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Wednesday, Oct 01st

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Iraq contractor fights suit over toxic exposure

The workers got it on their hands and clothing every day while racing for 2 1/2 months to meet a deadline to get the plant, a crucial part of Iraq's oil infrastructure, up and running.

But the chemical turned out to be sodium dichromate, a substance so dangerous that even limited exposure greatly increases the risk of cancer. Soon, many of the 22 Americans and 100-plus Iraqis began to complain of nosebleeds, ulcers, and shortness of breath. Within weeks, nearly 60 percent exhibited symptoms of exposure, according to the minutes of a meeting of project managers from KBR, the Houston-based construction company in charge of the repairs.

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Supreme Court allows retiree benefit cuts

The Supreme Court on Monday gave employers a green light to reduce health benefits for millions of retirees who turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The justices turned away a legal challenge from AARP, the nation's leading senior citizens lobby, which had contended these lower benefits for older retirees violated the federal law against age discrimination.

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"We are living through another Hiroshima," Iraqi doctor says

The U.S., Great Britain and Israel are turning portions of the Middle East into a slice of radioactive hell. They are achieving this by firing what they call "depleted uranium" (DU) ammunition but which is, in fact, radioactive ammunition and it is perhaps the deadliest kind of tactical ammo ever devised in the warped mind of man.

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CLICKING ON THE WRONG WEB SITE IS NOW A FEDERAL CRIME

The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

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Happy Anniversary America. How Lethally Stupid Can One Country Be?

It’s simply incomprehensible. It’s not so astonishing, of course, that a country could have a bad leader whose aims are nefarious on the occasions when they are competent enough to rise to that level of intentionality.

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Curveball: 'I Am Not To Blame' for U.S. War in Iraq

The Iraqi defector known as "Curveball," whose fabricated stories about mobile biological weapons labs helped lead the U.S. to war in Iraq five years ago, says he is not to blame for the war and that he never said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, according to a new report released this weekend in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Curveball's false tales became the centerpiece of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations in February 2003, even though he was considered an "unstable, immature and unreliable" source by some senior officials in the CIA. The CIA has since issued an official "burn notice" formally retracting more than 100 intelligence reports based on his information.

Curveball told Der Spiegel that while he didn't tell German intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, he did provide important information in exchange for which he thinks he should be "living like a king." And he said if he is offered more money, he'll tell his story all over again.

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World ignoring Iraqi refugee crisis

The report accuses the international community, especially the United States, of ignoring "one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time."

"We believe the United States has a special responsibility to Iraqi refugees, if only to restore its credibility. The violence they flee is an unplanned-for byproduct of the American invasion of Iraq, and its chaotic aftermath," the report said.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has said the Iraqi refugee crisis is the most significant population displacement in the Middle East since Israel was established in 1948.

 

Is Bush the worst U.S. president ever?

Five years after Bush's ill-starred invasion of Iraq, three years after Hurricane Katrina and seven months into the unravelling of the U.S. financial system, the point is that the 43rd president of the United States – regardless of his ranking in the pantheon – is a unique and unmitigated disaster.

Among U.S. historians, it has become great sport to rank the country's presidents. Bush vies with many for the title of absolute worst – from Ulysses S. Grant, who oversaw a post-Civil War era so corrupt it was known as Grant's Barbecue, to Richard Nixon of Watergate fame, to Herbert Hoover, the hapless president in charge during the stock market crash of 1929.

But Grant, Hoover and even Nixon did not do as much damage worldwide. Americans may still be debating Bush's legacy. I suspect the rest of the world has made up its mind.

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An Election Without Meaning

Will getting rid of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney without impeachment or indictment really make a difference? Will a 600 billion dollar war/defense budget be cut in half and used for desperately needed domestic spending? Will the ninety-three billion dollars profits in the private health insurance companies those parasitic intermediates between you and your doctor be used instead for full health care coverage for all? Will Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus be restored to the people? Will torture stop and the US withdraw from Iraq immediately? Will all students in public universities be able to enroll for free? Will the US national security agencies stop mass spying on our personal communications? Will the neo-conservative agenda of total military domination of the world be reversed?

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