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US Senate committee confirms Gen Petraeus as new Afghanistan commander

US Senate committee confirms Gen Petraeus as new Afghanistan commander 30 Jun 2010 A key Senate committee on Tuesday confirmed General David Petraeus as the new US and NATO commander in Afghanistan after a hearing marked by bickering over the July, 2011, troop withdrawal deadline. The Senate Armed Services Committee, where he testified earlier in the day, confirmed his nomination by a voice vote. His nomination now goes to the full Senate for confirmation.

US banks off the hook until 2022

US banks off the hook until 2022 --Political reality Democrats' surrender  has forced compromise into the final version of the financial regulation 'reform' bill in the US 29 Jun 2010 It was billed by Barack Obama as the toughest crackdown on Wall Street since the great depression. But top US banks could be given until 2022 to comply with the so-called Volcker rule, which is supposed to restrict financial institutions' riskier trading activities. A string of delays and extension periods written into a final version of Congress's financial regulation reform bill means that firms such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs could exploit loopholes until 2022 before withdrawing from "illiquid" funds such as private equity.

Petraeus vows long-term commitment in Afghan war

Endless bl*wjobs for Blackwater, thanks to Betrayus replacement scam: Petraeus vows long-term commitment in Afghan war --General: Troops will be in Afghanistan 'for quite some time' 29 Jun 2010 Gen. David H. Petraeus told senators Tuesday that he would insist on "an unshakeable commitment to teamwork among all elements of the U.S. government" as the new commander of U.S. and foreign forces in Afghanistan, as the Obama administration sought his quick confirmation to replace fired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

EU, US sign anti-terror finance deal

EU, US sign anti-terror finance deal 28 Jun 2010 Europe and the United States signed on Monday a new deal allowing Washington to access bank data to track terrorist finance after easing European concerns about privacy rights. The agreement now needs the green light from the European parliament, which had blocked an initial deal in February, barring the United States from seeing the bank data since then. The system was introduced in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States to help tackle the financing of terrorism.

US drone attack kills 6 in NW Pakistan

US drone attack kills 6 in NW Pakistan 29 Jun 2010 Missiles fired by a US drone have killed at least six people in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt where pro-Taliban militants are believed to be holed up. CIA-operated drones on Tuesday struck a compound in Karikot village which allegedly belonged to a militant commander, AFP quoted a senior Pakistani security official as saying on condition of anonymity. The missiles landed about 10 kilometers (six miles) southwest of Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan district.

One million protest against Italy's austerity cuts

One million protest against Italy's austerity cuts 26 Jun 2010 Italians marched through cities and towns yesterday in a general strike protesting an austerity budget they say bleeds workers but spares the rich. The left-leaning CGIL union called the strike in an effort to force prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's government to redraft a €25 billion austerity package he says is an essential part of European efforts to save the currency. The website of the CGIL, Italy’s largest union, said more than one million people took part in various demonstrations in large and small cities around the country.

The Toronto G20 Riot Fraud: Undercover Police engaged in Purposeful Provocation

The Toronto G20 Riot Fraud: Undercover Police engaged in Purposeful Provocation At Tax Payers' Expense By Terry Burrows 27 Jun 2010 Here is another 'black bloc' operative stomping on the roof of a Toronto Police car. Where are the police? He is obviously being "allowed" to trash the vehicle to create what will become the signature media images of the event -- burning police cars in Toronto. But stamping on shattered glass and plastic is pretty hard on your shoes. But his shoes can obviously take it because he is wearing the same brand new distinctive black combat boots as the Starbucks rock throwing provocateur above.

High court rejects Iraq case against Halliburton

High court rejects Iraq case against Halliburton 28 Jun 2010 The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a woman who wants to sue Halliburton for the brain injury her husband suffered when a truck in a fuel convoy crashed in Iraq. The justices, without comment Monday, let stand a federal appeals court ruling dismissing the lawsuit filed by Annette Carmichael of Atlanta, on behalf of her husband, Sgt. Keith Carmichael. The Obama administration recommended denial of the appeal.

Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving US Senator, Dies at 92

Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving US Senator, Dies at 92 28 Jun 2010 Robert Byrd, the 92-year-old West Virginia Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate for 51 years, died Monday. A spokesman for the family, Jesse Jacobs, said Mr. Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va. His health had been failing for several years. A master of Senate procedures and orator... Mr. Byrd served longer, voted more frequently, and probably used the arcane Senate rules to more effect any previous denizen of the nation's senior legislative house.

Ex-Chicago policeman guilty of lying about torture

Ex-Chicago policeman guilty of lying about torture 28 Jun 2010 A retired Chicago police commander suspected of using electric shocks, suffocation and mock executions to force suspects to confess was found guilty on Monday of lying about the brutality. Jon Burge was tried on perjury and obstruction of justice charges because the alleged torture occurred too long ago for him to be directly accused of those crimes. The guilty verdict on all three counts in a federal indictment means he could face up to 45 years in prison.

