The Pentagon Overpays for Almost Everything—Even Prescription Drugs

Britain’s Farnborough Air Show wrapped up last week after seven ear-splitting days. To impress the excited kids and jaded dealers in attendance, the U.S. sent an F-8, an F-15, and a pair of F-16s. But the much anticipated F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter was a no-show. After a runway fire grounded the fleet earlier this month, the Department of Defense suspended negotiations to purchase the next batch of the planes.
The troubled fighter is only the latest in a long and growing number of cases where the DOD has bought poorly designed and massively overpriced equipment for the nation’s armed forces. Across the military, the average major Pentagon acquisition comes in at 40 percent over budget, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. In spite of the Pentagon’s well-documented history of profligacy, the Congress continues to enlarge its responsibilities. The DOD’s mandate now includes wide-ranging scientific and medical research and international infrastructure projects, diffusing the focus on its core mission—like buying planes that don’t set themselves afire on the runway. That’s a disservice to America’s military and a burden to the country’s taxpayers.
The F-35′s grounding is the latest setback in the development of an aircraft that’s already cost $400 billion. A recent GAO report noted that cost estimates for operating and supporting the F-35 fleet are now more than $1 trillion, “

Boston Suffers Extensive Damage And Flooding After Violent Storm And Rare Tornado [PHOTOS]

Murder on the Pipelines: Drug Cartels Turn Texas Oil Routes Into Killing Zones

Linda Vickers fed her horses and was walking back to her house on a secluded Texas ranch when she saw her German shepherds tussling over what looked like a sun-bleached volleyball. When she got close enough to scatter the dogs, her stomach turned: Their toy was a human skull with a shock of red hair, its flesh and lower jaw missing.
What was left of the dead woman lay just yards from Vickers’s front door, obscured by thick stands of oak and mesquite on the 1,000-acre MV Ranch, about 75 miles north of the Mexican border. The victim’s name, home, and intended destination remain mysteries, but two things are certain. She died violently: Her shinbone couldn’t have been fractured naturally in such soft, sandy soil. And she was traversing one of the oil pipeline rights of way that Mexico’s drug cartels have turned into smuggling highways and killing grounds. “Somebody beat her up and left her to die,” says Michael Vickers, Linda’s husband.
The Vickers ranch is crossed by a steel pipe as thick as a man’s calf. It delivers crude oil from a cluster of south Texas oilfields known as the Vicksburg Fault Zone to refineries in the subtropical waterfront city of Corpus Christi. Like thousands of miles of similar pipelines sprawling across the U.S. Southwest, it has been seized upon by traffickers and smugglers as a good way to evade police and the Border Patrol agents who watch the state highways.
These corridors are unmonitored because they stretch across thousands of acres of private property, and law enforcement authorities don’t have the resources to patrol them. This makes them ideal execution sites for errant couriers, business rivals, informers, and unwitting migrants who stray into the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Border Patrol finds an average of one corpse a day in the badlands near the U.S.-Mexico border; in the past 15 years, the toll has reached 5,570, exceeding all U.S. combat deaths for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. While the Border Patrol says it doesn’t break out what proportion of the dead have met their end along the pipeline trails, anecdotal evidence suggests the figure is high. Authorities say beatings, kidnappings, and rapes are rising as pipeline networks expand and new conduits are installed to handle surging oil and gas output from the Eagle Ford, the largest shale oil formation in the U.S.
The mayhem is about to get worse, according to the Border Patrol, now that Mexico has opened its energy industry for the first time in 75 years. Chevron (CVX) declared its intent to drill for Mexican oil in May, when it disclosed talks with the national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. Less than four weeks later, Pemex Chief of Staff Carlos Roa said lawmakers were close to finalizing rules governing foreign ventures that are expected to pump $30 billion annually into new wells, pipelines, and processing plants. Many of those pipes will carry Mexican oil to U.S. refining centers and ports such as Corpus Christi and Houston, at the same time creating an ever-widening matrix of black market trade routes.
Dr. Michael Vickers stands near a “crawl hole” under the fence between his ranch and US Highway 281 south of Falfurrias, Texas on July 3Photograph by Eddie Seal/BloombergDr. Michael Vickers stands near a “crawl hole” under the fence between his ranch and US Highway 281 south of Falfurrias, Texas on July 3
State laws require pipe operators to clear wide paths through the vegetation, allowing aerial inspections and letting work crews reach damaged lines quickly in the event of an explosion. Some pipes are owned by companies that lease space on them to oil producers, and others are directly owned by the energy explorers. The pipes are generally underground, but the paths atop them can be more than 100 feet wide.
In south Texas, such rights of way often present smugglers with the only easy byways through snake-infested, thorny bushes and razor-sharp grasses. The footpaths are too vast for either the pipeline owners or border agents to monitor constantly. And ranchers have learned that fences pose no deterrent.
For Michael Vickers, a 64-year-old veterinarian, the wave of violence has been overwhelming. In the past two years, 216 corpses have been found near the pipeline pathways within a 15-minute drive of his doorstep. It’s certain that many more haven’t been found: The wild, unforgiving terrain and fauna hide much evidence. “The wild hogs gobble up a lot,” he says.
His wife, Linda, a 57-year-old Texas A&M University-trained range scientist, never leaves the house without her Public Defender, a pocket-size .45-caliber handgun made by Forjas Taurus (FJTA4:BZ), or her pack of dogs—three muscular German shepherds and their leader, a silent, imposing Portuguese cattle dog-Italian mastiff mix named Tinkerbell. Michael packs a larger version of the same handgun, called the Judge, plus a .380-caliber pistol with a laser sight tucked in his shirt pocket and a .22-caliber handgun with a 30-round clip that he keeps within reach as he tours the ranch, looking for signs of encroachment. Two rifles stretch across the backseat of his Chevy (GM) Silverado.
Less than 100 yards from where a pipeline right of way passes near the main gate of the family’s property, Michael Vickers finds a “crawl hole” under the fence. Smugglers and immigrant guides have learned that the top of his galvanized metal fence is electrified, so they go underneath it. A further 20 feet along the fence line, someone has chopped a 3-foot-by-2-foot passage, just the right size for squeezing through while backpacking 80-pound bales of marijuana. Ribbons of torn cloth are tied to the fence at various points—marking a trail for allied smugglers.
Some people traverse these routes without malice. Still, it’s usually impossible to discern mild-mannered migrants heading to Houston and points north from the hired guns hauling anything from cocaine to marijuana to methamphetamine. In any case, no one comes this way without explicit permission from—and having paid a fee to—the cartels.
A Guatemalan man who froze to death on the ranch in February during a rare south Texas cold snap was probably a migrant, judging from the identification found with him, Vickers says. Like most corpses that have lain in the brush for more than a few hours, his eyes were plucked out by the crested caracara falcons that locals call Mexican eagles, for their resemblance to the bird on Mexico’s flag.
A U.S. flag flies above a Nu Star Logistics petroleum pipeline warning sign by a fence at the entrance to Dr. Michael Vickers' ranch located south of Falfurrias, Texas on July 3Photograph by Eddie Seal/BloombergA U.S. flag flies above a Nu Star Logistics petroleum pipeline warning sign by a fence at the entrance to Dr. Michael Vickers' ranch located south of Falfurrias, Texas on July 3
Tattoos that signal gang affiliations typically serve as the best indicator of which organization a smuggler works for. Since last summer, Vickers and his neighbors say they have been finding more and more trespassers (living and dead) sporting a large pistol tattooed across one hip, the mark of the Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos, a Texas prison gang linked to the Gulf Cartel.

