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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,783

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First Ebola Case is Diagnosed in the U.S., CDC Reports

Source: Bloomberg News

@BreakingNews: CDC confirms 1st Ebola case diagnosed in US; press conference at 5:30 pm ET - @CNBC, @Reuters http://t.co/LVo0v4ptr1/s/Y1yP

First Ebola Case Is Diagnosed in the U.S., CDC Reports

By Kelly Gilblom
September 30, 2014 4:50 PM EDT

The first Ebola case has been diagnosed in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control said today in a statement.

A hospital in Dallas had been testing a person based on their travel history and symptoms, said in a statement earlier today. Another patient was being evaluated at a National Institutes of Health facility. It’s not clear if either patient is the one referred to in the CDC’s initial report.

Read more: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/first-ebola-case-is-diagnosed-in-the-u-s-cdc-reports.html

MUST-READ: "If Regular Americans Acted Like the Moneyed Class, Our Country Would Collapse in a Week"

"If regular Americans acted like corporations and the moneyed class, our country would collapse in a week from systemic theft, corruption and greed..."


MONDAY, SEP 29, 2014 07:00 AM EDT

The big “middle class” rip-off: How a short sale taught me rich people’s ethics

So many of us are clueless about business and finance. Here's why that's just the way the investment class likes it


“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” – Honoré de Balzac.

The closest I ever came to acting like a rich person was two years ago when I short-sold my primary residence. I might have been able to keep it but strategic default made life easier. I owed about $400,000 on a house that short-sold for $150K. The bank lost more than a quarter of a million dollars, and I lost at least $80K in down payment and property improvements. In a short sale the bank agrees to settle debt for the lesser amount and the seller gets nothing but is “punished” by not being able to finance another house for at least two years (rules vary). My moment of acting rich was when I bought a second house before short-selling the first to skirt around the repercussions of my own bad luck.

When the housing market tanked a few years ago, the government rescued every bank and business (even a damned insurance company), while ignoring everyone else. I realized that the game was fatally lopsided, so I didn’t just walk away in middle-class shame, but rather I employed all my (extremely limited) cunning and deviousness to get a similar home before ditching the old one. I was able to cash in on low housing prices from a couple of years ago, coupled with low interest rates, to come out on top. The biggest barrier to getting a great deal was an almost overpowering need to behave like a middle-class sucker.

I was taught growing up to “keep my word” and that your handshake “meant something.” Yet businessmen and individual wealthy people make decisions that are far less moral than a short sale. People “incorporate” so they can avoid legal responsibility for individual actions. It works great. You can stiff creditors, declare bankruptcy, pollute daily and raid pensions to enrich individual executives. If it all goes wrong, like it has so often for Donald Trump, you can keep your mansions and individual fortunes. It is no accident that the best-paid CEO in America has never made a dime for the company. If regular Americans acted like corporations and the moneyed class, our country would collapse in a week from systemic theft, corruption and greed.

I always knew business was getting over on me, but I had no idea the extent until I started looking to short-sell. I first learned all I could about private home financing. I called up some shady investment groups around town and questioned them at length. I didn’t end up using them, but they were frank, informative and unashamed.

“Who would pay 11 percent on a home loan?” I asked.

“Rich people,” said “Bill” from the legal loan-sharking company. “The rich have terrible credit.”

Rich people = bad credit: Just let that sink in.

- snip -

Living a middle-class life is an impediment to meaningful change. We are taught that we have everything we should dare to expect and capitalism has “worked” for us. Middle-class people are also urged to hate poor people, and those who cannot or will not work. They are the “other,” the moocher class. Poor people are the reason you haven’t gotten a raise in five years or that your house is worthless or that your company only gives you one week off a year. Those who have something detest those with nothing. We’re letting rich people get away with fleecing America, while turning our rage on poor people.

When you examine it, you cannot blame the rich for the oligarchy we’ve become or for what looks more and more like the return of Dark Age feudalism. Rather, the blame lies with my fellow work-a-day slobs who vote for politicians and policies that favor investment and wealth over the work of regular people. Middle-class Americans are self-flagellating and dispirited over their own lack of wealth, as if it were a character flaw. At the same time, they fall for the deception that everyone can be rich when, of course, most people lack the connections, education and plain old luck to even get close.

I can uncover an individual’s actual potential for wealth with one easy test: If you equate business opportunity with a multilevel marketing scheme, like Amway, you will never be rich. If that doesn’t work, just ask yourself if you think you’ve got a shot at winning the lottery. If the answer is “yes,” you will most assuredly die poorer than you are now.


