United States

Ahmadinejad Missing, Anonymous Circling

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

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Gone fishing? Ahmadinejad MIA

Iran's President Ahmadinejad has gone missing.  Says the BBC:

"The president has not been seen at his office for days, missing two cabinet meetings and cancelling a visit to the holy city of Qom."

Apparently this is part of a power struggle between the often-incendiary head of state and Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khameini. In light of the revolutions witnessed recently across the Mideast, this kind of power-wrangling would seem to leave Iran vulnerable to a revolution of its own.  One Iranian MP who wished to remain anonymous said:

"I hope one side yields at the end - otherwise it will move the country toward unprecedented instability that will certainly suck the current Arab uprisings into the country."

Gulags in the Land of the Free

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
The prisoner's dilemma is an example of game t...

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"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever" - from George Orwell's 1984

For millions of Americans this is their future. How else can you describe a person's future as a prisoner of the American Prison Industrial complex? Take a look at the facts and figures and what you will find is incredibly frightening and something needs to be done about it.

I'm not saying that people who commit horrible crimes shouldn't be locked up but when one in every 18 men are either behind bars or being monitored there is something wrong in society. As of June 2009[update], 2,297,400 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails  This means America, the land of the free, has the worlds largest prison population. The worst part is that although crime rates have declined by about 25 percent from 1988-2008 the Prison population has increased dramatically in same period. This cost the states $47 billion dollars in 2008.… Continues …

Murder of John P. Wheeler Connected to Mass Bird Deaths?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Death

Last week, a celebrated and influential Pentagon insider and defense contractor was found dead in Delaware. The body of John P. Wheeler was discovered as a garbage truck dumped its load at a landfill. The death has been ruled a homicide, and thus far the investigators who are piecing together the case have offered no clear motive or reason for his mysterious murder.

In seemingly unrelated news, there has been a sudden die-off of birds and fish in the southern United States that has a lot of people talking about the apocalypse. First 5,000 blackbirds plummeted to the earth in Arkansas, littering the ground with their corpses and even hitting passers-by. Then a few days later, 500 red-winged blackbirds and starlings were found dead in nearby Louisiana. And 80,000 drum fish died in an Arkansas river close to where the blackbirds died.… Continues …

Do You Want Safety or Freedom?

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Science & Technology, Opinion

A mobile closed-circuit TV van monitoring a st...

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It seems to me almost everyday there is something in the news about new security measures being taken in a western country to "combat crime and terrorism". It really makes me wonder how many of our freedoms and civil rights we willing to give up in order to feel safe. Are we on our way to a 1984 like society? Are all these new measures as necessary as the governments would have us believe?… Continues …

China Makes a Play for Rare Earths

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Everyone knows China is planning to take over the world. But with most of the focus centered on their booming economy, the Asian giant is quietly putting together an entirely different strategy, one which involves domination of natural resources. As the importance of oil dwindles over the next few decades, what will become the new scarcity? The answer is "rare earth".

Rare earth elements are perhaps not so much rare as they are expensive and difficult to extract. They're used in the manufacturing of computers, LCD screens, wind turbines, car parts, cellphones, missiles, light bulbs, solar panels, and countless other technological necessities. To call them essential would be an understatement. And China controls 97 percent of them.

Fahrenheit 451 All Over Again: Operation Dark Heart

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government

Unsuccessful at stopping Wikileaks' release of sensitive information in July of this year, the Pentagon has decided to go old school and just burn Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer's new book entitled "Operation Dark Heart". Citing classified information and the need to protect national security (what else is new?), the entire first print run of 9,500 books was purchased and destroyed.

Apparently a second printing has been released with the offending information redacted, but according to the author, "when you look at what they took out, it's lunacy."

Pakistani Military Brass Tossed Off US Flight

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
 This was ...

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Is airport security going too far?

On Sunday night, nine passengers of Pakistani descent were removed from a United Airlines flight to Tampa, Florida, after one of them made a comment that alarmed another passenger. At first blush, this incident doesn't seem particularly unusual. Just another in a long string of incidents involving a careless comment and a slightly overzealous flight crew, right?

Except that the nine passengers were officers in the Pakistani military, on their way to a meeting at the invitation of US Centcom. At the time of writing, most news outlets in the United States were reporting only that "nine foreign-born people" were tossed off a plane. The full story can be had by scouring the international press. Dawn.com, a Pakistani newspaper site, reports that a brigadier traveling with the delegation "had misbehaved with a stewardess and told her that 'this would be her last mission'". The article goes on to say that the delegation was held for hours without a clear explanation of what had prompted their expulsion from the airplane.… Continues …

US Revokes Training Ban for Controversial Indonesian Commando Unit

— Filed under: Politics & Government

One month ago today during a diplomatic visit to Indonesia Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, announced the recession of the US ban on ties with Kopassus, the special forces branch of the Indonesian military.

In 1999, following the implementation of a 1997 law prohibiting the US from training military forces accused of human rights violations, the US severed ties with the Indonesian military. This ban was officially receded in 2005 as a result of perceived good behavior with regard to the Indonesian military’s observation of human rights, yet the ban remained in place for the specialist Commando regiment.

Absolutely the wrong way to protest Arizona's immigration law

Two guys ran onto the field during a major league baseball game, waving the Mexican flag to protest Arizona's immigration law.  They were soon detained, and the crowd started chanting, "USA, USA".

http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/queens/men-run-onto-citi-fiel...

I can understand wanting to challenge this law which has caused so much controversy, but you're not going to gain any converts by interrupting America's favorite pasttime. And to do so by waving the flag of another country... well, you're just adding fuel to the fire of the most paranoid and xenophobic members of society. Not smart. And not surprising that the crowd reacted with patriotism.

Summer of Racism in the United States

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Racism

Image by maHidoodi via Flickr

A glut of racially-tinged stories seems to be flooding the United States this summer - so many that it has some people wondering what the heck is going on.

The madness was prefaced in March of this year by racial epithets hurled at black members of Congress by people who were protesting the passage of the health care reform bill.

Then Arizona really stirred up the pot. The state passed their now-infamous and highly controversial immigration law, which contains a provision for law enforcement officials to demand immigration documents whenever they have "reasonable suspicion" that a person might be an illegal alien. Opponents of the law claim that it encourages racial profiling.… Continues …

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