News You Can Use

Discuss political news items / current events.
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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:38 am

Al Gore warns of dangers of climate change at Atlanta meeting
In the climate and health meeting held at The Carter Center, Gore steered clear of mentioning Trump. Instead, he stressed that climate changes could render parts of the Middle East - including some of the holiest cities on the planet - uninhabitable. It could also cause deadly health problems and reduce life expectancy. Those in poverty will be hardest hit, he said.
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Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:09 pm

AI-Powered Body Cams Give Cops The Power To Google Everything They See - Vocativ
Last week, Taser, the stun gun company that has recently become an industry leader in body-mounted cameras, announced the creation of its own in-house artificial intelligence division. The new unit will utilize the company’s acquisition of two AI-focused firms: Dextro, a New York-based computer vision startup, and Misfit, another computer vision company previously owned by the watch manufacturer Fossil. Taser says the newly formed division will develop AI-powered tech specifically aimed at law enforcement, using automation and machine learning algorithms to let cops search for people and objects in video footage captured by on-body camera systems.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:24 pm

Bill Gates: We Should Tax Robots That Take Jobs | Observer
Robots are coming for a lot of jobs. And while at first this may seem detrimental, it’s actually a good thing.

There will still be jobs for humans (in fact, job growth has been on the rise in the U.S.), but they will just be different jobs. If we leave jobs that can be automated to the robots, we’ll free up labor so humans can do more meaningful work like caring for the elderly, teaching kids with disabilities and other jobs that require empathy—something robots lack.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:25 pm

My Friend Cayla doll banned in Germany as 'espionage device' - CNET
If you're considering purchasing a connected toy for your offspring, you might want to think twice.

In Germany, regulators have determined that the My Friend Cayla doll could be up to no good, given its potential to steal information about children who play with it. And they say that German parents whose children are in possession of a Cayla doll should destroy the toy.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:30 pm

And example of using licensing to create a monopoly and to squash competition.

Absurd State Licensing Rules Could Send A Woman To Jail Just for Touching a Horse - Hit & Run : Reason.com
In April, Wheeler received a letter from the board explaining that she wouldn't be allowed to give horse massages in Tennessee without being licensed as a veterinarian—a process that would require years of additional, expensive schooling. If she ignored the board's letter and continued to practice, even if she gave horse massages for free rather than as a business, and she could face fines of up to $500 and could be sent to jail for as much as six months for committing a class B misdemeanor.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:34 pm

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Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:12 pm

Small Business Owner Spends $14,000 Each Year to Comply Tax Code
A small business owner told lawmakers earlier this week that his company spends $14,000 each year to comply with the federal tax code, representing the largest barrier to entrepreneurship.

Tim Reynolds, business owner of Tribute Inc., a software company in Ohio, told the House Business Committee on Wednesday that in addition to the thousands of dollars he spends on accountants to prepare taxes, his company spends about 40 hours a year filling out tax forms and making payments in order to comply.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:25 pm

Publishers are hiring 'sensitivity readers' to flag potentially offensive content - Chicago Tribune
Before a book is published and released to the public, it's passed through the hands (and eyes) of many people: an author's friends and family, an agent and, of course, an editor.

These days, though, a book may get an additional check from an unusual source: a sensitivity reader, a person who, for a nominal fee, will scan the book for racist, sexist or otherwise offensive content. These readers give feedback based on self-ascribed areas of expertise such as "dealing with terminal illness," "racial dynamics in Muslim communities within families" or "transgender issues."
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:31 pm

Leaked Emails: Dem State Leaders Think Obama’s New Organizing Army is ‘Grade A bananas’ - The Daily Beast
It is difficult to overstate just how enraged state Democratic activists and leaders are with Organizing for Action (OFA), the political and community-organizing army that grew out of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

The nonprofit, which functions as a sort of parallel-Democratic National Committee, was founded to mobilize Democratic voters and supporters in defense of President Obama’s, and the Democratic Party’s, agenda. Instead, the organization has drawn the intense ire, both public and private, of grassroots organizers and state parties that are convinced that OFA inadvertently helped decimate Democrats at the state and local level, while Republicans cemented historic levels of power and Donald J. Trump actually became leader of the free world.