Byrd special election to be held in 2012

Byrd special election to be held in 2012 28 Jun 2010 West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) announced this afternoon that a special election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D) will be held in 2012, not this fall as some had speculated. Calling the state election code an "interesting" document, Tennant said that because the filing deadline for this election had long passed that the "next" election for a special to be held was not November 2010 but November 2012.

New Ballot Machines Are Flawed, Suit Says

New Ballot Machines Are Flawed, Suit Says 27 Jun 2010 Electronic voting machines being deployed for the first time this year across New York City and the rest of the state contain a flaw that could lead to thousands of votes being thrown out, according to a lawsuit that advocacy groups will file Monday. The problem, according to the legal complaint, revolves around voters who accidentally pick too many candidates for a particular race -- an error known as “overvoting,” which invalidates the incorrect part of their ballot.

Dick Cheney Released From Hospital

Dick Cheney Released From Hospital 28 Jun 2010 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney has been released from George Washington University Hospital, according to his spokesperson Peter Long. Cheney, who has long fought heart disease, was admitted to the hospital on Friday after complaining of discomfort. Following testing over the weekend, Cheney was given IV treatment for retention of fluid related to his coronary artery disease, which improved his condition.

Leave our eggs alone Tories warn Brussels

Leave our eggs alone Tories warn Brussels 27 Jun 2010 An attempt by Brussels to stop British shoppers buying eggs by the dozen will be blocked, ministers promised yesterday. European regulations that aim to ban the sale of a dozen eggs, six bread rolls or four apples go against common sense, they said. The rapid coalition pledge that food will stay on sale in the traditional way follows a move by the European Commission to undermine the use of longstanding and universally understood non-metric measures.

Gun lobby victory as every American's right to bear arms upheld by ruling

Gun lobby victory as every American's right to bear arms upheld by ruling --National Rifle Association celebrates US supreme court ruling that ends localised gun control laws in America 28 Jun 2010 Supporters of gun rights in the US won a major legal victory today, when the highest court in the country ruled that an individual's constitutional right to bear arms applied to every corner of the country and throughout its 50 states. The US supreme court delivered a split judgment along the familiar 5-4 conservative-liberal divide. The ruling specifically overturned a ban on handguns in Chicago that has stood for 28 years.

Ten 'Russian spies' arrested in US

Ten 'Russian spies' arrested in US 28 Jun 2010 Ten people have been arrested in America for allegedly spying for Russia, the US justice department announced this evening. Eight of 10 were detained yesterday for supposedly carrying out "long-term, deep cover assignments" in the United States on behalf of the Russian government. Two others were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence operation. All of them were charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison on conviction.

NATO death toll doubles in Afghanistan

NATO death toll doubles in Afghanistan 28 Jun 2010 Latest data shows casualties of the US-led forces in Afghanistan have doubled in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. At least 317 troops serving with NATO have been killed so far in 2010. This month alone, 97 have been slain, making it the deadliest single month for the foreign coalition since the 2001 US-led invasion.

U.S. Charges 11 With Acting as Agents for Russia

U.S. Charges 11 With Acting as Agents for Russia 28 Jun 2010 In what law enforcements officials portrayed as an extraordinary takedown of a Russian espionage network, the Justice Department on Monday announced charges against 11 people accused of living for years in the United States as part of a deep-cover program by S.V.R. -- one of the successors to the Soviet-era K.G.B. The complaints followed a multiyear investigation that culminated with Sunday’s arrest of 10 people in Yonkers; Montclair, New Jersey; Boston; and northern Virginia. The documents detailed what authorities called the "Illegals Program," an S.V.R. effort to plant Russian spies in the United States to gather information and recruit people able to infiltrate government policy-making circles.

Elena Kagan Faces Republican Critics as Supreme Court Hearings Begin

Elena Kagan Faces Republican Critics as Supreme Court Hearings Begin --Former Solicitor General, Harvard Dean Pledges 'Impartiality' if Confirmed to High Court 28 Jun 2010 Elena Kagan, nominated to become the 112th justice and only the fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court,  broke her silence today and directly addressed Republican critics as the political showdown over her confirmation begins in the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle, and in accordance with the law," Kagan told senators on the first day of the weeklong hearings on her qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court. [Obusha misdirect #1,738: Barack Obama nominated a moderate to Supreme Court to replace a liberal, as he asserts that Elena Kagan will take a bi-partisan approach and 'unite' conservatives and liberals for the common good. Does anyone *actually believe* that Kagan is going to sway John Roberts, Piece-of-Sh*t Scalia or Predator Clarence Thomas? --LRP]

US 'waging psycho war against Iran'

US 'waging psycho war against Iran' 28 Jun 2010 Iran says the US allegation about the military nature of Tehran's nuclear program is "a psychological war" aimed at creating a negative attitude towards the country. On Sunday, CIA director Leon Panetta said he "thinks" Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to produce two atomic weapons within two years, without elaborating on the source of the conjecture. Such remarks are some kind of psychological warfare aimed at creating a negative mentality about Iran's peaceful nuclear program, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in reaction to Panetta's comments, IRNA reported.