You Don’t “Have Nothing to Hide”: How Privacy Breaches are Quietly Controlling You


SUNDAY, SEP 28, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

You don’t “have nothing to hide”: How privacy breaches are quietly controlling you
Government data collection is scary for many reasons. But least understood: what it does to our personal creativity


Edward Snowden’s leaks reminded us about the extent to which the notion of privacy is no longer our own. The last few years have brought home the fact that between the telecommunication companies, street surveillance cameras, tollbooth cameras and EZ-pass, and corporations such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, virtually no aspect of our lives is immune from the intrusive watch of some agency of the state.

- snip -

Another reason why privacy is important, as Greenwald and many others, including the philosopher Hannah Arendt, have argued, is that privacy is crucial to personal exploration, creativity, dissent — those interests and thoughts that reflect the complexity of human beings and their ability to flourish and lead meaningful lives. But as we also know, creativity and dissent can be disruptive to the smooth functioning of society — making the lives of bureaucrats and autocratic politicians much harder because their authority would be constantly challenged. As Professor Roger Berkowitz, Director of Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center, suggests in an excellent post on the importance of privacy for Hannah Arendt,

- snip -

Leading a meaningful life also, and often, means leading a complicated, unpredictable, undecipherable — but not necessarily a criminal or immoral life. I may be having an affair outside of my marriage — but why should this fact be up for scrutiny by the state or even my neighbors? Why should anyone else judge those actions except for myself and my marital partner (and maybe it’s OK with him/her). How does my calling someone on the Pakistan/India border tell the NSA anything interesting about me — unless they are also making huge, overgeneralized judgments based on my ethnic and religious identity? Not only independent thinking, but unruly (read: brown, black, Muslim) appearances are also enough to rouse suspicion. Recently we saw this through the Intercept’s story about the FBI and NSA surveillance of five prominent Muslims, from professors to Republican Party members, to the head of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR).

But spying isn’t necessarily just about obtaining information. Surveillance is about gaining control. Collecting information on you — whether by the NSA, health insurance companies, the NYPD or a hacker — is an effort to predict your behavior and then to take steps to box it in, to stop you from acting in ways that are nonconforming (but not necessarily criminal), or to profit from your wayward behavior. We see this constantly: Credit reporting agencies collect all sorts of data about you — your spending habits, how many credit cards you have, how prompt you are in paying those bills, how many times you’ve been late, what kind of disputes you’ve had with other parties to whom you owe money. The official story for this kind of data accumulation is that they are attempting to assess what kind of credit risk you are. The problem with this is that their inferences about your behavior are often just plain wrong, if not dumb; having had a credit card dispute because I’ve refused to pay a certain charge does not necessarily make me irresponsible. It might instead mean that I’m likely to challenge charges that I think are unfair or wrong — which of course is a negative behavior in the eyes of a mortgage company or an employer (since we now know that employers regularly collect credit information about prospective employees) — the idea that I might challenge inaccuracies or unfairness might mean that I have an obstreperous personality that isn’t actually conducive to the “go along and get along” personalities that employers and mortgage companies value. So that means a higher mortgage interest rate for me.

Similarly, the NSA’s collection of information about my online life — whether I’m visiting the sites of fundamentalist imams or calling someone monthly who lives near the Pakistan/India border, is also an attempt to assess my politics and what kind of company I keep — in order to decide whether I am a so-called “threat” to the national security of the United States. But surfing those websites or calling someone near the Pakistan/India border tells the NSA very little about my thinking process: For one thing, it’s often difficult to know exactly why someone is doing something unless you can actually get inside their heads (Shhh, don’t give the NSA any ideas). Maybe I’m visiting the site because I’m doing a report about Islam, or because I’m skeptical about the news stories I come across that tell me that the imam whose sermons are on that site is a terrorist, or because I’m looking for spiritual meaning. None of these mean that I will or want to become a terrorist — but they do mean that I am doing something that the state finds suspicious, or that they don’t want me to do.

- snip -

And here is where it gets interesting: When someone says “I have nothing to hide,” this is another way of saying, “I am not the kind of person that the government is looking for. I am neither suspicious nor a criminal. I am not someone who breaks the law.”

But that translation only works if you have never been the object of false suspicion...


Breaking: Grand Jury Issues No Indictments of Police Officers in Fatal Shooting of Wal-mart Shopper

Source: NBC News / Raw Story

@BreakingNews: Grand jury issues no indictments of Beavercreek, Ohio, police officers in fatal shooting of Wal-Mart shopper John Crawford III - @NBCNews

Grand jury declines to charge two officers involved in fatal Walmart shooting

24 SEP 2014

grand jury declined to indict two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man carrying a toy gun at an Ohio Walmart store.

