John Massimino

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Another Senior Chinese Official Fired In Corruption Crackdown

Li Dongsheng, formerly a vice minister of public security, was removed from his various posts for "severe violations of discipline", according to an official circular reported by the state Xinhua agency.<p>The phrase is usually used to indicate alleged corruption.<p>The move to sack Li had been expected …

Snowden's Christmas message

NSA leaker Edward Snowden is offering an “alternative” Christmas Message, saying a child born today will “never know what it means to have a private moment.”<p>“Recently, we learned our governments working on concert have created a system of world-wide mass surveillance, watching every thing we do,” …

This Map Of Al Qaeda In Iraq Is Alarming

Al Qaeda militants are bombing strategic targets in parts of western Iraq, wreaking havoc on their quest to establish an Islamic emirate.<p>The map below gives an indication of how successful they've been, and it is quite troubling given that sectarian killings are rising along with the group's …

Iranian Politicians Propose Bill To Enrich Uranium Higher Despite Nuclear Deal

The bill could bring Tehran into direct conflict with the major powers that reached an interim agreement with Iran in Geneva last month, requiring Tehran to suspend its enrichment of higher grade uranium.<p>However, Iran's most powerful authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has so far backed …

Should the Nuclear Triad Be Saved?

The U.S. spent two generations building a nuclear triad of bombers, land-based ICBMs and missile-firing submarines to prevail in the Cold War against …

Jesus Is The Reason For The Wheezin'

<b>They had a meeting</b> of the minds and they were two short.<p>Over at The Corner, the Party of Ideas took a holiday break from beating up on some guy in a stock photo, which went on for three glorious days, and everybody went home except K-Lo who, alas, simultaneously found the keys to the blog and to …

If U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, much civilian aid may go too

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For years, U.S. officials have pointed to the improvements in the everyday lives of Afghans made possible by billions of dollars in aid from the United States and elsewhere.<p>A boy plays on a street as U.S. Army soldiers of the Battle company, 1-508 Parachute Infantry …

A Complete US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Would Be 'A Complete Catastrophe' For Civilian Aid

In Afghanistan, people now live 20 years longer on average than under Taliban rule, they say; 7 million more children attend school and women are 80 percent less likely to die in childbirth.<p>The specter of an abrupt departure of all U.S. and NATO soldiers from Afghanistan at the end of next year now …

Why Hillary Clinton Remains The Most Fascinating Woman In America

She made the most of the designation, too, using the television special's interview to tease possible announcement of her presidential run.<p>"Sometime next year," she told Walters, cue the sound of Washington holding its breath.<p>The list is hardly a scientific barometer of either public opinion or …

Obama's annus horribilis: things can only get better

Thousands of Americans had a preview of Barack Obama's 'annus horribilis' during the president's second inauguration ceremony on the national mall last January.<p>Though few could have known it at the time, a broken jumbo-sized television screen beside the Washington monument served as the perfect …

Obama Is Now Holding Back Democratic Congressional Candidates

In October, Democrats had a 50%-42% lead among registered voters in the generic congressional ballot. Today, Republicans have a 49%-44% advantage — a 13-point swing in two months.<p>This comes after a rough couple of months for Democrats with Obamacare — the catastrophic launch of the website and …

Holidays marked by drone strikes

Christmas eve last year saw U.S. drone fire over Yemen. This year, a strike on Pakistan<p>Natasha Lennard<p>December 26, 2013 5:52pm (UTC)<p>As I noted this time last year, the Christmas holiday was no time for U.S. drone ceasefire. On Dec. 24, 2012, a vehicle in Yemen carrying two suspected al-Qaida …

Fox News’ 5 worst moments of 2013

<b>Megyn Kelly (AP/Richard Drew/Salon)</b><p>It was another banner year for Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda shop. Here are the most cringeworthy moments<p>Elias Isquith<p>December 26, 2013 6:00pm (UTC)<p>Along with death and taxes, Fox News is one of the few things we can depend on in this world. Just as the sun rises …

Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Are About To Expire — This Map Shows Where People Will Get Hit The Hardest

On Sunday, almost 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expires.<p>Normally, jobless benefits last up to 26 weeks, but Congress passed the EUC program after the great recession to allow states to extend them for up to 73 …

This Chart Makes A Joke Out Of The American Dream

One prominent feature of the American Dream is the ability of people to move up and down income groups. This is called economic mobility. In a society with perfectly equal opportunity, a person born in the top quintile should have just as high a chance of finishing there as a person born in the …

President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills

President Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan budget bill agreed upon earlier this month, setting the stage for an easing of mandatory spending cuts over the next two years.<p>The Senate approved the spending measure last week, following its passage in the Republican-dominated House.<p>The president …

Obama Signs Defense Authorization Into Law

WASHINGTON — President Obama Thursday signed legislation authorizing defense-related spending, including reforms to how the military handles sexual assault complaints that fall far short of the changes sought by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.<p>The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes …

Obama signs budget bill

President Barack Obama has signed a bill that provides a broad outline for the federal budget through 2015 and eases some of sequestration’s cuts, the White House said Thursday.<p>The Bipartisan Budget Act restores a total of $63 billion in discretionary funding to the Defense Department and some …

Obama signs bipartisan budget deal, annual defense bill

HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a compromise budget that reduces the risk of another government shutdown and a defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military and smooths the path for transferring detainees from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, …

Obama Signs Budget and Military Bills in Rare Example of Bipartisanship

President Barack Obama capped a year of political gridlock by signing into law a bipartisan budget deal on Thursday that eases spending cuts and puts …

Obama calls on Congress to do more on Guantanamo Bay

HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday gave credit to Congress for relaxing restrictions on transferring detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of foreign governments but said lawmakers need to go further.<p>U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady …

Angle of Attack

Last year, for the first time ever, China ranked No. 1 in the world among nations expressing interest in buying U.S. firms, according to the U.S. …

The lie that won’t die: “We don’t know enough about marijuana!”

<b>(AP/Ed Andrieski)</b><p>Drug warriors insist we still don’t know enough about its possible therapeutic properties. It’s simply not true<p>Paul Armentano<p>December 26, 2013 11:00pm (UTC)<p>This article originally appeared on AlterNet.<p>Speaking recently with the <i>Los Angeles Times</i>, UCLA professor and former Washington …

Obama praises Congress for making it easier to transfer detainees

KAILUA, Hawaii — President Obama praised Congress on Thursday for making it easier to transfer Guantanamo detainees to other countries, but noted that lawmakers' actions fell short of the flexibility he needs to close the prison.<p>Obama cited his repeated requests to Congress for cooperation in …

Guantanamo Bay

Obama Signs Bills to Stave Off Shutdown, Target Military Sexual Assaults

From just off the sandy beaches of Oahu's eastern shore, President Obama took a break from his Hawaiian vacation to sign a slew of year-end bills, …

Think 2013 was a bad year for health politics? Just wait for 2014

Health news<p>It was the gift that kept on giving: The disastrous roll-out of the health-insurance exchanges provided daily fodder for Republican opponents of Obamacare. And the dire state of U.S. health care, coupled with a headlong rush by people to get health insurance, gave Democrats ample …