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Friday, July 24, 2015

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Is The American Century Over?

In "Is The American Century Over?" Joseph S. Nye, Jr. takes an objective look at the idea of an American century and the claim that it is over…
American-century-nye (1)
To listen to Republicans, the United States of America has fallen on hard times. Game over, some of them say. Whether it is because “dog had withdrawn his mantle of protection” or because Democrats refuse to fight the endless wars Republicans feel necessary to prove America is the toughest kid in the neighborhood, those who see any hope at all see it in only dog or wingnuttery.
In “Is The American Century Over?” foreign policy analyst Joseph S. Nye, Jr. looks at the question of American dominance. In doing so, he examines not only what this dominance means, when it might have begun, and when decline might have set in, but he looks at America’s neighbors, and likely successors to America’s pre-eminent position since the fall of the Soviet Union.
China, a Donald Trump bogeyman, is often held up to be America’s biggest challenger, but Nye points out that right as the Soviet Union was about to collapse, books were comparing America’s situation to that of Phillip II’s Spain, which is to say, things were about to go downhill very rapidly indeed. Instead, the Soviet Union collapsed, and America became the world’s only superpower.
Apparently, things are not as simple as they seem. First of all, when did the American century begin? (There is no agreement). When did the decline begin? (Again, there is no agreement). How do you define decline? What sorts of power are we talking about? And is power absolute or is it more a relative thing, in balance with the other countries of the world? Donald Trump, like all totalitarian demagogues, likes simple problems and answers, but Nye shows the world to be a very complex thing indeed.
As it turns out, there are different sorts of power. The very terminology we use to define and understand the world bedevils us, as is often the case. “Hegemony,” Nye tells us, is a misleading term, and points out that, “there is no general agreement on how much inequality and what types of power sources constitute hegemony.” If so, we should hardly be tossing such a loaded term around, let alone comparing it to another loaded term, “imperial,” because “a formal empire is not a requirement for hegemony.” Has America imposed its system on the world, or has it invited others in? The answer is by no means clear.
Besides, the largest countries in the world have never been members of whatever it is we are talking about, limiting the extent to which we can talk of hegemony at all. Hegemony, Nye decides, is not a useful term because it is too imprecise. And you begin to see now just how difficult a topic this is. We must first define the “American Century” if we are to understand whether or not it is in decline.
But not so fast! What is “decline”? Is it another ambiguous word and encompasses not only a loss of external power, but domestic decay (think Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire if you’re pressed for examples). Nye calls the first “relative” decline and the latter, “absolute” decline.
Nye – who talks about pop psychology and geo- and partisan politics, two of which are more about perception than absolutes – draws on other examples from history’s other empires, Venice, Portugal, Netherlands, Britain, and Spain – even Rome. You can have external loss of power yet, like Venice, flourish domestically. If America is in decline, what kind of decline are we experiencing?
America could be in absolute decline (you definitely get this idea from the Religious Right) or in relative decline “because of the rise of others.” In other words, even though no single country might become more powerful than the United States, we might decline because we are no longer pre-eminent and are unable to continue the American order, however that might be defined.
Nye looks at the most likely candidates, including, of course, China, the European Union, Japan, Russia, India, and Brazil. There are many factors to consider and Nye looks at them all. He devotes one full chapter to China (and I won’t give away any details here) before moving on to ask the big question: is America like Rome.
I have always found comparisons to Rome weak. Rome declined for far longer than America has even existed. We have not earned the right to compare ourselves to Rome. When we have inspired some far distant generation to create a nation of liberty, then we can talk about a comparison to Rome.
However, Nye dispassionately examines the subject, as he does all others, looking carefully at our society and culture (and our culture wars) and, of course, the economy, as well as our political institutions.
It becomes apparent as you read this book that it is careless and self-serving for ideologues and religious fanatics to bandy about talk of America’s decline and fall. It says a great deal more about their purposes than America’s situation.
Which only goes to show how useful and important books like this are. Fortunately, this is not a daunting tome of many hundreds of pages, but a slim volume of only 146, including notes and suggestions for further reading. If you want to understand America’s place in the world, and possible futures, this book is essential reading.

The Atlantic Bluefish Could Be A Glimpse Into How Effective Mercury Pollution Regulations Are

A new study shows a significant decrease in mercury levels for Atlantic bluefish -- and indication that restrictions on coal emissions are working.