US fuming over Israeli criticism of Kerry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a "misinformation campaign" against the top American diplomat.
"It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Her comments were echoed by the White House, where National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. was "dismayed" by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts. Israeli media reports have cast Kerry as seeking a cease-fire that is more favorable to Hamas and being dismissive of key Israeli concerns.

A USPS Worker Called 911, and Then His Bosses Called Him a Terrorist

Postal workers sometimes characterize the U.S. Postal Service as a vast bureaucracy indifferent to their gripes. But that’s not always the case. Consider what happened to Thomas Purviance, a longtime USPS employee in St. Louis, who complained about a potential safety hazard in one of the agency’s facilities: According to a recently filed lawsuit, his managers at the USPS responded by accusing him of being a terrorist.
On July 18 the U.S. Department of Labor sued the USPS, claiming the Postal Service retaliated against Purviance, a maintenance worker with 35 years experience on the job who had the nerve to call 911 after his superior dismissed Purviance’s concerns about what he feared was a carbon monoxide leak on the premises. The Labor Department says the alleged retaliation violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which permits employees to contact the authorities when they feel their working conditions are unsafe.

According to the suit, Purviance’s superiors didn’t appreciate his wish to put safety first:
“When the 9-1-1-dispatched response arrived at the [Network Distribution Center], USPS managers immediately characterized Mr. Purviance to the responders as a ‘disgruntled employee,’ said that they suspected Mr. Purviance of making a false report, and that they suspected Mr. Purviance of being a threat to sabotage the NDC building, despite the lack of any factual basis for the allegation that Mr. Purviance was a threat in any way.”
That was only the beginning of Purviance’s troubles. According to the suit, the USPS tried to get the local prosecutor’s office to put him in jail, calling him “a drug user, dangerous, unstable and a ‘terrorist,’ all without any factual basis.” In April 2010, says the suit, Purviance was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat and filing a false report. He spent 18 hours in jail before his attorney got him out. The USPS then tried to have Purviance fired.
The charges were all dropped

John Boehner Urges U.S. Solidarity With Israel

(AP) — House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that support for Israel must be the United States' main focus and not peace mediation in a subtle jab at the Obama administration.

"At times like this, people try to isolate Israel - but we are here to stand with Israel," Boehner said in remarks at the National Press Club. "Not just as a broker or observer — but as a strong partner and a trusted ally."

Boehner defined that support: "Well, it doesn't mean issuing vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements. No, it means backing up our words, and showing solidarity with our friend."

The comments from the Ohio Republican came as Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to negotiate a humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after weeks of fighting, with little success.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned his country that it faces a prolonged campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Boehner said the U.S. House will always support Israel's right to defend itself.

Furor engulfs Chicago's red-light camera system

(AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is scrambling to contain a furor over the city's red-light camera system, which may have ticketed thousands of motorists under questionable circumstances.
Prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation that revealed unexplained spikes in tickets issued, eight aldermen have asked the city's top watchdog to launch a probe into the ticket surge and private attorneys are gathering information for a possible class-action lawsuit.
Emanuel has vowed to give motorists an extra chance to appeal tickets and to refund any issued improperly. More than 13,000 red-light tickets costing $100 each were generated at a dozen intersections where there were dramatic spikes in violations logged.
But critics say that simply writing refund checks won't restore public trust the city's system for enforcing violations.
"These spikes, you can tell they (the tickets) are fraudulent," said Scott Waguespack, one of the aldermen who sent Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson a letter asking for an investigation. "We are talking millions of dollars here and something is fundamentally wrong with the system."
In its review of tickets issued since 2007, the Tribune found intersections where violations increased from a few per day to as many as 56.
Neither Emanuel nor the city transportation department has suggested the possibility of scrapping the cameras, as Los Angeles, Houston and a few dozen other cities have in recent years amid questions about their effectiveness. The number of cities using the cameras peaked at 540 in 2012. By the end of 2013, that number had dropped to 503

Israel Creates ‘No Man’s Land’ in Gaza, Shrinking Strip by 40 Percent

To protect itself from Hamas rockets and tunnels, Israel is forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes, turning their old neighborhoods into a no-man’s land.
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza — This narrow strip of land that used to be called “the Gaza Strip,” already one of the more densely populated places on earth, is growing dramatically smaller. The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the three-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.
What that means on the ground is scenes of extraordinary devastation in places like the Al Shajaya district approaching Gaza’s eastern frontier, and Beit Hanoun in the north. These were crowded neighborhoods less than three weeks ago. Now they have been literally depopulated, the residents joining more than 160,000 internally displaced people in refuges and makeshift shelters. Apartment blocks are fields of rubble, and as I move through this hostile landscape the phrase that keeps ringing in my head is “scorched earth.”