Corruption Suspected in Airlift of Billions in Cash From Kabul

Corruption Suspected in Airlift of Billions in Cash From Kabul 25 Jun 2010 More than $3 billion in cash has been openly flown out of Kabul International Airport in the past three years, a sum so large that U.S. investigators believe top Afghan officials and their associates are sending billions of diverted U.S. aid and logistics dollars and drug money to financial safe havens abroad. The cash--packed into suitcases, piled onto pallets and loaded into airplanes--is declared and legal to move. Officials believe some of the cash, if not most, is siphoned from Western aid projects and U.S., European and NATO contracts to provide security, supplies and reconstruction work for coalition forces in Afghanistan. [See: The Obusha AfPak Money Pit By Lori Price.]

Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city

Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city --The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve a master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. 28 Jun 2010 The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property. The committee's proposal would codify the municipality's planning policy for the entire city. In essence, Jerusalem would uniformly apply its zoning and construction procedures to both halves of the city.

U.S. Troops Face New Threat: Afghanistan's Toxic Sand

U.S. Troops Face New Threat: Afghanistan's Toxic Sand By Spencer Ackerman 28 Jun 2010 The pulverized turf [in Afghanistan], it turns out, contains high levels of manganese, silicon, iron, magnesium, aluminum, chromium and other metals that act as neurotoxic agents when ingested. Combine the country’s frequent sandstorms and the kicked-up dust that results from helicopter travel with troops' nostrils, mouths and pores, and you’ve got an unexpected example of how inhospitable the terrain is for the soon-to-be 98,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines fighting the war.

G-8 'fully believes' Israel will attack Iran, says Italy PM

G-8 'fully believes' Israel will attack Iran, says Italy PM --World leaders meet in Ontario for two days of talks, urge Iran to 'respect rule of law' and 'hold transparent dialogue' over its nuclear program. 27 Jun 2010 World leaders "believe absolutely" that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent the latter from acquiring nuclear weapons, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday. "Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively," Berlusconi told reporters following talks with other Group of Eight leaders north of Toronto.

Report: Turkey closes airspace to Israel military following Gaza flotilla raid

Report: Turkey closes airspace to Israel military following Gaza flotilla raid --Turkey withdrew its ambassador and canceled joint military drills with Israel in response to the deadly raid May 31 that left nine dead. 28 Jun 2010 Turkey has closed its airspace to Israeli military flights following a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, the Turkish prime minister and officials said Monday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Toronto that Turkey imposed the ban after the May 31 raid on a Turkish ship that was part of a six-vessel international aid flotilla, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Israel 'Plots Tehran Raid'

Israel 'Plots Tehran Raid' 26 Jun 2010 Israel is massing warplanes in the Caucasus for an attack on Iran, it was revealed yesterday. Preparations are underway to launch the military attack from Azerbaijan and Georgia, reports our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej, quoting military sources. Israel was, in fact, training pilots in Turkey to launch the strike and was smuggling planes into Georgia using Turkish airspace, they said.

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Chicago gun law in key gun rights case

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Chicago gun law in key gun rights case 28 Jun 2010 The U.S. Supreme Court today found that the constitutional right to bear arms applies to local and state efforts to regulate guns, a ruling that could place limits on some gun control laws across the country. The 5-4 ruling could be particularly important in California, which has some of the strictest gun laws of any state. Legal experts have predicted that a ruling applying the Second Amendment to the states could open the door to a rash of legal challenges to California gun regulations, including the longstanding assault weapons ban.

BP oil spill costs hit $100 million/day

BP oil spill costs hit $100 million/day 28 Jun 2010 BP said it had spent $300 million on its Gulf of Mexico oil spill response effort in the past three days, hitting the $100 million/day spend rate for the first time and bringing its total bill to $2.65 billion so far. The figures, which BP released in a statement on Monday, include the cost of trying to cap the well, clean up the environmental damage caused by the leaking crude and pay compensation to those affected by the spill.

Afghan detainees must be safeguarded against abuse, says high court

Afghan detainees must be safeguarded against abuse, says high court --Judges acknowledge risk of torture for suspects transferred to facilities run by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security 25 Jun 2010 The high court today imposed strict conditions on the transfer by British forces of suspected insurgents to Afghan detention centres, after hearing evidence of detainees' "horrible abuse" in breach of international law. A moratorium already agreed by Britain on transfers to the National Directorate of Security (NDS) facility in Kabul had to remain in place, since there was a real risk detainees prisoners held there would be "subjected to torture or serious mistreatment", Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Cranston ruled.

Oil washes onto Mississippi coast for first time

Oil washes onto Mississippi coast for first time --Oil hits two tourist beaches, more expected 27 Jun 2010 Large patches of thick oil washed ashore in Mississippi on Sunday, the first time crude from the BP Plc spill in the Gulf of Mexico has hit the state's coast. Oil hit two tourist beaches at Ocean Springs, about 10 miles (16 kilometres) east of Biloxi, and a beach used by fisherman that is close to an inland marsh. Wildlife officials picked up one pelican covered in oil.

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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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