These intra-party tensions aren’t going away, especially now that OFA “relaunched” itself last week to protect the Affordable Care Act, boost turnout at congressional townhalls, and train grassroots organizers gearing up for the Trump era.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Man Planned To Bomb 10 Target Stores

Postby Joel » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:54 pm


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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:23 am

Hospital CEO Wins Major Court Victory After Accusing CNN of False Reporting | Law News
Those who accuse CNN and other mainstream media outlets of “fake news” will probably revel in a recent decision by a federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia. While Judge Orinda Evans didn’t all out declare that CNN was peddling in falsehoods, she did take aim at the network in an initial judgment in favor of a former hospital CEO who sued CNN accusing them of purposely skewing statistics to reflect poorly on a West Palm Beach hospital. Judge Evans didn’t mince words in her 18-page order allowing the case to move forward, and dismissing CNN’s attempt to get it thrown out of court.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:26 am

Muslims Attack Christians While At Prayer Service, Beat Them Savagely With Sticks, Rape 15 Women And The Media Then Tries To Cover It Up And Blame The Christians | Walid Shoebat
There is a lot of talk about “fake news” going around today about Islam when the opposite is true. People are learning about and have easy access to the truth of what is really going on, and that makes those who do evil panic and try to devise further ways to deceive people.

Several weeks ago, we reported how Muslims attacked a Christian church during services in Uganda. They locked the Christians in the church and then attacked them, raping 15 women, kidnapping several and beating the rest. The story made international headlines.

Well in a recent story, the local news media in Uganda has tried to whitewash what happened, saying that it was a ‘mania’ that broke out after Christians praying for the return of an ‘unnamed prophet’ got mad when the supposed ‘prophet’ did not appear.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:39 am

Frightened Swedes Wear Bulletproof Vests Because of Terrorism. Parliament Cracks Down... on the Vests?!
But apparently now that citizens have started turning to bulletproof vests for self defense, parliament members are having none of it…

Just a few weeks ago, a bulletproof vest saved the life of a 18-year-old in Malmo, and more people buy and wear bulletproof vests…
[But] Allan Widman, chairman of the Swedish parliamentary defense committee, demands that individuals are prohibited from wearing bulletproof vests to protect themselves from increasing violence, which he believes will increase further without a ban.
Widman has written a bill to the parliament in which he demands that it should be illegal and punishable for individuals to wear body armor in a public place.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:59 am

Electronic media searches at border crossings raise worry
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation both say they have noticed an uptick in complaints about searches of digital devices by border agents.

The increase has become most noticeable in the last month, said Adam Schwartz, a senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"We are concerned that a bad practice that has existed under past presidents has gotten worse in quantity under the new president," Schwartz said.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:18 am

'Devastating' beehive losses due to insecticide drift from cotton farms, keeper says - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The largest commercial honey bee pollinator in one of Australia's key food bowls claims he can no longer base his 2,000 hive operation in the region because of chemical use by the emerging cotton industry.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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North Korea Wants To Halt New Autopsy On Leader's Half-Brother

Postby Joel » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:47 am

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/north ... s_20170218" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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DHS weighed Nat Guard for immigration roundups

Postby Joel » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:53 am

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c255 ... ff9d584e18" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:34 am

Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump | New York Post
The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:14 pm

Scientists have discovered how to find your bad memories and DELETE them from your mind for good - Mirror Online
It is the medical breakthrough which could cheer us up - boffins have found a way to banish bad memories for our brains forever.

In news that will be particularly good for England football fans, experts have developed a way to delete unwanted memories from the brain.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:15 pm

Greeks Turn to the Black Market as Another Bailout Showdown Looms - The New York Times
ATHENS — During seven years of a grinding economic crisis, Dimitri Tsamopoulos has lost at least half the clients from his once bustling tax consultancy. But in the past few months, business has jumped, not because the Greek economy is finally recovering but because it is falling even deeper into the abyss.

With the Greek government pushing through more tax increases to comply with austerity requirements, more than 21,000 self-employed workers and small firms have shut down in the past two months, with many seeking help from accountants like Mr. Tsamopoulos to close their books. Yet many are not actually closing their businesses.

“Most of these people will keep working,” Mr. Tsamopoulous said, arching an eyebrow from behind his desk as clients waited in a smoky room outside. “But now, they’ll do it on the black market. They’re saying they need a way to survive.”
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Plaintiff In Roe Vs. Wade Passes Away

Postby Joel » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:09 pm


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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:10 pm

‘California is a nation, not a state’: A fringe movement wants a break from the U.S. - The Washington Post
SAN FRANCISCO — About 15 people huddled in a luxury apartment building, munching on danishes as they plotted out their plan to have California secede from the United States.

