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grahamhgreen

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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 02:05 PM
Number of posts: 12,935

Journal Archives

Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert

http://news.yahoo.com/uk-holds-emergency-talks-growing-ebola-threat-084704564.html

Bart Janssens, MSF's director of operations, warned that governments and global bodies had no "overarching view" vision of how to tackle the outbreak.

"This epidemic is unprecedented, absolutely out of control and the situation can only get worse, because it is still spreading, above all in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in some very important hotspots," he said.

"If the situation does not improve fairly quickly, there is a real risk of new countries being affected," he told La Libre Belgique newspaper.

In Canada, local media reported that a Canadian doctor had put himself in quarantine as a precaution after spending weeks in west Africa treating patients with the virus alongside an American doctor, who is now infected.

US Unable to Account for $626 Million Worth of Weapons in Afghanistan

The United States’ Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in a new report, notes that “747,000 weapons and auxiliary equipment” given to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) are unaccounted for. The United States has been training and supporting the ANSF to foster self-sufficiency in the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. The ANSF will take over Afghanistan’s precarious internal security situation once the United States and NATO withdraw from the country at the end of this year. Weapons supplies from the U.S. to the ANSF are one of the main ways in which the United States supports the development of the ANSF. According to SIGAR, the unaccounted weapons “are valued at approximately $626 million.”

Among the unaccounted for arms are rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and shotguns. 465,000 of these small arms are missing according to the SIGAR report. The report additionally finds that the DoD’s ledger systems for recording weapon shipments to Afghanistan have major errors and discrepancies.

The Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP) and the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database (OVERLORD), two systems used by the DoD to keep track of weapon shipments to Afghanistan, were found to have major errors and discrepancies. For example, 43 percent of serial numbers in the OVERLORD system had “missing information and/or duplication.”

Other serial numbers were recorded multiple times and some had no shipping or receiving dates attached to them. In 2010, the DoD was required to implement a weapons registration program for all small arms transferred to the ANSF. According to the SIGAR audit, the poor management of serial number data has seriously impaired U.S. efforts to keep track of where these weapons are ending up in Afghanistan.


http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/us-unable-to-account-for-626-million-worth-of-weapons-in-afghanistan/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+the-diplomat+%28The+Diplomat+RSS%29

EDIT: is there one poster on this board who has a good reason for us to stay in AFGHANISTAN? Please discuss

NYC Republican Convicted in Corruption Case

Mr. Halloran was accused of taking part in two separate schemes. In one, he was accused of acting a liaison between Mr. Smith and Republican Party officials in an effort to get Mr. Smith on the ballot for mayor in 2013. The price for his services, according to the prosecution, was $20,000.

He was also charged with taking at least $15,000 in bribes for designating about $80,000 in New York City funds to a nonprofit entity, allowing the money to be embezzled through a no-show job.

Mr. Halloran, testifying in his defense, said the only time he took money, it was as a loan, not as a gift. He spent five days on the witness stand; on Tuesday, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before delivering a verdict.

He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and two counts of Travel Act bribery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/nyregion/daniel-halloran-found-guilty-of-taking-bribes-and-orchestrating-payoffs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

WASHINGTON --
More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bills. Their mortgages, auto loans or student debt pile up, unpaid. Even past-due gym membership fees or cellphone contracts can end up with a collection agency, potentially hurting credit scores and job prospects, said Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank. "Roughly, every third person you pass on the street is going to have debt in collections," Ratcliffe said. "It can tip employers' hiring decisions, or whether or not you get that apartment."

The study found that 35.1 percent of people with credit records had been reported to collections for debt that averaged $5,178, based on September 2013 records. The study points to a disturbing trend: The share of Americans in collections has remained relatively constant, even as the country as a whole has whittled down the size of its credit card debt since the official end of the Great Recession in the middle of 2009.The delinquent debt is overwhelmingly concentrated in Southern and Western states. Texas cities have a large share of their populations being reported to collection agencies: Dallas (44.3 percent); El Paso (44.4 percent), Houston (43.7 percent), McAllen (51.7 percent) and San Antonio (44.5 percent). Almost half of Las Vegas residents- many of whom bore the brunt of the housing bust that sparked the recession- have debt in collections. Other Southern cities have a disproportionate number of their people facing debt collectors, including Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi.


http://6abc.com/finance/study-35-percent-in-us-facing-debt-collectors/226268/

Time for a debt jubilee!!!

Hospitals staff abandon work in fear of contracting Ebola


http://www.pangeatoday.com/hospital-staff-abandons-work-in-fear-of-contracting-ebola/

Many panic-stricken health workers in Liberia have reportedly deserted their workstations after several of their colleagues were killed by the deadly Ebola virus currently spreading across West Africa.

The disease, which has no known cure, has caused more than 500 deaths in the region since the latest epidemic broke out in January, with the number of confirmed fatalities in Liberia alone nearing 100.

Guinea – where the epidemic originated – and Sierra Leone have been similarly affected.

At least five major hospitals and health centers in the Liberian capital of Monrovia have reported a critical decline in manpower as doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians refuse to come to work for fear of being infected.


http://allafrica.com/stories/201407251765.html

Monrovia — Nurses at Liberia's premiere hospital, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center are refusing to continue work as death toll continues to climb from the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia Friday.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that the Emergency section at JFK is being shutdown and a small team of health care workers and patients are being moved to another floor in the hospital.

Sources inform FrontPageAfrica that the ER will remain closed until it is sprayed thoroughly and quarantined for 21 incubation period.

...........

Leading doctors at both JFK and Phebe Hospital are currently quarantined at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville where health practitioners from the Samaritan Purse have been working around the clock to treat serious cases.

