America’s Gun Obsession, Hacked Secrets & Putin’s Texans: June 23, 2015

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State Secrets Up for Grabs: How to Shoot Yourself in the Cyberfoot
By Victor Kotsev
The US government is keeping system security flaws hidden so it can build super viruses based on “zero days”—and in the process, it’s leaving state secrets unthinkably vulnerable and then spending billions trying to protect itself from the very threats it helped to create.

RussRant: No “Insanity Defense” for US Obsession with Guns
By Russ Baker
The South Carolina church shootings are no anomaly. Americans are senselessly gunned down—at a rate of 30 per day (excluding suicides and accidents). Gun advocates who want no meaningful restrictions, ostensibly to protect themselves, put all of us at risk. Yet those advocating universal disarmament are not practical. But here’s a third way.

WHO

Putin’s Plot to Get Texas to Secede
The US is moving heavy weaponry onto Russia’s doorstep. NATO wants to amass troops along Russia’s border. So Putin, who doesn’t have close allies along the US border, is going right to the heart of Texas to find a way to tweak Uncle Sam’s probing proboscis. Russia has played host to secessionists in the Texas National Movement and launched a propaganda campaign that plays turnabout on US criticism over the annexation of Crimea. It is fair play, after all.

Is Iraq Worth The Fight? After Years Of War And Chaos, Its People No Longer Know
The Guardian does what the US media fails to do when covering the crisis in Iraq… go to the war-torn nation and actually talk to Iraqis who had their country and their lives destroyed by America’s specious invasion. It begins with a visit to the grave of Gertrude Bell, the British diplomat who was instrumental to the creation of Iraq in 1921, to the surprising conclusion of a prominent Sunni leader who believes “…it would be better if the Americans came back.” Alas, they have.

The Lancet: Fossil Fuels Are Killing Us… Quitting Them Can Save Us
One of the world’s leading medical journals just published a peer-reviewed report detailing the deadly interaction between climate change and human health. Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health compares entrenched fossil fuel interests to the tobacco industry and to those who refused to engage in a fight against HIV/AIDS. The authors also see climate change as a unique “opportunity” to make progress, but it is seen increasingly as a political question, rather than just a technological and scientific one.

WHAT

The Cartel That Makes Sure Airplane Tickets Never Get Cheaper
After years of marginal profitability, things are looking up for the airline industry. The world has been in a prolonged oil glut. The number of passengers is reaching new heights. Profits are spiking. And they’re making money on everything from checked baggage to water to snacks. But their aging fleets are facing a new challenge from the younger, more luxury-minded fleets based in the Persian Gulf: Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. And US carriers are fearful enough to ask the US government to restrict the growth of these challengers and, in essence, protect their cartel. .

WHY

Our Deep Need For Monsters That Lurk In The Dark
Why have human beings long held a deep, dark fascination with sea monsters? From giant squids to Norse tales of the Kraken to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, there is a profound human need to make manifest the monsters buried in our psyches. At least, Stephen King seems to think so.

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