Featured Story

NSA’s Chief Technical Officer Cleared to Moonlight for Private Firm Founded by Former NSA Director Keith Alexander

Monday, October 20, 2014
To say that Patrick Dowd has competing loyalties is putting it mildly. The chief technical officer for the National Security Agency (NSA) has taken a second job working for his old boss at a company engaged in the same kind of work as the spy agency. Dowd did get permission from his NSA supervisors to work up to 20 hours a week for IronNet.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Republican Governors Outsource Prisons, Child Support Services, Jobs Agencies

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Florida GOP Governor Rick Scott made headlines urging drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients, a program which, it turned out, benefited his drug testing company, according to the report. Scott also privatized state health care services for prison inmates, which reportedly resulted in a substantial increase in inmate deaths. Corizon Health—a prisoner health care provider that had been sued 660 times for malpractice.   read more
  • Director Comey Admits FBI does Conduct Surveillance without a Warrant

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) top official admitted this week that his agency sometimes bypasses the courts and pries into personal communications without a warrant. Director James Comey’s admission was prompted after he first insisted that the FBI never, ever conducts electronic surveillance without a court order.   read more
  • U.S. Kept Quiet about ’80s-Era Chemical Weapons it Helped Provide to Iraq ... Especially When American Soldiers Were Later Hurt by Them

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    It turns out the U.S. did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, these weapons had been there since the 1980s and the U.S. had a hand in their manufacture. Most damning was that the chemical weapons found had been designed for Iraq by the U.S. under the Reagan administration. So the U.S. government clamped a lid of secrecy on the discoveries, even denying proper treatment to American soldiers who were wounded by them. Military officers were ordered to say nothing or lie.   read more

Unusual News

  • Sex Offenders Run for Office in Minnesota

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    The Moose Lake Sex Offender Treatment Program (MSOP) is for sex offenders who have completed their criminal sentences, but are deemed too dangerous to live without supervision. So they’re confined to the Moose Lake facility and are restrained by handcuffs and leg irons during any trips to the outside world, such as to a doctor. The program’s residents would like to change the conditions under which they’re held. So they’re registering to vote.   read more
  • Turning Guns and Bullets into Jewelry

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    The Cook County department seizes about 1,500 guns per year. The weapons usually come from drug houses, or are found during the serving of evictions. Typically the guns are taken to an incineration facility for destruction. The newly created jewelry is sold by Liberty for prices ranging from $35 to $1,600. From 20% to 25% of the profits from those sales will go to Children’s Home + Aid, a nonprofit working to stem violence in Chicago neighborhoods.   read more
  • Small Texas Fracking Company Earns Title of Worst Energy Sector Polluter

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    It’s not Chevron, ExxonMobil or Shell whose wells were found to leak the most methane in 2012. Instead it was a small company, Halcón Resources, which won the title for allowing the highest percentage of the gas to escape into the atmosphere. Halcón’s wells sent 6.5 metric tons of methane into the air for each million cubic feet of natural gas produced at its fracking wells in 2012. Second and third on the list were two other small producers, Bill Barrett Corp., and Unit Corp.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • World’s Richest Seven-Tenth of a Percent Own 44% of Assets

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    About 44% of all personal assets on the planet are owned by only 0.7% of the global population, according to Global Wealth Report 2014 produced by Credit Suisse. In the United States, the richest 1% takes home 20% of the nation’s total income. This is the highest rate since 1928. Credit Suiisse classifies the United States as one of only three developed economies with “very high inequality.”   read more
  • U.S. Said to Shrug off Discovery in Lebanon of a Billion Dollars of Its Missing Iraq Reconstruction Money

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    One would think that if more than a billion stolen dollars could be retrieved, the U.S. government would pursue a good lead. But successive presidential administrations have chosen not to investigate it. It was the mission of Stuart W. Bowen to find out where the funds went. When he heard that the cash had been shipped to Lebanon and hidden in a bunker, he told the FBI and CIA. But neither agency pursued it. Bowen attempted to go to Lebanon himself, but was forbidden to do so by his bosses.   read more
  • Lack of Ebola Vaccine Blamed on Budget Cuts