Doctor who contracted Ebola in grave condition

Brantly is himself a patient, fighting for his own survival in an isolation unit on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, after contracting the deadly disease.
The Texas-trained doctor says he is "terrified" of the disease progressing further, according to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where Brantly completed a four-year residency.
"I'm praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease," Brantly said in an email Monday to Mcray. He also asked that prayers be extended for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who also has fallen ill.
Brantly "went into Ebola exhausted" from treating Ebola patients, Mcray said after speaking with him Monday. His prognosis is grave and efforts to evacuate him to Europe for treatment have been thwarted because of concerns expressed by countries he would have to fly over en route to any European destination,

Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state

Gov. Bill Haslam said he only learned of the White House’s dumping of 760 illegal immigrants in Tennessee after seeing a notification on the Health and Human Services website — and that’s even after he had asked the Obama administration to give him advance notice of any illegals who were on their way to his state.
Mr. Haslam said he and several other governors “met with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell [and] emphasized to Secretary Burwell the need to be informed of any children being relocated to our states,” Breitbart reported.
He then said 700 illegal minor-aged immigrants were recently sent to Tennessee, but he received no notification at all.
“It is unacceptable that we become aware via a posting on the HHS website that 760 unaccompanied children have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee without my administration’s knowledge,” he said in a letter to President Obama and Ms. Burwell, Breitbart reported.

Massachusetts police chiefs demand more power to disarm citizenry

“Police chiefs rally for gun safety at the State House,” WWLP-22News (“Working for You”) “reported” Tuesday.
“Reported” was put in quotation marks, because this thinly-disguised paean to state control begins with the biggest gun-grabber lie of all, that citizen disarmament provides safety, immediately followed by their lie du jour, that “There have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook,” a bit of manipulation and deception exposed for what it is by journalist Charles C. Johnson.
“The unusual public criticism by police chiefs comes after the Senate last week voted to remove a House provision giving chiefs discretion to deny firearms identification cards, required to buy shotguns and rifles, to people they deem unsuitable,” The Boston Globe explained. “They now have that discretion over licenses to carry handguns.”

Obama mulls large-scale move on immigration

Advocates and lawmakers who were in separate meetings Friday said that administration officials are weighing a range of options including reforms to the deportation system and ways to grant relief from deportation to targeted populations in the country, likely by expanding Obama's two-year-old directive that granted work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths. That program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been extended to more than 500,000 immigrants so far.
Advocates would like to see deferred action made available to anyone who would have been eligible for eventual citizenship under a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, which would be around 9 million people. But Obama told them in a meeting a month ago to "right-size" expectations, even as he pledged to be aggressive in steps he does take.
That's led advocates to focus on other populations Obama might address, including parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children (around 3.8 million people as of 2009, according to an analysis by Pew Research's Hispanic Trends Project) and parents or legal guardians of DACA recipients (perhaps 500,000 to 1 million people, according to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement).
"Our parents deserve to live without the fear of deportation," Maria Praeli, a 21-year-old from New Haven who came to the United States from Peru 16 years ago, said at a protest outside the White House on Monday. "It is time for the president to go big and to go bold."
Another focus could be the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who might be eligible for green cards today if current law didn't require them to leave the country for 10 years before applying for

Appeal court upholds Florida 'docs vs. glocks' gun law

TALLAHASSEE — A federal appeals court has upheld the state's "docs vs. glocks" law, overturning an earlier court ruling that had blocked part of the measure from being enforced.
In a 2-1 ruling last week, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Florida Legislature had the right to pass the law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits.
Doctors and gun-control advocates said Monday they will appeal to the case to the full 11th circuit.
"In order to protect patients, physicians have for millennia been subject to codes of conduct that define the practice of good medicine and affirm the responsibility physicians bear," Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote. "In keeping with these traditional codes of conduct — which almost universally mandate respect for patient privacy — the Act simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters."

Russia offers a $110,000 bounty if you can crack Tor

Russia's Interior Ministry has put out a bounty of around $110,000 to groups who can crack the US Navy-designed privacy network. After the country's vicious crackdown on dissenting voices back in 2012, protestors who hadn't escaped or been jailed began using anonymous internet communication as their first line of defense against the Kremlin.

At least 14 people have been struck by lightning in California, officials say

Los Angeles fire spokeswoman Katherine Main says 13 people were treated after they were struck Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach in Los Angeles

Detroit Shuts Off Water to Residents but Not to Businesses Who Owe Millions

More than 15,000 households have had their taps turned off for being past due. Yet the bankrupt city hasn’t touched 40 businesses who owe $9.5 million in total.
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.