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of an independent California,” Geoff Lewis said as he stood in a glass-walled conference room adorned with California’s grizzly-bear flag and a sign reading “California is a nation, not a state.”
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby Joel » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:58 pm

medicaid = single payer

Listen to those people clap.

Hopefully Jessi Bohon can learn to practice her Christian faith without advocating for the use of force of government in everyone else's lives.

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MCSO Sheriff Penzone says he's changing immigration policy

Postby Joel » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:30 pm


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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:43 pm

KNOWN FOR POLITICAL TEMPERANCE, IOWA MOVES SHARPLY RIGHT
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- After decades as the crossroads of prairie populists and checkbook conservatives, Iowa has suddenly become solidly Republican like many of its Midwestern neighbors.

It was one of four states - along with Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire - that flipped to complete GOP control in the November election, but Iowa's rush of new legislation has been the most intense.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:49 pm

A chilling moment to mark the 75th anniversary of the executive order that led to Japanese American internment - LA Times
Exactly 75 years ago Sunday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the incarceration of Yoshihashi and 120,000 other Japanese Americans in desolate camps scattered across deserts and swampland. Yoshihashi remembers his anxiety at being locked up and the shock of seeing the barbed wire and armed military guards at his camp in Gila River, Ariz.

He left camp in 1944 to fight for the country he still loved as a member of the U.S. Army’s celebrated 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of second-generation Japanese Americans known as Nisei. The battles were brutal — one comrade threw himself on a grenade to protect fellow soldiers in the 1945 fight to break the German Gothic Line in Italy.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:29 am

Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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Re: News You Can Use

Postby Joel » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:52 am

The devastating health effects of the US military’s toxic burn pits, which operated at bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan during the Iraq War, have been exposed by former US Marine and Army sergeant Joseph Hickman in his new book “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers”. The book reveals that thousands of soldiers who served in the vicinity of over 250 military burn pits ended up getting cancer, or having children with birth defects as a result. The book also reveals that the burn pits were operated by a former subsidiary of Halliburton, the company where Dick Cheney was CEO before becoming Vice President. Did Cheney get rich while US soldiers got poisoned? We look at the burn pit scandal on the Lip News with Jo Ankier and Elliot Hill.
“They really don’t want this out”: The biggest Iraq War scandal that nobody’s talking about

The first 10 pages of “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers” will rip your heart out. In the opening chapter of this new book, Joseph Hickman, a former U.S. Marine and Army sergeant, shares the brief and tragic life story of one Iraq War veteran. In a nutshell, a healthy young man shipped off to Iraq, was stationed at a U.S. military base where he was exposed to a constant stream of toxic smoke, returned home with horrible respiratory problems, was denied care by the VA, developed brain cancer and died.

Thousands of soldiers have suffered similar fates since serving in the vicinity of the more than 250 military burn pits that operated at bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. Many who haven’t succumbed to their illnesses yet have passed along the legacy of their poisoning to their children. “The rate of having a child with birth defects is three times higher for service members who served in those countries,” according to the book.

The impact on local civilian populations is even more widespread. Although collecting data in these war-ravaged areas is extremely difficult, the studies that have been conducted reveal sharp increases in cancer and leukemia rates and skyrocketing numbers of birth defects. The toxic legacies of these burn pits will likely continue to devastate these regions for decades.

So what are the “burn pits”? When the U.S. military set up a base in Iraq or Afghanistan, instead of building incinerators to dispose of the thousands of pounds of waste produced each day, they burned the garbage in big holes in the ground. The garbage they constantly burned included “every type of waste imaginable” including “tires, lithium batteries, asbestos insulation, pesticide containers, Styrofoam, metals, paints, plastic, medical waste and even human corpses.”

Here’s where the story gets even more infuriating. As a result of the privatization of many aspects of military operations, the burn pits were operated by Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a former subsidiary of Halliburton, the company where Dick Cheney was CEO before ascending to the White House. During the Bush administration, Halliburton made nearly $40 billion from lucrative government contracts (despite many corruption scandals), Dick Cheney and his corporate allies got incredibly rich, and the soldiers whose lives have likely been destroyed by this reckless operation… are pretty much screwed.

