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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,585

Journal Archives

CBS News: Iraq War Veterans Question What Their Service Accomplished


Iraq war veterans question what their service accomplished

Jun 17, 2014 9:32 AM EDT

As the current crisis in Iraq unfolds, some Iraq war veterans are asking if all the gains made by U.S. forces have been lost.

When former Army Capt. Blake Hall left Iraq in 2007, he remembers being hopeful.

"Iraq had an opportunity for long-term political reconciliation," Hall told CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

Two years later, Army Sgt. Matt Pelak had a similar feeling when his service was over. He saw progress among the Iraqi army and people his unit trained.

- snip -

Hall said he thinks it was a mistake not only to go into Iraq, but also to leave it.


GM Recalls Three Million More Cars Over Ignition Switches Issues

Source: Reuters

GM recalls three million more cars over ignition switches issues

Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:59pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Monday recalled 3.36 million North American cars with ignition switches that can be jarred out of the "run" position, potentially affecting power steering, power brakes and air bags.

The switch issue is similar to the defect linked to at least 13 deaths in an earlier, 2.6-million vehicle recall of Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars.

GM has made 44 recalls this year, totally about 20 million vehicles. That is more than total annual U.S. vehicle sales. More than 6 million of the vehicles were recalled for ignition switch-related issues. GM said it would replace or rework the ignition keys on the cars in the new recall, and it raised a recall-related charge for the second quarter to $700 million from $400 million. That takes total recall-related charges this year to $2 billion.

GM said it was aware of eight crashes and six injuries related to the new recall.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0ER2Q220140616

Tech Giants Seek to Halt Overseas Snooping by US

Source: Associated Press

@AP: Microsoft, Apple and others file lawsuit saying US has no right to seize computer data stored outside country http://t.co/B2i2DObMFf/s/QunE


— Jun. 16, 2014 3:49 PM EDT

FILE - This Jan. 22, 2009 file photo shows the Microsoft sign outside the headquarters campus in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft Corp. and four other large American technology companies are using a Manhattan court case to draw a line in the cloud, saying the U.S. government has no right to seize computer data stored outside the country. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft Corp. and four other large American technology companies are using a Manhattan court case to draw a line in the cloud, saying the U.S. government has no right to seize computer data stored outside the country.

U.S. companies that host services over the Internet and sell remote data storage — a concept broadly known as "cloud computing" — say they stand to lose billions of dollars in business if emails and other files they house overseas are seen vulnerable to U.S. snooping.

Lawyers for the companies say the perception was stoked by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden's revelations last year that the U.S. and other countries' intelligence agencies routinely and indiscriminately gather and store huge amounts of data from phone calls and Internet communications.

And it was harmed again in April, they say, when a Manhattan magistrate judge concluded it was legal for the government to order Microsoft to comply with a sealed search warrant for a consumer email account it stores in Dublin, Ireland.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/tech-giants-seek-halt-overseas-snooping-us

U.S. Health Care System Ranks Lowest in International Survey

Source: CBS News

U.S. health care system ranks lowest in international survey

Jun 16, 2014 3:32 PM EDT

The U.S. spends more money on health care compared with other industrialized countries, but Americans still get the least bang for their buck -- and many still don't have access to care -- according to a report just published by the Commonwealth Fund. The report from the private health care research foundation examined data on expenditures, delivery and access to health care services among 11 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

Overall, the U.K. and Switzerland were rated highest for factors that included quality, access, efficiency and equity of health care. The U.S., Canada and France overall ranked lowest. The U.S. was found to perform worst in areas concerning cost of care, efficiency, equity and overall health of its citizens, even though health care expenditures were highest per capita compared with the other 10 countries in the report.

In 2011, the U.S. spent $8,508 per capita in health care expenditures, compared with $3,405 per capita in the U.K., which was the country with the highest ranked health care system overall.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-health-care-system-ranks-lowest-in-international-survey/

TOM TOMORROW: The Anti- Party

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/16/1307129/-Cartoon-The-anti-party

Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and be sure to visit TT's Emporium of Shopping Fun!

WaPo: U.S. Officials Scrambled to Nab Snowden ("Decision to Force a Foreign Leader’s Plane to Land")


U.S. officials scrambled to nab Snowden, hoping he would take a wrong step. He didn’t.

BY GREG MILLER June 14 at 10:38 PM

While Edward Snowden was trapped in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport last year, U.S. officials were confronting their own dearth of options in the White House Situation Room.

- snip -

“The best play for us is him landing in a third country,” Monaco said, according to an official who met with her at the White House. The official, who like other current and former officials interviewed for this article discussed internal deliberations on the condition of anonymity, added, “We were hoping he was going to be stupid enough to get on some kind of airplane, and then have an ally say: ‘You’re in our airspace. Land.’ ”

U.S. officials thought they saw such an opening on July 2 when Bolivian President Evo Morales, who expressed support for Snowden, left Moscow aboard his presidential aircraft. The decision to divert that plane ended in embarrassment when it was searched in Vienna and Snowden was not aboard.

- snip -

The burst of activity during that period — including the White House meetings, a broad diplomatic scramble and the decision to force a foreign leader’s plane to land — was far more extensive than U.S. officials acknowledged at the time.


Chelsea Manning Op/Ed in NYT: The Fog Machine of War


The Fog Machine of War

June 14, 2014

- snip -

If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq, you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers. The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.

Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki’s administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more “anti-Iraqi” print shops.

I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar.

- snip -

The more I made these daily comparisons between the news back in the States and the military and diplomatic reports available to me as an analyst, the more aware I became of the disparity. In contrast to the solid, nuanced briefings we created on the ground, the news available to the public was flooded with foggy speculation and simplifications.


Jazz Soprano Luminary Jimmy Scott dies at 88

Source: Agence France-Presse

Jazz Soprano Luminary Jimmy Scott dies at 88

Los Angeles (AFP) June 13, 2014 at 9:04:51 PM EDT

Jazz singer Jimmy Scott -- famed for his unusually high soprano voice caused by a rare genetic condition -- has died, US media reported Friday. He was 88.

Scott died in his sleep Thursday at his home in Las Vegas, the reports said, without revealing the cause of death.

James Victor Scott was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 17, 1925. He was one of 10 children.

Scott began his career in the 1940s, recording with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Charlie Parker and others.

He also crossed over into rhythm and blues, reaching the top of the charts with "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" -- though it was bandleader Lionel Hampton, and not Scott, who was credited on the record label.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/13/jazz-soprano-luminary-jimmy-scott-dies-at-88/

Earth May Have Underground 'Ocean' Three Times That on Surface

Source: The Guardian

Earth may have underground 'ocean' three times that on surface

Scientists say rock layer hundreds of miles down holds vast amount of water, opening up new theories on how planet formed

Melissa Davey
Thursday 12 June 2014 23.53 EDT

After decades of searching scientists have discovered that a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over, may be trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, potentially transforming our understanding of how the planet was formed.

The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen said.

“I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

Jacobsen and his colleagues are the first to provide direct evidence that there may be water in an area of the Earth’s mantle known as the transition zone. They based their findings on a study of a vast underground region extending across most of the interior of the US.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/13/earth-may-have-underground-ocean-three-times-that-on-surface

Our Embassy in Baghdad is the Largest & Most Expensive in the World

@jonathanalter: RT @politicoroger: Our embassy in Baghdad is the largest & most expensive in the world. Get ready to kiss it goodbye.
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