background preloader

Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

Gaza and Israel: The Road to War, Paved by the West JERUSALEM — AS fires rockets at Israeli cities and follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the , the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the “national consensus” government that was formed in early June. That government was created largely because of Hamas’s desperation and isolation. The group’s alliance with Syria and Iran was in shambles. Seeing a region swept by popular protests against leaders who couldn’t provide for their citizens’ basic needs, Hamas opted to give up official control of Gaza rather than risk being overthrown. Yet, in many ways, the reconciliation government could have served Israel’s interests. Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government, however, and sought to isolate it internationally, seeing any small step toward Palestinian unity as a threat.

Senate rejects bill on veterans benefits The largest piece of veterans legislation in decades -- aimed at expanding health care, education and other benefits -- was rejected Thursday by the Senate on a procedural issue after proponents failed to obtain 60 votes to keep the bill alive. Wrangling over an issue -- veterans -- that often receives bipartisan support, the legislation died on a vote of 56-41, with only two Republicans voting for it. Most Republicans said it was too large, too costly and would burden a Department of Veterans Affairs already struggling to keep up with promised benefits. Sen Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee who authored the bill, argued that many provisions in the bill have won bipartisan support in other pieces of pending legislation before Congress. Republicans complained about how to pay for it. Sanders' legislation had more than 140 provisions costing $21 billion over 10 years. The bill was supported by nearly all veterans groups.

How do we know income inequality is getting worse? President Obama will make economic inequality a central theme of his State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to reports, highlighting the issue's emergence as a key political issue. Less clear is whether economics itself has much to offer in ensuring that the gains of economic growth are distributed equitably. As Harvard Business Review executive editor Justin Fox recently wrote: I think we’re eventually going to have to figure out what if anything to do about exploding high-end incomes without clear guidance from the economists. This is a discussion where political and moral considerations may end up predominating. That is, economics can be helpful in characterizing the degree of inequality that exists, and it can help to explain why income is distributed so unequally. Where economists have done a bit better is in characterizing the degree of inequality, but even here there is some disagreement. There are two common two common ways of measuring the degree of inequality.

Poverty Analysis - Measuring Inequality A second definition of welfare which is often considered in analysis is that of ‘relative’ poverty, defined as having little in a specific dimension compared to other members of society. This concept is based on the idea that the way individuals or households perceive their position in society is an important aspect of their welfare. To a certain extent, the use of a relative poverty line in the previous sections does capture this dimension of welfare by classifying as ‘poor’ those who have less than some societal norm. The overall level of inequality in a country, region or population group – and more generally the distribution of consumption, income or other attributes – is also in itself an important dimension of welfare in that group. Inequality measures can be calculated for any distribution—not just for consumption, income or other monetary variables, but also for land and other continuous and cardinal variables. Related Sites: Back to Measuring Poverty

Middle East: The politics of water - Inside Story An agreement between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian ministers to provide new sources of water for the three neighbours, has been sold as a rare example of regional cooperation. And it may save the Dead Sea along the way. But it is a deal swirling with political, environmental and moral undercurrents. The new project would see the construction of a desalination plant on the northern tip of the Red Sea in Aqaba, providing Jordan and Israel with a new source of drinking water. Israel would in turn sell desalinated water for use in the occupied West Bank. A later phase could see a 180km pipeline carry brine from the desalination plant on the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. Meanwhile, ministers signing the agreement at the World Bank in Washington were unanimous in their praise for the project. The Palestinian Water Authority Minister Dr Shaddad Attili added: "We are living and we are sharing despite the problems we do have but also we are sharing the problem that comes from the scarcity of water.

Snowden and bitcoin: The 2 trends that really matter in 2013 — RT Op-Edge Rick Falkvinge is the founder of the first Pirate Party and campaigns for sensible information policy. Published time: January 03, 2014 07:43 US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow on October 9, 2013. Summarizing 2013, Edward Snowden and the NSA don't show up in the top 10 Google search results, which instead look suspiciously like a tabloid year-in-summary with "Harlem Shake" and "Royal Baby." Snowden's revelations were not the end of the endemic surveillance state, but the beginning of questioning it. As Google publishes its most-sought-after terms of 2013, "Edward Snowden" appears in place #97, one location below "Bitcoin" and three above "Batkid", and far below searches like "Grand Theft Auto Cheats" at #35. This is a reflection of society at large on many levels. We were dismissed out of hand by reporters and other people alike, being derogatorily labeled as the alarmist tinfoil-hat brigade.

The president gets closer to fulfilling his promise to close Gitmo Obama just got closer to closing Gitmo. The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees announced Monday that they had reached an agreement over a defense bill that would ease the conditions on transfers of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay that the Obama administration has claimed prevented them from emptying the detention camp. The bill, which is now expected to pass both houses, would represent the first time that Congress has eased restrictions on transfers since Republicans took back the House in 2010. “This starts to untangle the knot at Gitmo,” said Dixon Osburn of Human Rights First. ” I think many in Congress are recognizing, even those who have supported transfer bans in the past, that the US must start to deal with GTMO as the combat operations in Afghanistan end in a year.” The defense bill would clear the way for the majority of the remaining detainees, 82 out of 162, to be transferred abroad. Being transferred isn’t the same as being freed.

Senate eases path for sending more Guantanamo detainees home