more @

Israel Murders IDF Soldier to Prevent His Capture

sgt guy levy
Sgt. Guy Levy of the armored corps, killed July 26, 2014 by the IDF to prevent his capture
I’ve devoted a good deal of my life to Israel.  I’ve studied, read, visited, lived, breathed it.  Not in the way diehard pro-Israel fanatics do.  But in a different way that matched my own intellectual and political proclivities.  It’s a subject that is rich, varied, troubling, bedeviling, and exhilarating.  But every once in a while I learn something I never thought possible; and I don’t mean this in a good way.
Tonight, my Israeli source informed me that Sgt. Guy Levy, serving in the armored corps, was captured by Hamas fighters.  He had been part of a joint engineering-armored-combat unit searching for tunnels.  Troops entered a structure and discovered a tunnel.  Suddenly, out of the shaft sprang two militants who dragged one of the soldiers into it.  By return fire, one of the Palestinians was killed, while the other fled, presumably with the soldier.
This Israeli report, which was censored by the IDF, says only that the attempt to capture the soldier failed.  It says nothing about his fate.  The expectation of anyone reading it would be that the soldier was freed.  But he was not.  In order to prevent the success of the operation, the IDF killed him.  Nana reports that the IDF fired a tank shell into the building, which is the same way another captured soldier was killed by the IDF during Cast Lead.
I would presume that once the militant fled into the tunnel with his prisoner that the IDF destroyed the tunnel and entombed those within it, including the soldier.  I would also presume that the IDF knows he is dead because they retrieved his body.
To the uninitiated this will seem a terribly strange, uncivilized, even immoral act.  But that’s where I learned something I’d never known before about the IDF.  There is an unwritten secret regulation written by the IDF High Command, but nowhere codified in writing.  Its existence is protected by military censorship.  Journalists have rarely written about it.  When they have it’s usually been in code or by inference.
It’s called the Hannibal Directive.  Though the Wikipedia article doesn’t explain the reference to Hannibal, I assume it relates to the death of the great Carthaginian general, who took poison rather than allow himself to be captured by his mortal enemy, the Romans.  Though Sara Leibovich-Dar wrote in 2003 that the name came from a military computer!
In my long history of dedication to this subject, I’ve rarely seen anything that has disturbed me as much.  The Hannibal Directive is:
…A secret directive of the Israel Defense Forces with the purpose of preventing Israeli soldiers being captured by enemy forces in the course of combat.
…The order, drawn up in 1986 by a group of top Israeli officers, states that at the time of a kidnapping the main mission becomes forcing the release of the abducted soldiers from their kidnappers, even if that means injury to Israeli soldiers.
The order allows commanders to take whatever action is necessary, including endangering the life of an abducted soldier, to foil the abduction…
As happens so often in these cases, an IDF commander instrumental in drafting the order denied the horrific logic of the directive and then offered an example of how he would proceed which only confirmed it:
In a rare interview by one of the authors of the directive, Yossi Peled…denied that it implied a blanket order to kill Israeli soldiers rather than let them be captured by enemy forces. The order only allowed the army to risk the life of a captured soldier, not to take it. “I wouldn’t drop a one-ton bomb on the vehicle, but I would hit it with a tank shell”, Peled was quoted saying. He added that he personally “would rather be shot than fall into Hizbullah captivity.”
In other words, the IDF will do almost everything in its power to prevent capture of its soldiers including killing him.  It might not put a bullet directly in his brain, but it would certainly shell a home or vehicle in which he was situated.
Perhaps there’s a lingering bit of the liberal Zionist I once was here, but I’d always heard that Israel never leaves a soldier behind.  It does everything possible to bring all its troops home, and once captured does everything possible to retrieve or free them.
All this time I was sorely mistaken.  When all hope is lost of liberating the soldier from captivity, he dies.  What’s equally disturbing is that the existence of the directive is an open secret.  Commanders warn their soldiers that no one may be captured and that if you are you must commit suicide.  If you can’t do that, then they will do their best to kill you.  Perhaps they don’t articulate it precisely in those words, but that’s the clear intent.
Lest you think Hannibal is a theoretical regulation, it has been implemented before and captured soldiers have been killed by the IDF.  Most recently it happened during Operation Cast Lead:
During the war there was a case where the Hannibal directive was invoked. An Israeli soldier was shot and injured by a Hamas fighter during a search of a house in one of the neighborhoods of Gaza. The wounded soldiers’ comrades evacuated the house due to fears that it was booby-trapped. According to testimony by soldiers who took part in the incident the house was then shelled to prevent the wounded soldier from being captured by Hamas.
You have every right to ask: what soldier in his right mind would follow such an order.  There are thankfully examples of ones who refused.  But there are a number who didn’t including the tank commander who fired on his comrade in that home in Gaza, killing him.
You also have a right to ask how the IDF could approve such a regulation.  The answer is it didn’t more @

The Judges Approving the NSA's Surveillance Requests Keep Buying Verizon Stock

When the National Security Agency would like to take a look at all of the metadata of phone calls made by people using Verizon, a program revealed last summer by Edward Snowden, they must obtain approval from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (better known as the FISA Court), which typically grants such requests. VICE has obtained disclosures that reveal for the first time since this program was made public that FISA Court judges have not only owned Verizon stock in the last year, but that at least one of the judges to sign off on the NSA orders for bulk metadata collection is a proud shareholder of the company complying with these requests.
On May 28 last year, Judge James Zagel, a FISA Court member since 2008, purchased stock in Verizon. In June of this year, Zagel signed off on a government request to the FISA Court to renew the ongoing metadata collection program.
He's not the only one. We filed a request to the courts for the personal finance statements for all of the FISA Court judges. About a month ago, federal judges began turning in their disclosures, which cover the calendar year of 2013. The disclosures show that FISA Court Judge Susan Wright purchased Verizon stock valued at $15,000 or less on October 22. FISA Court Judge Dennis Saylor has owned Verizon stock, and last year collected a dividend of less than $1,000. The precise amount and value of each investment is unclear—like many government ethics disclosures, including those for federal lawmakers, investments amounts are revealed within certain ranges of value.

Video Shows Israeli Soldier Throw Explosive Device Into Crowd Of Unarmed Protesters

IRS head confirms investigators have found backup tapes in Lerner probe

The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing "backup tapes" -- despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." But he said the inspector general's office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any "recoverable" material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes "no longer exist because they have been recycled."