Members Of Congress Introduce Largest Minimum Wage Hike Yet

Bernie Sanders Delivers A Lone Star Smash As 13,200 Supporters Rock Texas Swing

The myth that America is made up of only red and blue was smashed by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who drew 13,200 supporters during two campaign stops in Republican-dominated Texas.
Via a statement from the Sanders campaign:
There was another big Texas turnout Sunday evening for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders who brought his Democratic Party presidential campaign to a packed arena at the University of Houston hours after an even bigger mid-day rally in Dallas.

A crowd of some 5,200 pumped-up, mostly-young people filled the university arena here. Earlier in the day, another 8,000 Texans packed a Dallas hotel.

And here in Houston, Sanders brought up the death last Monday of Sandra Bland, a young African-American woman found dead in her Waller County jail cell 60 miles northwest of Houston. The 28-year-old from suburban Chicago had been arrested July 10 after a routine traffic stop. The medical examiner said her death was a suicide. Bland’s family disputes the finding.
“I wish that in the year 2015, I could tell you that we have eliminated racism in our country but you all know that is not true,” Sanders said.
In citing the death of Bland, Sanders also mentioned other recent deaths of African-Americans in police custody. Eric Garner died one year ago after a New York City a police officer put him in a chokehold. Freddie Gray was a 25-year-old African-American who died last April while being transported in a Baltimore Police van. Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was shot and killed in 2014 by two police officers in Cleveland, Ohio.

“These are the cases that you have heard about recently but anyone who thinks this has not been going on decade after decade would be very wrong,” Sanders said. “It is unacceptable that police officers beat up people or kill people. If they do that, they have got to be held accountable.”

After the debacle at Netroots Nation, (which more people need to be discussing how the event was so poorly organized and out of control as to allow hecklers to take the stage and seize the microphone. Netroots organizers are lucky that the people involved were Black Lives Matter and not someone intent on harming a presidential candidate), it was good to see Sanders mention the issue of police brutality and the targeting of African-Americans in his remarks.
What the huge crowds in Texas demonstrated was that there are plenty of liberals and Democrats in red states like Texas, who honestly tend to be ignored by the Democratic Party. It isn’t fair to assume that a state like Texas is all Republican and downplay needs of liberals and Democrats in the state.
Bernie Sanders took his message to the heart of the Republican-misled territory, and tens of thousands came out to see him. Democrats may not be able to turn the state blue yet, but the crowds for Sanders were encouraging.
The message from the Sanders events is that if Democrats campaign there, they will come.

Bernie Sanders Raises $800,000 Off Of Martin O’Malley Super PAC Ad Attacking Him

Bernie Sanders took negative super PAC ad attacking him and turned it into $800,000 in campaign donations.
The Boston Globe reported:
sanders-predictions-this-week On June 25 a super PAC linked to former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, another declared Democratic candidate, spent about $10,000 on online ads critical of Sanders’ record on gun control, which is, for a Democrat, notably friendly to gun owners.

Sanders’ team fought back, using the same rhetoric that Warren so effectively employs against her many critics: Frame the attack as an assault on the progressive movement and raise buckets of cash off of it.

The day after the ads began, Sanders’ campaign blasted an e-mail to supporters requesting help. Within 48 hours they’d raised more than $800,000, according to a source familiar with his fund-raising.
What the super PAC supporting Martin O’Malley quickly found out was that attacking Bernie Sanders makes him stronger. Hillary Clinton has the right strategy. Clinton respects Sen. Sanders and his supporters. Her campaign has said only nice things about Sanders. A few of Clinton’s supporters, namely Sen. Claire McCaskill, tried to attack Sanders, but their efforts have gone as well as the O’Malley supporting super PAC ad.
Bernie Sanders is running a grassroots insurgency campaign that by nature will only grow stronger if it is attacked through negative campaigning. The O’Malley campaign made the decision to go negative early because they appear to have been caught off guard by the quick rise of Sanders.
O’Malley has found his campaign turned into an afterthought that has been washed out to sea by the tidal wave of populist support for Bernie Sanders.
For years, a key theme for Sanders has been undoing Citizens United. Attacking Bernie Sanders with a super PAC ad played into his strengths. Any super PAC that tries to take down Sanders should expect their efforts to completely backfire.