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has faulted budget cuts, and thus Congress, for the lack of an Ebola vaccine. In fact, the lack of funding has forced NIH to slow all its research. Even now, with the media frenzy over two cases of Ebola occurring in the U.S., there is little action on Capitol Hill to provide NIH with emergency supplemental funding. “Nobody seems enthusiastic about that,” Collins said.   read more

Controversies

  • Alarming Rise in Temperatures in U.S.’s Northernmost Town

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Research into weather records by the University of Alaska Fairbanks shows that the average temperature in Barrow rose by 2.7 degrees Celsius (about 5 degrees F) from 1979 to 2012. October average temperatures increased by an amazing 7.2 degrees Celsius (about 13 degrees F) over the same period. November’s averages climbed by nearly as much.   read more
  • Local Police Team with Charitable Foundations and Wealthy Donors to Keep Controversial Purchases in Shadows

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Some police departments around the country have used private foundations to buy controversial technology not subject to public discussion or official review. The Atlanta Police Foundation bought citywide surveillance cameras and the monitoring center that controls them. Elsewhere, foundation money has been used to buy license plate readers, which can gather information on every vehicle, and Sting Ray devices, which track mobile phone usage.   read more
  • FBI Upgrades Animal Cruelty to Class A Felony

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Animal rights advocates have applauded the FBI's decision to upgrade animal cruelty crimes, putting them in the same category as murders. Going forward, anyone caught abusing animals will risk being charged with a Class A felony. That’s the same grouping of felonies for violent crimes, including homicides and assaults. Previously, animal cruelty was in an “other” crimes category, making them less important. The changes are expected to result in more convictions for those harming animals,   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Classified Internal CIA Study Shows that Its Covert Arming of Foreign Forces Is Often Ineffective

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    The CIA review showed that arming foreign forces had “minimal” effect on the outcome of most conflicts. This was especially true when forces fought without American support on the ground. President Obama mentioned the study when asked if the U.S. had acted quickly enough to arm Syrian rebels. “I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well,” he said. “And they couldn’t come up with much.”   read more
  • U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan Hits 2-Year High

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Some military observers say the Pentagon may be increasing air support missions to help American ground forces pull out of forward operating bases and prepare to ship home. Other experts say more U.S. bombing attacks may become a regular part of the strategy in Afghanistan to compensate for fewer troops starting next year, when only 12,500 will remain behind to help Afghan security forces handle the brunt of the war against insurgents.   read more
  • ISIS Uses Ammunition Made in United States

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    The U.S. is currently spending upwards of a billion dollars attacking Islamic State forces that are using ammunition made in the USA. Conflict Armament Research picked up 1,730 empty cartridges—the part of the ammunition that stays behind when a bullet has left the gun—in northern Iraq and Syria. Of those, 323 were identified as coming from U.S. sources, likely captured from Iraqi forces. Much of it was manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan: Who Is Pamela Spratlen?

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    After serving as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan, Spratlen was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic on April 15, 2011. In June 2014, she helped coordinate the handover of Manas Air Base, which had been an important transit base for troops and supplies going into Afghanistan, to the Kyrgyz government.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain: Who Is William Roebuck?

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Roebuck was sent to Libya in January 2013 in the wake of the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi to serve as chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Tripoli, staying there for six months. During his confirmation hearing for the Bahrain job, Roebuck told committee members that he wouldn’t abide by Bahrain’s law that a government representative be present for meetings between embassy personnel and members of that country’s opposition party.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates: Who Is Barbara Leaf?

