You are browsing the archive for 2015 May 12.

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CIA Whistleblower Who Exposed Secret Iran Project Speaks out After Receiving a 3.5 Year Prison Sentence (VIDEO)

May 12, 2015 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

Sterling blew the whistle on a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.

On Monday former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Risen later exposed how the risky operation could have actually aided the Iranian nuclear program. In January Sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage. He becomes the latest government employee jailed by the Obama administration for leaking information. Since he was indicted four years ago, Jeffrey Sterling’s voice has never been heard by the public. But that changes today. We air an exclusive report that tells his story, “The Invisible Man.” We are also joined by Norman Solomon, who interviewed Sterling for the piece and attended both his trial and sentencing. Solomon is a longtime activist, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-founder of RootsAction.org, and coordinator of ExposeFacts.org.

Alternet Editor's Note: Jeffrey Sterling and his wife started a GoFundMe to help make ends meet. You can donate here.

 

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Residents Slam Christian ‘Hate-Mongers’ After Florida Church Tells ‘Homosexuals’ to ‘Repent or Go to Hell’

May 12, 2015 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

First Conservative Baptist Church's pastor said he was exercising his right to free speech with his offensive sign.

A Florida pastor has defended a church sign that offended his community by warning that LGBT people would “go to hell” if they did not repent.

Pastor Gene Youngblood of the First Conservative Baptist Church in Mandarin told WKMG that he was exercising his right to free speech when he recently put up the words “Homosexuals repent or go to hell” on the church’s sign.

“Because we love people (yet, as directed in scripture to hate the sin), we therefore want to warn them of the coming judgment of God on the sin of homosexuality (and any other sin that is NOT repented of),” Youngblood explained in a statement. “It is my sincere prayer that perhaps ‘ONE’ practicing homosexual will have read our sign and will REPENT before it is too late and they are cast into HELL.”

Neighbor Cate Dobbins was so angry that she started a petition demanding that Youngblood take down the sign.

“I lived here almost 10 years and I never been offended by anything they ever had on that sign until this week,” she recalled to WJAX. “I called the church and left my name and number and no one called me back.”

Speaking to WKMG, another resident agreed: “I think it’s very sad that people that claim to be Christians are hate-mongers. And why can’t people mind their own business and let people live their life the way they want to live it? They’re not hurting anyone.”

WKMG reported that the words had been removed from the sign as of Sunday night. But Youngblood pointed out that the messages changed frequently, and he said that this message had been similar to many others.

“HELL is a real place and anyone not believing in the reality of HELL will not change the temperature of the FLAMES a single degree,” he warned.

Watch the video below from WKMG, broadcast May 10, 2015.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Corinthian Should Just be a SideShow

May 12, 2015 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

To hear the national discussion, you’d think openly for-profit schools like Corinthian Colleges were not just the only problem in higher education, but a problem of alien-invasion-sized proportions. You know, wipe out humanity kind of stuff. But regardless of whether for-profits are as monstrous as many people would have us believe — and it is much easier to accuse and threaten than prove guilt — they simply are not the main higher education problem.

First, look at completion rates. For students who entered college in 2008, only 63 percent at public institutions completed a 4-year program within 6 years according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. At 4-year private, non-profits, that rate was better, but still only 74 percent. That leaves very big percentages not finishing, and both these types of schools have far more college-prep, “traditional” students than for-profit institutions.

The overall problems in higher ed dwarf proprietary schools, and no amount of anti-profit zealotry will change that.”

How about community colleges, with students more like those at for-profit institutions but probably still more traditional? Their 6-year completion rate, including both people who finished their 2-year programs and subsequent four-year degrees: 39 percent, a single point above the completion rate for 4-year — not 2-year — for-profits. And for first-time, full-time students, 2-year for-profits destroy community colleges, with a 63 percent completion rate versus just 19 percent. Yet not only are community colleges not incessantly demonized by politicians and activists, they are lionized!

Now let’s look at enrollment. In 2008 there were 7,331,809 students at public 4-year schools; 3,626,168 at non-profit privates; 6,640,344 at public 2-year schools, and 1,173,459 at 4-year for-profit institutions. That means students at 4-year for-profits were only 6 percent of the total. Applying 2008 non-completion rates to total 2008 enrollment, far, far more students would fail to finish at not-for-profit schools: 2,712,769 at public 4-year colleges; 942,804 at private nonprofits; and 4,050,610 at community colleges, for a total of 7,706,183. 4-year for-profits, in contrast, would see only 727,545 non-completers, a number that is too high, but just 9 percent of all non-completers. Yet these guys are the big enemies?

What about loan default rates, which potentially tell us more about costs and outcomes than just completions? The first thing to understand is that for-profits will tend to have higher prices — and hence higher rates — because they …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Hillary’s Lawyer Sues Ohio To Thwart Voter Suppression Tactics That Helped GOP Steal Ohio In 2004

May 12, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The 2016 voting wars have begun.

Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer and voting rights activists have sued Ohio in federal court to overturn a half-dozen Republican-created barriers that could suppress “hundreds of thousands” of likely Democratic votes in 2016.

These include many of the tactics used by the GOP in 2004 that helped Republicans steal the election for George W. Bush, including narrowing voter registration, moving polling places, creating long lines, disqualifying eligible voters’ ballots, and limiting options to correct mistakes made by voters or by poll workers.

“The effects of these provisions and procedures will be felt most keenly among African Americans and Latino voters, causing them to have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,” said the lawsuit by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, which was filed against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine.

Marc Elias, an election law specialist with Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., is Clinton’s top campaign lawyer and one of the attorneys who sued. The lawsuit is the first litigation over the partisan voter suppression tactics of the 2016 presidential campaign, accusing Ohio Republicans of revoking procedures adopted after 2004 that opened up the process.

The suit seeks a federal court order to reverse a half-dozen actions taken by Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. John. R. Kasich that could stymie, discourage or prevent the state’s urban Democratic voters from registering to vote and casting ballots that count. There is a deja-vu quality to these election law changes, because they were among the tactics used by Republicans in 2004 when George W. Bush beat John Kerry in that year’s final battleground state, re-electing Bush.

“Since the November 2012 elections, Ohio’s Republican-controlled General Assembly and Republican Governor have enacted several changes to the state’s voting laws that have the effect of burdening, abridging, and/or denying the voting rights of all of Ohio’s citizens,” the lawsuit said. “These changes, moreover, were designed to will disproportionately burden specific …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Third Secular Blogger Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

May 12, 2015 in Blogs

By AFP

The murder of Ananta Bijoy Das was an attack that fellow writers said highlighted a culture of impunity.

A masked gang wielding machetes hacked a secular blogger to death Tuesday in northeastern Bangladesh in the third such deadly attack by suspected Islamists since February.

Police said Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered in broad daylight as he headed to work at a local bank in the city of Sylhet, an attack that fellow writers said highlighted a culture of impunity.

Kamrul Hasan, commissioner of Sylhet police, said a group of around four masked men had attacked Das with machetes at around 8.30am on a busy street in Bangladesh’s fifth largest city.

“They chased him down the street and first attacked his head with their machetes and then attacked him all over his body,” Hasan told AFP.

After the attackers fled into the crowds, Das was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival, police and medics said.

Police commissioner Hasan would not comment on the motive for the attack but fellow writers said Das had been on a hit-list drawn up by militants who were behind the recent killing of blogger Avijit Roy.

Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers’ association, confirmed to AFP that Das was an atheist who regularly blogged for Mukto-Mona.

The website used to be moderated by Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in February.

‘Culture of impunity’

“We condemn this heinous killing. It once again confirms our fear that there is a culture of impunity in Bangladesh. Anyone can now get away with killing a progressive free thinker,” Sarker said.

Police chief Hasan said they were investigating an announcement by an unknown group that Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was behind the killing.

AQIS has already claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Roy on February 26 in which his wife was badly injured. An Islamist has been arrested over his murder.

A group called Ansar Al-Islam said on Twitter that AQIS was responsible for Das’s murder and warned of more to come.

Debasish Debu, a friend of Das, said the 33-year-old …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Worker Claims She Was Fired for Deleting GPS App That Tracked her 24 Hours a Day

May 12, 2015 in Blogs

By Michael Arria, AlterNet

Myrna Arias is suing over the termination.

A California woman claims she was fired after she removed an app from her phone that allowed her employer to track her at all times. 

Myrna Arias is a former sales executive for money transfer service called Intermex. She claims that her former boss, John Stubits, fired her after she removed a job-management  app called Xora from her phone. Arias says she was even monitored on the weekends when she wasn't working. She is suing the company for invasion of privacy and other allegations. In her suit, she claims that she told Stubits that the tracking was illegal, but he told her she had to tolerate it. The suit even claims that Stubits even bragged about being able to know what speed Arias was driving through the app.

David Kravets, a senior editor at Ars Technica, cites an email from Arias' attorney that was sent to the website. The attorney, Gail Glick, wrote that, “The app had a 'clock in/out' feature which did not stop GPS monitoring, that function remained on. This is the problem about which Ms. Arias complained. Management never made mention of mileage. They would tell her co-workers and her of their driving speed, roads taken, and time spent at customer locations. Her manager made it clear that he was using the program to continuously monitor her, during company as well as personal time.”

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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The Pros and Cons of a Guaranteed National Income

May 12, 2015 in Economics

There is a growing consensus across the political spectrum that our current welfare system is not working as intended. Among the alternatives that have been gaining traction recently are proposals for some form of a guaranteed national income (GNI).  A new study from Michael D. Tanner argues that what sounds good in theory tends to break down when one looks at implementation. “There are serious trade-offs among cost, simplicity, and incentive structure,” says Tanner. “Attempts to solve problems in one area would raise questions in others.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES