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W.House proposal would grant FBI access to Internet activity records without court order

W.House proposal would grant FBI access to Internet activity records without court order 29 Jul 2010 The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The administration wants to add four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers say, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.

Republicans block campaign finance measure

Republicans block campaign finance measure --Democrats say the fight over the DISCLOSE Act will continue, and they try to tie the GOP to corporate interests. 28 Jul 2010 Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a vote on a bill that would force special interest groups to disclose their donors when purchasing political ads, defeating an effort to impose new campaign finance regulations before the November congressional election. As the Senate's 41 Republicans voted in unison to filibuster the bill, Democrats vowed to bring the legislation up again.

IED kills two Italian soldiers

IED kills two Italian soldiers 29 Jul 2010 A roadside bomb has killed two Italian soldiers in western Afghanistan, the Italian Defense Ministry announced. Not naming the exact location of the incident, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement that the two were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).

FBI and military investigating source of leaked Afghan war documents

FBI and military investigating source of leaked Afghan war documents 29 Jul 2010 The FBI and the Justice Department are working with the military to investigate the source of the leak of tens of thousands of classified military documents on the Afghan war to WikiLeaks.org, U.S. officials said Wednesday. WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy group, posted all but 15,000 documents of what it is calling "The Afghan War Diary" on Sunday. WikiLeaks has declined to name its source, but the probe initially is focused on Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, a Pentagon spokesman said, and may include others who have helped him.

Aetna's Earnings Up 42 Percent

Aetna's Earnings Up 42 Percent 27 Jul 2010 Aetna reported earnings up 42 percent for the second quarter compared with last year, despite a 2 percent drop in revenue partly related to businesses having fewer workers and therefore spending less on health insurance. The Hartford-based health insurer reported net income of $491 million for the second quarter, or $1.14 per diluted share, compared with $362.8 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, for the same quarter last year. The company benefitted from lower medical-benefit ratios, also called medical-loss ratio, which is a percentage of every dollar collected in premiums that is spent on medical costs.

Cameron calls Gaza 'prison camp'

Cameron calls Gaza 'prison camp' 27 Jul 2010 British Prime Minister David Cameron called Gaza a "prison camp" on Tuesday, a blunt description from a major Western leader about the besieged Palestinian territory. Cameron made the remarks in the Turkish capital of Ankara, which he was visiting to forge a new relationship with Turkey and show his support for Turkish membership in the European Union. "Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp," Cameron said, according to a transcript of the speech provided by his office.

Netherlands destroying 17 million swine flu vaccine doses

Netherlands destroying 17 million swine flu vaccine doses 27 Jul 2010 The Netherlands is destroying more than 17 million unused doses of swine flu vaccine that were nearing their expiry date and that it could not resell, the health ministry said Tuesday. "We have started destroying" the vaccines, health ministry spokeswoman Inge Freriksen told AFP. "In the coming months, 17.8 million doses will be destroyed because the expiry date is approaching."

AU to send 4,000 troops to Somalia, change of mandate still under consideration: AU commission chairman

AU to send 4,000 troops to Somalia, change of mandate still under consideration: AU commission chairman 28 Jul 2010 The African Union (AU) will send an additional 4,000 troops to Somalia while the change of the peacekeeping mandate is still under consideration, the African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping told a press conference on Tuesday after the closing of the AU summit. Jean Ping said that half of the 4,000 troops will be from the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the rest will be from Guinea and Djibouti.

Leaked files indicate U.S. pays Afghan media to run friendly stories

Leaked files indicate U.S. pays Afghan media to run friendly stories --Other reports show U.S. military personnel apparently referring to Afghan reporters as 'our journalists' and directing them in how to do their jobs. 27 Jul 2010 Buried among the 92,000 classified documents released Sunday by WikiLeaks is some intriguing evidence that the U.S. military in Afghanistan has adopted a PR strategy that got it into trouble in Iraq: paying local media outlets to run friendly stories. Several reports from Army psychological operations units and provincial reconstruction teams (also known as PRTs, civilian-military hybrids tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan) show that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to air content produced by the United States.

A return to silence in a post-WikiLeaks world?

A return to silence in a post-WikiLeaks world? --Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill worry that the leaking incident will give the nation's 16 intelligence agencies an excuse to go back to old ways of holding back some information as "too sensitive" to be shared. 28 Jul 2010 Dismayed by the massive war-documents leak, intelligence experts are raising alarms that post-Sept. 11 changes promoting information sharing have made it too easy to lose control of the nation's secrets. Some intelligence veterans say it's time to rethink how widely classified material is shared at lower levels or, at the very least, to step up monitoring of the people who are given access. Both intelligence officials and outside experts suggested that agency chiefs may push to limit access to electronic "portals" that have provided growing data access to intelligence officers, diplomats and troops around the world.

Tug vessel hits abandoned gas well in Barataria Waterway

'The issue for the region right now is we have gas coming out of an uncontrolled well head.' Tug vessel hits abandoned gas well in Barataria Waterway --Accident happened halfway between Lafitte and Grand Isle, near same water polluted by BP oil spill 27 Jul 2010 The Coast Guard and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office are maintaining a two mile safety perimeter around a damaged wellhead in the Barataria Waterway south of New Orleans. A mix of natural gas, contaminated water and light crude oil is spewing 100 feet in the air. According to the Coast Guard, the tug vessel Pere Ana C while pushing a dredge barge struck the abandoned wellhead around one Tuesday morning.

Sarah Palin comes face to face with brown bear on fishing trip

Sarah Palin comes face to face with brown bear on fishing trip --Sarah Palin came face to face with a mother bear and her cubs on a salmon fishing expedition in Alaska. 28 Jul 2010 The former Republican vice-presidential contender was sharing a boat with her husband, Todd, their nine-year-old daughter, Piper, and friends in Wolverine Creek when the bears emerged from the trees. The two mothers exchanged glances and then the brown bear, which had paused on a rock, wandered off with her cubs leaving the Palins looking stunned. The former Alaska [half] governor is a keen hunter and angler who keeps a grizzly bear hide, shot by her father, draped over her sofa in her office. [If there was any justice in the world, the beautiful bear and her cubs would have had a nice Sarah supper!]

Five killed in Iraq helicopter crash

Five killed in Iraq helicopter crash 28 Jul 2010 An Iraqi military helicopter has crashed in a sandstorm southwest of Baghdad, leaving all five of its crew dead, the commander of the country's air force says. The five-man crew of the helicopter was killed when it crashed as a result of a sandstorm in Ibrahimiyah on Wednesday, AFP quoted Gen. Anwar Hanna Amin as saying.

Arizona helped deport thousands without new law

Arizona helped deport thousands without new law 28 Jul 2010 Officers from a single Arizona county helped deport more than 26,000 immigrants from the U.S. through a federal-local partnership program that has been roundly criticized as fraught with problems. Statistics obtained by The Associated Press show that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was responsible for the deportation or forced departure of 26,146 immigrants since 2007.

US military investigates contractor work force

US military investigates contractor work force 28 Jul 2010 The U.S. military said Wednesday it is 'clamping down' on contracting firms on American military bases using employees whose home countries ban travel to Iraq, raising questions about why the contractors were allowed to work in the country for so long despite the ban... U.S. Col. Richard E. Nolan, of the military's contracting office in Iraq, said the military is investigating the firms' work forces. Nolan said the U.S. military does monthly inspections of the contractors but the focus has generally been on prevention facilitation of human trafficking. Contractors working with the American military have in the past been sharply criticized for taking passports from workers they bring to Iraq.

Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, bill to help responders, may die

Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, bill to help responders, may die 28 Jul 2010 The House votes Wednesday or Thursday for the first time ever on a bill to care for the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, 2001 - and it's likely to fail. Democratic House leaders decided Tuesday to push ahead with the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act under a rule that requires two-thirds approval to pass. Sources told the Daily News that Democrats feared Republicans would attach toxic changes in a simple majority vote. No such tinkering is allowed under the two-thirds rule. Many Republicans are concerned about the $10.5 billion price tag, and many don't like the way it's paid for. [Right, but but hypocritical maggots want to keep the illegal wars fully funded and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent -- no worries on how that's (not) 'paid for.']

