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Who profits from our new war?

  • A massive war operation is being waged to track and kill ISIS -- and it's a lot more than cruise missiles
  • Inside NSA and private contractors’ secret plans
  • America Invents Enemies

Tim Shorrock, Salon

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grumman_pilots.jpgNorthrop Grumman test pilots prepare to taxi the Navy X-47B drone, to be launched off the USS George H. W. Bush. (Credit: AP/Steve Helber)

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 | A massive, $7.2 billion Army intelligence contract signed just 10 days ago underscores the central role to be played by the National Security Agency and its army of private contractors in the unfolding air war being carried out by the United States and its Gulf States allies against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

That war was greatly expanded Monday night when U.S. forces launched a “mix of fighter, bomber, remotely-piloted aircraft and Tomahawk” cruise missiles against ISIS targets in Syria. The Central Command said the strikes were led by the United States with support from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Tim Shorrock is the author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.

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Related:

America Invents Enemies, The People's Voice

America invents enemies, then sends its soldiers to die fighting them.

 

Pentagon Supplies School Districts with Assault Rifles and Grenade Launchers

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  • Federal records confirm that schools throughout the U.S. have received surplus military-grade weapons and vehicles. But is there really a need for military-grade weapons on campus?
  • When law enforcement is law and order’s biggest threat

Andrew Emett, Nation of Change

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September 22, 2014 | Due to public outcry, school districts nationwide are debating whether to keep their Pentagon-issued assault rifles, grenade launchers, and Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Donated free of charge as part of the Defense Department’s 1033 Program, surplus military equipment has been dispensed throughout law enforcement agencies and school districts for decades. Recent criticisms of excessive police militarization in Ferguson, Missouri, last month has left many school officials questioning the need for military-grade weapons on campus. 

According to the Defense Logistics Agency, over $5 billion in military equipment has been handed out to more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies and at least 26 school districts since 2007. California alone has received 8,533 surplus guns, 7,094 pieces of night-vision equipment, 2,370 bayonets and knives, 49 armored vehicles, 59 airplanes and helicopters, and 18 grenade launchers since 2006. 

Andrew Emett is a staff writer for NationofChange. Andrew is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew's work has appeared at WeAreChange, TravelersToday, The Joy Camp, and ForceChange.

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Related:

When law enforcement is law and order’s biggest threat, Simon Maloy, Salon

  • The debacle in Ferguson represents a near-total breakdown of our civic institutions. Here's why that's so scary
  • All hell has broken loose. 
  • Cops Behaving Badly, June 28,2014

 

The Pope Gave This Man A Promotion And He Could Dramatically Change The Focus Of The Catholic Church

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  • Cupich — and possibly others like him — are primed to be the new face of a more moderate, less antagonistic brand of American Catholicism.
  • Pope Francis: You Can’t Use Religion To Justify Violence

Jack Jenkins, Think Progress

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AP776234964511.jpgBishop Blase Cupich. Credit: AP

September 21, 2014 | The Archdiocese of Chicago announced on Saturday that Pope Francis has named Bishop Blase Cupich, a moderate bridge-builder with a history of supporting many progressive-leaning positions, as the next archbishop of Chicago. The Nebraska native will be replacing a highly political — and deeply conservative — bishop, and could potentially usher in a new era of American Catholic leadership that spends less time fighting culture wars and more time echoing the populist leadership of Pope Francis.

The move might not seem like much to a non-Catholic, but the elevation of Cupich represents a significant change in tone for the Catholic church in America. Politically and theologically speaking, the 65-year-old Cupich, who will be leaving behind his position as Bishop of Spokane, is notably different from his predecessor, Cardinal Francis George, on several counts. George, who is currently fighting cancer, has enjoyed prominence among Catholic conservatives for his hard-line stance against abortion and marriage equality, but has often stoked controversy for how he expresses his views: in 2011, George compared organizers of the Chicago Pride Parade to the Ku Klux Klan, and recently wrote that being a Catholic citizen under a pro-gay, pro-choice government is akin to living under Shariah law.

Jack Jenkins is the Senior Religion Reporter for ThinkProgress. He was previously the Senior Writer and Researcher for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, and worked as a reporter and blogger for the Religion News Service. His stories and analysis have appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Real Clear Politics, National Catholic Reporter, and Christian Century.

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Related:

Pope Francis: You Can’t Use Religion To Justify Violence, Jack Jenkins, Think Progress

“Let no one consider themselves to be the ‘armor’ of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression!” Pope Francis said.