Top officials, including then-Gen. David Petraeus, initially denied that the burn pits were a health hazards, but mounting medical evidence contradicting the Defense Department’s position have brought this scandal into the spotlight. However, in a pattern that follows how Vietnam vets suffering from Agent Orange were treated, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny medical coverage to most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking treatment for burn pit-related illnesses. Joseph Hickman is hoping that his new book will help change that.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

This is one of the most devastating scandals to come out of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, so why hasn’t it gotten more attention?

I think the Department of Defense does its best to squash this story and so does Veterans Affairs. They really don’t want this out at all. When the registry [for victims of burn pit pollution] came out, they even squashed the registry. It took them a year and a half past their due date to get it up, to actually have it running.

If there were one thing that had the potential to bring it into the spotlight more, it was Beau Biden’s recent death from brain cancer. As you write in the book, we obviously can’t be certain, but it seems that there is a very clear link between his death and his service in Iraq working in the vicinity of these burn pits and breathing in these hazardous fumes. Why wasn’t this enough to bring attention to this issue?

I don’t know if it was political or not. When Beau died I was right in the middle of heavy research into the burn pits. I tried to contact his wife, Hallie, about two months after his death and I tried to contact the vice president; neither one would respond to me. It could have been my timing, too. I called at an awful time, really.

This just happened last June, and maybe they haven’t absorbed it all yet. There are similarities to where he was stationed and how people died and it just brought up a lot of red flags for me.

I think the case that you lay out in the book is pretty convincing. Although these wars started during the Bush years, Obama is now in his eighth year in office and still has not made this issue a priority. How much fault should we place on the Obama administration for the failure to address this problem?

I think he holds a lot of responsibility for it, but I think the biggest problem is Congress and the Senate. Because when a soldier gets sick the first thing he [or she] does is write his congressman or senator if he’s not getting results from the VA or DoD. They still follow the chain of command, so that’s their last complaint, and the senators and congressmen have just really dropped the ball on this completely. And I think that is totally politically motivated, because a lot of these senators and congressmen they’re reaching out to are in bed with defense contractors.

You specifically mention Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson as an example of a Tea Party politician who campaigned on a flag-waving platform of building a strong military and supporting the troops, but then when he got into office voted to cut VA funding and didn’t make good on his promises. We’re seeing even more of this chest-thumping patriotism now in the presidential primary campaigns. Have you heard any of the presidential candidates address the topic of burn pits or the VA in a meaningful way, other than to use the VA as an attack line against Obama?

No, none of them has mentioned the burn pits or soldiers suffering from the burn pits at all. Bernie Sanders has done a lot for veterans, probably more so than any other candidate, and he still hasn’t addressed this issue, either.

You mention in the book that there were a few members of the military and KBR contractors that voiced concerns about the health hazards posed by the burn pits. Why was it so difficult for them to get their voices heard?

One KBR employee was really harassed badly by KBR for coming forward. He felt he was threatened and he had a really hard time talking about it with me. He was really worried about repercussions. That’s really a reflection of the Obama administration. They haven’t defended whistle-blowers at all. They’ve attacked them. Obama’s presidency has been extremely disappointing in that area.

I was surprised to learn in the book that Chelsea Manning was actually responsible for leaking some of the information about how the military was aware of the burn pit health hazards earlier than they let on.

Several soldiers were absolutely shocked and surprised that Chelsea Manning released that document. It changed many of their minds about her. The military, for the most part, is a lot of Republicans or very conservative people. But when I shared this with several soldiers, it absolutely changed a lot of their views on Chelsea Manning. I said, “Look, she didn’t always give up things that were damaging to our country. These are really things that the administration doesn’t want you to see.” She showed that we got sick from the burn pits.

You describe in the book how independent researchers have found a huge increase in birth defects, leukemia, cancer and other carcinogenic diseases among Iraqi and Afghan civilians living near the burn pits, which you contrast with the controversial World Health Organization report that contradicted those findings. There has been speculation that the U.S. used political pressure to influence the WHO report, which was quickly contradicted by several reputable medical journals. Has there been any confirmation or strong evidence in support of this theory?

There’s a large group of epidemiologists that absolutely believe that that report was influenced by the U.S. government. Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a widely respected environmental toxicologist, has been there and seen the birth defects and how we literally destroyed that country with pollution. There are birth defects there that don’t even have medical names yet.

One of the frustrating things you describe is that the Pentagon violated their own regulations but they still can’t be held legally responsible. As you say in the book, “under federal law the military can’t be held accountable, so nobody is to blame.” If no one can be held to account, what kind of positive outcomes can we hope for?

