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East Coast Pirate

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Member since: Tue May 15, 2012, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 775

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Pentagon Lays Out Options for U.S. Military Effort in Syria

WASHINGTON —The Pentagon has provided Congress with its first detailed list of military options to stem the bloody civil war in Syria, suggesting that a campaign to tilt the balance from President Bashar al-Assad to the opposition would be a vast undertaking, costing billions of dollars, and could backfire on the United States.

The list of options —laid out in a letter from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin of Michigan —was the first time the military has explicitly described what it sees as the formidable challenge of intervening in the war.

It came as the White House, which has limited its military involvement to supplying the rebels with small arms and other weaponry, has begun implicitly acknowledging that Mr. Assad may not be forced out of power anytime soon.

The options, which range from training opposition troops to conducting airstrikes and enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria, are not new. But General Dempsey provided details about the logistics and the costs of each. He noted that long-range strikes on the Syrian government’s military targets would require “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers,” and cost “in the billions.”

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/world/middleeast/pentagon-outlining-options-to-congress-suggests-syria-campaign-would-be-costly.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:22 AM (4 replies)

Your Chances of Dying

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon Jul 22, 2013, 12:20 PM (7 replies)

Norwegian woman in Dubai sentenced to jail after reporting rape to police

Source: The Age

Jailed for reporting her rape: Norwegian businesswoman Marte Deborah Dalelv.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported an alleged rape said on Friday she decided to speak out in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of outsiders misunderstanding the Islamic-influenced legal codes in this cosmopolitan city.

The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced on Wednesday. It also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates' international atmosphere and its legal system, which is strongly influenced by Islamic traditions in a nation where foreign workers and visitors greatly outnumber locals.

"I have to spread the word. ... After my sentence we thought, 'How can it get worse?'" Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press in an interview at a Norwegian aid compound in Dubai where she is preparing her appeal scheduled for early September.

Dalelv claims during an interview about the assault police asked her: 'Are you sure you called the police because you just didn't like it?'

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/norwegian-woman-in-dubai-sentenced-to-jail-after-reporting-rape-to-police-20130722-2qd44.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:52 AM (10 replies)

Geothermal energy systems paying off big for school districts

NORMAL — The sizzling temperatures aren’t bothering students in a summer gymnastics program at Oakdale Elementary School, nor do they affect staff working at Olympia North Elementary School in Danvers.

Both buildings are in school districts that pioneer use of geothermal energy systems, using heat pump systems and energy from the ground to heat and cool the buildings.

Such systems were rare a decade ago, but they are working well and have been worth the initial investment, school leaders said this week.

“They provide an environment that is conducive to learning,” said Olympia Superintendent Andrew Wise.

“And do it cost effectively,” added Assistant Superintendent Josh Olsen.

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jul 21, 2013, 03:21 PM (0 replies)

U.S. military drone network in the Middle East and Africa

In the aftermath of the war in Iraq and as the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan, the Pentagon is shifting its fleet of drones to other global hot spots. Among them is Turkey, where the Air Force operates four unarmed Predator drones from Incirlik Air Base.

(Interactive map at link below.)

Note: The CIA also operates drones from a base in Saudi Arabia.

More: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/us-military-drone-network-in-the-middle-east-and-africa/325/
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:50 AM (0 replies)

If UK cull is extended nationally, up to 130,000 badgers will die

London, UK - It is a character beloved by writers and immortalised in classic tales, but the distinctive badger is about to be slaughtered in a cull that is dividing the British countryside.

In an effort to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis, ministers have ordered marksmen to shoot badgers in southwest England to control what they claim is a serious threat to the UK’s £2.8bn cattle industry - and if the cull is extended nationally, up to 130,000 badgers will die.

The controversial decision - the badger is a species protected by law - has exposed serious rifts over how humane and effective the cull will be, and is fuelling fears of angry confrontations in rural areas.

Critics say the government’s move is unscientific and responds solely to political lobbying by farmers, while hardliner animal rights activists have pledged to disrupt the shooting.

"We will use direct action to disrupt the slaughter of badgers, which is cruel and unnecessary," said Jay Tiernan of the Bristol-based activist group Stop the Cull. "We will patrol the countryside and undertake citizens arrests of anyone we see trying to shoot badgers."

More: http://aje.me/1142gHY

Our conservatives slaughter wolves, UK conservatives slaughter badgers.
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jul 20, 2013, 09:30 PM (4 replies)

Elizabeth Warren ruffling feathers early in clubby Senate

A freshman senator is causing a stir. Outspoken and impatient of the upper chamber's clubby atmosphere, this career academic is driven by intellectual self-confidence and a willingness to be abrasive. The result is bipartisan offense and admiration.

