Tuesday, Oct 06th

Last update03:28:32 AM GMT

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Pope 'distorting condom science'

One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use.

It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.


Expanded Americorps has stench of authoritarianism

With almost no public attention, both chambers of Congress in the past week advanced an alarming expansion of the Americorps national service plan, with the number of federally funded community-service jobs increasing from 75,000 to 250,000 at a cost of $5.7 billion. Lurking behind the feel-good rhetoric spouted by the measure’s advocates is a bill that upon closer inspection reveals multiple provisions that together create a strong odor of creepy authoritarianism.


Obama's Triple Surge Into Afghanistan

What Obama has not mentioned is that, in addition to soldiers and civilians, there is a third surge in his plan: private military contractors. Yes, another privatized army, such as the one in Iraq. There, the Halliburtons, Blackwaters and other war profiteers ran rampant, shortchanging our troops, ripping off taxpayers, killing civilians and doing deep damage to America's good name.


Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

Legal expert Michael Ratner calls the legal arguments made in the infamous Yoo memos, "Fuhrer's law."

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

I thought this was -- and is -- certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate -- which scandalized the nation -- seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.


PNAC is Back

A newly-formed and still obscure neoconservative foreign policy organization is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) – the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neoconservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor – has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan.


Alaskan Villages Will Get Free Citgo Heating Fuel Again

Millions of dollars in free heating fuel will flow through Alaska villages early next month courtesy of a controversial giveaway program paid for by the Venezuelan government.

The sooner the better, say many villagers and rural nonprofits who appear more concerned about their towering energy bills than international politics.

Some Alaska village families, along with people in other economically depressed areas of the United States, have come to count on the extra fuel from the Venezuelan-owned oil company, Citgo.


Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own

The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.

The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own


Why House Committee wanted Rove behind closed doors

The House Judiciary Committee chose to interview former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove behind closed doors because they wanted more time to question him, and not as a concession to Bush Administration representatives, sources say.

Both aides confirmed that Rove would not be sworn in before his testimony but explained that testimony before Congress is de facto sworn testimony and any false statements would in fact be perjury regardless.

Asked why in that case Congress bothers to swear people in during public hearings, one of the aides quipped, “Because it looks good.”

TVNL Comment: It will be held in secret so we, the public, don't see what a crock this is. We won't see how many crimes Congress will ignore or are complicit in.


Rahm Emanuel's profitable stint at mortgage giant

Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up, huge fines and scalding condemnation of passive directors by a top federal regulator.

One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members was Chicago's Rahm Emanuel—now chief of staff to President Barack Obama—who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.


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