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‘Black budget’ summary details U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives - The Washington Post

Important information from The Washington Post

Kenneth Weene's insight:

We spend fortunes on espionage and intelligence and we get messes and failures. Worse, we get deteriorating relationships everywhere. Perhaps we could spend less and get a lot more.

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Rural fire districts feel budget burn

Rural fire districts feel budget burn | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Arizona's 156 rural fire districts are working with smaller budgets this year under a new state law limiting property valuations.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

How will the people who are saving on taxes feel when there isn't sufficient money to save their property from one of the fires that are inevitable this summer? The GOP dominated legislature of Arizona is incredibly shortsighted.

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U.S. Apologizes to Poles Over FBI Chief's' Holocaust Article

U.S. Apologizes to Poles Over FBI Chief's' Holocaust Article | Upsetment | Scoop.it
FBI director James Comey accused Poland of being an accomplice to the Holocaust.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The truth lies, as usual, in the middle. Poland as a country was certainly victimized. Many Poles were forced into camps and were murdered by the Nazis. Many Poles tried to help the Jews who were being hunted by the Germans. AND, many Poles were antisemitic and more than willing to help with the extermination of Jews. Were there more Nazi sympathizers in Poland than say Holland, France, or the other countries that were invaded by the Germans? I honestly don't know for sure, but I would expect so since the Jews were more set apart in Poland than in some of the more Western countries. But overall, the Poles were certainly not the perpetrators and were victims, so I think we can safely say that Director Comey has shown a remarkable lack of judgment and historical knowledge. My question: Why did he feel called upon to write a piece about the Holocaust anyway?

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Leading Republicans differ over armed 'insurrection'

Leading Republicans differ over armed 'insurrection' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Let this sink in: a debate over the right to an armed insurrection against the United States is an apparent GOP primary issue this year.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

And there are still Americans, even patriotic Americans, who will vote for a member of the Good-Old Poops party. Isn't it time for us to find a better group to oppose the Democrats. Seriously, you could find better thinking in the monkey-house of any zoo.

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The American Nightmare: Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row - SPIEGEL ONLINE

The American Nightmare: Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row - SPIEGEL ONLINE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Debbie Milke, born in Berlin, was placed in solitary confinement Arizona for 22 years after being falsely convicted of conspiring to kill her son. Following her acquittal, she discusses her experience in prison and a life destroyed by a miscarriage of justice.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Sometimes the abuse of power by police (and courts) is so egregious as to warrant real and severe consequences. If Armando Seldate and Cheryl Hendrix are still alive, I hope they spend the rest of their lives in the agony they so completely deserve. As for compensation from the State of Arizona and the City of Phoenix, I can only say that this woman should have the funds to live however she wants, wherever she wants, and with whatever conveniences and services she desires. We as a community owe her big-time. This was not a mistake; it wasn't even a miscarriage of justice; it was a travesty and a dishonor to us all.

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Feds Gone Wild: Why Federal Agents Act Badly

Feds Gone Wild: Why Federal Agents Act Badly | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Federal agents are caught up in a string of scandals. Experts say their boys-will-be-boys culture is the reason why.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Clearly, there need to be better consequences for bad behavior and a change of the "boys-will-be-boys" culture, but underneath all of those issues is the attitude of law enforcement in general in this country that they are above the law, that they won't be "caught" because it is their buddies who are doing the enforcement. This is merely part of the ongoing problem of "Blue culture," which is in turn self-perpetuating both in terms of selection and training. That sense of a separate culture is only going to get worse with today's emphasis on militarizing law enforcement and the spread of weapons in society.

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Iran Is Winning the War for Dominance of the Middle East

Iran Is Winning the War for Dominance of the Middle East | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Tehran and Riyadh are engaged in a naked struggle for power in the region -- individual rights and good governance be damned.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It is imperative that the United States and its European allies find a middle ground or we will assuredly give Iran the fodder it needs to gain popular support in its struggle with Saudi Arabia, a struggle that is now being fought in Yemen but which may yet engulf the entire Middle East.