Judge Blocks Key Parts of Immigration Law in Arizona

Judge Blocks Key Parts of Immigration Law in Arizona 28 Jul 2010 A federal judge on Wednesday, weighing in on a clash between the federal government and a state over immigration policy, blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration enforcement law from going into effect. Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court said that some aspects of the law can go into effect as scheduled on Thursday. But Judge Bolton took aim at the parts of the law that have generated the most controversy, issuing a preliminary injunction against sections that called for police officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws and that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times.

Arizona immigration law SB 1070 - judge blocks key parts

Arizona immigration law SB 1070 - judge blocks key parts 28 Jul 2010 A federal judge in Phoenix on Wednesday blocked key provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law from taking effect as scheduled Thursday, granting in part an injunction requested by the Obama administration. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the injunction would apply to the portion of the state law that requires police to try to determine the immigration status of a person they arrest, stop or detain while enforcing other laws if they reasonably suspect the person is in the United States illegally. In a lawsuit filed against Arizona, the Obama administration said the law was unconstitutional and warned that the provision would result in racial profiling and harassment of U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and foreign visitors. [Barack Obama doesn't care about 'racial profiling and harassment of U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and foreign visitors.' If he did, he would close Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prisons, stop Bush's illegal domestic spying programs, sunset the Patriot Act, and stop outsourcing. Obama wants undocumented workers to provide cheap labor for his corporate overlords, which drives down the wages of US workers while taxpayers cover the social services bills for undocumented workers so businesses don't have to. --LRP]
 

Key omission in memo to destroy CIA terror tapes

Key omission in memo to destroy CIA terror tapes 26 Jul 2010 When the CIA sent word in 2005 to destroy scores of videos showing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics torture, there was an unusual omission in the carefully worded memo: the names of two agency lawyers. ...When the CIA's top clandestine officer, Jose Rodriguez, told a colleague at the agency's secret prison in Thailand to destroy interrogation videos, he left the lawyers off the note. The destruction of the tapes wiped away the most graphic evidence of the CIA's 'now-shuttered' network of overseas prisons, where suspected terrorists were interrogated for information using some of the most aggressive tactics in U.S. history.

Five killed in Sadr City bombing

Five killed in Sadr City bombing 28 Jul 2010 A rocket attack has claimed several lives in the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala as the capital Baghdad witnessed more deadly bombings. "Several mortars landed at 11:00 p.m. (0800 GMT ) on Tuesday, killing seven pilgrims and injuring 46, in a neighborhood located four kilometers (2.3 miles) northwest of the centre of the city," AFP quoted a Karbala police officer as saying on Wednesday.

25 killed in Afghan bus explosion

25 killed in Afghan bus explosion 28 Jul 2010 A bombing attack has targeted a crowded bus in southwestern Afghanistan, leaving at least 25 people killed and wounding some 20 others. The explosion took place early on Wednesday when a roadside bomb hit a civilian bus as it was travelling on a highway in the Delaram district of Nimruz province.

Police, activists prepare days ahead of Ariz. law

Police, activists prepare days ahead of Ariz. law 27 Jul 2010 The sheriff of Arizona's most populous county is making room in a vast outdoor jail and determined to round up illegal immigrants to fill it. Police from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Grand Canyon are getting last-minute training. And protests and marches are planned throughout Phoenix. Arizona's new immigration law takes effect Thursday, creating a potentially volatile mix of police, illegal immigrants and thousands of activists, many planning to show up without identification as a show of solidarity.

Anti-Immigrant Group Calls for 'Safe Passage' of Illegals Out of U.S.