One of the officers shot 22-year-old John Crawford at the store Aug. 5 after a 911 caller reported he was pointing what appeared to be an assault rifle at other shoppers at the Beavercreek retailer.

Grand jurors heard evidence from 18 witnesses Wednesday in the special hearing convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who refused to release surveillance video from the incident prior to the hearing.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/09/grand-jury-declines-to-charge-two-officers-involved-in-fatal-walmart-shooting

@RichardEngel: Syrian rebels angry airstrikes against isis also hit fighters opposing Assad

@RichardEngel: Syrian rebels angry airstrikes against isis also hit fighters opposing assad. Frustration and confusion, And this is only day two


BREAKING: Israel military says shot down Syrian aircraft that entered its airspace in Golan Heights

Source: Associated Press

Sep 23, 3:30 AM EDT



JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military says it has shot down a Syrian aircraft that infiltrated its airspace over the Golan Heights.

The military says a "Syrian aircraft infiltrated into Israeli air space" on Tuesday morning. It says the military "intercepted the aircraft in mid-flight, using the Patriot air defense system."

The military wouldn't say what type of aircraft was downed and says the circumstances of the incident are "unclear."

A defense official identified the plane as a Syrian MIG fighter jet. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Israel has largely stayed on the sidelines of Syria's civil war raging across the border. But Israeli leaders appear increasingly nervous about the possibility of al-Qaida-linked fighters occupying the Golan's high ground over northern Israel.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_ISRAEL_SYRIA_

BREAKING: US Has Begun Airstrikes in Syria Against ISIS

Source: CBS News

@CBSNews: BREAKING: The US has begun airstrikes in Syria against ISIS, CBS News confirms http://t.co/rKiSAz4ddM/s/-Vxg

@CBSNews: Decision to conduct strikes made today by the US Central Command commander under authorization from the president, says @PentagonPresSec

@CBSNews: ISIS wasn't the only target of U.S. airstrikes in Syria, U.S. military officials say http://t.co/Qr4pwg0i8e/s/RV3K

@CBSNews: "Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time." http://t.co/EuZMuDz8I7/s/o8Bu

U.S. launches first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria

Sep 22, 2014 9:35 PM EDT

The U.S. military has begun airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, CBS News has confirmed.

Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement Monday evening that a mix of fighters, bombers and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles were engaged in the attack.

"The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the Commander-in-Chief," Kirby said.

Details about the targets were unclear, but according to social media chatter coming out of Syria, strikes were conducted in the city of Raqqa. Video purporting to show the strike there was surfaced on YouTube, although its authenticity has not been independently verified.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-launches-first-airstrikes-against-isis-in-syria

TOM TOMORROW: Building Blocks of War ("Manic Pixie Dream Insurgents")

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/22/1330850/-Cartoon-Building-blocks-of-war

BREAKING: Secret Service says fence-jumper made it through North Portico doors of White House

@AP: BREAKING: Secret Service says fence-jumper made it through North Portico doors of White House


Remember #BringBackOurGirls? This Is What Has Happened In The 5 Months Since


Remember #BringBackOurGirls? This Is What Has Happened In The 5 Months Since

- snip -

Not one student has been rescued

In the first days after the abduction, 57 of the girls managed to escape from their captors. But not one has escaped or been rescued since then.

Even though they were reportedly located months ago

In May, a Nigerian military official claimed he knew where the girls were being held. A month later, U.S. surveillance planes also spotted a group that officials believed to be the girls.

Stephen Davis, an Australian cleric and mediator, said in June that a deal to free the girls had fallen apart three different times in one month. He says that powerful people with "vested interests" are working to sabotage a deal, and he has accused Nigerian politicians of funding Boko Haram. Nigeria's government has defended its approach to the crisis and warned that a rescue effort might risk the girls' lives.

Other countries have made little progress

According to the Associated Press, it took more than two weeks for Nigeria to accept offers of international assistance to find the schoolgirls.

When other countries did start to help, they didn't get very far. The U.S. sent 80 troops in late May to coordinate an aerial search from neighboring Chad. Canada, France, Israel and the U.K. also sent special forces to Nigeria. But six weeks later, the Pentagon press secretary announced that the U.S. mission would be scaled back, saying: "We don't have any better idea today than we did before about where these girls are.
- snip -

While the country worries about its image problem

Nigeria's government paid a Washington public relations firm more than $1.2 million to change the media narrative surrounding the schoolgirls' abduction, according to a June report by The Hill. The country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, recently faced severe backlash after a group campaigning for his reelection started using the hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015, sparking outrage among groups still campaigning for the girls' return

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