrason, an Icelandic activist who helped manage WikiLeaks' secure chat room in 2010.

Scientists warn against complacency on deadly H7N9 bird flu

Scientists warn against complacency on deadly H7N9 bird flu 23 Jun 2013 A new and deadly strain of bird flu that emerged in China in February but seems to have petered out in recent months could reappear later this year when the warm season comes to an end - and could spread internationally, scientists said on Monday. A study by researchers in China and Hong Kong found only one human case of the H7N9 bird flu strain has been identified since early May. "If H7N9 follows a similar pattern to H5N1, the epidemic could reappear in the autumn," researchers wrote in a study published in The Lancet medical journal.

Canada floods: Troops deployed to help with evacuation of 100,000 people

Canada floods: Troops deployed to help with evacuation of 100,000 people 22 Jun 2013 Army troops have been deployed in Calgary and across Canada's Alberta province as the government declares a state of emergency ordering 100,000 residents to evacuate. Authorities say 3 bodies have been found. More people are presumed dead. Some 1200 troops were ordered to help with the emergency situation. Two civilian aircraft, a helicopter and a fixed wing airplane are being used for air support, according to local news stations.

Monsanto points to sabotage at GMO-contaminated wheat field

Monsanto points to sabotage at GMO-contaminated wheat field 22 Jun 2013 Biotech giant Monsanto says that its unapproved experimental wheat ended up growing at an Oregon field through what most likely was an isolated act of sabotage. "What happened in this field...is suspicious," said Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley on Friday, reporting on the ongoing investigation into the scandal. In late May, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the discovery of bioengineered wheat, which had been made resistant to Roundup, a Monsanto-sold pesticide. The plant was developed by Monsanto between 1998 and 2005, but was never approved and made into a commercial product.

Hastings sent email stating 'need to go off the radar' hours before death - Report

Hastings sent email stating 'need to go off the radar' hours before death - Report --Email was sent just before 1 p.m. on Monday, 15 hours before the deadly crash 21 Jun 2013 he crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings was ruled an accident by police, but conspiracy theories continued to circulate on Friday. Hastings, 33, was killed in a fiery solo-vehicle crash in Hancock Park early Tuesday morning. Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs told KTLA that he received an email from Hastings on Monday. Biggs had known Hastings since 2008, when the journalist was embedded in his unit in Afghanistan. "On Monday morning, I woke up and I got an email, and it's very panicked," Biggs said. He was blind-copied on the email, which was sent to Hastings's colleagues. In part, it said that the feds were interviewing his close friends and associates, and that he was onto a big story and needed to get off the radar.

Wikileaks: 'History will judge Snowden as a hero'

Wikileaks: 'History will judge Snowden as a hero' 23 Jun 2013 Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor wanted by Washington on espionage charges, is spending the night at an airport in Moscow after arriving from Hong Kong. Ecuador's foreign minister has confirmed Mr Snowden's request for asylum. Wikileaks has made it clear that it has been helping Mr Snowden and its spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, told the BBC he believed the fugitive would eventually be recognised as a hero.

Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda

Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda 14 Jun 2013 A Syrian rebel group's April pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda's replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group's influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well. Lebanese Sheik Omar Bakri, a Salafist who says states must be governed by Muslim religious law, says al-Qaeda has assisted al Nusra for some time.

Senators introduce bill to block US arming Syria militants

Senators introduce bill to block US arming Syria militants 21 Jun 2013 Four bipartisan US senators have introduced a bill aimed at prohibiting the administration of President Barack Obama from providing military assistance to militants in Syria. The legislation was introduced on June 20 by Democrats Tom Udall and Chris Murphy and Republicans Mike Lee and Rand Paul in an effort to bar the US Department of Defense and spy agencies from feeding anti-Syria Takfiri militants. On June 14, Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons, which include assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.

WikiLeaks: Snowden going to Ecuador to seek asylum

WikiLeaks: Snowden going to Ecuador to seek asylum 23 Jun 2013 Admitted leaker Edward Snowden took flight Sunday in evasion of U.S. authorities, seeking asylum in Ecuador and leaving the Obama administration scrambling to determine its next step in what became a game of diplomatic cat-and-mouse. The former National Security Agency contractor and CIA technician fled Hong Kong and arrived at the Moscow airport, where he planned to spend the night before boarding an Aeroflot flight to Cuba. Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his government received an asylum request from Snowden, and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said it would help him.

Pelosi booed for saying NSA leaker Snowden violated the law

Pelosi booed for saying NSA leaker Snowden violated the law 22 Jun 2013 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was booed onstage Saturday when she said former government contractor Edward Snowden broke the law by leaking classified documents on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs. Speaking at the NetRoots Nation conference in San Jose, Calif., Pelosi told the audience to reject comparisons between President Barack Obama and his predecessor, President [sic] George W. Bush, on their oversight of surveillance programs... Pelosi received the loudest boos and heckles from the crowd when she said Snowden had run afoul of the law by leaking documents to the media on a pair of secret NSA surveillance programs.

Protester killed, dozens injured as Brazil police face off with a million in 100 cities

Protester killed, dozens injured as Brazil police face off with a million in 100 cities 21 Jun 2013 An 18-year-old protester has been killed and dozens injured as massive protests continue in Brazil's cities. Over a million people have flooded the streets of the country on Thursday. Mass protests continued throughout Brazil Thursday as hundreds of thousands assembled in the main cities of Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro with no sign of subsiding even as governments reversed course on planned public transit fare hikes.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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