It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee first raised questions about the backup tapes on Monday, releasing a partial transcript from an interview with IRS official Thomas Kane. In it, Kane said "there is an issue" as to whether all the backup tapes were destroyed. Asked if they might still exist, he said he didn't know but "it's an issue that's being looked at."

Investigators in Congress and with the inspector general's office want to see those backup tapes because of the possibility they might contain emails that otherwise were lost in Lerner's apparent hard drive crash in 2011. Lerner is the former IRS official at the center of the controversy over agency targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status -- the agency's acknowledgement last month that years' worth of emails were lost has infuriated GOP investigators.

The so-called backup tapes are considered a last resort option for recovering any missing emails. Though certain federal employees are supposed to store certain communications, the backup tape system was used at the IRS to store such data for a six-month period.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) Poster
  • 135 min - Fantasy | Mystery | Thriller - 28 August 1992 (USA)

A young FBI agent disappears while investigating a murder miles from Twin Peaks that may be related to the future murder of Laura Palmer; the last week of the life of Laura Palmer is chronicled.


Gowdy to IRS Commish: "People Cite Ongoing IG Investigations When It Suits Them Not To Cooperate"

Isn't putting up with any of Koskinen's BS': Trey Gowdy grills ...

Twitchy ‎- 12 hours ago
'Isn't putting up with any of Koskinen's BS': Trey Gowdy grills IRS chief at ... again turned up the heat on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:.

Hawaii Five-O (1968) - Pilot

 20 September 1968


Red Chinese agent Wo Fat uses a sensory deprivation chamber to procure information from U.S. agents. McGarrett, head of Hawaii's state police force, poses as "control," possessor of the names of other agents. He allows himself to be captured and placed in the chamber; will he be able to withstand the torture?

‘Don’t Be Ridiculous!’ Bloomberg Goes Off on Blitzer for ‘Insulting’ Israel Question

Watch the video here, via CNN:

Report: All But Four Of The High-Profile Domestic Terrorism Plots In The Last Decade Were Crafted From The Ground Up By The FBI

Human Rights Watch has just published a report containing the facts needed to back up everyone's suspicions that the FBI counterterrorism efforts are almost solely composed of breaking up "plots" of its own design. And the bigger and more high-profile the "bust" was, the better the chance that FBI agents laid the foundation, constructed the walls… basically did everything but allow the devised plot to reach its designed conclusion. (via Reason)
All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations—plots conducted with the direct involvement of law enforcement informants or agents, including plots that were proposed or led by informants. According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.
Of those four exceptions, two (Boston Bombing/LAX shooting) were successfully pulled off. Feeling safer with the g-men's increased focus on preventing terrorist attacks?

Within the report is even more damning information that shows the FBI preyed on weak individuals in order to rack up "wins" in the War on Terror.

DC Officers Who Shot And Killed Miriam Carey Will Not Be Charged

An attorney for the family of Miriam Carey, 34, the Connecticut woman shot and killed by Secret Service and Capitol Police after she apparently made a wrong turn into a White House checkpoint and then tried to flee, says the idea that the officers will not face criminal charges is not surprising.
Nor does it change the family’s legal position in their wrongful death claim, Eric Sanders, who is based in New York, told WND on Thursday.
“It was no surprise,” Sanders said after a telephone conference call with federal agents who said they were not bringing criminal charges against the officers.
But Sanders noted that it was significant that there was not a claim that the police should have done what they did.
“They didn’t say the police actions were justified,” he noted.

Over Kill, or Drill, or Coverup on Capital Hill...You Decide

Lawyer for family of mother killed in White House incident arrested as claims of coverup persist


Michael Moore's divorce documents draw heat over director's wealth; Anti Capitalist film maker owns 9 homes.

Michael Moore Owns Nine Homes


The divorce between filmmaker Michael Moore and his wife is bringing many details to surface, including that the two own nine homes in New York and Michigan, according to the Detroit News.
By reaching a settlement, Moore avoids a trial that could have aired dirty laundry common in high-proile breakups and impugned his long-hewn image as a common man by disclosing details of his comfortable life.
His hit movies and best-selling books have begat a lifestyle far from most ballcap-wearing, duck-waddling denizens of Flint.
Moore and Glynn own nine properties

MSNBC’s Sole Palestinian Voice Rula Jebreal Takes on Pro-Israeli Gov’t Bias at Network & in US Media

Israel Bombs Gaza’s Only Power Plant as Toll Nears 650. Hospitals on the brink of collapse.

Anonymous has announced it will launch a round of cyber-attacks this Friday against the Israeli government, in retaliation for Israel's ongoing military intervention in Gaza.