They started the burn pit registry, which is modeled off of the Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome registries, which are failures. So we modeled it off a failed program. It took 27 years for the Agent Orange Vietnam veterans to actually receive any type of care, and they still don’t get the care they should. These numbers we’re talking about with the burn pits and Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome … they’re so large that the government knows that if they treated all these soldiers the cost would be unbelievable. It’s something that they can’t afford, and I think that’s why it takes decades for them to treat them.

The best way to help the soldiers involved in this is to actually believe what they’re saying. They believed in the soldiers when they sent them off to war. They believed they would go over there and get the job done, but when they come home and they complain of illnesses, they suddenly question their integrity. And that just has to stop.

So there’s this dynamic where it’s in the VA’s interest to deny that soldiers really have these health problems in order to protect itself from being liable for covering those treatments. There are accounts in your book of hostile VA doctors telling patients that they’re healthy, but then independent doctors contradicting the VA’s diagnosis. Where does that culture come from?

It’s because it’s a delayed casualty. It isn’t a limb missing or a bullethole in a person or something where there’s actually proof that their injury is service-connected, meaning they got their injury from the time they were in combat. So when they come in with these respiratory issues or cancers, it’s very hard for the soldier to prove that, “Hey, I got this on the battlefield,” because it’s not an injury that they received from their enemy.

But the numbers show that there is a real pattern. You found the proof, so the denial is hard to grasp in the face of such mountains of evidence.

Yeah, it’s to the point now where they can’t deny it, but they still fight tooth and nail not to give these veterans benefits. It’s just a budget issue now, and the soldiers are suffering from it.

VA reform has been a big issue for some time now, so why haven’t we seen much progress or improvement?

The VA has always been under-budgeted. The budget is just not there for them. Up until two years ago they were using a computer system that was – they didn’t have Windows, they didn’t have iOS, they were using stuff from 1985, 1986. This was just two years ago. That’s a fact. They needed a complete upgrade. It’s always been under budget, since I’ve been going there.

There’s a lawsuit against KBR out there right now, and the biggest hurdle for the KBR lawsuit is [that] DoD will not speak against KBR for their misuse of the burn pits. And you can’t sue the government under the Feres Doctrine. A soldier can’t sue the government for his injuries, but he can sue a private contractor. But as long as the U.S. government stays solid on the issue and won’t speak out against KBR, it kind of creates a legal limbo where it’s their word against this massive corporation. The best testimony they could have is DoD saying, “Yes, you mistreated these burn pits.”

But really, can the DoD even do that? Because they didn’t have any regulation in place for seven years on what they could burn or where they should be located or anything else. The DoD staying solidly aligned with KBR while soldiers are suffering is criminal.

Did the military’s use of private contractors like KBR in some ways help to facilitate this crisis?

KBR operated many of the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are some regulations for contractors, but they’re not nearly as stringent, and the penalties are not nearly as harsh for contractors as they are for soldiers. So these contractors were super-careless with these burn pits. There were burning anything and everything in them, and they didn’t care and they didn’t think they could be held accountable.

They’ve grown to the point where they feel that the government can’t operate without them. These companies have that arrogance. Contractors that were operating the burn pits in Iraq were actually told by their headquarters, “If they’re going to investigate us over these burn pits, don’t worry about it. If we pull out, they can’t run this base.”

Have you ever heard Dick Cheney comment on this issue? His connections to Halliburton and KBR put him in a uniquely qualified position.

Never once. Never once. I looked for anything like that and couldn’t find anything.

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mes5464
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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:52 am

Sir Edward Heath WAS a paedophile, says police chief | Daily Mail Online
More than 30 people have come forward with claims about the former PM 
And they are said to have given 'strikingly similar' accounts to Wiltshire Police 
The county's chief constable has said that the allegations are 'totally convincing'
Pictures have emerged of Heath driving - despite it being claimed he didn't have a car 
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

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mes5464
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Re: News You Can Use

Postby mes5464 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:53 am

Mark Cuban: Robots will ‘cause unemployment and we need to prepare for it’
Automation will lead to unemployment and the world needs to prepare for it, business mogul Mark Cuban urged on Monday, following warnings from technology leaders on the impact of robots and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Dallas Mavericks owner did not elaborate or offer recommendations but tweeted his message followed by a link.
Happy Patriot's Day

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.


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