Archives for FUBAR

U.S. lied about number of Iraqi deaths

Military documents laid bare in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The accounts of civilian deaths among nearly 400,000 purported Iraq war logs released Friday by the WikiLeaks website include deaths unknown or unreported before now — as many as 15,000 by the count of one independent research group. The field reports from U.S. forces and intelligence officers also indicate U.S. forces often failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces
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Americans split over Obama’s health care ‘reform’

First it was President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul that divided the nation. Now it’s the Republican cry for repeal. An Associated Press-GfK poll found likely voters evenly split on whether the law should be scrapped or retooled to make even bigger changes in the way Americans get their health care. Tea party enthusiasm for repeal has failed to catch on with other groups, the poll found, which may be a problem for Republicans vowing to strike down Obama’s signature accomplishment if they gain control of Congress in the Nov. 2 elections. Among likely voters, 36 percent said they want
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Appeals court reinstates ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

A federal appeals court has frozen a judge’s order halting the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, even as the Pentagon has announced it will accept openly gay recruits. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday temporarily granted the U.S. government’s request for a freeze on the judge’s order. The appellate court instructed lawyers for the gay rights group that brought the lawsuit successfully challenging the policy to file arguments in response by Monday. The judges would then decide whether to extend the temporary stay while it considers the government’s appeal of U.S. District
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Pentagon orders open doors for gays

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had told U.S. military recruiters to allow gays and lesbians to apply for service, as gay veterans tested a court order striking down the military’s ban on openly serving homosexuals. California-based U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ordered the military a week ago to stop enforcing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and on Monday tentatively refused a Pentagon request to re-instate the 17-year-old ban. Phillips issued a final decision late on Tuesday affirming her order. Although government concerns about military readiness and cohesion are important, “these interests are outweighed by the compelling public interest
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Even with court ruling, military gays still don’t tell

When word came down of a judge’s ruling that gays could serve openly in the military, an Air Force officer received joyous congratulations from a comrade. Realizing there was someone in the room who didn’t know his sexual orientation, the officer pretended it was a joke and laughed it off. He figured it was too soon — and too risky — to celebrate. On Friday, the Pentagon agreed, warning gay troops that in this “legally uncertain environment,” coming out now could have “adverse consequences for themselves or others.” The warning came a day after the Obama administration asked a federal
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That dream home you bought in foreclosure might not be yours

It seemed too good to be true: You bought a house in foreclosure at a fraction of the former price. Maybe you even knocked out a wall or two and remodeled with all the money you saved. But now thousands of foreclosures around the country may be invalid because of bank paperwork problems. Should you worry? “Anyone who’s purchased a foreclosed property in the last three years should really be concerned,” says George Babcock, a Providence, R.I., attorney who represents homeowners who have been foreclosed on. “They should call the attorney that did their closing and say, ‘Hey, do I
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Impossible dream: Finding truth in campaign ads

Finding an actual fact in this season’s load of campaign ads is like panning for nuggets. There’s a lot of fool’s gold in the way. In this warped-lens world, a Democrat who votes against his party more than every other legislator except one is branded a lapdog of his party’s leadership. A federal deficit from the past is attributed to a health care law that did not yet exist. Democrats blame Republicans for wanting to tax SUVs, groceries and teddy bears without telling people that, in return, most of the income, payroll and estate taxes Americans know and hate would
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‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ a sticky issue for Democrats

At a time when President Barack Obama is trying to rally his political base, his administration is fighting to temporarily preserve the ban on gays serving openly in the military, even though his core supporters want it ended now. The Justice Department is appealing a court ruling that would stop the Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy even as Democrats fighting hard to hold their majorities in Congress are looking to motivate the voters who delivered the White House to this president. The appeal, although expected, will do little to help Democrats trying to inspire those voters and hold back
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Does COLA freeze hurt Social Security recipients?

Seniors will remain ahead of the inflation curve despite a second straight year without an increase in their Social Security benefits. Some seniors and their advocacy groups have raised the specter of millions of the elderly struggling to pay for food, utilities and health care under a benefit freeze. Struggle, many do, particularly those who rely on Social Security for most if not all of their income. But beneficiaries received a whopping 5.8 percent cost-of-living increase in January 2009, when the actual cost of living had risen only a tiny fraction of 1 percent. In effect, they got a double
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Court ruling on gays leaves Pentagon in limbo

As the Obama administration considers appealing a judge’s order to stop the law prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military, some officers and service members say they are uncertain how to react. The Pentagon said Wednesday it had not issued written guidance on the ruling, and commanders in the field said they did not know how to proceed on sensitive questions like pursuing existing investigations against gay service members. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned of “enormous consequences” for troops if the court order is allowed to stand, saying the decision on repeal of the law known as “don’t ask,
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