Poll Finds That If Trump Runs As An Independent, Democrats Will Win In A Landslide

The new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that if Donald Trump follows through on his threats to run as an Independent, he will be handing the White House to the Democratic nominee.
According to ABC News:
2016-candidatesIn a general election trial heat, Clinton leads Bush, the Republican cabal fundraising leader, by a slight 50-44 percent among registered voters. But with Trump as an independent candidate that goes to 46-30-20 percent, Clinton-Bush-Trump – with Trump drawing support disproportionately from Bush, turning a 6-point Clinton advantage into 16 points.
Trump’s support in this three-way matchup was 21 percent from Thursday to Saturday, vs. 13 percent in Sunday interviews.
Donald Trump support did drop in the national poll after he attacked John McCain, but a Trump third-party candidacy could set up a reply of the 1992 presidential election. 2016 could feature a Clinton, a Bush, and a crazy rich guy running as an Independent.
The Republican cabal will already begin 2016 in a big Electoral College hole. Statistically speaking, the Republican cabal will already require a dramatic shift in the electorate to win the White House. A Trump third-party candidacy of modest popularity would make the election non-stealable for the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump is not a serious threat to win the Republican nomination, but if he stays in the upper tier of candidates through the early primaries, Trump and his ego could launch an independent bid for the White House.
Some Republicans already believe that Trump is a Democratic plant that has been sent to destroy their cabal, but Republicans created Trump as a political entity, and it would only be right if he ended up costing them any chance of stealing the White House.

Bad News Republicans: Donald Trump’s More Popular In Iowa After He Attacked John McCain

The Republican cabal’s attempts to stop Donald Trump are doing nothing in Iowa as the bigoted billionaire has seen his approval rating increase after his attack on John McCain.
According to a new Monmouth University poll of Iowa:
Trump’s statement about John McCain’s status as a war hero, made Saturday morning at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, IA, generated almost universal backlash from his rivals but does not seem to have had an immediate impact on his support among Hawkeye State Republicans. In interviews conducted Thursday and Friday, Trump garnered 13% of the vote to 19% for Walker. This is only slightly different than results from the Saturday and Sunday interviews, which put Trump at 13% to 25%
for Walker.


Donald Trump holds a positive 47% favorable to 35% unfavorable rating, which is better than the 40% favorable to 41% unfavorable rating he received from national Republicans last week. He has higher favorable ratings among very conservative caucusgoers (55%) than he does among somewhat conservative (41%) and moderate to liberal (37%) Iowa Republicans. He also has higher favorability ratings among Tea Party supporters (56%) compared to non-supporters (39%) and among men (51%) compared to women (41%).
In other words, the people who support Trump don’t like McCain and they are probably going to continue supporting the reality television personality no matter what the media and the Republican cabal say.
Trump is playing into the Republican myth of the tough talker by refusing to apologize to McCain. Trump is on a demented ego trip, but he is speaking the language of a segment of the Republican cabal that abandoned reality years ago. The Republican plan to use his remarks about McCain to rid themselves of Donald Trump could be backfiring.
Republicans may have picked the wrong Senator to serve as their victim. McCain has long been distrusted and disliked by wingnuts. John McCain is viewed in some corners of the political world as more a media creation than a beloved public figure. It turns out that the right-wingnuts are so crazy that attacking McCain  made Trump more popular.
Donald Trump may very well destroy the Republican cabal - and that would be a good thing.

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy Of The Republican Freak Out About John McCain, In One Letter

Time To Stop Treating Jeb As A Serious Candidate As He Dips to 7 Percent In Iowa Poll

