Showing posts from November 16, 2015

We Got Scammed by Government Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

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[One of the biggest problems in responding effectively to terrorism is that every potentially useful strategy has both large up-front costs and difficult-to-determine benefits. Yes, one piece of the puzzle of controlling terrorism is effective aid to nations like Afghanistan. But, clearly, a LOT more energy needs to be put into controls over corruption for this to work. If all the money drops into the pockets of the politicians and war lords, it is not just money down the drain but money that will ultimately end up in enemy pockets as well. *RON*]
Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch / Moyers & Company, 16 November 2015
Let’s begin with the $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills, Iraqi oil money held in the US. The Bush administration began flying it into Baghdad on C-130s soon after US troops entered that city in April 2003. Essentially dumped into the void that had once been the Iraqi state, at least $1.2 to $1.6 billion of it was stolen and end…

The Horrifying Terror Attack Last Week that You Aren't Hearing About

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[Many feel that the attack on Beirut has already been forgotten. *RON*]
By AlterNet Staff / AlterNet, 15 November 15, 2015

Reporting from Beirut, New York Times' Anne Barnard has a piece titled, "Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten" out today. In the article she details the double sucide-attack that took place in Lebanon on Thursday and killed 43 people. She contrasts the outpouring of support that Paris has received over the past two days with the lack of solidarity being shown for Beirut.

The perception of being ignored has seemingly taken hold in Lebanon. She quotes the blog of Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, who wrote, “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag. When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in THOSE parts of the world.”


Stock Prices of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack

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[The title says it. And Dick Cheney shouts, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" See also: Krugman: Right-Wingers Don't Get That the Paris Terrorists Want to Provoke France into War and, unfortunately, France launches ‘massive’ air strike on ISIS in Syria. *RON*]

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 16 November 2015

The Paris attacks took place on Friday night. Since then, France’s president has vowed “war” on ISIS and today significantly escalated the country’s bombing campaign in Syria (France has been bombing ISIS in Iraqsince last January, and began bombing them in Syria in September).

Already this morning, as Aaron Cant├║ noticed, the stocks of the leading weapons manufacturers – what is usually referred to as the “defense industry” – have soared:

Number of people killed by US police in 2015 at 1,000 after Oakland shooting

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[The Guardian tracks this; the US government does not. Killing of man who allegedly pointed a replica firearm at officers in California is 1,000th entry in Guardian database tracking police killings this year. But don't read this because we have terrorists to fight, right? *RON*]
Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, 16 November 2015
The number of people killed by law enforcement in the US this year has reached 1,000 after officers in Oakland, California, shot dead a man who allegedly pointed a replica gun at them.

Authorities said several officers opened fire on the man on Sunday evening when he walked toward them as they towed away cars that had been used to perform so-called “sideshow” stunts in east Oakland. Officers discovered later that the gun was a replica, police said.

“Officers working sideshow approached by subject who pointed firearm in their direction,” the Oakland police department said on Twitter. “Officers fatally shot …

Japan's economy falls back into recession again

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[On drinking the neoliberal cool-aid. When they say the government refuses more 'stimulus' they don't mean stimulus spending, such as Trudeau proposes; they mean more quantitative easing. Meanwhile corporate investment, despite record profits, is at all-time lows. Yet they're still fretting about a mythical inflation problem. Gee I can't understand why the economy would be faltering. *RON*]

BBC News, 16 November 2015
Japan's economy has fallen into recession again after it shrank 0.8% on an annualised basis in the third quarter.

The preliminary data means the world's third-largest economy has contracted for a second consecutive quarter, marking a technical recession.

Growth was expected to decline after it fell a revised 0.7% in the second quarter on weak domestic demand.

Japan has been in recession four times since the global financial crisis.

User data plundering by Android and iOS apps is as rampant as you suspected

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[Re: the corporatocratic surveillance state. Most commonly shared data for Android is e-mail addresses; for iOS, it's GPS data. Interesting tid-bit about the mysterious domain. Some of the reader comments to the original article are informative and creepy. *RON*]

by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 4 November 2015
Apps in both Google Play and the Apple App Store frequently send users' highly personal information to third parties, often with little or no notice, according to recently published research that studied 110 apps.
The researchers analyzed 55 of the most popular apps from each market and found that a significant percentage of them regularly provided Google, Apple, and other third parties with user e-mail addresses, names, and physical locations. On average, Android apps sent potentially sensitive data to 3.1 third-party domains while the average iOS app sent it to 2.6 third-party domains. In some cases, health apps sent se…

Causes of and cures for the Paris massacre

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[This article actually doesn't have a title. It's a bit of a diatribe but there are some good ideas buried within. Also pretty good: What would the world look like if we defeated Isis? *RON*]
Yonatan Zunger, Yonatan Zunger's Google+ Page, 14 Nov 2015

Twenty-four hours after an attack by Da'esh (the organization formerly known as ISIS [1]) on Paris left 129 dead and 352 wounded, the Internet and the airwaves alike have been filled with profound waves of self-serving nonsense and stupidity from left and right alike. Everyone seems to have found a way in which this situation justifies their position – protect the refugees! Exile the refugees! Bomb someone! Stop all bombing of anyone! – and magically, it seems that one of the most complex political situations of our time can be reduced to simple slogans.

Well, I've run out of patience with this, so let me seriously discuss what just happened here, and what it tells us. I'm goi…

There Is Only One Way to Defeat ISIS

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[The language is overwrought but I agree with the sentiment: we must hold accountable our Middle Eastern 'allies'—the states and bankers and political elites—who persist in funding mass murder. "...not another bullet will be sold to you, let alone advanced warplanes, until this act gets cleaned up to our satisfaction. If that endangers your political position back home, that's your problem, not ours. You are no longer trusted allies." A good time to invest more in sustainable energy, therefore. *RON*]

By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 14 November 2015

​There was a strange stillness in the news on Saturday morning, a Saturday morning that came earlier in Paris than it did in Des Moines, a city in Iowa, one of the United States of America. The body count had stabilized. The new information came at a slow, stately pace, as though life were rearranging itself out of quiet respect for the dead. The new information came at a slow and…