Anonymous Message to Israel and Palestine. Full Transcript! MORE ➜

Greetings to the state of Israel, we are anonymous.
Ever since the encounter that has angered all of
Israel, which concerns the 3 missing Israeli teens, who were found
deceased in Hebron, within Palestinian territories, has made the Prime
Minster of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, take a pledge, and an oath, to
bring about vengeance, that Satan himself, has not yet created.
Such message, has made the citizens of Israel, wage war, and to rid Palestine, once, and for all.
For over a decade, your violation of international law,
and your crimes against humanity, have not, gone unnoticed. The
oppression you place upon Palestinian territories have angered not only
the anonymous collective, but all of mankind.
The disgusting authority you bring to the people that
came to accept you, but now despise you, because of your ruthless
manner, and your violent ways, have made our legion, interfere,
countless, times..
The Israeli Defense Force, and their barbaric and
inhumane actions, in where they bombed, raided, and disrupted Gaza, and
many other Palestinian locations to their very core, are only begging
for more blood.
The citizens of Palestine, specifically the West Bank of Gaza, call this event, one of the biggest Israeli attacks to date.
And ultimately, Palestine, has reached their point of screaming justice to the face of evil.
Instead of organizing an investigation that would lead
to the perpetrators of this heinous act that lead to the death of the 3
Israeli teens, Israel, insisted an all out collective punishment attack
against Palestine.
During this time, revenge attacks against Palestine
grew rampant, once such case was a 17 year old Palestinian boy, Mohammed
Abu Keir, was kidnapped by the citizens of Israel, according to autopsy
reports, they forced him to consume gasoline, they then burned him
alive. His cousin Tarek Abu Keir, suffered the same fate, yet lived,
miraculously, he was beaten by the Israeli police and then prosecuted.
The media call it, a revenge attack.
We call it, genocide, ethnic cleansing.
Many events such as these have occurred countless times
all over the so called occupied territories. The IDF has killed 9
Palestinians in search of the 3 missing Israelis. Over 250 Palestinians
citizens were prosecuted under false charges, and scores of people
injured over IDF raids and non-strategic bombing runs.
In short, over 600 innocent Palestinians have suffered the wrath of Israel.
The numbers continue to rise each hour.
Even as we speak, Netanyahu still has no credible
evidence to prove that Hamas, or even if the Palestinian people,
committed these crimes.
An anonymous council was immediately organized to
combat this situation. And for over a week and a half, we came to a
We’ve been fighting Israel and their terrorist state for over 4 years, and we have not grown weary or tired.
It has only made us stronger.
Therefore, we are calling upon the anonymous
collective, and the elite hacker groups to join our crusade, and to wage
cyber war against the state of Israel once more.
This Friday will be a day in where Israel will feel fear tingling in their servers, and homes.
It will be a day of solidarity and resistance.
Diplomacy has never functioned with Israel, and
co-operation with the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, has
only made its terroristic military advance further.
Palestine will be liberated, and Israel will suffer the
same fate Palestine has been suffering for decades under their brutal
and savaging regime.
No matter how dark it may seem, or how alone you may
be, always remember that there are endless warriors that are operating
tirelessly around the clock to stand with you, to aid you, to both fight
and protect you in these unjustified acts.
We are anonymous.
We are legion.
We will never forgive.
We will never forget.
To Shimon, Netanyahu, and all Israeli governmental officials, you will not escape our chaos.
Expect us.

More than 50 Israeli reservists refuse to serve

(Reuters) - More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the nation's reserve force, citing regret over their part in a military they said plays a central role in oppressing Palestinians, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
"We found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service," the soldiers wrote in a petition posted online and first reported by the newspaper.
While some Israelis have refused to serve in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, the military's structure is such that serving in any capacity forces one to play a role in the conflict, said the soldiers, most of whom are women who would have been exempted from combat.
"Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians," they said.
Their comments come as the conflict in Gaza continues to escalate, displacing thousands more Palestinians in the battered territory even as the United States presses both sides for an immediate ceasefire and longer-term peace plan. [ID:nL6N0PY0Q2]
Earlier this month, Israel said it was mobilizing more reservists in anticipation of increased fighting. [ID:nL6N0PJ473]
In the petition, the soldiers pointed to the army's structure and fundamental role in Israeli society as reasons for being unable to decouple any form of service from the fighting.
"The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors," the soldiers wrote.
"To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable."

Sierra Leone's chief Ebola doctor contracts the virus

(Reuters) - The head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease, the government said.
The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected and there is no cure or vaccine.
Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, more than 600 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organisation, placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.
Khan, a Sierra Leonean virologist credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has been transferred to a treatment ward run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, according to the statement released late on Tuesday by the president's office.

Britain's porn-blocking filters are overwhelmingly rejected by the populace

The vast majority of new broadband customers in the UK are opting out of "child friendly" filters when prompted to install them by service providers.
The industry watchdog Ofcom found fewer than one in seven households installed the feature, which is offered by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
The filters block pornographic websites, as well as pages promoting self-harm or drug taking.
The default option was implemented at the behest of the UK government.
In July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the major UK internet service providers (ISPs) had agreed to offer "unavoidable choice" parental control filters, which block legal pornography and other adult subjects "by default".
New subscribers are offered the filter at the point of sign-up, and must actively choose to disable the parental control service.

NYPD Attempts to Solve White Flag Mystery at Brooklyn Bridge

ABC News | More ABC News Videos

Facebook reports 138% rise in profits

acebook has announced a 138% rise in net income for the second quarter to $791m (£464m).
Revenue from advertising, which makes up most of Facebook's income, was $2.68bn, up 67% compared with the second quarter of 2013.
Adverts on mobile devices now account for 62% of advertising revenue, which is a spectacular rise as mobile ads accounted for almost nothing in 2012.
But Facebook's rapid expansion has resulted in a sharp rise in costs.
Expenses were $1.52bn in the second quarter up 22% from 2013.
"We had a good second quarter," said Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in a statement accompanying the results.

Southeastern New Mexico : 89 undocumented immigrants test positive for tuberculosis

A total of 89 undocumented immigrants detained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center have tested positive on the tuberculosis, or TB, skin test, but no individual has actually contracted the disease according to J.R. Doporto, a Carlsbad city councilor.
A positive TB skin or blood test only signifies that the person has been infected with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, according to a fact sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The test does not show whether the person has actually contracted the disease.
If a person tests positive on the TB skin test, he or she is then given a chest X-ray, which proves whether the subject has contracted the disease.
Doporto, Artesia Mayor Phil Burch and other various city and county officials from Southeastern New Mexico met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Tuesday for an update on the status of the undocumented immigrants being detained at FLETC while they await either deportation or an asylum hearing in front of an immigration judge.
The Current-Argus spoke with an ICE spokeswoman, but the federal agency was unable to provide an official comment before press time.

