Some drugs and loss in the noble US army
18 Sep 2010

This is what war does to the occupier:

When Lt. Col. Dave Wilson took command of a battalion of the 4th Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, the unit had just returned to Texas from 14 months traveling some of Iraq’s most dangerous roads as part of a logistics mission.
What he found, he said, was a unit far more damaged than the single death it had suffered in its two deployments to Iraq.
Nearly 70 soldiers in his 1,163-member battalion had tested positive for drugs: methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Others were abusing prescription drugs. Troops were passing around a tape of a female lieutenant having sex with five soldiers from the unit. Seven soldiers in the brigade died from drug overdoses and traffic accidents when they returned to Fort Bliss, near El Paso, after their first deployment.
“The inmates were running the prison,” Wilson said.
What Wilson had to deal with, however, was hardly an isolated instance.
With the U.S. drawdown in Iraq, the Army is finally confronting an epidemic of drug abuse and criminal behavior that many commanders acknowledge has been made worse because they’d largely ignored it during nearly a decade of wars on two fronts.
The Army concedes that it faces a mammoth problem.
A 350-page report issued in July after a 15-month investigation into the Army’s rising suicide rate found that levels of illegal drug use and criminal activity have reached record highs, while the number of disciplinary actions and forced discharges were at record lows.


Please sign a piece of paper that accepts Zionist control over us all
18 Sep 2010

The growing mood in Israel for citizens to pledge a “loyalty oath” – why should Arabs be forced to accept a Jewish state, a nation deliberately designed to exclude them? – is gaining traction. Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana explore the issues and gain insights on the streets of Jerusalem. The ugly heart of Zionism:
America, keep your dirty hands away from fighting web repression
18 Sep 2010

Sami ben Gharbia, the advocacy director for Global Voices, asks that Washington cease its largely counter-productive campaign to assist dissidents around the world. Image problem, anybody?

Many people outside of the U.S, not only in the Arab world, have a strong feeling that the Internet Freedom mantra emitting from Washington DC is just a cover for strategic geopolitical agendas. This Internet freedom policy won’t be applied in a vacuum. At first, it will build upon broader U.S and Western foreign policy and their strategic goals and interests; in other words, it will continue projecting the same Western priorities. Having the U.S and other Western government as major actors in the Internet freedom field could present a real threat to activists who accept their support and funding. A hyper-politicization of the digital activism movement and an appropriation of its “success” to achieve geopolitical goals or please the Washington bubble are now considered by many as the “kiss of death”. In a worst-case scenario, Western funding, hyper-politicization and support could also lead to a brutal alteration of the existing digital activism field and the emergence of a “parallel digital activism” in total disregard to the local Arab context.

Remember this next time when Barack Obama talks passionately about human rights in Iran but conveniently ignores profound problems in, say, Saudi Arabia, that bastion of democracy. Hypocrisy, my name is America.


Yom Kippur bottom assistance
18 Sep 2010

Jews, your troubles are solved:

Not so fast!
Jews throughout Williamsburg snapped up caffeine suppositories today, hours before the start of the Yom Kippur fast that would deprive them of the jolt — and hunger suppression — that coffee typically provides.
The day-long fast is the centerpiece of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar — but some religious Jews see a Talmudic loophole that allows them to ingest their daily dose of caffeine, albeit through a different orafice.
“It helps — you know, it’s hard to concentrate when you’re fasting and also addicted to caffeine,” said Baruch Herzfeld, an Orthodox Jew who owns a bike store in Williamsburg. “Some take it before sundown, but most take it throughout their fasting. These guys love a good loophole.”
These huge, rectally inserted pills are popular. Pharmacists at Rafieh — one of many distributors in south Williamsburg on Lee Avenue — sold nearly 150 suppositories today.
“We have caffeine suppositories!” the store’s handwritten sign heralded. “Be ready!”
But is it kosher?
There’s some controversy over whether Jews observing the Biblical fast should be taking an easy out (or, more accurately, in).
Some Jewish leaders said that consuming anything — through the body’s traditional entrance or its exit — is against the spirit of the ritualistic fast.
“We’re supposed to do it the old fashioned way — I wouldn’t advise [suppositories],” said Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, a Hasidic leader. “We wanna keep Jews in the synagogue and not in the bathroom.”

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