Warren clashed last month with Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, over the nomination of Michael Froman to serve as U.S. Trade Representative.

Even though Froman sailed through the Finance Committee, Warren criticized him on the chamber floor after he declined to give her information about trade negotiations.

Froman’s backers say he would have been approved sooner if not for Warren’s opposition. Baucus made his displeasure known after the vote.

“He went up to her after the vote and it looks like they had a pretty heated exchange,” said a source who witnessed the conversation last month. “He looked mad. It looked like she failed to warn him and he called her out on it.”

More: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/312397-elizabeth-warren-ruffling-feathers-early-in-clubby-senate


Elizabeth Warren, hard-liner

Earlier this week at the White House, President Barack Obama tried to use his powers of persuasion on Elizabeth Warren, privately urging the consumer watchdog-turned-Massachusetts senator to back the student loan deal he was reaching with Senate leaders.

It didn’t work.

On Thursday, she went to the Senate floor to attack the plan, saying it would hurt students and benefit big banks. “I think this whole system stinks. We should not go along with any plan that continues to produce profits for the government. It is wrong,” Warren said.

This wasn’t an isolated incident; after nearly seven months in office, Warren has staked out firm ground to the left of the president and Senate Democratic leaders. She has called for prosecuting the actors in the financial meltdown; urged Senate leaders to invoke the “nuclear option” to help confirm Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency she helped create; and was one of just four senators to vote against Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative nominee, demanding more transparency on trade agreements.

For someone elected as a liberal darling after facing opposition for the CFPB job —and whose name is often seen alongside “2016” — Warren’s causing some heartburn for her fellow Democrats.

More: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/elizabeth-warren-hard-liner-94493.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jul 20, 2013, 04:34 PM (34 replies)

Elizabeth Warren: Student Loan Profits 'Morally Wrong'

The Obama administration and Congress are not helping students, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) charged Wednesday, reaping record profits off the federal student loan program that a regulator said has finally surpassed $1 trillion in overall debt.

The federal government is due to book $51 billion in profit this year off new and existing federal student loans, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The record amount brings the government’s profit haul to nearly $120 billion over the past five years, according to CBO forecasts and Department of Education budget documents. The CBO estimates that the government will generate $184 billion in profit for new loans made this fiscal year through 2023.

“Instead of helping our students, the government is making a profit on student loans,” Warren said of the profit figures during a conference filled with young people. “That is wrong. It is morally wrong. That is obscene.”

“The government should not be making profits off the backs of our students," she said. "Period.”

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/elizabeth-warren-student-loan_n_3612384.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu Jul 18, 2013, 06:44 AM (12 replies)

Obama Admin. could build databases of credit card transactions, hotel records and Internet searches

NSA spying under fire: 'You've got a problem'

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a heated confrontation over domestic spying, members of Congress said Wednesday they never intended to allow the National Security Agency to build a database of every phone call in America. And they threatened to curtail the government's surveillance authority.

Top Obama administration officials countered that the once-secret program was legal and necessary to keep America safe. And they left open the possibility that they could build similar databases of people's credit card transactions, hotel records and Internet searches.

The clash on Capitol Hill undercut President Barack Obama's assurances that Congress had fully understood the dramatic expansion of government power it authorized repeatedly over the past decade.

The House Judiciary Committee hearing also represented perhaps the most public, substantive congressional debate on surveillance powers since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Previous debates have been largely theoretical and legalistic, with officials in the Bush and Obama administrations keeping the details hidden behind the cloak of classified information.

More: http://news.yahoo.com/nsa-spying-under-fire-youve-got-problem-164530431.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jul 17, 2013, 05:34 PM (35 replies)

Verizon Device Rigged Into A Spying Module That Can Eavesdrop On Mobile Customers Calls, Data

Security consultants have exposed a weakness in a device sold by Verizon, which they claim could help hackers to spy on the private data of Verizon Wireless mobile phone customers.

The experts, who demonstrated their finding to Reuters, said, they could eavesdrop on Verizon Wireless customers’ calls, see photos, text messages and emails, by hacking into the U.S. carrier’s signal-boosting devices called femtocells or network extenders.

The finding has come at a time when the world is debating electronic privacy rights, after a former National Security Agency, or NSA, contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked classified information about the U. S. government's secret surveillance programs, last month.

"This is not about how the NSA would attack ordinary people. This is about how ordinary people would attack ordinary people," Tom Ritter, a senior consultant with U.S. security firm iSEC Partners, told Reuters.

More: http://www.ibtimes.com/verizon-device-rigged-spying-module-can-eavesdrop-wireless-mobile-phone-customers-calls-data-hackers
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue Jul 16, 2013, 06:34 AM (2 replies)
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