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First F-35 Jets Lack Ground-Combat Punch of 1970s-Era A-10s

First F-35 Jets Lack Ground-Combat Punch of 1970s-Era A-10s | Upsetment | Scoop.it

The first F-35 jets ready for combat won’t be able to protect forces in ground combat as well as the nearly 40-year-old A-10s (pictured above) the Pentagon wants to retire, according to the Defense Department’s chief weapons tester.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

I've posted about this boondoggle before; it is an example of the military-industrial-espionage complex at its worst. Of course, none of this could go forward without the members of congress who continue to see the Pentagon as a cash-cow for their states or districts. It is time for a major overhaul of the way the government spends its money with real metrics and consequences for success and failure as opposed to the pour-more-money-into-it approach that has so often distorted planning.

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UPDATED: District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charges reserve deputy with second-degree manslaughter

UPDATED: District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler charges reserve deputy with second-degree manslaughter | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"How many errors are made in an operating room every week?"
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Nd the sheriff said, "How many errors are made in an operating room every week?" Now that's the kind of self-evaluation we expect from law-enforcement—NOT! And those physicians who do make mistakes are carefully evaluated and their errors have consequences.

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A Miserable Mystery in Congo

A Miserable Mystery in Congo | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Dozens of female infants and girls in a single town have been abducted and raped in the middle of the night. Could witchcraft be to…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In a land that has been torn by violence and ethnic strife, an area that saw the most vicious of all colonial rules, a nation in which it often seems evil is endemic, a new horror emerges, one that seems beyond belief. Witchcraft? Belief in using/abusing the genitals of children for good fortune? What kind of madness is this? How incredibly sad.

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Puerto Ricans who can’t speak English qualify as disabled for Social Security

Puerto Ricans who can’t speak English qualify as disabled for Social Security | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Social Security inspector general questioned the policy this month in light of the fact that Spanish is the predominant language in Puerto Rico.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Sometimes the government becomes its own mad house. While I might consider lack of English fluency as a handicap in most of America, in Puerto Rico? Besides which, by that kind of thinking shouldn't almost everybody be considered disabled since they don't have optimum functioning, perhaps because they didn't finish a PhD or aren't fit for the Olympics; or maybe like me their overweight and therefore not fit for the cover of GQ or Vogue. I think SS Disability should be available for those who are in true need or suffer a serious change in health, but we also need sanity in the system. Of course, I should point out that they are reconsidering this craziness.

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US deports El Salvador ex-general Casanova over abuses

US deports El Salvador ex-general Casanova over abuses | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The US deports Carlos Vides Casanova, a general during El Salvador's civil war, over alleged abuses while he was in command.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

And who was the POTUS under whose administration this thug engaged in the worst of those U.S. supported actions? Why Rongal Reagan. Yep, the saint of the GOP remains an un-indicted co-conspirator in some of the worst human rights abuses in Central American history. I couldn't stand Reagan then and despise him now, the man who took the Republican party off track and into its current dark path to the extreme right.

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“No no no no no no no no: Listen!” He-man Rand Paul lectures a lady — again

“No no no no no no no no: Listen!” He-man Rand Paul lectures a lady — again | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The senator lectures NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on how to do her job. What's Paul's problem with female interviewers? VIDEO
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Rand Paul is a political punk whose name wouldn't even be known if it weren't for his father. That he has problems with women interviewers isn't a question. That he has problems being overly defensive isn't the issue. The real question and issue is how did this idiot get to be a senator. What is wrong with the people of Kentucky that they'd vote for this no-brain? Now that's a real question.

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DNA tests reveal many herbal supplements are fake

DNA tests reveal many herbal supplements are fake | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A third of the pills tested didn't contain the advertised herbs -- and some had been replaced by toxic ingredients
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Of course the U.S. government's attempts to oversee even food and drugs is being hampered by the Republican party and its anti-government stance. But only fools trust businesses to self-regulate. It is time for Americans to realize that proper government oversight of business is essential to a properly functioning society and economy.

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GOP Rep: Obamacare Makes America More Like North Korea

GOP Rep: Obamacare Makes America More Like North Korea | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Rep. David Brat (R-VA) on Thursday, during a conversation with Lars Larson at the “Hold Their Feet To The Fire” conference, blamed Obamacare for moving America away from a free market system and making the country more like North Korea.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Of course, if the GOP troll bothered to do his research, he'd know that South Korea has universal healthcare. Why do people vote for men like this who speak doctrine from their asses?