A Monmouth Poll released on Monday July 20, 2015, finds Jeb  is polling just 7 percent with likely Iowa Republican caucus voters. At 7 percent support, jeb is in a distant fourth place, tied with Texas' ididiot Ted Cruz. Jeb trails Wisconsin's moron Scott Walker (22 percent), lunatic Donald Trump (13 percent) and wack-job Ben Carson (8 percent).
While Jeb’s fourth place standing should be concerning enough for his campaign, it may understate how much trouble the reptile faces ahead in Iowa. Of the 17 Republican candidates polled, Jeb is one of only 5 who are viewed unfavorably by Iowa Republicans.
The other Republican cabal candidates who Iowa Republicans dislike are former New York's loon George Pataki, Virginia's cazy Jim Gilmore, South Carolina's insane Lindsey Graham, and New Jersey's buffoon Chris Christie. With the possible exception of Chris Christie, none of those individuals are viewed by the media as having any chance whatsoever of winning the Republican nomination, much less a general election.
Just 6 percent of Iowa Republican caucus voters rate Jeb as their second choice, meaning that even if one of the current leaders fades, Jeb is unlikely to be the candidate who benefits. Iowa Republicans are more likely to support  batshit Ted Cruz, Florida's pendejo Marco Rubio or even Lousiana's clown Bobby Jindal as their back up choice, before they would be willing to back Jeb.
Jeb’s national standing with Republican voters is not quite as dismal as his position is with Iowa Republicans. Nationally, Jeb has a lukewarm 50 percent favorable to 30 percent unfavorable rating with Republican cabal voters. In Iowa, he is underwater with just 40 percent of Republicans rating him favorably to 42 percent who view him negatively.
Nevertheless, if Jeb flounders out of the gate and finishes outside the top three candidates in Iowa, his already flimsy support nationally may evaporate further. Ambivalent Jeb supporters will undoubtedly jump onto the bandwagons of other candidates who have more momentum and who speak passionately on the issues that mobilize wingnuts.
The media has long treated Jeb like the implicit front-runner in the Republican race, or at the very least, they have lumped him in with the top two or three “serious candidates.” However, as Jeb continues to hemorrhage support in Iowa, it may be time to re-evaluate the tendency to view Jeb as a serious candidate. Based on the polling numbers in Iowa, Jeb is looking more and more like a fringe candidate whose family name can’t save him from sinking into irrelevancy.

Illinois Newspaper Crushes Kirk’s Moderate Reputation By Calling Him A Loud-Mouthed Radical

A local newspaper lashed out at Kirk's extreme rhetoric on the Iran deal, calling him the love child of Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz.…

