Alex Ellefson

Is This the End of the U.S. Military’s Love Affair with the Kurds?

It’s no wonder anti-American sentiment is so pervasive in the Middle East. The United States has demonstrated a well-documented willingness to throw its Middle East allies under the bus when they’re no longer strategically valuable.

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Why Don't We Care that South Korea is Hacking the United States?

While North Korea’s alleged Sony hack may have drawn a swift and aggressive response from the United States, it further underscores the irony of revelations that one of the United States key allies, South Korea, has been cyberspying on America for years while US officials looked the other way.

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Solar-Powered Sermon Kindles from US Evangelical Church Found on Captured Ukrainian Soldiers

While clearing out the rubble of the recently captured Donetsk airport in Eastern Ukraine, separatist militia members discovered solar-powered Christian sermon players, reportedly from an Atlanta-based Baptist church, in the pockets of some of the dead and captured Ukrainian soldiers.

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Why Is Russia Trading Fighter Jets for Argentine Beef and Wheat?

A deal closed by Russia last month to trade a dozen supersonic, all-weather attack planes in exchange for Argentinian beef and wheat might not seem to have caused a big disturbance in the global equilibrium. But it demonstrates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s skill in exploiting diplomatic confrontations and advancing Moscow’s interests.

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The Republican Abortion Bill So Extreme Even GOP Congresswomen Balk

The new GOP-controlled Congress is trying to pass a national abortion bill so extreme that even some Republican congresswomen oppose it, out of concern tht it will alienate young voters and women.

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Bill Maher: "F*ck the Pope" for His Reaction to Charlie Hebdo Attacks

Real Time host Bill Maher blasted Pope Francis on Friday for discouraging ridicule of religion following the attacks in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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How Netanyahu Sleazed His Way into Getting Pity Points for Israel After the Hebdo Attacks

In the midst of an election that may turn out to be a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to pass legislation defining Israel as a “Jewish State,” Netanyahu urged France’s Jewish citizens to immigrate to Israel and “return to their historic homeland.”

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Europe's Fascist Far-Right Wants to Exploit the Charlie Hebdo Attack - and Putin Will Benefit

France’s far-right National Front party seems determined to capitalize on Wednesday’s bloody attack at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo, where Islamic militants killed 12 people by storming into the offices and opening fire with automatic weapons.

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No Criminal Charges for Police Chief Who Asked Teenage Girl to Pose for Nude Photos

New Hampshire state prosecutors will not file criminal charges against a local police chief who asked a college student to pose for nude photos in exchange for dropping charges against her for underage drinking.

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$14 Million an Hour for 13 Years: War on Terror's Astounding Cost

In the 13 years since 9/11, the United States’ “war on terror” could be considered a failure. ISIS swept aside the US-backed Iraqi army earlier this year, the Taliban still launches deadly attacks, including an assault on a school last month that killed 145 people, and American interventions only seem to worsen sectarian bloodshed in the region.

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High School Bans 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirts From Basketball Tournament

Administrators at a Northern California high school recently banned a student basketball team from participating in a three-day tournament because some of the players were planning to wear T-shirts reading "I Can’t Breathe," the last words of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man killed when police put him in a chokehold earlier this year.

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Guess Which Loan-Sharking Enterprise Helped the 1% Loot Europe After the Global Economic Crisis

The International Monetary Fund is probably the world’s greatest loan sharking enterprise. People in the developing world have known this for decades. As Naomi Klein noted in a 2002 article for the Globe and Mail, the IMF swooped in during Argentina’s financial crisis and forced the country to sell off most of its financial assets, enact deep cuts in public services and drastically reduce its social safety nets. The IMF’s policies transferred much of the country’s wealth to private investors while Argentineans saw their wages and living standards plummet.

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New Process Allows Fungi to Turn Plastic Waste into Edible Snacks

An Austrian design group has created an incubator that allows commonly found fungi to break down plastic waste and become edible treats that can be consumed by humans.

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WikiLeaks: CIA Knew in 2009 That Drone Strike Program Could Backfire

A leaked CIA report produced in 2009 ahead of the Obama administration’s decision to expand the targeted drone strike program warned that the effort to kill or capture terrorist leaders may backfire and increase local support for extremist groups, especially if innocent civilians are killed in the attacks.

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6 Arguments for Calling the Psychologists Who Designed the CIA’s Torture Program War Criminals

Since the Unites States Senate released its report on Tuesday detailing the torture and abuse of at least 119 detainees under the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation” program, numerous human rights groups and UN officials have said those involved in the program should be prosecuted for violating international conventions against torture.  In other words, war crimes.

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If We're Going to Become Interstellar Explorers, We Have to Find Out Why Our Immune Systems Don't Work in Space

It seems more likely than ever that humans may someday travel to alien worlds. A Dutch company held an international competition last year to send four people on a one-way trip to Mars in the hopes of establishing a permanent human colony on the red planet.  And last week, NASA successfully completed the first test of its Orion space capsule, which the agency says may one day carry up to six astronauts into deep space.

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Sweet Deal: Corporations Get $760 from the Government for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections

The 2012 and 2014 elections were the most expensive in American history and were financed largely by corporate money. So why are American companies so eager to put up so much cash for political influence? Because it pays. A lot.

