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Scahill: President Obama, Why Did You Pay Blackwater $70 Million in February? (tags)

For those already outraged at the AIG bonus scandal, here is a fact that should add more fuel to the fire: The Obama administration has paid the mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater nearly $70 million to operate in Iraq and, according to The Washington Times, may keep the company on the payroll months past the official expiration of its Iraq contract in May. I reviewed Blackwater's recent transactions with the Obama State Department and discovered a $45 million payment to Blackwater on February 4, 2009 for "protective services-Iraq." It is described as a "funding action only." Here is the interesting part: The estimated "Ultimate Completion Date" is 5/07/2011.

Jeremy Scahill: 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House (tags)

U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.

Michael Moore Dares to Ask: What's So Heroic About Being Shot Down While Bombing? (tags)

Like Iraq, Vietnam was not a noble cause. It's time we stopped letting politicians and the press perpetuate the McCain War Hero myth.

U.S. Secret Air War Pulverizes Afghanistan and Iraq (tags)

News from the 4th Reich military forces: According to Associated Press, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of bombs dropped on Iraq during the first six months of 2007 over the same period in 2006. More than 30 tons of those have been cluster weapons, which take an especially heavy toll on civilians. Balad, which currently conducts 10,000 air operations a week, is strengthening runways to handle the increase in air activity.

Arnold's Enron Secret (tags)

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act." This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

Romper Room (tags)

At least with Clinton you knew that the most powerful man in the world had reached adolescence, if not much beyond it. But all current evidence suggests that the world is now being run by 7-year-olds.

Palast the Iconoclast (tags)

Palast interviews retired Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett of the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), who states on camera that shortly after George W. became Texas' governor in the 1990s, he witnessed a speakerphone call from the Texas governor's office to TANG, and overheard the caller tell Guard officers to "clean [Bush's] records from his files." Palast says that after the call, Burkett "asked the officers if they'd carried out the questionable orders, and they said 'absolutely.'

The Other Bush Lie (tags)

"The conclusion, then, is inescapable. The cadre of cheerleading hawks -- both inside and outside the administration -- who led the United States to war 19 months later had decided within 10 days of the terrorist attacks that 9/11 should be used as the pretext for Hussein's removal, even if there was absolutely no connection between the two."

Does the Pentagon Have Amnesia on Lynch? (tags)

As you can see there is a wide gap between the facts as reported initially and the manner in which they are being reported now. As I understand the Defense Department's position, these recent accounts are "outrageous, patently false and unsupported by the facts."(3) At the same time, Defense Department officials now seem to be qualifying their earlier statements. For example, Bryan Whitman, Department of Defense spokesman, reportedly said "the U.S. military never claimed that the troops came under fire when they burst into the hospital."(4)

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Racial Preference? (tags)

Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if fish were capable of speech, they would likely have no explanation for the element they swim in every minute of every day of their lives. Water simply is. Fish take it for granted. So too with this thing we hear so much about, "racial preference."

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