Liar And Not-A-Scientist Boehner Blames California Drought On President Obama

Republicans thrive on the increasing stupidity of a few Americans and they have learned exactly how to address their ignorant base…
John Boehner Playing Stupid and Lying
John Boehner Stupid and Lying
Regardless of how much affection one has, or wants to have, for their fellow citizens, it is affection tempered with disbelief that fundamentally decent people are so mentally challenged to the point of being downright stupid. A point that often arises during semi-academic discussions about the dearth of intelligence in the American population is “thank dog politicians aren’t cognitively deficient like the people they have to govern.” However, politicians on the lunatic fringe, specifically Republicans, thrive on the increasing stupidity of a few Americans and they have learned exactly how to address their ignorant base; make incredibly stupid remarks and lie profusely.
Now, regarding the role that anthropogenic climate change plays in the historically vicious drought plaguing the Western and Southwestern United States, Boehner demurs to Koch ideology and claims “I’m  not a scientist.” Fair enough. But not only is Boehner not a scientist, as a decades-long educator it is safe to say Boehner either never finished the third grade, or he is a filthy liar. What Boehner is acutely aware of is that if he really wants to connect with a particularly stupid segment of the population all he has to do is make a remark that only a four year old feral child would begin to believe is true.
This week Boehner took a page out of another House Republican’s (Jeff Denham (CA)) campaign lies, and categorically stated that President Barack Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency, and California environmentalists are responsible for California’s historic drought. Boehner, or Denham for that matter, have not yet blamed the President, EPA, or California environmentalists for the same drought plaguing Nevada, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon and other West and Southwestern states because the Koch brothers are only targeting California’s environmental regulations; environmental regulations that have no impact on the amount of rain or snow falling out of the sky. For the record, any American with a brain bigger than a molecule understands that a “drought is a prolonged period of abnormally low atmospheric precipitation and the shortage of water resulting from this.” For the cognitively challenged, atmospheric precipitation is two of those big words for rain or snow; something Barack Obama, the E.P.A., or California environmentalists have no control over.
According to real scientists, California’s worst drought in over 1,200 years is not caused by environmentalists, or Californians struggling to save what little water the state has left. No, real actual scientists have explained for the duration of the drought that the only impact man has on the drought is burning fossil fuels that cause anthropogenic climate change. In fact, climate change is solely responsible for the “lack of atmospheric precipitation” and the record high temperatures are exacerbating the drought as well as “tripled the chances of the current weather pattern (no rain/snow = drought) continuing indefinitely; according to the National Science Foundation.
Apparently, what incited Boehner to act stupider than his base and feign outrage is that Californians are being urged not to maintain their water-intensive green lawns during the historically epic drought. On his Facebook page Boehner posted: “If ever there was a phrase that perfectly encapsulates liberal environmentalists’ backwards priorities and regressive ideology of restriction and scarcity, it is the one now displayed on a government sign in Arcadia, California: “It’s ‘green’ to go brown.” Boehner then provides a link boasting about what “the Koch Congress is doing to end President Obama’s man-made water shortage in the West.” To beat a dead horse, California’s, and the entire Western and Southwestern United States’,  water shortage is because there is no precipitation falling from the sky caused by man-made global warming.
Republicans in the House just passed a typically meaningless Koch bill that blames the Administration’s environmental policies for causing California’s historic drought, and specifically lambasted California’s policies conserve water and protect crucial rivers and endangered fish species. The environmental policies have been in effect for decades, including during times of severe flooding and higher-than-normal rain and snow fall. Republicans have regularly attacked the state’s environmental policies during periods of record precipitation, so their so-called concern is not about California’s drought, or Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, or Oregon’s drought; they want the state’s environmental policies abolished for the Koch brothers.
Republicans claim that if California dams up every river in the state, regardless there has been no rain or snowfall for four years, California would be flush with water and the drought would end. However, the state’s substantial number of current dams, reservoirs, and lakes are bone dry because there has been four straight years of inadequate precipitation (snow-pack) in the mountains to melt in the spring, runoff downhill and fill the reservoirs, lakes, and dams that have rivers dried up.
As an aside, if Boehner had taken the time to talk to real “water scientists,” what intelligent Americans call environmental hydrologists, he would be aware that stopping rivers from flowing, even in a normal or higher-than-average wet season, allows salt-laden sea water to flow upstream into California’s prime agricultural land that would mean game over for the agriculture industry, permanently. In fact, even without dams, the lack of snowpack has brought normal river flows to a such a slow trickle that scientists are frantically building rock walls to hold back sea water that started going up-river and encroaching on prime agricultural land.
As noted by Joe Romm at Think Progress,  “if Boehner had been Speaker during the 1930s Dust Bowl, he’d have urged Oklahomans to ignore those science-based conservation efforts pushed by FDR and just keep watering their lawns.” Neither John Boehner, nor his Koch cohorts in Congress, care about California’s severe drought and it is not surprising he would take to social media to assail California’s efforts to conserve what little water the state has left. Boehner and Republicans do, however, care about serving the Koch brothers’ crusade to abolish California’s environmental policies or they would not say incredibly stupid things like the historic, worse in 1,200 year, drought is caused by Barack Obama, the E.P.A., California environmentalists, or condemn the state’s residents’ efforts to save the precious resource as “backwards priorities and regressive ideology.”
John Boehner is, indeed, not a scientist and he is not stupid enough to seriously believe that the lack of precipitation falling on California, Nevada, Oklahoma, or any drought-stricken state is due to a President or California’s water conservation efforts. However, he is just smart enough to comprehend that with a segment of the population struggling to equal the IQ of dirt, all he has to do is blame the lack of rain and snow fall in California, Nevada, Oklahoma and likely the Sahara Desert on California environmentalists, the EPA, and the Black guy in the White House and they will believe him. No, Boehner is not nearly as stupid as he wants his supporters to believe, but he is a lying pile of human waste that does not belong in civilized society, and he had better steer clear of California civilized society.