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The Appallingly High Number of Unidentified People Killed in America's Drone War

In September 2009, a Pakistan daily newspaper reported that the commander of an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group had been killed in a U.S. drone strike. U.S. government officials claimed that the operation resulted in “huge loss for the militants fighting against the foreign forces in Afghanistan.”

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Deadline Approaches for State Department to Answer to Indian Prime Minister's Human Rights Violation Charges

In 2002, the Indian province of Gujarat experienced one of the bloodiest instances of religious violence in the country’s history. Following a train fire that killed 59 Hindus, riots erupted across the province that targeted the local Muslim minority. More than 300 mosques and other religious sites were destroyed. Muslim women were chased through the street, raped and burned alive. After three days of unrest, at least 1,000 people died and more than 16,000 Muslims were driven from their homes and became refugees.

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Warhawk Republicans in Congress Pass Bill to Disrupt Obama's Negotiations with Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that contains an amendment that would establish greater congressional oversight of the White House’s negotiations with Iran.

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Study Reveals: Corporate Media Is Horny for War

If the United States media has learned one thing, it’s how not to have an informative discussion that deeply scrutinizes America’s military crusades in the Middle East.

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Former Cop Who Called for NFL to Discipline Players for Ferguson Solidarity Has Past of Lying to Protect Crooked Cops

A member of the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) -- which demanded yesterday that the NFL discipline five players who marched onto the field at the opening of a game to show support for the Ferguson protestors -- was reprimanded and later fired from a Missouri police department for lying to cover up for another officer.

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Shockingly Racist Israeli Op-Ed Compares ‘Bloodthirsty’ Palestinians with Ferguson Protestors

Ever since the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson this summer, Palestinians have drawn parallels between the oppression of African Americans and the military occupation of Palestine. However, an outrageously racist editorial published on Friday by the Times of Israel blames “bloodthirsty” Palestinians and African Americans for their own oppression, demonstrating the similar bigotries between Israel’s right wing and those denouncing the Ferguson protestors.

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ABC Reportedly Paid Darren Wilson Six-Figure Fee for Interview

ABC offered Darren Wilson a “mid-to-high” six-figure payment to give his first and only public interview on the network, according to the website Got News. An unnamed source from NBC reportedly told the website that both networks engaged in a bidding war to score the first interview with Wilson but NBC backed out after its rival “upped the ante.”

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RedState Editor: ‘I’d Have Shot Mike Brown Right In His Face’

A contributing editor for the conservative news website RedState caused an uproar on social media the day before Thanksgiving when he posted an inflammatory tweet expressing support for Darren Wilson, the white police officer who a grand jury recently declined to indict for the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

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Why India Is Unlikely to Do Much About Cutting Its Emissions

The climate agreement reached by the United States and China at the end of the APEC summit has turned the spotlight on India, the world’s third largest emissions producer behind the U.S and China. As the global climate conference in Peru approaches next week, India has been reluctant and even hostile to suggestions that it step up and pledge to lower its emissions.

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Ethiopia Using the Nile to Become a Regional Power in Northern Africa

Ethiopia’s effort to build the largest hydropower plant in Africa, a sprawling 1,780-meter dam along its boarder with Sudan, has disrupted local alliances, altered age-old treaties and reshuffled the balance of power in the region.

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How Fighting the Corporatization of the American University Can Get You Fired from Your Teaching Job

When Israeli bombs were falling on Gaza this summer, killing more than 2,000 Palestinians, it ignited a global controversy about whether Israel’s actions constituted war crimes. That controversy, in some ways, manifested at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The board of trustees, responding to intense pressure from donors, voted to block the appointment of Native American studies professor Steven Salaita due to his “uncivil” tweets criticizing Israel’s assault on Gaza. Salaita, who is Palestinian and the author of Israel’s Dead Soul,  left his job at Virginia Tech to take a tenured position at the University of Illinois. However, only a few weeks before he was supposed to start his new position, the school’s chancellor informed him that the job offer had been rescinded.

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Why Are Millions of People Watching These Disgusting Youtube Prank Videos?

I enjoy most YouTube prank videos. I love a clever, creative joke that involves some harmless fun at the expense of the victim, such as watching a guy wriggle and squirm in confused discomfort after his girlfriend secretly rubs Icy Hot gel on his underwear.

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China Is Not Yet Ready to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

When a district court in China missed the deadline this month to issue a ruling on a high-profile lawsuit against a gay conversion clinic, it alarmed the country’s gay rights activists, who were initially hopeful that the court’s willingness to hear the case meant the government might be opening up to China’s LGBTQ community.

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Female Inmates in Notorious Indian Prison Say Guards Forced Them Into Prostitution

Mention Parappana Agrahara to someone in India and they’re not likely to assume you're talking about the neighborhood in India’s fourth largest city, Bangalore. Instead, the name will probably bring to mind one of India’s most infamous prisons, which has housed high-profile Indian celebrities and politicians. The prison is an island surrounded by an urban ocean, walled off from the city of Bangalore by monstrous gates and barbed wire fences. For years, the jail has suffered from overcrowding, leading prison officials sometimes to let convicts out early in an attempt to shrink the prison population.

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