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Ignoring the terror within

Ignoring the terror within | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Twenty years after the Oklahoma City bombing, federal authorities have lost sight of domestic extremists and failed to prevent acts of terrorism. The lack of focus, funding and information-sharing across disparate agencies has led to fatal consequences for unknowing victims around the country. Meanwhile, the violence is metastasizing and the threat growing.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Historically, domestic terrorism, the use of terror tactics by citizens against the people and institutions of their own country, were seen as coming form the "left." Anarchists and union organizers were portrayed as the perpetrators; then it was Wobblies and Communists. Of course, nobody dared to add the Klan or other racial bigots to that list. Even when Black churches were bombed and children killed, we didn't recognize these hate crimes as terror tactics. Now, the tools of terrorism have become more powerful. Entire buildings can be destroyed and large numbers of people killed with assault weapons. How should the government respond to the potential for domestic terrorism? First, we have to recognize that today it more likely to come from the right because the role of government has changed to do more for the downtrodden. However, that may change as anti-labor and anti-poor laws are enforced in some locales. Terror is the tactic of those who are angry—regardless of where they are on the political spectrum.. It is a weapon that comes from feeling disenfranchised and without control. One problem with the "fusion" center approach is that it is more concerned with apprehension and punishment than with trying to reduce the sense of frustration and rage that produces violence. While most acts of domestic terror are the products of individuals, those individuals generally need a sense that there is broad agreement with them. In their heads, they are not acting alone.

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Meet the Man Who Claims He Just Founded a New Country in Europe

Meet the Man Who Claims He Just Founded a New Country in Europe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Welcome to "Liberland"
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I wonder if any of these proposed "citizens" is planning to give up the services of the countries from which they come. It is easy to have a tax-and-law-free country if you can turn elsewhere for policing, healthcare, old age pensions, enforcement of contracts and courts, etc. My guess they are going to try to mile the other three "real" countries for those services. I hope that the Czech Republic, Serbia, and Croatia all charge for providing those services that are provided, especially if the people of Liberland don't pay taxes to their home countries. The small hidden countries of Europe like Monaco and Lichtenstein are only able to exist because of the support and indulgence of the larger countries in which they are set, France and Spain.

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Black Teen Hangs, Cops Shrug: No Evidence Collected on Lennon Lacy

Black Teen Hangs, Cops Shrug: No Evidence Collected on Lennon Lacy | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Police turned away the coroner, ordered no autopsy, and took no photos or measurements. No wonder the family doesn’t believe it was suicide.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and is seen in the context of ducks, it probably is police negligence or misconduct. Now the real question, what were the cops covering up?

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Sources: Supervisors told to falsify reserve deputy's training records; department announces internal review

Sources: Supervisors told to falsify reserve deputy's training records; department announces internal review | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Tulsa County Sheriff's Office will conduct internal review of reserve deputy program.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

An internal review? When there was obvious dereliction of duty within the office, the proper review is by an outside agency. Bates was a trigger-happy old duff wanting to play out his old-West fantasies. Sheriffs departments are often the source of some of the worst policing in the country, especially the sheriffs departments here in the Southwest.

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Marana police video shows cruiser ram crime spree suspect

Marana police video shows cruiser ram crime spree suspect | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In the video, an apparent gunshot is heard. Later, police are seen following the suspect as he walks down a street.Finally, an officer drives his cruiser onto the sidewalk and rams the suspect.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Sometimes what looks like police violence is actually an appropriate response. The guy had a stolen gun, had fired it at least once, and probably would have either shot himself or hurt somebody else. Kudos to a cop who thought fast and took an effective action that may have left the suspect hurt but alive.