Prosecutors Are Reading Emails From Inmates to Lawyers

The extortion case against Thomas DiFiore, a reputed boss in the Bonanno crime family, encompassed thousands of pages of evidence, including surveillance photographs, cellphone and property records, and hundreds of hours of audio recordings.
But even as Mr. DiFiore sat in a jail cell, sending nearly daily emails to his lawyers on his case and his deteriorating health, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn sought to add another layer of evidence: those very emails. The prosecutors informed Mr. DiFiore last month that they would be reading the emails sent to his lawyers from jail, potentially using his own words against him

Privacy watchdog’s next target: the least-known but biggest aspect of NSA surveillance

This graphic from NSA internal training materials, provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, outlines the various authorities for signals intelligence collection. At the bottom, there are 'checkboxes' for target status, target location and collection site. (Source: Barton Gellman)
An independent privacy watchdog agency announced Wednesday that it will turn its focus to the largest and most complex of U.S. electronic surveillance regimes: signals intelligence collection under Executive Order 12333.
That highly technical name masks a constellation of complex surveillance activities carried out for foreign intelligence purposes by the National Security Agency under executive authority. But unlike two other major NSA collection programs that have been in the news lately, EO 12333 surveillance is conducted without court oversight and with comparatively little Congressional review.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive branch agency, over the last year has taken in-depth looks at the other two NSA programs. It concluded the bulk collection of Americans’ phone call metadata under Section 215 of the Patriot Act was illegal and raised constitutional concerns. By contrast, it found the gathering of call and email content under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to be lawful, though certain elements pushed “close to the line” of being unconstitutional.
Now the board is planning to delve into EO 12333 collection, among other topics. It is not clear, however, how deep or broad its examination will be.
“It’s obviously a complex thing to look at 12333,” but "it's something we'll likely be delving into,” said a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. The board has highlighted 12333 issues in the past. For example, each agency is supposed to have guidelines to carry out the executive order, but some guidelines are three decades old. The board has encouraged the guidelines be updated, the source said.
Collection outside the United States has attained new relevance given media reports in the last year about broad NSA surveillance based on documents leaked to journalists by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
“Americans should be even more concerned about the collection and storage of their communications under Executive Order 12333 than under Section 215,”

Small Town in China on Lockdown After Man Dies of Bubonic Plague

CNN) -- A Chinese town has been on lockdown since last week after a man died of the plague. Parts of the city of Yumen was sealed off by police after a 38-year-old man died in a hospital on July 16, according to state news agency Xinhua. He had contracted pneumonic plague. On the same day of the patient's death, a quarantine zone was set up, affecting at least 30,000 people living in Yumen city in China's northwestern Gansu province. The original quarantine period is set for nine days.

Family Asked To Leave Southwest Flight After Tweet

Jon Stewart launches $10 billion 'Kickstarter' to buy CNN
Wouldn't you like to take molly with CNN's Fareed Zakaria?
It won't cost you that much. Perhaps a little pride. But for that you might simultaneously ingest all sorts of geopolitical knowledge that will make you a changed person. Or even a political news presenter.
Why am I dangling this idea before you? Because in order to raise $10 billion to buy CNN, Jon Stewart has come up with certain rewards to smooth your philanthropic path.
You didn't know that the Daily Show host wants to buy CNN? Neither did anyone else, until he announced last night that he's launching, a kick-starter that isn't on Kickstarter.

Little Rock Airforce base on lock-down "Not a drill."

Photo courtesy Alyssa Raymond, THV11
Photo courtesy Alyssa Raymond, THV11
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Air Force Base continues to be on lockdown.
All gates are closed and locked and sirens have been heard alerting people to stay indoors.
Some vehicles are allowed to leave the base but no one is allowed to enter.
KTHV-TV reports this is not an active shooter situation or a drill.
A post on the base Facebook page reads:
“The base is on lockdown as of 11:45 a.m. this morning in the interest of protecting all base members and resources from a suspicious individual.

73 Year Old Grandmother Mauled and Killed by Police K9 During Door to Door Search

The Free Thought Project
Cassandra Rules
July 22, 2014
Irene Collins, an elderly cancer patient of Middlesbrough has died over the weekend, after being attacked by an out of control Cleveland police K9 last Wednesday night.

How this is resisting arrest ?Police: Charleroi man, Finleyville woman charged

Police: Charleroi man, Finleyville woman charged

Charleroi cops (Curtis Pritchett)

CBS chief White House correspondent Major Garrett Files Formal Complaint against WH for Lack of Transparency at Event

Graph showing names and ages of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces

Secrets Hidden in the Films of Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick's Odyssey

Pigs (3 Different Ones) by Pink Floyd.

Down at the Farm: An Essay On 'ANIMALS.'"

Pink Floyd's 1977 album, "Animals" probably holds some of the band's most deliciously cynical, grittiest, and scathing work. This is reflected especially in the unyielding lyrics of bassist Roger Waters; the entire album, he says, was an idea that came from George Orwell's classic fairy-tale/social commentary "Animal Farm," in which a group of oppressed barnyard animals are portrayed taking over their own territory again, and the power struggles amongst them--the perfect comparison to everyday human life.
Here is a run-down of the "Animals" trilogy--the album's three centerpieces--and their meanings.
"Dogs" is a seventeen-minute barrage of commentary on the greediness of humans--the lust for power, for dominance. Those who will step all over anyone and everything to get what they want. But in the end, since their fight for the top was obtained by greed, trickery, and betrayal, they are shoved back down to the bottom of the social ladder.
"Pigs (Three Different Ones)" was a scathing attack on three certain political leaders, one of which was Mary Whitehouse, a campaigner for the 'clean-up televison' debate. Here, Roger Waters attacks those who are perched on the top of control, unquestioned and claim to know what's best for everyone.
And finally, "Sheep" is the result of the dominance of the "Pigs"--the sheep are those 'meek and obedient' who are forced to follow what the domination says with, again, no questions. These are seen in corrupt governments, and certain corrupt Religious factions.
Personally, I believe this is Waters' most cynical work, not even second to that of his 1992 "Amused to Death" solo album. No matter how vicious the lyrics and meanings may seem, we can see that they are reflected in everyday human life.
--By Bud Sturguess

Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are. You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are. And when your hand is on your heart, You're nearly a good laugh, Almost a joker, With your head down in the pig bin, Saying "Keep on digging." Pig stain on your fat chin. What do you hope to find. When you're down in the pig mine. You're nearly a laugh, You're nearly a laugh But you're really a cry. Bus stop rat bag, ha ha charade you are. You fucked up old hag, ha ha charade you are. You radiate cold shafts of broken glass. You're nearly a good laugh, Almost worth a quick grin. You like the feel of steel, You're hot stuff with a hatpin, And good fun with a hand gun. You're nearly a laugh, You're nearly a laugh But you're really a cry. Hey you, Whitehouse, Ha ha charade you are. You house proud town mouse, Ha ha charade you are You're trying to keep our feelings off the street. You're nearly a real treat, All tight lips and cold feet And do you feel abused? .....! .....! .....! .....! You gotta stem the evil tide, And keep it all on the inside. Mary you're nearly a treat, Mary you're nearly a treat But you're really a cry.

Footage of missile strike below press cameras in Gaza moments ago,

USA Today: On photography, cops need to get a clue - Photography is NOT A CRIME!

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds | USA Today
Last week, Buzzfeed reporter Benny Johnson went to work on a list of the seven ugliest federal buildings in Washington, D.C. But what he found was even uglier than the buildings: ignorant, heavy-handed law enforcement officers who told him — wrongly — that he couldn't photograph the ugly architecture.
Johnson repeatedly confirmed with the media-relations folks at these agencies that it was OK for him to photograph the buildings — as it is for any member of the public — but word hadn't filtered down to the guys with guns.
Johnson writes: "After I took this photo of a public walkway in front of the (Department of Energy) building, four armed guards surrounded me and my bike. I was ordered off my bicycle and told to hand over my camera. 'Where is your identification? Why are you taking photos of our building?' an officer asked me. I explained my role as a reporter and asked what rules I had broken. 'You are suspicious, and we are in a post-9/11 world,' he said. The four officers surrounded me right here, directly in front of the building entrance."
Here's the thing: They had no authority to do this.
It's legal in America to take pictures of public buildings — and pretty much everything and everyone else in public. That's something that law enforcement agencies routinely take advantage of in arguing that people have no "reasonable expectation of privacy" when they're out and about and being surveilled by the government.
Continue reading:

Border Agent Pulls Gun on Boy Scouts Detained For Taking Photos

China’s debt soars to 250% of GDP

Katie Holliday | CNBC
China's debt has soared to two and a half times its economy, Standard Chartered estimates, highlighting the difficulties Beijing faces in balancing growth with the risk of bubbles forming in its economy.
Total financial credit has surged to 251 percent of gross domestic product from 147 percent at the end of 2008, the bank said.
"The economy will continue to leverage up, and the market will remain concerned," said Stephen Green, chief China economist at Standard Chartered.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, China has relied heavily on credit to spur its high growth rates, but the alarming pace of credit growth has triggered worries for investors, especially as rapid build-ups in debt have signaled the onset of financial crises in other economies.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Scores of civilians killed in fresh attacks on Gaza

The Internet Sales Tax is Back - And this time it might pass

Washington Post
When the Senate passed legislation last year allowing states broader latitude to collect sales on online purchases, the proposal was immediately cast aside in the House — and there is has remained, stuck on a shelf. Until now.
Suddenly, even with the midterm elections nearing, the bill’s supporters believe they have found the perfect opportunity to try to push it through the lower chamber.
The House last week easily approved a bill dubbed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act that would renew a longstanding ban on taxing access to the Internet. Considered a must-pass proposal, the legislation would prohibit state and local governments from charging residents fees to browse the Web.
So far, the bill has faced virtually no opposition. But that could soon change.

White House issues another illegal exemption...Territories Free of ObamaCare

The original House and Senate bills that became the Affordable Care Act included funding for insurance exchanges in these territories, as President Obama promised when as a Senator he campaigned in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other 2008 Democratic primaries. But the $14.5 billion in subsidies for the territories were dumped in 2010 as ballast when Democrats needed to claim the law reduced the deficit.
As a consolation, Democrats opened several public-health programs to the territories and bestowed most of ObamaCare's insurance regulations, which liberals euphemize as "consumer protections," such as requiring insurers to accept all comers and charge the same premiums regardless of patient health. "After a careful review of the law," said Health and Human Services in a 2012 letter, HHS granted the territories' request to apply these rules "to the maximum extent permitted by law."

New Whistleblower: NSA Can Collect Your Emails With Executive Order

Former State Department official John Napier Tye wants Americans to know about Executive Order 12333, which he says allows the National Security Agency to collect U.S. citizens’ online communications without oversight from the courts or Congress.
The 1981 executive order authorizes intelligence agencies to collect communications overseas without a warrant. Tye says loopholes allow for the collection of American emails and other communications routinely copied to servers outside the U.S., even if the sender and recipient are not abroad.
“Once that email leaves the territory of the United States, Executive Order 12333 authorizes the NSA to collect it, so long as it’s in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence investigation,” Tye tells U.S. News. “There are massive, widespread constitutional violations going on every single day, and I filed a complaint to try to stop them.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson admits that its MH17 "evidence" is based on YouTube clips and social media posts

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

This story was originally published on ProPublica.
California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.
The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.
The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.
The problem is that at least 100 of the state's aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access.

"Mr Obama - do you have a heart? Spend one night with us in Gaza

. It would change history" ... Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert's open letter evokes conditions in Shifa hospital
Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who is volunteering at Shifa, treats a Palestinian girl at the emergency room

The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying... All sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12 to 24‑hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment in Shifa for the last four months). They care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. Humans!
Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” [sic!].
My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless.
My closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” [steadfastness] gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Ashy grey faces – Oh no! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding. We still have lakes of blood on the floor in the emergency room, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away... to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.