Dr. Nelson Korkor, the lead doctor at Phebe was brought down to Monrovia three days ago and is being quarantined along with Dr. Dr, Samuel Brisbane, a former Chief Medical Doctor at the Firestone Rubber Plantation Hospital and a Physician assistant. "All three are still alive but the doctor from Phebe is the strongest of the three, they are all alive. Dr. Brisbane is vomiting occasionally but is holding up, the PA however is deteriorating, a senior hospital administrator told FrontPageAfrica on condition of anonymity.


This could get really bad quickly if the infected are left alone to spread the contagion.

Study shows the powerful are not motivated to care about others

We found that for those participants who were induced to experience feelings of power, their brains showed virtually no resonance with the actions of others; conversely, for those participants who were induced to experience feelings of powerlessness, their brains resonated quite a bit. In short, the brains of powerful people did not mirror the actions of other people. And when we analyzed the text of the participants’ essays, using established techniques for coding and measuring themes, we found that the more power that people expressed, the less their brains resonated. Power, it appears, changes how the brain itself responds to others.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/powerful-and-coldhearted.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Does anyone support spending $10 million/hr on war?

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/

DETROIT SHUTS OFF WATER TO RESIDENTS BUT NOT TO BUSINESSES WHO OWE MILLIONS

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/26/detroit-shuts-off-water-to-residents-but-not-to-businesses-who-owe-millions.html

DETROIT — In Detroit, even the most basic necessity cannot be taken for granted.

Some 15,000 residential customers have lost water service, and tens of thousands more are in danger of losing it, thanks to past due bills. But businesses owing hundreds of thousands of dollars have not been disconnected, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department records show.


According to a department list, the top 40 commercial and industrial accounts have past-due accounts totaling $9.5 million. That list includes apartment complexes, the Chrysler Group, real estate agencies, a laundromat and even a cemetery.

Meanwhile, stories of residential shutoffs abound. Tangela Harris been doing her best to keep up, but when she was no longer able to work she had trouble stretching her monthly $780 in disability benefits to pay the water bill. So her water service was disconnected. Harris has since come up with $1,100 to have services restored but is having trouble keeping her $180 monthly payment to the water department. On top of that, her home has entered foreclosure because Detroit water bills are rolled into property taxes.

Obama Is Going After The Loophole That Sends American Companies To Cheap Tax Countries

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-obama-presses-to-close-corporate-tax-loophole-inversions-2014-24

So-called inversion deals occur when a U.S. company acquires or sets up a foreign company, then moves its U.S. tax domicile to the foreign company and its lower-tax home country.

Nine inversion deals have been agreed to this year by companies ranging from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International Inc to drug maker AbbVie Inc and more are under consideration. The transactions are setting a record pace since the first inversion was done 32 years ago.

.....

Obama will throw his weight behind the Democratic bills, calling for a rule change that would deem any company with half of its business in the United States to be U.S.-domiciled.

The proposed changes, already put forward in Obama's annual budget, would be retroactive to May of this year and implemented independently of moves to achieve broader tax reform.

YAHOO: On the torture report, a confrontation looms

Sometime this summer, probably when as many Americans as possible are tanning on a beach and not paying attention, the White House is expected to release a version of a classified report on torture during the Bush years. Actually, what's likely to become public is only the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report; the entire thing, five years in the making, clocks in at about 6,700 pages, making it the most exhaustive account yet of what really went on in secret CIA prisons around the world.

President Obama has repeatedly said he favors declassifying the report, which the public really ought to see. And should he release the summary in something close to the form in which it was sent to him, then his decision will likely end an unusually public standoff between top senators and the CIA, each of whom accused the other of spying illegally as the report was being compiled and written.

If, on the other hand, Obama delays the release much longer, or bows to the intelligence community and decides to black out the report's most damaging findings, then we may find ourselves on the brink of a serious escalation between the legislative and executive branches in Washington — a war over what kind of secrets the government should be allowed to keep and, more to the point, who gets to decide.

The doomsday device in this fight, which the Senate has rolled out a few times in the past but has never actually used, is an arcane, almost 40-year-old provision known as Senate Resolution 400. (Not the catchiest name ever, but you know, Hollywood thrillers have worked with less.) It's a drastic measure that's now being openly discussed as a serious option inside the Senate. But before we get to all that, let's take a step back and consider what's really going on here....

http://news.yahoo.com/on-the-torture-report--a-confrontation-looms-085034400.html;_ylt=A0SO80fk49BTeB8Aai6l87UF;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--

..................


Here's a summary:

The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques did not effectively assist the agency in acquiring intelligence or in gaining cooperation from detainees.

The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

The CIA subjected detainees to interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.

The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate..

The CIA inaccurately characterized the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques to justify their use.

The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques was brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.

Numerous internal critiques and objections concerning the CIA’s management and use of the Detention and Interrogation were ignored.

The CIA manipulated the media by coordinating the release of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.

The way in which the CIA operated and managed the program complicated, and in some cases hindered the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.

Management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout its duration, particularly so in 2002 and 2003.

Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and were central figures in the program’s operation. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.

The effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques was not sufficiently evaluated by the CIA.

CIA personnel who were responsible for serious violations, inappropriate behavior, or management failures in the program’s operation were seldom reprimanded or held accountable by the agency.

The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program ended by 2006 due to legal and oversight concerns, unauthorized press disclosures and reduced cooperation from other nations.

The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ global reputation, and came with heavy costs, both monetary and non- monetary.

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1109052-senate-intelligence-report-list-of-cia-findings.html





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