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VA building projects riddled with mistakes and cost overruns

VA building projects riddled with mistakes and cost overruns | Upsetment | Scoop.it

There are hospital doors at the half-built ­Veterans Affairs medical center outside Denver that were supposed to cost $100 each but ended up ­running $1,400. There’s a $100-million-and-still-rising price tag for an atrium and concourse with curving blond-wood walls and towering glass windows. And entire rooms that had to be refashioned because requests for medical equipment changed at the last minute and in other cases the equipment didn’t fit. No one had bothered to measure.Not even completed yet, this $1.7 billion facility is already among the most expensive hospitals in the world, and it’s just one of several VA hospital projects that are greatly over budget and behind schedule, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Yet another example of the overall mismanagement of the U.S. government. It is time to push Civil Service reform which provides for better management techniques and for centralized skill departments such as architecture and IT rather than having those functions distributed by department. Also, there should be an ongoing evaluative process built in for every project budgeted for over $10, 000, 000. And that evaluative process should be performed by a separate group. Finally, Congress's hold over such projects must be broken so that individual members of Congress can's keep pushing for funding of wasteful projects in their districts.

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Texas Medical Panel Votes to Limit Telemedicine Practices in State

Texas Medical Panel Votes to Limit Telemedicine Practices in State | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The latest salvo in a four-year battle with Teladoc, a national company that provides telephone or video consultations with doctors.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Should medical services be available via phone or Internet, or should personal contact be required? On the face of it, that sounds like a no-brainer. You're sick, you go to a doctor, perhaps your primary care provider if you have one or an urgent care facility or, if there is no other option, an emergency room. Right? What if there are no physicians within miles? Then perhaps that doc-on-a-phone may be better than the no-doctor alternative. But if we allow such doc-on-a-phone treatments, what about people who don't want to bother going to a doctor's office or who would rather pay the cheaper fee for a phone consultation? How will that impact the economics of medicine and the quality of the care people actually obtain for themselves? The whole thing is a fascinating new area for professional care. Oh, and let's not forget psychotherapy by phone. Did Freud anticipate Skype? My best advice, have a good primary care physician and see him/her as seldom as healthfully possible.

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10 Weird Health Problems - ODDEE

10 Weird Health Problems - ODDEE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
If you think you've got health problems, be thankful you don't suffer from these strange, debilitating, or just downright scary disorders. Call a doctor!
Kenneth Weene's insight:

All of these conditions are rare, but they are still fascinating.

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The rich get government handouts just like the poor. Here are 10 of them

The rich get government handouts just like the poor. Here are 10 of them | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From fancy business lunches to yacht deductions.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Now why are rich people entitled to these great giveaways? If we want to go after the poor who might be taking advantage of the system by say using food stamps to buy seafood instead of spaghetti, if they want use their welfare benefits to go to a swimming pool instead of sweltering in the heat, should we really be willing to allow the rich gambler to write off his losses or the bon vivant to write off that yacht he keeps in Key West or Catalina? If we think it makes sense to do drug screening on welfare recipients, how about the rich guy who pockets the money from allowing a bunch of his buddies to rent his place for a week so they can party-party-party?

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Saudi request for help in Yemen sparks political crisis in Pakistan | Al Jazeera America

Saudi request for help in Yemen sparks political crisis in Pakistan | Al Jazeera America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in political crisis over request from Saudi Arabia for military help in Yemen conflict
Kenneth Weene's insight:

With a large Shia population (about 1/5 of the country), Pakistan is also a natural market for Iranian gas and oil. Moreover, China, which backs Pakistan in its disputes with India is trying to create stronger ties with Iran. Now, why would Pakistan want to support Saudi Arabia, especially when the militant Sunni sects found in Saudi Arabia provide the religious/intellectual justifications for the ant-i-government forces that put Islamabad in danger. In the end, my guess that Islamabad will reluctantly join the Saudi's coalition; but this may well spark another round of internal conflict within Pakistan. Not a pretty picture. 

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Ga. Judge Allegedly Uses N-Word in Court

Ga. Judge Allegedly Uses N-Word in Court | Upsetment | Scoop.it
After two sheriff’s deputies reportedly referred to a witness as “N--ger Ray,” several people overheard county Judge Roger Bradley tell a story about “N--ger Bob.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Wrapped in the black robe of a judge or white robe of a Klan member, a bigot is still a bigot. This is the face of a bigot and a man of whom the state of Georgia should be rightly ashamed.

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