The Pope Gave This Man A Promotion And He Could Dramatically Change The Focus Of The Catholic Church

Shoot first, ask later: Why the concept of “reasonable fear” is anything but reasonable

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  • Courts say cops can shoot out of "reasonable fear." In America that entails a myth of race and gender neutrality.
  • Video reveals police’s stunning double-standard for black Americans

Falgunia A. Sheth, Salon

 

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2014/08/ferguson9.jpgPolice wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson)

Saturday, Sep 6, 2014 | Recently, Tamara Nopper and Mariame Kaba authored a haunting article, “Itemizing Atrocity,” analyzing reactions and analyses of the police shooting of Michael Brown and the seemingly sudden militarization of the police. They point to Ferguson as an example of the excess of the spectacle that draws attention to the most extreme cases of brutality or violence, and simultaneously renders the daily, hourly, violence faced by black Americans as ordinary and therefore unworthy of the empathy engendered in extreme cases.

Attention is drawn to the “spectacular event” rather than to the point of origin or the mundane. Circulated are the spectacles — dead black bodies lying in the streets or a black teenager ambushed by several police officers in military gear, automatic weapons drawn. 

Falgunia A. Sheth, a professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College, writes about politics, race, and feminism at translationexercises.wordpress.comhttp://translationexercises.wordpress.com

Full story … 

Related:

Video reveals police’s stunning double-standard for black Americans, Joanna Rothkopf, Salon

  • In a shocking video posted to YouTube, police tase and arrest a black man picking his kids up from preschool. 
  • “I’m not your brother!”
  • Justice Ginsburg: America Has A ‘Real Racial Problem’ 

American warmongers’ fatal conceit: The massive insecurity behind their calls for blood

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  • The neoconservative "do something" crowd are really "Know Nothings" -- and fatally misread the decade after 9/11
  • Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

Elias Isquith, Salon

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graham_mccain_kristol2.jpgLindsey Graham, John McCain, William Kristol (Credit: AP/Susan Walsh/Chris Usher/Janet Van Ham/Photo montage by Salon)

Saturday, Sep 6, 2014 | In the inaugural post for his new blog at the Intercept, former Washington Post reporter and Huffington Post bureau chief Dan Froomkin makes an argument that is pretty widely held by opponents of the post-9/11 national security state, but still deserves our closer inspection. If we take a hard look at Froomkin’s idea, we’ll find that while it carries with it elements of truth, it ultimately misses something fundamental about the character of the United States — something that explains our political class’s overheated rhetoric about ISIS, and why truly ending the war on terror will be harder than many of us once believed. 

First, though, let’s look at Froomkin’s argument, which goes more or less like this: Due to weakness or villainy, President Obama has continued many of the anti-terrorism policies embraced by his predecessor, policies that are the result an understandably traumatized people’s desire for safety in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and which are themselves an unethical break from tradition. As Froomkin puts it, Bush’s “extremist assault on civil liberties, human rights and other core American values” was supposed to be “an aberration” in U.S. history, but instead has been “institutionalized” under Obama. 

Graphic%20%7C%20Arms%20at%20the%20Statue%20of%20Liberty.jpgElias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. 

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Related:

Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies, Ray McGovern, Consortium News

  • The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago.
  • What To Do About ISIS

 

Clay Bennett | Paramedic / www.truthdig.com

Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: Feel free, Vikings fans, to substitute Adrian Peterson and the Vikings organization in this cartoon!

Clay Bennett | Paramedic / www.truthdig.com

Section(s): 

Does the Public Want More War?

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  • Wait a second. People who want the US to "solve problems" are asking the US to "flex muscle"?
  • The Media and War, June 27, 2014

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

 

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FlexMuscle.jpg September 2, 2014 | If you've been tuning in to TV news lately, there's been a lot of chatter about what sort of military action the United States should take against the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. While the public isn't eager for any new wars, the front page of USA Today was trying to change that narrative.

The paper's August 29 edition boasted the front-page headline "More Want US to Flex Muscle." As if that militaristic tone wasn't obvious enough, right next to it is a graphic labeled "Is Obama Tough Enough?"

 

Peter Hart: Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). 

 

Full story … 

 

Related:

 

The Media and War, June 27, 2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • How the Media Doesn't Give Peace a Chance
  • Part 1: The Truth vs. DC's Propaganda Machine with Charles Lewis
  • Part 2: If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You're Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV
  • Iraq War Boosters Get Second Chance In Media Spotlight

Fix the Green Line Slowdown

So far, city officials say giving the Green Line the green light anywhere would unduly disadvantage drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists trying to cross the tracks. 

Conrad deFiebre, Minnesota 2020 

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green_line_sp.jpgJuly 22, 2014 | Given that the average rider's trip on the new light rail Green Line is just 3 miles long, its slower than expected travel times between the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns shouldn't discourage patronage much. In fact, weekday ridership is already 10 percent above projections for next year, even before a likely boost once fall classes start at the University of Minnesota campus bisected by the tracks.

Metro Transit officials have said all along that if you want a quick trip the length of the Green Line's route, take the 94 Flyer bus down the freeway. The light rail is designed more for shorter connections to the many busy nodes between the downtowns.

Conrad deFiebre comes to Minnesota 2020  after 34 years as an editor and reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the last 11-plus years covering Minnesota politics and government from the State Capitol.

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