My Top News Stories: February 17, 2012

  • Cliff Owen/AP

    Iran Unlikely to Strike First
    Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, Defense Intelligence Agency director, said yesterday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran “is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict or launch a preemptive attack.”  His testimony comes at the perfect time, as Israel accused Iran and Hezbollah of carrying out terrorist attacks in India, Georgia, and Thailand earlier this week.  Iran denies any responsibility.  As always, the mainstream media isn’t bothering to ask the tough question: if it wasn’t Iran, who was it?  Some agencies known to be active in these countries include the CIA, MI-6 and the Mossad, leading one to wonder about the possibility of false-flag attacks.  In fact, Georgia’s president met with CIA director General Petraeus earlier this month in Washington, an event completely unreported to Americans.  We should continue to question and not fall prey to war propaganda, and maybe even listen to our own intelligence officials when they tell us not to fear Iran.

  • Underwear Bomber Sentenced to Life in Prison
    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, better known as the Underwear Bomber who tried to blow up a US plane on Christmas 2009, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to all charges.  While this is being hailed as a victory for the US court system, not everyone is satisfied with our government’s version of events.  Going unreported in the mainstream media is a statement made by a witness to the event.  Kurt Haskell, a Detroit-area lawyer, has had to fight continuously to bring attention to what he witnessed that day- a man escorting Abdulmutallab past security onto the plane without a passport.  The government has blatantly ignored his testimony about this possible accomplice in the attempted attack, instead conveniently blaming Anwar al-Awlaki, now dead, for the planning behind it.  Kurt Haskell called the Underwear Bomber a “patsy” who “was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. Government agent to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies.”  He was interviewed by Darrin McBreen on the Infowars Nightly News last night. 

  • Private Corporation Offers Cash for State Prisons
    As if the United States doesn’t already have a screwed up prison system, for-profits are being sold to states as a solution to their budget woes.  Corrections Corporation of America sent out a letter to 48 states offering to buy prisons in exchange for a 20-year contract and a guarantee of 90% occupancy at all times.  America already has the largest prison population per capita in the entire world by far, and a disproportionate amount of its prisoners are minorities or non-violent drug offenders.  Why would we want to sustain this model through privatization, especially when no one can prove it is more cost-effective in the long run?  This is just another example of the corporatocracy taking more tax money from the public for the profit of a few.  CCA has even admitted using the economic crisis to their advantage!  Chief executive Damon Hininger said, “Indeed, it is because of these pressures, which lead to severe capital constraints and the need to avoid increasing their pension liabilities, that we believe our value proposition to customers is getting stronger.”

  • Willie Nelson Joins Suit Against Monsanto
    Activists are suing Monsanto, a company known for its horrible health and environmental record, for harassing small farmers over use of genetically modified seeds.  We’ll see how this turns out given the revolving door that is Monsanto and the EPA, FDA, and even the Supreme Court.  A big thank you to Willie Nelson for bringing attention to real environmental concerns!  Here is his and Johnny Kelly’s commercial for Chipotle that aired during the Grammys to “emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.”

  • Woman “Not Appropriate or Qualified” to Speak at Contraception Rule Hearing
    Three members of Congress walked out yesterday in protest of an “autocratic” House Oversight and Government Reform hearing about Obama’s new health insurance requirements.  Religious leaders say that requiring insurance companies to provide free contraception through, say, a Catholic university is a violation of religious freedom.  While this may be a valid argument, it is not the only argument.  Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), however, refused any other point of view to be heard, refusing a minority witness as “not appropriate or qualified.”  The witness in question, Sandra Fluke, a  student activist for reproductive rights at Georgetown University (“the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university“) says, “I can’t think of whose voices would be more appropriate than the women who are affected by this policy.”  You can watch an interview she and Congresswoman Norton did with Democracy Now! about the hearing.  (Hidden gem at 21:47 in the video!)  Whether you are in favor of this policy or against it, Chairman Issa is acting like a draconian pig.  In case you were wondering who he thinks is qualified to discuss contraceptive availability to women…let’s just say the boys are back in town!

    thinkprogress.org

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