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    In 2008, she was sent to Rome as political minister-counselor and in 2010 she began a tour in Iraq as a team leader of a provincial reconstruction team in Basrah. Leaf returned to Washington in 2011 to become deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq affairs and in 2013 she was made deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Peninsula affairs.   read more

Featured Story

NSA’s Chief Technical Officer Cleared to Moonlight for Private Firm Founded by Former NSA Director Keith Alexander

Monday, October 20, 2014
To say that Patrick Dowd has competing loyalties is putting it mildly. The chief technical officer for the National Security Agency (NSA) has taken a second job working for his old boss at a company engaged in the same kind of work as the spy agency. Dowd did get permission from his NSA supervisors to work up to 20 hours a week for IronNet.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Republican Governors Outsource Prisons, Child Support Services, Jobs Agencies

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Florida GOP Governor Rick Scott made headlines urging drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients, a program which, it turned out, benefited his drug testing company, according to the report. Scott also privatized state health care services for prison inmates, which reportedly resulted in a substantial increase in inmate deaths. Corizon Health—a prisoner health care provider that had been sued 660 times for malpractice.   read more
  • Director Comey Admits FBI does Conduct Surveillance without a Warrant

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) top official admitted this week that his agency sometimes bypasses the courts and pries into personal communications without a warrant. Director James Comey’s admission was prompted after he first insisted that the FBI never, ever conducts electronic surveillance without a court order.   read more
  • U.S. Kept Quiet about ’80s-Era Chemical Weapons it Helped Provide to Iraq ... Especially When American Soldiers Were Later Hurt by Them

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    It turns out the U.S. did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, these weapons had been there since the 1980s and the U.S. had a hand in their manufacture. Most damning was that the chemical weapons found had been designed for Iraq by the U.S. under the Reagan administration. So the U.S. government clamped a lid of secrecy on the discoveries, even denying proper treatment to American soldiers who were wounded by them. Military officers were ordered to say nothing or lie.   read more

Unusual News

  • Sex Offenders Run for Office in Minnesota

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    The Moose Lake Sex Offender Treatment Program (MSOP) is for sex offenders who have completed their criminal sentences, but are deemed too dangerous to live without supervision. So they’re confined to the Moose Lake facility and are restrained by handcuffs and leg irons during any trips to the outside world, such as to a doctor. The program’s residents would like to change the conditions under which they’re held. So they’re registering to vote.   read more
  • Turning Guns and Bullets into Jewelry

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    The Cook County department seizes about 1,500 guns per year. The weapons usually come from drug houses, or are found during the serving of evictions. Typically the guns are taken to an incineration facility for destruction. The newly created jewelry is sold by Liberty for prices ranging from $35 to $1,600. From 20% to 25% of the profits from those sales will go to Children’s Home + Aid, a nonprofit working to stem violence in Chicago neighborhoods.   read more
  • Small Texas Fracking Company Earns Title of Worst Energy Sector Polluter

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    It’s not Chevron, ExxonMobil or Shell whose wells were found to leak the most methane in 2012. Instead it was a small company, Halcón Resources, which won the title for allowing the highest percentage of the gas to escape into the atmosphere. Halcón’s wells sent 6.5 metric tons of methane into the air for each million cubic feet of natural gas produced at its fracking wells in 2012. Second and third on the list were two other small producers, Bill Barrett Corp., and Unit Corp.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • World’s Richest Seven-Tenth of a Percent Own 44% of Assets

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    About 44% of all personal assets on the planet are owned by only 0.7% of the global population, according to Global Wealth Report 2014 produced by Credit Suisse. In the United States, the richest 1% takes home 20% of the nation’s total income. This is the highest rate since 1928. Credit Suiisse classifies the United States as one of only three developed economies with “very high inequality.”   read more
  • U.S. Said to Shrug off Discovery in Lebanon of a Billion Dollars of Its Missing Iraq Reconstruction Money

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    One would think that if more than a billion stolen dollars could be retrieved, the U.S. government would pursue a good lead. But successive presidential administrations have chosen not to investigate it. It was the mission of Stuart W. Bowen to find out where the funds went. When he heard that the cash had been shipped to Lebanon and hidden in a bunker, he told the FBI and CIA. But neither agency pursued it. Bowen attempted to go to Lebanon himself, but was forbidden to do so by his bosses.   read more
  • Lack of Ebola Vaccine Blamed on Budget Cuts

