In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Military expects casualties to rise in Afghanistan

Far from winding down, the numbers of wounded U.S. soldiers coming home have continued to swell. The problem is especially acute among those who fought in Afghanistan, where nearly four times as many troops were injured in October as a year ago.

Amputations, burns, brain injuries and shrapnel wounds proliferate in Afghanistan, due mostly to crude, increasingly potent improvised bombs targeting U.S. forces. Others are hit by snipers’ bullets or mortar rounds.

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Who knew Hasan was reaching out to radicals?

The mystery over whether the military knew Fort Hood shooting suspect Nidal Hasan was communicating with a radical Muslim imam lapsed into finger-pointing ahead of congressional investigations looking into the Army psychiatrist’s contacts with any extremists.

Even as President Barack Obama remembered those killed at the Texas Army post and condemned what he described as “the twisted logic that led to this tragedy,” federal agencies reacted to conflicting claims about whether a Defense Department terrorism investigator looked into Hasan’s contacts months ago with Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki, an imam who was released from a Yemeni jail last year, has used his personal Web site to encourage Muslims across the world to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. A military official Tuesday denied knowing Hasan had such contacts.

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Pessimistic Americans still support Obama

President Barack Obama still has the public approval of a majority of Americans, but he finds himself governing an increasingly pessimistic country.

This comes at a time when he is trying to revive a struggling economy, weighing more troops for the 8-year-old Afghanistan war, muscling a health care reform overhaul through Congress and hoping to push through other ambitious measures like legislation focused on climate change.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that Americans grew slightly more dispirited on a range of matters over the past month, continuing the slippage that has occurred since Obama took office.

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Catholics flex their muscle in health care debate

Catholic bishops have emerged as a formidable force in the health care overhaul fight, using their clout with millions of Catholics and working behind the scenes in Congress to get strong abortion restrictions into the House bill.

They don’t spend a dime on what is legally defined as lobbying, but lawmakers and insiders recognize that the bishops’ voices matter — and they move votes. Representatives for the bishops were in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol suite negotiating with top officials last Friday evening as they reached final terms of the agreement. Earlier in the day, Pelosi, a Catholic and an abortion rights supporter, had been on the phone to Rome with Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Washington’s former archbishop, on the subject.

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Blackwater paid $1 million in bribes to Iraqi officials

Former top executives at Blackwater Worldwide say the U.S. security contractor sent about $1 million to its Iraq office with the intention of paying off officials in the country who were angry about the fatal shootings of 17 civilians by Blackwater employees, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Four former executives described the plan under the condition of anonymity, the newspaper said.

Iraqis had long complained about ground operations by the North Carolina-based company, now known as Xe Corp. Then the shooting by Blackwater guards in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square in September 2007 left 17 civilians dead, further strained relations between Baghdad and Washington and led U.S. prosecutors to bring charges against the Blackwater contractors involved.

The State Department has since turned to DynCorp and another private security firm, Triple Canopy, to handle diplomatic protective services in the country. But Xe continues to provide security for diplomats in other nations, most notably in Afghanistan.

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Few Americans plan to buy a house next year

Just one in 20 Americans say they plan to buy a home within the next year, and they’re most likely to be 34 years old or younger and living in the South or West, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Roughly a quarter of potential buyers said the No. 1 reason they would buy now is because prices appear to have bottomed out. That reason topped bargain-priced foreclosures, worries about rising interest rates and a wide selection of homes.

The survey, conducted for Move.com, a real estate listings site, reveals how Americans are responding to a nascent and fragile housing recovery after three years of staggering price declines. The percentage of buyers thinking of jumping into the market was down slightly from a March survey, but up about 1 point from a poll in June.

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