Anti-Immigrant Group Calls for 'Safe Passage' of Illegals Out of U.S. 27 Jul 2010 An anti-immigration group is calling on the Obama administration to ensure a smooth exit for illegal immigrants who are trying to leave the U.S. due to the weak economy and Arizona's strict new immigration law. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) is urging U.S. citizens to pressure the White House and the Homeland Security Department to establish "safe departure" border checkpoints along the U.S. border for illegal immigrants so they can leave without fear of being detained or prosecuted for immigration crimes.

Pentagon can't account for $8.7 billion in Iraqi funds

Pentagon can't account for $8.7 billion in Iraqi funds 26 Jul 2010 The Defense Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion out of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war. Of that amount, the military failed to provide any records at all for $2.6 billion in purported reconstruction expenditure, says the report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is responsible for monitoring U.S. spending in Iraq. The rest of the money was not properly deposited in special accounts as required under Treasury Department rules, making it difficult to trace how it was spent.

Congress Approves $60 Billion U.S. War Funds Amid Afghan Policy Complaints

Congress Approves $60 Billion U.S. War Funds Amid Afghan Policy Complaints 27 Jul 2010 The U.S. Congress passed a $60 billion war-funding bill amid attacks on President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policies inflamed by leaked reports suggesting that Pakistan is aiding Taliban forces. The House voted 308-114 to send the measure to Obama for his signature. House Democratic leaders said they wouldn’t delay the long-stalled war funds any longer with the Pentagon warning of impending furloughs. [Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again (such as voting for alleged agents of 'change') and expecting different results.]

Greenpeace activists close down BP stations in London

Greenpeace activists close down BP stations in London --BP filling stations across London have been shut down by activists. 27 Jul 2010 Environmental group Greenpeace said it had cut fuel supplies to all 50 BP stations in the city. [Awesome!] The oil firm said 35 to 40 had been shut but many of them have now reopened. The protesters stopped the fuel by removing safety switches on forecourts.

Senior House Republican says everyone responsible for Wikileaks release should be investigated

Senior House Republican says everyone responsible for Wikileaks release should be investigated 27 Jul 2010 Rep. Mike Pence (R-Nutjob-Ind.), co-author of a bipartisan bill to protect reporters and their confidential sources, said all parties responsible for gathering, distributing and publishing documents released by Wikileaks.org about the Afghanistan war ought to be "thoroughly investigated."... "Back home in Indiana, people still remember where the attacks on 9/11 came from," said Pence, the third-ranking House Republican. [So do we. Langley, Virginia.]

Arizona immigration law: Picketers ask Phoenix cops to not enforce SB 1070

Arizona immigration law: Picketers ask Phoenix cops to not enforce SB 1070 27 Jul 2010 Two days before Arizona's new immigration law takes effect, a group of picketers took to Phoenix City Hall, holding up signs asking the police department not to enforce the stringent law. About 20 opponents on Tuesday hoisted signs that featured spray-painted Phoenix Police Department logos and the message, "Do Not Comply With SB 1070." The protesters were organized by Puente, a Hispanic advocacy group known for its support of day laborers.

German drone pilots eye Afghanistan... from Israel

German drone pilots eye Afghanistan... from Israel --Germany joins NATO forces in using Israeli spy drones 27 Jul 2010 Worried by insurgent ambushes on its soldiers in Afghanistan and return fire that sometimes kills civilians or local allies, Germany last year ordered a small fleet of Israeli Heron spy drones designed to provide real-time images above a battlefield. That has brought German jet pilots to coastal Ein Shemer air base for accelerated retraining on the unmanned propeller planes, already daubed with their flag and Iron Cross emblem.

Judge faces anti-Semitism probe after speech attacking Israel helps free arms factory protesters

Judge faces anti-Semitism probe after speech attacking Israel helps free arms factory protesters 24 Jul 2010 A senior judge was under investigation yesterday after being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in court that may have swayed his jury into acquitting a group of protesters. Judge George Bathurst-Norman was said by critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a factory making parts for Israeli warplanes. Summing up in the criminal damage trial, he compared Israel to the Nazi regime and accused the country of ignoring international law. The judge added that 'there may be much to be admired' about the chief protester, and that 'in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal'. [*Exactly.*]

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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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