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  • Invasion of the Hedge Funders: 6 Men Gave $10 Million to Presidential Super PACs in One Month

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money. The fact that hedge fund money continued to flood the presidential race after one of the donors’ favorite candidates — Rubio — dropped out would be surprising were it not for the anti-Donald Trump movement. For this group, there’s still work to be done with their money — namely, beating back Trump’s ascension to the Republican nomination.   read more
  • Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons Made with U.S. Help

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Now that the U.S. government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. The Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 U.S. soldiers had been exposed to sarin in Iraq. The CDC links the chemicals to burns, blisters, infertility, eye damage, scarring of the respiratory system, and cancer risk. The military denied medical care to soldiers who were wounded by these weapons.   read more
  • Decades of Increased Enforcement at U.S.-Mexico Border has Backfired, Preventing Immigrants from Returning Home

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S., according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money. "Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said one of the researchers. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing."   read more
  • U.S. Deploying Pre-Production F-35 Aircraft Unfit for Combat

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Aircraft which can't be deployed is not a solution to the need for deployed aircraft. The Pentagon's Frank Kendall has called this "acquisition malpractice." Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James: "People believed we could go faster, cheaper, better" by designing and building the F-35 concurrently, "and that the degree of concurrency would work. Indeed it has not worked as well as we had hoped and that's probably the understatement of the day." The F-35 won't be combat capable any time soon.   read more
  • Debt Collectors’ Dream: Nebraska makes it Easy to Go after Poor for Unpaid Medical Debts

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Suing someone in Nebraska is cheaper and easier. The cost to file a lawsuit in that state is $45. About 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska courts in 2013 alone. Suing became an irresistible bargain for debt collectors. It’s a deal collectors have fought to keep, opposing even the slightest increase. For debtors, unaffordable debts turn into unaffordable garnishments, destroying already tight budgets and sending them into a loop.   read more
  • New Evidence Linking Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange Gives Vietnam Vets Hope in Fight for VA Benefits

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Vet Brian Sweeney grew emotional after a reporter read him details of the new bladder cancer research. Sweeney recalled in Vietnam once driving through a misty fog of chemicals so thick he had to stop the vehicle and turn around. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that was probably Agent Orange,” he said. When he went to the VA to see if he could receive benefits, the claims specialist “pretty much told me I wasn’t eligible because Agent Orange doesn’t cause bladder cancer.”   read more
  • “Retaliatory Culture” at TSA has “Paralyzed” Agency and Compromised Security Goals, Say Whistleblowers

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Brainard called these unprepared TSA executives "the biggest bullies in government," and said their past efforts to avoid punishment by coming down hard on employees who pointed out misconduct have left a broken, battered workforce with poor morale. "The same people who broke this agency are the same people who are essentially still running it," he added.   read more
  • “National Security,” the Justification for 1953 Order Purging Government of Gay Workers, is Cited Again in Keeping Those Docs Secret

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Executive Order 10450, signed by President Eisenhower in 1953, allowed broad categories of federal workers, including those with criminal records, drug addiction and "sexual perversion," to be singled out for scrutiny and termination as threats to national security. Suspicions of homosexuality led to between 7,000 and 10,000 workers losing their jobs in the 1950s alone.   read more
  • U.S. Wildlife Service Accused of Caving to Timber Industry Pressure in Denying Protection for Endangered Bats

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    The bats were originally proposed for endangered status, but, the group claims, "intense industry pressure" caused the agency to list the species as threatened instead, with a special rule under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act that allowed activities that destroy the bats' forest habitat, such as logging, mining and energy development, to continue. Section 4(d) exemptions are not available for species with an endangered status.   read more
  • Toxins found in Wastewater Spills from North Dakota Oil Operations

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Samples taken from surface waters affected by waste spills in the state's Bakken oilfield region turned up high levels of lead, ammonium, selenium and other contaminants. The researchers found that some spills had tainted land with radium, a radioactive element. The study revealed "clear evidence of direct water contamination" from oil development using fracking, describing the problem as "widespread and persistent." Wastewater spills have worsened as North Dakota's daily output soared.   read more
  • Drug Industry Shrugs Off Widespread Criticism and Keeps Raising Drug Prices

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Drugmakers have been enduring withering criticism over the rising cost of drugs. It does not seem to be working. They've raised prices on brand-name drugs by double-digit percentages since the start of the year, and list prices increased more than 12%, in line with the trend over the five previous years. One of the cruelties of drug pricing is that the burden falls most heavily on those least able to pay it. Uninsured patients often must pay the list price of a drug.   read more
  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more
  • Pentagon Officials Counter Republican Claims that Bird Species Protections Hamper U.S. Military Readiness

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    The letters from the defense officials, Rep. Tsongas said, "demonstrate that arguments to halt this progress are not actually about military readiness but instead are an attempt to interfere with management of our nation's public lands and undermine the Endangered Species Act." Rep. Grijalva said the "letters put to bed once and for all the silly speculation that a few birds could hamstring the greatest fighting force in the history of the world."   read more
  • FDA to Ban Electric Shock Devices Used for Decades on Disabled Boston Residents

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    The method has been widely condemned as inhumane. State officials in New York and Massachusetts for years have tried to force the center to abandon using shocks as multiple complaints about them surfaced. The devices can cause both physical and psychological harm, the FDA wrote, including risks of pain, burns, tissue damage, depression, fear and aggression. They may even have led a resident to enter a catatonic state, the agency said. The shocks can worsen the symptoms it purportedly treats.   read more
  • Criminal Element in Republican Politicians is Alive and Well—and No Big Deal—in Texas

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    "Texans don't generally expect a lot of their politicians," said political scientist Cal Jillson. "Politicians often get off because the laws they are accused of violating are so poorly written. They have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through ... They'd rather have this guy who agrees with their politics, under indictment than someone else who is not beholden to them. What that says about Texas is that the state is currently run by [Republicans]."   read more
  • U.S. Denial of Visa for Brutal Afghan V.P. Highlights U.S.-Afghanistan Paradox

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    Dostum’s ascent to power in Afghanistan exemplifies a central U.S. failure in the war. The U.S. has built and paid for a government that is filled with warlords and power brokers whom U.S. officials say pose as much of a threat to the stability of Afghanistan as the insurgents. Now the U.S. had to deny a visa to the No. 2 official, an alleged war criminal, in a government whose survival depends on the presence of nearly 10,000 U.S. troops and tens of billions of dollars a year in assistance.   read more
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