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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 15,741

Journal Archives

41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like “clinical” and “precise.”

The analysis is a partial estimate of the damage wrought by Obama’s favored weapon of war, a tool he and his administration describe as far more precise than more familiar instruments of land or air power.

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson, who spearheaded the group’s study.


Scientists urge governments to turn old TV frequencies into free “super WiFi”

Governments should sack plans to auction off old television frequencies to the highest bidder and instead use the bandwidth for free super-frequency WiFi if they want to boost the economy, scientists have said.

Old television frequencies are becoming available for other uses around the world, thanks to a switch from analogue to digital transmission. However, while governments are for the most part auctioning these off to whoever is prepared to pay the most – usually mobile phone networks – they should instead be using the frequencies to create free-to-use, wide-range WiFi, scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany have said.

WiFi transmitted over old TV frequencies could be transmitted at lower frequencies than traditional WiFi, resulting in a far wider area covered. This super WiFi’s coverage area could even be as big as several kilometres in radius, a massive improvement on existing networks.

This would mean that pricey mobile services such as 4G were no longer required, which the scientists believe would lead to more mobile internet use, and a wealth of economic benefits.


All Americans, including the rich, would be better off if top tax rates went back to Eisenhower-era


All Americans, including the rich, would be better off if top tax rates went back to Eisenhower-era levels when the top federal income tax rate was 91 percent, according to a new working paper by Fabian Kindermann from the University of Bonn and Dirk Krueger from the University of Pennsylvania.

The top tax rate that makes all citizens, including the highest 1 percent of earners, the best off is “somewhere between 85 and 90 percent,” Krueger told The Huffington Post. Currently, the top rate of 39.6 percent is paid on income above $406,750 for individuals and $457,600 for couples.

Fewer than 1 percent of Americans, or about 1.3 million people, reach that top bracket.

Here is the conclusion from the report, charted:

Amazon pledges its data centers will go green

When Facebook opened its first corporate data enter in Prineville, though, the company became a target for Greenpeace because the social networking company bought its energy from PacifiCorp, which relies on coal for a lot of its electricity. Soon after, Facebook pledged to seek renewable power for its data centers.

Apple and Google, which also operate large Oregon data centers, had already made similar promises. Amazon, though, had been less specific about its energy sources and that earned it an "F" grade from Greenpeace earlier this year, even though Amazon's facilities in Morrow County draw their energy from BPA dams.

Amazon Web Services, which rents space in its facilities to other companies that need cloud-computing capacity, wrote on its website that it "has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint."

The company did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking additional detail.


One mega-corp at a time, people!

Aide: Obama open to limits in war authorization

Blinken, nominated by Obama to be Secretary of State John Kerry's deputy as the No. 2-ranked U.S. diplomat, was testifying Wednesday at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was asked by the chairman, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, if a three-year limit on operations and a prohibition on a large-scale ground combat mission were reasonable.

Blinken said those conditions would be "appropriate" and could form a "good basis" for the law.


The toughest bout of questioning came from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who asked Blinken if he was wrong two years ago when he said "what is beyond debate ... is that Iraq today is less violent, more democratic and more prosperous, and the United States more deeply engaged there than at any time in recent history.


Obama also is seeking $5.6 billion to cover the military costs in Iraq and Syria. Those funds may come in an annual defense bill senators are trying to complete by year's end.


Who will pay for it?

Seven of the 30 largest corporations in US paid more to their CEOs than they did in taxes, study fin


Which would you think would be larger for Ford Motor, a company that last year reported revenues of $139.4b: the taxes it pays the US federal government or the compensation it pays its CEO?

If you picked option B, congratulations – you may be cynical, but you’re right. Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, pocketed a compensation package that totaled $23.2m while Ford itself got a US federal tax refund of $19m.

And Ford isn’t the only company to pay its CEO more than it forked over to Uncle Sam.

Seven of the country’s 30 largest corporations paid more to their CEOs than they did in taxes last year, according to a just-released study by the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds

Nov 19 (Reuters) - A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study.

Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role.


WaPo: "The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq"

The report suggests that U.S. foreign policy has played a big role in making the problem worse: "The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq," it concludes. "This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent." Indeed, among the five countries accounting for the bulk of attacks, the U.S. has prosecuted lengthy ground wars in two (Iraq and Afghanistan), a drone campaign in one (Pakistan), and airstrikes in a fourth (Syria).

The report defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

The U.S. will invest somewhere between $4 and 6 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with untold additional resources spent on anti-terrorism efforts elsewhere, according to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While we haven't suffered any major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, the Global Terrorism Index numbers cast considerable doubt on whether that money's been well-spent. And they give some credence to the notion that our ham-handed foreign policy is actually a destabilizing factor in world affairs.

In other news, the Obama administration recently approved doubling the number of troops we currently have on the ground in Iraq.


When do we leave?

How do we pay for it?

Facebook embraces renewable energy to power its new data center

Like other data centers built by Facebook in Lulea, Forest City and Prineville, the Altoona site is 100% cooled by outside air and is powered exclusively by renewable energy. A new wind project in Wellsburg, a close by town in Iowa, provides 140 megawatts of new, renewable energy to the Iowa energy grid – much more than the data center will need to operate both now and in the future. The combination of efficient construction and being powered by renewable energy sources is sure to prove to be a winning combination for the social network, and is likely to make it easier for Facebook to expand even further in the future by harnessing the same technologies.


Fossil fuels and nuclear are the dying gasp of a bygone era.

Welcome to the future. All Aboard!!!!

CNN: ISIS Takes Libyan City.

Can we leave now?

We destabilized the entire region and it's turned to crap.

We are the problem not the solution.

Edit: link http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/18/world/isis-libya/index.html?c=&page=3
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