Arizona cops illegally barge into home of showering woman and handcuff her while she’s naked

A woman is suing after an Arizona police officer barged into her home in March, handcuffed her and lectured her while she was naked.
Elmerelda Rossi was showering when two Chandler police officers arrived at her home to investigate a domestic disturbance call because Rossi had an argument with her estranged husband.
Rossi said she was in the shower when her daughter told her the officers were at the door. She grabbed a towel and slung it around herself before answering. She told the officers to wait at the door so she could get a cell phone to record the encounter, and closed it behind her.
“I start to walk into my living room, I probably get maybe five steps in, and all of the sudden I just hear boots running in after me, telling me, ‘stop or I’ll arrest you,'” she told the station.
Rossi’s daughter started recording.
Chandler police Officer Doug Rose threatens to arrest her. When she asks what for, he grabs her arms and cuffs her, and the towel falls off, exposing her.
“I don’t want to touch you, don’t touch me. I didn’t want to touch him,” she sobs, and her daughter can be heard breaking down as things become chaotic. Rose’s partner, Officer David Selvidge, stands silently and watches with his arms folded.
“You have absolutely no clothes on?” Rose asks Rossi.
“She was in the fucking shower, what is wrong with you?” the daughter screams.
Selvidge tells the daughter to get her mother some clothes as Rose handcuffs her.
After the incident, Selvidge complained to his superiors about Rose’s conduct, prompting an internal investigation. The investigation found Rose entered Rossi’s home illegally. He also failed to document key aspects of the call, including arresting then un-arresting Rossi and the fact she was naked, according to the New York Daily News. Footage from his body camera was missing.
He hasn’t been disciplined or charged with a crime, ABC 15 reports.
Rose retired in the midst of the investigation, but Rossi, who was never charged with a crime, has filed a lawsuit.
Rossi said she was molested as a small child and her encounter with Rose, caused her to have a flashback.

Chris Wallace Pretends Fake 'Fetal Body Parts-For-Sale' Video Is Real

The Fox News Sunday panel feigns collective outrage over a video that has been doctored and edited to make Planned Parenthood look bad.

Republicans Try To Pin Blame For Chattanooga Shooting On ISIL, But Evidence Is Lacking

Abdulazeez did not regularly attend mosque and his alcohol and drug abuse do not align with the behaviors of a religious fundamentalist.

Racist teabagger Joe Arpaio will face civil contempt hearing after federal judge’s ruling

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)Judge Murray Snow said he could find no legal reason to delay the proceedings until a U.S. appeals court decides on a motion by the Maricopa County sheriff and his top lieutenant, who want the judge to be removed from the case.

How Goldman Sachs Profited from the Greek Debt Crisis

The Greek debt crisis offers another illustration of Wall Street’s powers of persuasion and predation, although the Street is missing from most accounts.
The crisis was exacerbated years ago by a deal with Goldman Sachs, engineered by Goldman’s current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.
Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt, and in the process almost doubled it. And just as with the American subprime crisis, and the current plight of many American cities, Wall Street’s predatory lending played an important although little-recognized role.
In 2001, Greece was looking for ways to disguise its mounting financial troubles. The Maastricht Treaty required all eurozone member states to show improvement in their public finances, but Greece was heading in the wrong direction.
Then Goldman Sachs came to the rescue, arranging a secret loan of 2.8 billion euros for Greece, disguised as an off-the-books “cross-currency swap”—a complicated transaction in which Greece’s foreign-currency debt was converted into a domestic-currency obligation using a fictitious market exchange rate.
As a result, about 2 percent of Greece’s debt magically disappeared from its national accounts. Christoforos Sardelis, then head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, later described the deal to Bloomberg Business as “a very sexy story between two sinners.”
For its services, Goldman received a whopping 600 million euros ($793 million), according to Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over from Sardelis in 2005. That came to about 12 percent of Goldman’s revenue from its giant trading and principal-investments unit in 2001—which posted record sales that year. The unit was run by Blankfein.
Then the deal turned sour. After the 9/11 attacks, bond yields plunged, resulting in a big loss for Greece because of the formula Goldman had used to compute the country’s debt repayments under the swap. By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion.

Indiana 'bible study' leader raped mentally disabled women in his care

23-year-old Thomas Cooperider of Liberty bible cult in Chesterton committed the acts between November 2014 and March of 2015 on cult grounds.

Cancer patient evicted after Atlanta cult cancels lease to demolish affordable housing

Ehsam Beroukhim evicted from church-owned apartment in Atlanta (WSB-TV/screen grab)

ISIL Bans Private Internet Access In Syria's Raqqa

ISIL Bans Private Internet Access In Syria's Raqqa"This step is part of the organisation's attempt to impose a news blackout on what is going on inside Raqqa city," the AFP news agency quoted the group as saying.