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has faulted budget cuts, and thus Congress, for the lack of an Ebola vaccine. In fact, the lack of funding has forced NIH to slow all its research. Even now, with the media frenzy over two cases of Ebola occurring in the U.S., there is little action on Capitol Hill to provide NIH with emergency supplemental funding. “Nobody seems enthusiastic about that,” Collins said.   read more

Controversies

  • Alarming Rise in Temperatures in U.S.’s Northernmost Town

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Research into weather records by the University of Alaska Fairbanks shows that the average temperature in Barrow rose by 2.7 degrees Celsius (about 5 degrees F) from 1979 to 2012. October average temperatures increased by an amazing 7.2 degrees Celsius (about 13 degrees F) over the same period. November’s averages climbed by nearly as much.   read more
  • Local Police Team with Charitable Foundations and Wealthy Donors to Keep Controversial Purchases in Shadows

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Some police departments around the country have used private foundations to buy controversial technology not subject to public discussion or official review. The Atlanta Police Foundation bought citywide surveillance cameras and the monitoring center that controls them. Elsewhere, foundation money has been used to buy license plate readers, which can gather information on every vehicle, and Sting Ray devices, which track mobile phone usage.   read more
  • FBI Upgrades Animal Cruelty to Class A Felony

    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Animal rights advocates have applauded the FBI's decision to upgrade animal cruelty crimes, putting them in the same category as murders. Going forward, anyone caught abusing animals will risk being charged with a Class A felony. That’s the same grouping of felonies for violent crimes, including homicides and assaults. Previously, animal cruelty was in an “other” crimes category, making them less important. The changes are expected to result in more convictions for those harming animals,   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Classified Internal CIA Study Shows that Its Covert Arming of Foreign Forces Is Often Ineffective

    Friday, October 17, 2014
    The CIA review showed that arming foreign forces had “minimal” effect on the outcome of most conflicts. This was especially true when forces fought without American support on the ground. President Obama mentioned the study when asked if the U.S. had acted quickly enough to arm Syrian rebels. “I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well,” he said. “And they couldn’t come up with much.”   read more
  • U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan Hits 2-Year High

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Some military observers say the Pentagon may be increasing air support missions to help American ground forces pull out of forward operating bases and prepare to ship home. Other experts say more U.S. bombing attacks may become a regular part of the strategy in Afghanistan to compensate for fewer troops starting next year, when only 12,500 will remain behind to help Afghan security forces handle the brunt of the war against insurgents.   read more
  • ISIS Uses Ammunition Made in United States

    Friday, October 10, 2014
    The U.S. is currently spending upwards of a billion dollars attacking Islamic State forces that are using ammunition made in the USA. Conflict Armament Research picked up 1,730 empty cartridges—the part of the ammunition that stays behind when a bullet has left the gun—in northern Iraq and Syria. Of those, 323 were identified as coming from U.S. sources, likely captured from Iraqi forces. Much of it was manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan: Who Is Pamela Spratlen?

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    After serving as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan, Spratlen was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic on April 15, 2011. In June 2014, she helped coordinate the handover of Manas Air Base, which had been an important transit base for troops and supplies going into Afghanistan, to the Kyrgyz government.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain: Who Is William Roebuck?

    Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Roebuck was sent to Libya in January 2013 in the wake of the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi to serve as chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Tripoli, staying there for six months. During his confirmation hearing for the Bahrain job, Roebuck told committee members that he wouldn’t abide by Bahrain’s law that a government representative be present for meetings between embassy personnel and members of that country’s opposition party.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates: Who Is Barbara Leaf?

    Saturday, October 18, 2014
    In 2008, she was sent to Rome as political minister-counselor and in 2010 she began a tour in Iraq as a team leader of a provincial reconstruction team in Basrah. Leaf returned to Washington in 2011 to become deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq affairs and in 2013 she was made deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Peninsula affairs.   read more